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Debbie’s Story

Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We've created it to keep friends and family updated about our loved one. Get started by reading the introduction to our website, My Story, including My Background Story for Debbie's medical history.

 



I was diagnosed with Stage 4, triple negative breast cancer, in December of 2008, which was followed by a lumpectomy, six months of chemotherapy, and 37 radiation treatment to my breast and sternum. I have the most aggressive form of breast cancer, with little hope for a medical cure at Stage 4.  It was discovered at my first mammogram at age 40.  Athough the tumor was small, it was on the inside of my breast near my sternum and was able to spread to the sternum and escape the breast area. After the first round of chemotherapy I enjoyed a year in remmission recovering, but then a brain MRI in July of 2010 revealed a brain tumor on the right side of my brain. I had brain surgery to remove the tumor, followed by a round of partial brain radiation. I again enjoyed about a year in remission, until a second brain tumor was discovered in November of 2011 on the right side of my brain.  Brain surgery followed to remove the tumor, but a cyst that had surrounded the tumor filled again with fluid requring a third brain surgery to put in a reservoir to drain it. These two surgeries were also followed by a second round of partial brain radiation. Unfortunately, I have not had another period of remission.  Within weeks of completing my second round of partial brain radiation.4 new brain tumors were discovered on the left side. These were treated with whole brain radiation. Shortly after this third round of radiation, I underwent lung surgery in Chapel Hill to remove a cancerous tumor.  My lungs have remained stable and have responded well to the chemotherapy treatments I have tried.  Unfortunately, within a couple of months a follow-up brain MRI showed many tumors throughout my brain, which have continued to grow and multiply. Chemotherapy just does not cross over the protective barrior surrounding the brain. I did participate in a clinical trial with a drug they are testing in Chapel Hill that they hope will more effectively cross the brain barrier, but it did not prove effective for me.  It also left me with very damaging neuropathy in my hands and feet.  I have exhausted all medical treatment options at this point, and have been given a terminal diagnosis. The medical community just has no cure for me, so everything is now in the hands of my Heavenly Father, who has so lovingly cared for my every need over the past 4 years through my friends, my family, my church, my neighbors, and my community.