Her entire life, Claudia Martinez had always dreamed about what it would be like to become a doctor. But while attending school at the University of Houston, it appeared that her dream would be suffocated by a terrible diagnosis: doctors informed her that she had Chiari Malformation. This was indicative of her brain tissue spreading into her spine, meaning she would soon become paralyzed.
A brave and strong Claudia did not view the diagnosis as a disease that would prevent her from realizing her dream.
“When I got my diagnosis, I was sent to a neurosurgeon,” said Martinez. “He told me that I needed brain surgery as soon as possible. If not, I was going to be paralyzed from the neck down. And so within a week I was undergoing my first brain surgery.”
But her treatment did not end with the first surgery. Claudia ended up undergoing a total of six brain surgeries. She did all of this while trying to graduate from college and then attend UTHealth McGovern Medical School.
She continued, “Since I was first diagnosed, I’ve had six major brain surgeries. I thought I’d have one surgery. I knew my life would be a little different, but I thought I would have this surgery and go on to med school. And that would kind of be the end of my story. But it’s been quite the opposite of that.”
It was while undergoing her last surgery that her condition got significantly worse: she went through a stroke that left her temporarily partially paralyzed from the neck down.
She had to relearn how to do the most essential of tasks, such as walking. Her mom had to dress her during this time period.
As time went on, she learned how to walk again. All that time, as she was in pain, but she never once lost hope that she would become a physician. Even as she went through physical therapy, she was still studying to get her medical degree.
Watch more about her story below! Prayers for Claudia!