After surviving a brutal machete attack by an ex-boyfriend, it seemed things were looking up for Maria Del Carmen Gomez, until she received some more bad news -- a cancer diagnosis.
The 53-year-old woman was diagnosed with metastatic uterine cancer and recently had surgery to remove the cancerous cells in her colon, diaphragm and lymph nodes. Doctors also removed her uterus and ovaries.
Though Gomez will still needs extensive chemotherapy her physicians are hopeful.
"If anybody can make it, she can," Dr. Nick Spirtos, medical director of the Women's Cancer Center of Nevada, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "She was remarkably positive going into surgery. She showed me the scars on her head and her hands from the machete and said, 'This cancer isn't going to get me either.' She has an incredible spirit."
In March, Gomez was the victim of a horrific attack by her former flame, 49-year-old Armando Vergara-Martinez, who used a 18-inch blade to assail his ex in a grocery store parking lot in North Las Vegas. Gomez was struck several times in the head and her hands were severed at the wrists. Police discovered the gruesome scene, finding both Gomez and Vergara-Martinez on the ground, covered in blood. Vergara-Martinez reportedly cut his own neck after attacking Gomez with the machete.
Following the incident, Gomez sought to shed light on the case in hopes of highlighting the need for tougher laws governing punishments for domestic violence perpetrators.
"He premeditated everything," Gomez told FOX 5 News. "[Those] kind of people should be in prison. [It would be] safer if they were in there."
Gomez joined a domestic violence fundraising walk for Safe Faith United in April and told her story to other women.
"I hope they listened to what I had to say," she told the Review-Journal. "I told them to never let yourself be around someone who hurts you. Those kind of men never get better, only worse."
Despite earlier reports, Vergara-Martinez later plead not guilty to attempted murder. Doctors were able to successfully reattach Gomez's hands, but her recovery is far from over -- especially now that Gomez has a new battle to face.
While Spirtos, who headed Gomez's surgical team, said the malignant disease was at an advanced stage, he believes it is curable with at least six months of chemotherapy.
As for Gomez, who was recovering from her surgery in the hospital this past week, she appears to be more concerned with her brother's well being than her own. "I hope Victor doesn't have another stroke worrying about me," she told her visting friend Rebeca Ferreira, who also founded Safe Faith United. "He's already had two."
However, bedridden Gomez does have to worry about paying her monthly rent, car payment and insurance, the vast majority of which is being covered by the donations-based Safe Faith United.
"I've got money for your car and insurance," Ferreira said while holding Gomez's hand, according to the Review-Journal. "I don't want you to worry about that. And somehow I'll get your rent money. Don't worry about Victor; he's fine. Think about getting yourself better."
Watch the video above to see an earlier news report following the attack.
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