BY LOUIS C. WARD
LEESBURG – Years ago, when people heard the “C” word. It meant a death sentence.
Deborah Frett, a 13-year cancer survivor, advises newly diagnosed cancer patients that “hearing the “C” word today is not unto death.” There are new treatments and therapies that are curing cancer and prolonging the lives of cancer patients. Deborah is a living testimony to that.
Yes, breast cancer is still a major disease that kills about 42,000 women and 500 men in the United States every year. But when breast cancer is caught at an early stage, people live longer.
Diagnosed in April 2010 with stage 4 breast cancer, Deborah was depressed. “I was expecting, but wasn’t expecting cancer.” She felt a lump, but the “lump played hide and seek with me. It wouldn’t always show up.” Then one time the doctor caught it and because of the size of the lump, he determined it was stage 4 breast cancer.
Deborah immediately had a mastectomy of her right breast. Part of Deborah’s policy for fighting to live with the disease was “not to wait or put things off, but to act immediately with lots of prayer.”
Despite having an encouraging doctor who told her to get up in the morning and just open her curtains and think positive, the fear lingered for the first six months. The chemotherapy treatment began with a surgery for implanting a port in her arm for a large needle that would be used to transport the chemo through her veins. During her four rounds of chemo every 21 days for almost three hours, Deborah never got sick or threw up like most patients.
Deborah credits her healing with listening to her body, doing the preventive measures like taking her annual mammograms, following what her doctors prescribed, and staying positive about life. The reality is, Deborah says, “Do I wake up some days thinking that my cancer might come back? Yes, I do. But I won’t dwell on it.”