VICTORIA, Texas -- A 54-year-old Victoria woman is trying to find sense in a life-changing diagnosis that never should have happened.
Herlinda Garcia said she became a whole different person after she was diagnosed with Stage IV terminal Breast Cancer.
That diagnosis came after Garcia had a benign tumor removed from her left breast.
When you re told you have stage four terminal cancer, that s it, Garcia said. I put trust in the doctor.
Garcia underwent eight rounds of chemotherapy for seven months. She recalls her physical health deteriorating and her mental health crumbling.
Everything was swollen. I lost my eyebrows, my eyelashes, Garcia said. It s really hard. I can t explain how I felt. It s like I was in a dream.
The 54-year-old part time civil process worker found herself falling into a depression. She said she was so sure her life was going to end, she gave away most of her belongings and made a bucket list.
I wanted to give up on everything, Garcia said.
Garcia sought treatment for anxiety at Citizens Medical Center. Doctors performed some scans, and suddenly, there was a glimmer of hope.
Doctors suspected Garcia never had cancer.
A second opinion from M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston confirmed that.
I was happy, but at the same time, I had that anger. The damage had been done, Garcia said.
An investigation found that Dr. Ahmad Qadri misread the lab results, and Garcia had been cancer-free all along.
Qadri has since died.
That didn t stop a Victoria County jury from awarding Garcia $367,500 in damages from physical pain and mental anguish.
Garcia and her husband said that doesn t make their pain go away.
Sometimes you lose it, explained husband Adam Molina. I don t wish this on anybody.
Garcia said she hopes her story encourages everyone out there to always get a second opinion.
I know I m never going to feel the same because of what I went through. It changed my life, Garcia said.