Martinez, 35, who lives in Delaware, USA, had always lived a healthy lifestyle
and competed in beauty pageants between the ages of 14 and 25, and is still
involved in judging them today.
The digital marketing specialist’s health
took a turn for the worst on 9 November 2018 when she arrived at a friend’s
house for a games night with her son, Bryce, six, and suddenly collapsed within
minutes of stepping though the door despite having no prior symptoms.
When paramedics arrived, they wrongly
assumed Cynthia had had an overdose and gave her two shots of Narcan to revive
hours, Cynthia underwent a craniotomy to have the aneurysm clipped but a few
days later she suffered a stroke that caused her brain to swell so she had to
have an emergency surgery to remove her bone flap, with doctors giving her
family little hope for Cynthia’s survival.
her stroke, Cynthia had to undergo surgery to
replace the bone in her skull. She was finally discharged from hospital on 6 January 2019, but her bone flap became infected and had to be removed on 14 February.
On 16 May she had a tissue expander fitted to stretch the skin so a synthetic bone
could be fitted and on 9 September, she underwent surgery to have the bone
Healing was going well until 23 October, when her scab fell off
and she could see the bone. Days later she had another surgery to fix the
Cynthia is well and after 13 months of being unable to work due to her acquired
disability, she went back to her job on 16 December 2019.
The single mum-of-one said: “I
started when I was fourteen with Miss American Coed. When I was twenty-five, I
did Miss Delaware USA and placed top ten, then when I was married I competed in
the Mrs International Pageant system.
“Although I don’t compete anymore – I’m
still involved by participating as judge, staff and emcee at the Miss American
She continued: “Fortunately, I don’t remember much [from when I
collapsed]. But from what I was told, I barely had taken off my coat when I
collapsed, I had bent over to tell my son something when I just fell – in front
of my friends and at the feet of my son.
“I don’t remember my arrival at the hospital but
from what I was told I was screaming of a terrible headache begging for ice.
Within a few hours I had a craniotomy to clip the aneurysm.
“I suffered a stroke a few days later and it
caused my brain to begin to swell so I had a hemicraniectomy. A hemicraniectomy
is when they remove part of the skull to give the brain room for the swelling.”
She added: “Right before the stroke and the second
surgery, I seemed to be doing fine – but it was very sudden that I took a turn
for the worst.
“My family was in absolute shock and disbelief that they went
from, ‘Oh she’s going to be ok’ to, ‘Wait, what are her final wishes?’.
“Recovery has been a roller-coaster. Before I left
the hospital, I had a third surgery to put the bone back in but a little over a
month after I got home it got infected, so it had to be removed which was
surgery number four.”
Cynthia’s son Bryce was just five years old when
she was going through her ordeal and Cynthia has had to be very careful about
how she explains to him what has happened.
Above all else Cynthia’s journey has made her
realise her strength and she also says the power of prayer saved her life.
Speaking of her son, she said: “Bryce doesn’t know the details – so I don’t use
words that he wouldn’t understand like ‘aneurysm’ or ‘stroke’ – but he knows
mummy fell because something happened inside her brain that caused her to not
“Things could have gone very, very wrong. For my
family and especially my son – like it does for countless people in my
situation, when things get tough I try to remind myself that I’m alive and I
was given this privilege of living. I struggle because I’m living.
“We are all strong enough, we just don’t know it
until we are pushed against the wall and forced to fight. Fight for our lives,
fight for our recovery, fight for whatever it is that is important to us.
“Miracles and the power of prayer are very real.
Whether you believe they are from God, the Universe, any other higher being.
It’s real. I have family in Chile, Argentina, Uruguay that were all praying for
me. As well as family friends in Spain, co-workers in the UK, current and old
co-workers all over the US that were praying for me.
“And it worked. I’m walking proof that it works;
the power of prayer and miracles are very real.
“In fact, that’s why I decided to publicly
document my journey. I just felt that, so many people all over prayed for me –
I owe it to them to show them what they did. What their prayers accomplished. I
will be forever grateful to everyone.”
Cynthia’s journey, visit her Instagram here.