After the Texas state legislature cut funding for family planning facilities in the state in 2011, a number of reproductive health centers were forced to shut down, and in low-income and under-served communities like the Lower Rio Grande Valley where Marisol lives, women were left without a clinic for essential services like cancer screenings and contraception.
I can say that my name is Marisol, located in the state of Texas. I have two grandchildren. My work is cleaning houses. Sometimes they pay me thirty dollars. Sometimes fifty, it depends on the quality of the person, right? And sometimes they don’t pay me, I work and they don’t pay me, but– it’s okay.
“I have to live today as if it were the last day of my life.”
I have to clean from the kitchen,bathrooms, make beds, vacuum, iron, and sometimes I have to wash.
It’s my two grandchildren and I, that’s it. No one but us three live in this house.
Here the only person who brings income for the children is me. If I don’t work, if I get sick, they depend on me. So, I don’t have a way to make money for them if I don’t work. If I were to get sick, I don’t know what would happen. But until today, yes? I give thanks to God because it hasn’t come, I hope it doesn’t come even though I go about feeling ill.
Every day that I get up, I ask God to give me the strength, to give me work to be able to move forward and to bring them ahead. When they get here, what they hope is to find food and their grandmother well. They worry when I feel poorly. They only say “I don’t want you to die, because what are we going to do?”
One of them is named Noel Issac and the smallest David Saul. The eldest is Issac, he is five years old, and the smallest is four years old. The oldest is the most mature, most expressive. The little one is more sentimental, is more affectionate, worried more for my health than the oldest.
It’s been one year that I don’t get checked out with a problem in my womb, in my ovaries. I don’t know what can happen, I haven’t been able to get checked out. My ovary continues to be inflamed. I frequently have infection.
When I began with the symptoms, I began with nothing more than stomach pain, as if I was having a normal menstruation, but that bleeding stopped with medicine, but I continued having these pains constantly up until today. There are times I cannot walk a lot because my leg and right ovary hurts and it hurts a lot. It feels like infection. The pain is like a lot of stings, so much in the vagina and the ovary, like something moved inside like when there’s a baby.
My mother died at the age of fify-two years from a tumor she had in one leg. She spent one year establishing her health, it was a liposarcoma, it is a cancer that goes to whatever part of the body. The person only lasts one year and she lasted only one year. It went to her lung, she died.
When Mother died, the cancer – the doctor said that it was a cancer that the children inherited. 95% or 100% of kids. Then, she began with a tumor, a very small cyst, at one blow.
My daughter is named Surisaday, she is 21 years old, she is the mother of my grandchildren. She is deported.
My decision to return to this country is because my two grandchildren are American citizens. I had the opportunity to return. My daughter found herself in a very bad situation. The children were very sick and they, being American citizens, how could they be starving there [in Mexico].
And I had the possibility of having them with me, and that was the decision, for my grandchildren. It’s that I’m here, I find myself here again, wrestling once again, starting over new, from zero, for them, for Issac and for David. They give me life, they make me live life differently, that I have to live today as if it were the last day of my life, because we don’t know what can happen tomorrow and I enjoy them very much.
They miss their mother a lot. I hope to God that soon she will be with us. I didn’t want for those children to keep going through such lack, witnessing so much violence. On every corner, on every street there are shootout, there are the dead, and so, they are children that deserve to live in this country, see the difference there is in this country.
They [Marisol’s grandchildren, Isaac and David] themselves say that here they do not want for food, that they are happy and they’re only missing their mother.
Marisol is an activist and leader with the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, Texas Latina Advocacy Network.