Debra Watkins-Council | CaringBridge

My and my special boy, Nugget.

Debra Watkins-Council Fighting Colon Cancer

First post: Jun 11, 2018
Thank you for taking the time to read this & your consideration. I'm am 50yrs old, divorced & live on my own (for now). I recently began a great new job at T-Mobile call center in Richmond VA in late March. I'm very blessed to have awesome health insurance coverage thru my employer to cover some of my medical expenses thru this new journey I'm on.  I have just recently been diagnosed with Colon Cancer after a colonoscopy & biopsy done on 5-15-2018, a rather large adenocarcinoma mass.  I'm not certain yet at exactly which stage my cancer is nor how invasive. Stage 3 is what my oncologist is seeing from the scans. Recently, after meeting with my surgical oncologist Dr. Leopoldo Fernandez at MCV/VCU Massey Cancer Center in Richmond VA, I have learned that the tumor may have perforated the intestinal wall which could put me at Stage 3 (if perforated but not spread - metastasized) or Stage 4 (if metastasized in other areas). Therefore it is recommended I have a very serious & major surgical procedure called HIPEC. Surgery will last 12-15hrs, then a few days in ICU & hospitalized up to 2wks, if all goes well with no complications. This is a high-risk surgery, but being in good health will be a great benefit for me through the journey of recovery. However, recovery is lengthy from this operation. I will not be able to return to work until sometime in August at the earliest.

I am so very thankful to have my healthcare insurance to cover most of my expenses with this new diagnosis. However, as we all know, insurance doesn't cover EVERYTHING. I have many copays, coinsurances and other expenses to manage at this time.  

Unfortunately, with only being 8 weeks into my new employment, I do not qualify for FMLA (must have worked 1200 hours prior) or short-term disability (must have worked 6 months prior). Therefore, my generous employer has been able to put me on a Continuous Leave of Absence to hold my position with the company until further surgery and treatment is done. However, there is no salary given to me during this time. My mother has been scraping up what she can to keep my basic bills (rent, utilities, phone, car & insurance) paid up for me, as well the funds for my copays, gas, etc. My medical bills are piling up SO FAST with all the 20% coinsurance amounts I now owe.

My mother has been such a strong support system for me, even before this news. She's always been there when I struggled and comforted me in many ways. I know it's taken a small toll on her already and with this news, I fear being more of a burden to her finances.  She is struggling to help me with my finances now. We're already considering that if my diagnosis is further along than we hope, that I will have to give up living in my rental home and move in with her, which would be difficult on everyone. But, we're hoping that won't have to happen because it will be very hard for me to get back on own two my feet again, if so.  It would be best for everyone if I just manage to stay where I am presently at and return to being very independent and on my own again.  I've been told that is the best healing I can do is get back to my regular routine again. 

Plus, I have my furbabies (my cats) to consider. They are my furry children, I've raised my kitties since birth and they have been a phenomenal source of support for me thru the past few years. To part with them, if I have to move in with my mother and stepfather, would break my heart ... while I'm already trying to hold it together through this ordeal.  I can't even fathom that right now and I can't let it overwhelm me. If worse comes to worse, I will do what I have to do to ensure keeping a roof over my head, even if I do have to give them to the local shelter if I have to move out & in with my Mom. I DO NOT want to resort to that, I fight for animal welfare and keeping them OUT of shelters. Unfortunately, I don't have anyone close to me who can take them in or adopt them.  Shelters are full in my area and won't even take cats that are over 6months old, which all of mine are.  It will be so very hard to endure this phase of my life without them to comfort me & giving me unconditional love.  I truly need my furbabies during this time and they also need me. 

If surgery can remove it all, even if I have to do minimal chemo or radiation after, I can still get back to working my job & taking care of myself in my own home. I am a strong fighter & a proven survivor.  I'm not going to let this beat me, I will endure this challenge & give it all I have to overcome it & come out of it STRONGER than ever. Life is precious & each day is a blessing. I'm not done living it to it's fullest!

I am raising this money to surprise my Mom with next month when it comes time to pay my few monthly bills (and to cover the next couple months as well, while I rehab & for my convalescent time). I want to be able to say to her on July 1st:  "No, Mom, you're already doing so much for me in being here. I already have the funds to pay my rent, car pymt., car insurance, power & cellphone bill.  Less you have to worry about now. There are so many other caring people who are also helping me out so that it lessens the burden for you. I got this. "

If you can, please help me to help my mother in taking care of me along the way.  She cannot afford to do all this for me financially.  It would bring me so much joy to surprise her with it & to relieve some of the stress all this is bringing to her.  I want to see her smile again & see the joy in her eyes. 

I thank you in advance for your time, your consideration and if you're able to donate, for your generous contribution. Bless you!

"Cancer is a comma, not a period."
"Giving up is NOT an option."
"There will come a time when you feel that everything is finished. That will be the beginning ..."
"I did not realize my strength until I had cancer."
- heart  
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