VOICES: For cousin in Mexico, skin cancer battle is ongoing

Jasmine Shepherd helps relative seek treatment for serious illness

Jasmine Shepherd, Opinion writer



I’m asleep when my little cousin Noelia, or as I call her, “La Bomba” walks in and jumps right on top of me.

As I let out a puff of breath and grab her, I see it: a small spot, about the size of a raisin, on the back of her neck. I’m not thinking it’s a big deal, but I’m still curious.

A day later, I decided to see if I could find anything about the spot online. The internet was slow where we were at in Dolores Hidalgo, Mexico. I decided to bring it up to her parents. They said they had taken her to local doctors, but they didn’t know what it was and to not worry about it.

As the days went by, Noelia’s spot grew bigger. I searched for information about it again. This time, the dreaded word popped up: cancer. I suggested to her parents they take Noelia to the hospital in San Miguel.

When we arrived at the hospital, it was filled with the sounds of people vomiting and coughing.

I had to take Noelia to the check-in desk to be examined so they could decide if her case was worth seeing. We waited for about an hour-and-a-half until one of the nurses called out “Noelia Lino Gonzales, please go to room 5.”

The doctor came in and asked many questions, like when they first noticed the spot and what the size was. He asked Noelia if it hurt. She said no.

After a battery of tests, the doctor came back and told Noelia’s parents, “I’m sorry, but your daughter has skin cancer.” He said they needed to perform a CT scan to be sure, but the chance was at least 80 percent.

This hit me really hard, but my cousin and his wife managed to stayed strong in front of Noelia. We still had hope that she would fall into that 20 percent chance of not having skin cancer.

When Noelia’s CT scan came back, it was positive. The doctor gave my cousin the option of letting her stay at the hospital to die or let her die at home. The hospital didn’t have any treatments for her condition. In my head, I wanted to scream. My cousin decided to take her to a different hospital to seek treatment.

We traveled for four days to hospitals, but none of them helped. They didn’t have any treatments for cancer. When we arrived in Mexico City, we finally found a hospital that could help.

Now, Noelia is on chemo and is getting better. My cousin recently posted a picture on Facebook that showed the spot is shrinking.

I only hope she continues to get better.