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Victoria woman leaves heart-shaped blood on gauze after cancer surgery

By JR Ortega
May 2, 2011 at 12:02 a.m.
Updated May 3, 2011 at 12:03 a.m.

Carmen Nunez holds a white piece of gauze with a heart-shaped bloodstain Tuesday. Nunez was diagnosed with breast cancer three weeks ago and had surgery Friday to have the cancerous mass removed. When she removed the white gauze where the IV was, she said she found a heart made of dark-red blood and immediately thought of her prayers. "I was praying to the Sacred Heart of Jesus," she said.



Carmen Nunez sees it as a sign from God.

Others, well, they may just see it as dried out blood on a white, fluffy patch of gauze.

But what the 81-year-old discovered after having a cancerous mass removed from her breast on Friday made her all that much more faithful; her blood from a hand IV had left a heart imprinted on the gauze.

"I started praying to the Sacred Heart of Jesus," Nunez said about what she did moments before her surgery. "I think God was hearing my prayers. I was getting emotional."

Nunez was diagnosed with breast cancer three weeks ago, and the mass, along with one lymph node, was removed.

The cancer was discovered after a routine mammogram.

The diagnosis isn't enough to crush her spirits, her 65-year-old daughter Rachel De Leon said.

"To me, it was like an answer to her prayers," said De Leon, who feels like she's been more worried about her mom's diagnosis. "She has always been very positive."

De Leon was the one to break the news to her mother about the diagnosis and she took it in stride.

"I'm going to do what I do and go to the bingos," her mother had said in response to the news, a smile on her face.

The Rev. Dan Morales, with St. Mary's Catholic Church in Victoria, said God chooses to work in mysterious ways.

"Without question, God can work any way God chooses to work," he said. "He can work signs and wonders to build up faith."

What happened to Nunez is one of those private revelations that many who are strong in their faith see, he said.

Next for Nunez is a follow-up on Monday to make sure the cancer is gone.

For older adults like Nunez, radiation and chemotherapy are usually not an option because of pre-existing conditions that could lead to more harmful medical complications, Nunez's daughter said.

Still, a strong Catholic faith is what helps Nunez get through each day and trial, she said.

Her faith is what helps her, and other women who face a breast cancer, fight back.

"It's up to God," Nunez said sternly. "If it's his will, I'll be OK."

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