Survivor of the Week: Debbie B.

After Debbie B. felt a lump in her breast, she immediately went to get a mammogram which confirmed breast cancer. It was a small lump but it was Her2neu, a very rare protein that can cause the cancer to be more aggressive.  She received 12 weeks of chemotherapy as well as one full year of Herceptin therapy to decrease the aggressiveness of the Her2neu gene. Debbie chose to have a double mastectomy and has been on oral medication to decrease the reoccurrence for almost 5 years. She took her last pill on September 30th, 2013.  "It feels amazing to know I have beat breast cancer!  Five years ago when I heard those dreaded words, I had feelings of fear and doubt.  Five years seems like such a long time but in all actuality it goes by so fast.  I accomplished what my oncologist and I set out as my treatment plan and today I did it!  Accomplished my goal and am here-I am OK!!!" Within the 5 years since being diagnosed, both of Debbie's daughters got married and she now has 3 beautiful grandchildren which have been huge motivators in her getting better. She also said, "Once I stopped wondering 'why me?' and said 'why not me? I can beat this! I have amazing love and support of family and friends and great medical care' I became much stronger. Remove the negative thoughts and move on."

When were you diagnosed?

February 2008

Are you cancer-free? If so, for how long?

Yes - 5 years this year!!!!!!!!

How have your family and friends helped you?

My husband and daughters saw me through every step of my diagnosis, treatment, surgery, and recovery. This process has been scary for me and I know they felt the same - fear of the unknown. It is the 3 of them that I wish to thank. 

What tips do you have to help other breast cancer survivors stay positive?

Know that cancer can 'rear' its ugly head in any of lives but we will not let it 'take over' all the good in our lives with family and friends

What has someone done to make you feel better?

The worst day of my life was when my physician told me 'you have breast cancer.' That day I phoned a friend, a breast cancer survivor, and the first words she said to me 'Debbie, you are going to be alright.' Those words still bring tears to my eyes

What advice would you give someone who is about to go through treatment?

Believe! Believe in yourself. Believe in the support and love of family and friends. You are stronger than cancer!

What was the scariest moment?

The day I had to tell my daughters I had breast cancer. I knew how those words had tipped my world upside down - how I felt, all the thoughts going through my mind. I was scared as to what those words would do to their lives.

What was the funniest moment?

The day my husband shaved my head! I only knew myself with hair - was not sure how I would feel without it. He was nervous but he did it and I loved it! It was liberating and I smiled and laughed at myself for days!!!!

How has breast cancer made you stronger?

I have realized I had more strength, willpower, believe in myself and determination than I ever imagined! I will not allow cancer to consume my life but I have allowed it to make sure I enjoy more, learn more and love more!

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Comments

Dana Huffmon
294 days ago

Congratulations! It is always inspiring to hear a fellow breast cancer survivors story!!!!

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Dana Huffmon
294 days ago

Congratulations! It is always inspiring to hear a fellow breast cancer survivors story!!!!

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Suzanne Wray
296 days ago

Dear Ellen; Just a note to let you know how loved you are in Canada! Your positive energy is incredible. You are always great with celebs, choices interesting.
I also fight bone cancer. Breast cancer survivor 10 years and you were part of my possitivity! This time I was stage 4 back/neck/pelvis - breast cancer returned, approximately 2 years ago. I'm finally able to do things, very slow - but keep smiling/trying. I realize from your show and WWE that I'm not alone. I'm Back......(Steven Tyler impersonator wannabee). Thank you for a great show!

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Donna Davey
299 days ago

I was diagnosed on April 22nd with aggressive Ductile Carcinoma. Three surgeries and two infections later, I'm still fighting. Another surgery scheduled,October 17th. A bit scared but after everything I have been through, this surgery should be a piece of cake. I can't help but believe that I am going through all of this for a reason. If I can hold the hand of just one woman who is afraid of mammograms it will make this all worthwhile.

