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Angela Durazo's Fundraising Page
The phoenix hope, can wing her way through the desert skies, and still defying fortune's spite; revive from ashes and rise.” This quote speaks to me because it conveys the notion that even when we as individuals endure seemingly impossible situations to overcome, we can find an inner strength and not only pick ourselves back up from life altering situations, we make ourselves better. My name is Angela Durazo and with sharing my story I hope to receive a grant that will help me continue to pursue my dreams of competing in triathlons. In late 2006 (I was 20 years old), I found a golf ball sized mass in my right breast. After several biopsy’s it was discovered that the mass was not cancerous but suspected to mutate quickly and recommended by several doctors that surgery be performed to remove the mass. On June 6th 2006, I had outpatient surgery and had the mass removed with what appeared to be a smooth operation. Three days later I was able to return to work and school under the provisions that I did not do any strenuous activity or work long hours. I returned to work the morning of June 10th feeling as though I was coming down with a slight cold but I needed to work, so I brushed it off and went in anyway. Within four hours of being at work I literally collapsed to the ground. I did not understand what was happening and at that point I began to feel very sick. Paramedics were called and on my way to the emergency room I became increasingly ill. I went from feeling slightly sick to completely unable to hold myself up in a matter of hours. When I arrived in the emergency room they immediately ran blood tests and discovered that I had an alarming white blood count, which suggested a serious infection attacking my body. The doctor asked me if I had any recent operations, as I said yes, he proceeded to undo the bandages that I had around my chest to investigate the incision sight. Upon removal of the bandages it was obvious that I had contracted a serious infection in my right breast. My right breast was literally double the size of my left. When I looked down and saw this I began to panic completely terrified because I did not know what was happening. They gave me antibiotics and pain medicines to start basic treatment until they could identify the infection while they admitted me. Upon admittance they moved me upstairs and as they were doing a shift change and while informing the new doctor of my situation, the pressure from the growing infection literally caused my right breast to break open. As I was lying in bed, I felt the pressure and watched the previous stitches in my breast from the mass removal surgery rip open with green, clearly infected tissue and puss pushing itself out. After a nurse came in, saw this and notified the doctor, they pushed as much of the infection out as they could. The infection had at this point eaten 4-5 inch tunnels all around the incision site going up and into my chest and armpit. The entire time this is going on I was watching in fear, truly unable to process what was happening and just sitting in horror as I saw my breast becoming deformed and wasting away. When my labs came back it reveled that I had contracted Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA). MRSA is an often-fatal antibiotic resistant staph infection that turns deadly quickly due to the resistance the bacterium has to antibiotics. How I contracted this remains to be unknown. Upon the start of aggressive antibiotic treatment I became violently ill. My body not only rejected the first set of antibiotics (vancomycin), it developed bleeding ulcers in my stomach causing me to vomit bile and blood for countless hours while being crippled in pain. Due to the severe dehydration my veins started collapsing and they had to consistently keep inserting new IV’s daily. I was given high doses of anti nausea medication but it didn’t help enough to make the vomiting subside. I remember laying in bed, crippled over, angry and scared because I didn’t know what was happening to me. At one point during this ordeal I was terrified to sleep because I didn’t know if I was going to wake up. I developed severe panic attacks from the stress and the high dose of pain medicine. At times it felt as though I was in a fantasy world watching myself lay there helpless while my body was seemingly giving up on me. As all this was going on my family was by my side. My mother had a cot beside my bed and stayed with me every night and my dad and brothers visited when they could. My mom stayed strong for me as she was watching me go through all of this. She held my hand and calmed me the best way she knew how. This wasn’t the first serious medical situation we had endured together. In late 2004 my mother was diagnosed with two different types of skin cancer, Basal cell carcinoma and Squamous cell carcinoma (she has also been an insulin dependant diabetic for over 14 years). Together, her and I went to every doctors appointment, every support group meeting and when she had her surgeries, I was there holding her hand being her rock. Instead of going through chemotherapy she decided to have the cancers cut out and as long as the margins were clear the doctor said that would suffice with regular checkups to watch for any re-growth. As I was lying in my hospital bed in disbelief of what was happening, I felt bad for my mom as she was watching me fight for my life. More than my own fear of dying I was afraid for my mom. She had already been through so much at that point with her cancer surgeries, I didn’t know how much more she had in her. I hated that I was sick and I was very confused because I felt like it was a cruel joke, we had already been through so much. They administered a second set of antibiotics called Viox and that antibiotic finally started to make the MRSA subside. After several weeks in the hospital, things started to look up and my body started to regain strength. I remember the relief that I felt the first day that I was able to eat again. I had a banana and it was the most delicious banana that I had ever eaten in my life. Once I was able to move around and go outside for fresh air, my dad was at home and put my two kittens in a crate