Member Profile

Bernadette Martinho-Brewer
Name Bernadette Martinho-Brewer
Joined 176 days ago
Hobbies Reading, working out, writing, Zumba & RIPPED classes spending time with my family
About Me I am a Special Ed Teacher at Tulare Western High School. I work with students on IEPs; students with Learning Disabilities, Physical Disabilities, ADD/ADHD, Vision & Hearing disabilities, Autism. I am the department chair, so I test students & help trouble shoot any problems that the Resource students are having in school. I am married & have a 9 year old daughter Daniella.
Bernadette Martinho-Brewer
Survivors of the Week: Arnaldo S. and Vanessa W.
176 days ago

I enjoyed reading the posts from breast cancer survivors. On August 8th, 2012 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. In December of 2011, I had a clean mammogram, so this news was quite shocking & overwhelming. I actually felt the lump in my breast & called my doctor's office about it.

My tumor was lobular - invasive & somewhat aggressive, so two weeks after my diagnosis I was in the hospital having my port-a-cath implanted under my skin to prepare me for chemotherapy. The doctor's agreed that chemotherapy was the way to treat it first to keep it from spreading. So I began my chemotherapy on 8/23/12!! I completed my first four cycles of chemo & I did fine, I was still teaching (only taking chemo days off) and working out as much as possible in the gym. In Oct, I became seriously ill after my treatment and was admitted into the hospital; I had c-diff colitis. I was there for twelve long days, but I was finally released. Of course, I had to take off some time from work as recovered, but I was able to return after Thanksgiving. I was unable to return to chemo until the beginning of January 2013. I had my last chemo treatment on March 8th 2013!!

In May 2013, I had the tumor removed & the lymph nodes that were infected with cancer. Though the scans before the surgery showed that the tumor had decreased to 2 cm, when the surgeon operated on me, she had to remove over 5 cm. She also removed 14 lymph nodes, 11 were infected with cancer. So my UCLA cancer board decided the best option next for me would be a mastectomy; I choose to do a double mastectomy since research shows that my type of tumor had a high chance of re-occurring in the other breast

I had my double mastectomy in July 2013, so I was unable to be at work greeting my students for the new school year. I did return to teaching a couple of weeks after the school year began & prepared for radiation. I started my radiation on Sept. 3rd 2013, one year & 3 weeks after my original diagnosis. Radiation was every day, Monday through Friday, for 6 weeks; it was more exhausting & painful than I anticipated. But thank God, I was able to continue working & I just finished radiation on Oct 10th!!!

I am so thankful to all my support from family, friends, & students! I know God has held me up through this entire trial & I've grown stronger in my faith. My daughter, now 9 years old, has been amazing through this whole illness also. I'm so proud of her. Finally, I have been able to support others who have been diagnosed with this illness. Recently, God has brought students into my life that have had their mom diagnosed with breast cancer & I have been able to be a support to them on campus.

I appreciate that Ellen is supporting Breast Cancer awareness month & sharing survivor's stories on the website!
Many Blessings
Bernadette Martinho-Brewer