“I want to be empowered to move around whenever I want to.”
In 2010, Estrella was finally able to retire after working for many years. She’s lived in Cuba her whole life and it would be hard for her to leave, but her daughter and son-in-law left her home country and moved to Russia several years ago. Not long after they moved, away, Estrella took a bad fall. Like many Cubans, she dealt with the pain for a long time. She fell again several years later and fractured her right femur. A knee implant and other experimental procedures on her knee were unsuccessful, and when the knee implant failed she spent the next three months in a wheelchair.
In Estrella’s home country of Cuba, basic healthcare is provided by the government, but many high-level specialty surgeries simply are not available. Through the Operation Walk Carolinas joint replacement mission, she finally received a high quality knee implant in May 2017.
Since her operation, she’s learned to walk again, slowly but surely. Her immediate goals are to be empowered to get up on her own and walk around, and to eventually start gardening again. She especially likes herbs, herbal medicines and flowers. Estrella rarely gets to travel but she hopes to one day go to Russia to see her daughter and family, which now includes a grandson: “He’s going to be a nuclear physicist one day, I just know it!”