On the night of March 31, Maria Del Carmen Gomez, 53, was leaving the North Las Vegas convenience store where she worked when she was blindsided by her 50-year-old ex-boyfriend, Armando Vergara-Martinez. He allegedly stabbed her seven times with the machete's 18-inch blade. In the attack he hacked away at her hands, almost severing them completely.
"When Maria approached him, he struck her seven times, and Maria lost consciousness. The moment he cut the head, she put her hands in front of her head. One hand fell on the ground, and one was hanging by the flesh," said Rebeca Ferreira, who founded the Las-Vegas-based Safe Faith United, and is supporting Gomez.
Ferreira told ABC News that she believed Vergara-Martinez intended to murder Gomez and "chop her to pieces."
After he had attacked and choked her while the two were dating, Gomez contacted the police, and Vergara-Martinez spent a month in jail. Ferreira said that she believes after his jail time he felt the need for revenge.
Though Gomez no longer wanted a romantic relationship after she was choked, she was willing to help Vergara-Martinez find a job, and had offered to give him an application to the store where she worked, Ferreria said. Gomez planned to meet him the night of the attack.
"It was premeditated, what he did," Ferreira told ABC News. "He had the machete. His intention was to chop her into pieces. The police department found a bag, and a wood chipper in his car."
Miraculously, Gomez survived the attack. In two surgeries, doctors were also able to reattach her hands and repair the damage to her skull. Though it is still unclear if she will fully recuperate and regain full use of her hands, she has been undergoing therapy since the incident and was on the path to recovery.
In April Vergara-Martinez appeared in court and said that he would be pleading guilty to the crime.
Now, five months after the brutal attack, Gomez faces another battle: she is being treated for metastatic uterine cancer.
Gomez was diagnosed with cancer two weeks ago, and just last week underwent a lengthy surgery to remove her ovaries and uterus. In the five-hour procedure, doctors removed cancerous tissue from her colon, diaphragm and lymph nodes.
Metastatic uterine cancer begins in the endometrium, or the lining of the uterus, and typically occurs after a woman goes through menopause. Treatment typically involves a hysterectomy, or surgery to remove the uterus. The ovaries and fallopian tubes are often also removed.
"The tumor was removed last week," Ferreira told ABC News. "It was huge, and it was in a very advanced stage. The doctors said the colon was affected too. They had to remove part of it. She is undergoing chemotherapy, and they've now moved her to a recovery cancer center.
"She's there -- she's very weak and very pale. And the bills continue to pile up," she said.