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Don McGill
300 days ago

My Sister is a 6 time Cancer survivor. Frances Yeo!
http://www.pnj.com/article/20131001/PINK/310010005/Get-Pi...
See the article in the Pensacola News Journal Today! She has a great attitude and inspires health care workers every time she is in the Hospital. She would love to share her story.
Little Brother Don

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Lyndell Finlayson
300 days ago

Please follow my friend's journey with breast cancer. She has made video diaries to support others and I am sure she would also appreciate the support of you lovely ladies who have survived breast cancer. https://m.facebook.com/bbacjwsh
Love and Light to you all xxx

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Mary Jennings
301 days ago

I was diagnosed in April, 2012, with breast cancer Stage 1. I had a lumpectomy on June 6th followed by 33 radiation treatments along with once every three weeks Herceptin treatment. I finished the Herceptin treatment on June 26, 2013, I started taking Femara in July 2012 and will continue for a total of five years. I was very blessed mine was caught early before there was any lymph node involvement. I was petrified when I received the news but after speaking with my Surgeon, Oncologist and Radiation Doctors I felt better about the cancer. Before the Surgeon visit, I was sure I was at Stage 4, I was so scared. My best friend, Sandy, flew up from Georgia to be with me on the day of my surgery. I couldn't have a better friend than her. I'm still scared of the future but I try not to thing about that and think only about the now.

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Susan Rochat
301 days ago

I just want to offer encouragement to all the women who have posted comments. I had breast cancer when I was 31yrs. old in 1982. I have been a survivor for 31 yrs. as I am now 62yrs. old. I feel very lucky to have had the gift of these 31 yrs. to watch my children grow up and to be able to welcome grandchildren into my life. I graduated from college at age 40 and went on to teach high school. My husband and I will be celebrating our 42nd anniversary this Nov. So,I just want women to take care of themselves. If something doesn't feel right keep questioning your doctor or find a new one (I had my lump for over a year and doctors kept saying I was too young to worry that it was cancer. Luckily, I kept asking and finding new drs. to ask). A diagnosis of cancer doesn't have to signal "the end." I have had down times, but my life has been full and I look to an on-going bright future.

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barbara brewington
301 days ago

my name is Barbara and iam going have breast cancer the day i went to get the test done they told me that day i has breast cancer i had cancer 3 time all somewhere eles i went and had a double mastectomy done in July this year but you know the hadres thing i had to do is too tell my 3 sons i have cancer again i have put them though so must it breks my heart to see what they have to go though with me haveing cancer again i wish i could take it away so they would not have to go though it they told me mom we love you and we are not going anythere we will be right here with you we would not be anying where else but here with you and no mom you are the 1 in pain we love you and here for you i have that jean that the cancer can come back anytime and anywhere i pray to God everyday that it dose not come back so i put it in God hands that it dose not come back iam still going though it right now thank you for list to me

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Jodi Hamers
301 days ago

I was diagnosed June 20 2013 Invasive Ductal carcinoma, it had spread to my Lymph nodes, I have had surgery and I am currently undergoing AC treatment Chemo. I stay strong and fight on. Because so many woman have done it before me and so many will do it after me. Find a Cure !!

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Debra Aguiar
301 days ago

Hi, I am 55 and was diagnosed with breast cancer 1 year ago. It was the worst day of my life. The hardest part was telling my 2 daughters. I felt like I ripped their lives apart. Since then, I have had a double mastectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation. My family has stood by me the whole time.I am still on the road to recovery, but I know I am going to make it. I am a survivor.

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Cindy mcKinney
301 days ago

Hi, I'm 42 years young and I was told on May 21, 2013 that I have breast cancer. My world was turned upside down that day. Since then I've had two surgerys and could not get clear margins. So I'm doing chemotherapy right now, after that it's hormone therapy and then back to surgery a full mastectomy. I'm on my way to recovery . I'm a fighter and I'm going to beat this for my family. God Bless.

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Helen Woodruff
301 days ago

Congrats to you for such a positive story! I can also say I am lucky enough to be a 6 year cancer survivor! Stay positive!

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Terri Cox
301 days ago

I know how you felt. June 4 2012 I was told I had breast cancer. Very hard to tell my family mostly my daughter who is my best friend also. My sister in law was my angel thru all the chemo and radiation. She was there with me as my daughter and Steve who I live with. I am now a 1 year survivor and taking femara for the next 5 years to make sure my cancer will not come back. My life has changed for ever and I am so thankful everyday that I am still here. Your story was great to read thanks.

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