Years ago, many of us heard from a friend of a friend that someone in their family had cancer. This was a distant reality; not quite affecting us directly. We felt for the family and feared the word; CANCER.
Deanna was a young woman of 33, married with one young son of 8 left to raise, a husband and grandchildren. She got by day to day working at an answering service and devoting herself to her family and God.
One day Deanna began to feel sick then sought help from her Doctor. The Doctor diagnosed Breast Cancer. Deanna was traumatized by the news. She felt sick and slightly weary, but certainly not cancer. She wasn’t completely shocked; afterall her Mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer and beat it so surely she could?
Day after day had become a nightmare of physician visits, tests and finally a solution; she would undergo a radical mastectomy to remove the offensive cancerous breast. Deanna was strong, she was sure that if she did this to her body, she would live. She even decided to go for the removal of both, since the Doctor had explained the likelihood of it happening on the other side down the road.
Faith in God directed her steps as the day of surgery arrived. Deanna boldly went into surgery to remove both of her breasts. The Doctor had explained the procedure and what would happen afterwards; she would have two drainage tubes placed one on each side. Once the breasts were removed, the tubes would continuously drain blood and fluid out of the holes left from where her breasts would no longer be.
She was a fighter and would not concern herself with the feelings of loss, if she would still be beautiful, or even if her husband would still find her desirable. She was told that once healed she could get implanted breasts that would look and feel just like her old ones; she could even pick the new size. Deanna wanted to live, and without her cancer being attended and removed, her chance of survival was minimum.
Family and close friends came to the Hospital to visit Deanna; no one was sure what to say or how to act. Deanna’s strength and courage combined with her no nonsense attitude about beating the disease helped ease everyone’s fears.
Within a few weeks of surgery, Deanna’s Doctor came back with bad news. The surgery did what it was supposed to do, but the Cancer had spread to her lymph nodes; she would need Chemo Therapy and Radiation. Unprepared for that news, Deanna crumbled. After all she had been through, she felt that she was safe. Her mother had beat it with just the operation, and only on one breast, now she was going to have to kill her immune system, lose her hair and pray that would do it.
Deanna followed all of her Doctors instructions and finished her therapies. Once completed, she’d get re-tested and see where she was. The Doctors were optomistic.
She wasn’t cured. It didn’t work. After over five years of constant Chemo and radiation on and off, Deanna had to accept that she would die. Her loved one’s held a benefit to raise money for her extra living expenses while going out of town for treatments, her parents gave her a new car to get around in, she and her husband went on a “Make A Wish” Vacation to Florida, and then met with her Priest many times to talk about her faith, her life and how she wanted to be remembered by those she loved.
Deanna accepted her condition and was ready to die. She passed away on April 15th, 2007 at the age of 40, surrounded by her family at Hospice House.
Her life and death was an inspiration to everyone who knew her, and as we continue our lives we will continue to hope and wonder when Breast Cancer will be obliterated.
You can learn more about Breast Cancer and Breast Cancer awareness at http://www.nbcam.org.
Questions or comments? Click here.