July 11, 2013 Posted by Sam Johnson
At age 12, Martha Munoz’s father uprooted the family from a comfortable life in Mexico to bring them to the United States. Her adopted country welcomed her hard work as a social worker, wife and mother. In 1996, as her husband Arturo was set to retire after 30 years of building cars at the local Ford Motor factory, Martha was also offered a retirement package from the county. Thus began a life of travel to Hawaii, Europe, Mexico and Texas while helping her children complete college and start their adult lives.
But in March 2009, at age 68, her life changed. It started when she was suddenly out of breath when she walked. She was then hospitalized, fluid drained from her lung and a biopsy performed. It confirmed she had mesothelioma. The oncologist she saw at Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo recommended she see Dr. Cameron. So how did she get this disease that only comes from exposure to asbestos when she worked in an office? Her husband explains: “There was a lot of asbestos where I worked. It got on my clothes and Martha did all the laundry.” Arturo has no sign of the disease.
In May 2009, Dr. Cameron operated on Martha at UCLA Medical Center. She still leads an active life with Arturo, takes leisurely walks in her neighborhood while planning trips to visit her children in Texas and Michigan. “I’m here and thank God, Dr. Cameron and my family for all the things that they have done to make my life easier and more fulfilling,” she says. “I would like to be around in life to hear Dr. Cameron say: ‘We have found a cure for mesothelioma lung cancer. You can now be cancer free!’”