in the car and met my mom and myself on the side of the hospital so that I could tell them I loved them and kiss their furry little faces. After the most terrifying weeks of my life, I was finally released on the condition of being at home on bed rest with a home nurse to visit once a day. The MRSA had eaten so much flesh that my wound had to be packed like a gunshot wound in order to heal properly. During this whole ordeal I did have medical insurance however it only covered a portion of my medical bills and I was left to cover the rest. Due to my mothers cancer surgeries our family was left with little more than enough to live on. My parents helped me as much as they could by letting me move back home and taking care of me but they could not assist with my debt as much as they wished they could. After careful consideration with my family it was clear that I had no other choice but to file bankruptcy, at the age of 21. Prior to this accident, I was a professional model with a very promising career. My favorite contracts were bridal runway and prom campaign advertisements. I was under the impression that after this accident that I could return to the life that I loved but I discovered that’ I no longer fit the image’ of what my favorite client was looking for because the scar on my breast showed above the top of the bridal dresses. I was completely devastated when I was dropped from my contract and I fell into a serious depression. At that point I decided to retire from modeling and go back to college to finish my basic classes while I decided which direction I wanted to go in. Having filled for bankruptcy I discovered that I did not qualify for student loans and because my parents were having their own financial difficulties, they were unable to cosign for me. So I started working as a waitress to support myself and pay for my schooling. As time progressed my depression grew deeper and I found myself lost, moving from job to job, taking breaks from school and looking for ways to cope and process everything that had happened. My confusion coupled with some poor decisions lead me into curious situations where I finally discovered that I no longer wanted to be a victim. I chose to begin my fight against the apathetic nature that I grew very comfortable with over the years. Last year I decided that I wanted to be an attorney and I applied to college. I was accepted into an accelerated pre-law undergraduate program and I started working as a bankruptcy paralegal. Having gone through it myself, I was able to identify with my clients and that made me very good at my job. I had been working as hard as I can to pay my tuition and my living expenses. I was content but I found that something was still missing. I discovered that while working at the firm that I needed my fitness back. When I had fallen into depression years ago, I gained about 30 lbs. I fell into a rather monstrous routine of coffee, work, junk food, school, energy drinks and alcohol to cope with the resonating feelings of pain. On June 8th 2010 I decided to leave the firm and begin a quest to find my fitness and my peace. As much as I liked my job, I discovered that I needed a different environment to heal my restless soul. I decided to start working on my personal fitness certifications while still finishing my undergraduate degree. Fitness for me has always been my therapy. It is a way for me to express and exert the emotions inside of me that I was otherwise unsure of how to communicate. It has proved to be my place of peace and solace. The day that I left the firm I went to the gym and felt like I was finally where I needed to be. At that point I was not sure which direction I wanted to go in so I dived into cross fit, TRX and boxing. I loved every minute of it but I didn’t find that one ‘thing’ that really challenged and satisfied me the way that I was looking for and then I was introduced to the world of triathlons and my love for the sport was instantaneous. I discovered the world of triathlons when a friend of mine asked me to support him while he raced. While I watched him, that was the day something inside of me changed. I watched in awe and decided that that is where I wanted to be. I felt a light turn on inside of me that I hadn’t felt in years. To me, triathlons are the embodiment of everything I wanted to build myself up to be, mentally and physically. Physically an individual needs to be in good fitness but the strength of their mentality is the deciding factor that will determine how far they will progress. I started training clients (friends) and after confiding in them, one of my friends decided to help me get started by sponsoring my triathlon ambitions with his company. He paid my entry for my first three races and helped me acquire some of the gear that I needed. I have spent the last 10 weeks training with a team of athletes while discovering a confidence in myself that I lost so many years ago. Over the past 10 weeks I have lost 12 lbs. and improved my mile from 8:53 to 7:12. On September 12th 2010, I competed in my first sprint triathlon, TriRock San Diego. Having no prior swimming, cycling or consistent running experience before 10 weeks ago, I managed to place 16th in my age group (out of 58). I placed with a time of 1:18:36 and the winner of my age group place at 1:06:18. Next year I plan on placing 1st in my age group. Change is by far the hardest motion to set forth into your own life. No one should accept defeat within him or her selves. Ever. With that being said I leave you with my story in hopes of receiving this grant and being able to continue to build my triathlon achievements. I know I have what it takes in my heart and my spirit to take my triathlon career very far. “Dreams are like the paints of a great artist. Your dreams are your paints; the world is your canvas. Believing is the brush that converts your dreams into a masterpiece of reality.”-Anonymous
Total Donations Collected:$25.00
Contributor Amount Comment
Jill White $25.00 "Thank you for being strong and sharing so much of yourself. You give me hope that I can endure adversity and overcome when faced with the inevitable challenges life throws my way. Good luck on your triathlon this weekend. :) "

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