Deborah Holt Deborah's Guardian Angels

When I entered the emergency room several months back, struggling with shortness of breath, and coughing, I was certain that I was suffering from advanced symptoms of COVID-19, whiçh I did test positive for, along with pneumonia.

I have always been overly active, energetic, and athletic.  I enjoyed playing team sports early on, as well as, becoming a running champion in track events, while developing an interest in cycling.  My bike has been a faithful, and encouraging companion, and I still peddle through the trails every day to put in the miles, and focus on strengthening myself in any way possible.   (I thought I had already overcome my greatest challenge back on March 9 of 2014).  It was actually my birthday, and I fell to the ground, losing sense of feeling along the entire right side of my body.   The weakness remains to the present day from my unexpected stroke.   My commitment to being the best possible version of myself, fueled my motivation to recover, ..both then and now,  has carried me through to many future visions.  I am completely steadfast in the imperative dream to see my only grandson graduate from college, perhaps even attending medical school or going forward with advanced studies.

I was overly cautious about a healthy lifestyle, and visited my primary care physician very regularly.  Of course, I followed through with all appointments, tests, procedures, and recommend checklists, which included extra screenings after the age of 50.  I repeatedly complained about losing strength in routine activities, and gasping for air while simply walking up a short flight of stairs.  A few blood tests were completed, and the verdict remained that I was in stellar physical condition, and facing the realities of aging.

Just after Christmas last year, I stared at the ceiling inside my hospital room, and wondered about my treatment options from this deadly virus.   I felt my legs go entirely numb when the doctors used the word tumor.  In fact, there was a golf ball sized growth in my right, lower lung.  

Awaiting a biopsy was an excruciating experience all on its own, taking over a month to confirm a diagnosis of stage 3 lung cancer, and over another 30 days to even consult an oncologist.   

I have only undergone one round of chemotherapy, as there is already spreading lymph-node involvement throughout my chest area. The treatment plan includes targeted radiation, in combination with aggressive immunotherapy.  Detailed cat scans will determine the course of any progress with shrinking the tumor, and these images will be performed after the second chemotherapy treatment.  I am not a candidate for any sort of strategy to directly cut out the malignancies.  The location and composition of the mass, coupled with my age and underweight body structure produce too many risks for attempting direct surgical removal.

I am so blessed to have the generous comfort, loving support from my closest family and friends.  My amazing daughter is by my side every step of the way.   My son resides in Tampa, and stays in close contact.   Likewise, my older brother, who retired from the United States Marine Corps is another devoted advocate in my recovery.  My two older sisters are tirelessly and unwaveringly praying for miracles, after all, I am the baby in the family.   Perhaps my 86-year-old mother has transformed into one of my most prolific guardian angels.  She volunteers in her neighborhood, and still contributes to improving community programs.  My Mom, a nutritionist, has been obsessively diligent in planning my meals, and researching every possible food or supplement suggestion to facilitate my healing process.