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LUNG FORCE Heroes

Alejandra E

Petra J Enriquez was one of the most beautiful and the best Nana God blessed me with. Her story began in 2008, we were told that she had lung cancer. I was too young at the time to know what level it was but man did I hate the word cancer. To me at the time, it didn't matter what level it was. It broke our hearts. Everyone hears that word and it scares the living crap out of them, fear definitely overwhelmed us all including her. After my Grandma taking chemo and radiation, she fought and won back her life. We were told the type of cancer she had would come back in a year and she would have to relive the process.

A year went by, still cancer free. Two years, three years - nothing.

In June 2015, I decided to surprise my Nana and go to church with her. She was so happy to see me there but later on in mass, I remember looking over to my nana and she looked as if the air was knocked out of her, we walked down for communion and I was so scared that she would fall. She didn't look stable at all. She grasped for oxygen and would just tell me it's late and she was tired and in pain. I mentioned it to my dad after mass and we thought perhaps her arthritis and Parkinson's was worse than we thought.

August 13th, 2015, she went for a checkup and turned for the worst. Doctors told us that cancer is back. She had a tumor on her right lung that was infected with bacteria and cancer, her right Lung had collapsed, fluid was filling up her lung which was painful for her. She stayed at the hospital for extra tests. A week and a half later, we were told she had aggressive stage 4 cancer and chemo would hurt her more. Her body had taken a big hit in 2008 that she wouldn't be able to fight it this time around. It like everything froze, I saw everyone crying, yelling that it couldn't be true, that we weren't ready to let her go and I got on my knees to pray. I didn't care who saw and it felt like it was just me, my broken heart and God. I asked for Mercy, I needed her. She promised she would be there for the day i get married and have my babies. I made sure I was there every single day. I didn't want to miss a moment to see her smile, to feel her hand. But something so special happened during this time of pain and heartbreak. My family was broken, we all had different lifestyles, different personalities that clashed with other, we had family against family and my nana's illness brought us together. We had to put our pride aside for her and I knew in her heart she leaped for joy because her babies were one. We were together. United as they once were.

She only had a 2 weeks left to live, so she went home in hospice with my aunt. My nana was so happy because that was home. We shared laughs, conversation, smiles, music, and dinners. Man, she had the most heart melting smile that made everyone weak. We all had our 5 minutes to talk to her while she was still able to talk. I knew I didn't do my best to reach out to her when she was healthy. i could have done more and I apologized if I ever made her feel anything less than loved and all she said was "It's okay mija, I love you mamas." Besides the 2 weeks, God blessed us with another week. She passed on a Holy Sunday, September 27th, 2016. I know she watches over all of us. There's not a day that goes by that I don't miss her, her voice, her perfume. A year later and it still doesn't feel real. The tears we cry are more real than ever. I would do anything just to tell her I love her.

November 12th, last year the Enriquez family join the lung force walk in memory of my Nana for the first time. We won #1 Fundraising Friends and Family Team and Turquoise Takeover Team (Best Dressed Team): Team Petrita. This year we join again, yes, we try to raise awareness so that others can really have more time to live the great memories, so that there will be more smiles, more i love you's, more love in the world. But we walked to keep my Nana's memory alive. We will pass on her memories for generations to come.

I will see you again Nana. Te amo un chingo!

"Cancer never wins, you beat it because in Heaven there is no cancer, no pain, no suffering.

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