Friday, January 31 2014, 07:56 PM EST
DELRAY BEACH, Fla. -- Amelia Gomez wiped away bittersweet tears as she spoke with CBS 12 in the office of her dermatologist.
The mother of three is alive, but last week she had to have her foot amputated. It was the result of a rare skin cancer on her foot, detected at a first of its kind health clinic.
"Yes, it's difficult," said Gomez, speaking in Spanish. "But they told me: My foot or my life. Better my life."
Gomez, whose kids range in age from six to 15, worked cleaning houses until a growth on her foot made walking too difficult.
"It started with a little speck, but eventually grew into a tumor," said Gomez.
Dr. John Strasswimmer, whose practice is in Delray Beach, diagnosed Gomez at South Florida's only free skin cancer clinic at the Caridad Center, west of Boynton Beach.
"The case of melanoma on the foot is particular, because it tends to arise as just sort of a slowly growing freckle on the foot," explained Dr. Strasswimmer. And it often goes undetected, he said.
Strasswimmer is trained in an advanced procedure for removing skin cancers, using a microscope.
When feet are involved, often amputations can be avoided. But Gomez's cancer was too far along.
Next week Gomez will be back at the Caridad Clinic, to be fitted for a prosthetic limb.
"The amputation procedure should allow her to regain the ability to walk with the right kind of prosthesis," said Dr. Strasswimmer.
|"It seemed that all doors were closing quickly. Then a Caridad Miracle happened."|
Last year Edna’s world almost came to an end.
At the age of 44 with two daughters, Edna was diagnosed with cervical cancer. She needed an immediate hysterectomy.
With her life on the line, she risked leaving her children without a mother. Caridad’s staff summoned all their resources. The staff quickly found a partner—South Florida Radiation Oncology—who performed radiation on her tumor to shrink its size. However, doctors concluded that only surgery could prevent the spread of
the cancer and save her life.
It seemed that all doors were closing quickly. Then a Caridad Miracle happened. Our great supporters provided Edna with the funds necessary to pay her hospital and surgical expenses. The surgery was successful and Edna was given a clean bill of health. Delighted with the great news, Edna and her daughters recently visited Caridad with homemade goodies to thank the staff. Edna's promising prognosis will allow her eldest daughter to resume college this fall. Caridad Center is able to save lives through your support. Edna wishes to thank each of you for giving her a second chance at life.