Dee is no stranger to unforeseen challenges in her life. Cancer was the second biggest challenge. The first being a single parent, of 3 kids, since 2013. Her cancer journey started in 2020, diagnosed with stage 3 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma and Ductal Carcinoma In Situ. She underwent 4 months of chemotherapy, often sick during chemo weekends, and maintaining full-time employment. What a blessing to have mom, come to stay those weekends, to take care of the kids and Dee.
After chemo was complete, in September 2020, she chose to have a double mastectomy due to increase chances of survival. The night before surgery her sister planned a party for her called “Ta-ta to the tatas.” Everyone worked to make the experience of cancer as light and jubilant as possible.
Life settled into the new normal. In January 2021, she met the love of her life, and they were married in August 2021. With hopes of cancer being in the past, talks of hope for babies and future plans were frequent. Life was beautiful, kids were happier than ever to have a dad again, after 8 years.
Through a series of events, Dee had a PET scan, November 2021, that led to finding the cancer recurrence in her liver. Now it was stage 4, breast cancer, at least 6 lesions. Terrifying news! What made it worse was the prognosis that treatment was highly unlikely to be effective. As part of the treatment, prior to chemo, Dee had to have an emergency total hysterectomy. Her and Brandon had to simultaneously learn about her cancer recurrence and dash any future plans of children together.
She decided to do the extreme and change her diet, eating an all raw vegan diet, and more holistic treatments, with the oncology treatments. These have been very financially taxing for her family.
Progress was being made and she was hopeful again. Until scans showed cancer progression again and new treatments were started. Fast forward to March 2023, when she had a high fever and went to the hospital. She was hospitalized for nearly a week to help stabilize her vital signs. It was discovered that the fever was a result of the cancer growing exponentially. Her entire liver has expanded down to her belly button. She went home with supplemental oxygen, not being able to drive, talk, sit, or stand without her oxygen levels dropping. She had to take a month off work. Several weeks later, she was able to build up energy and stamina, breathe on her own, and gain more independence. After returning to work for 2 days, she was again admitted to the hospital for a common cold, and stayed for another week. Fortunately, she did not have any lasting effects of that hospitalization.
She continues to go through chemo and holistic treatments to fight the cancer with all she has! The oncologist said, given how aggressive the cancer is, she’ll be fighting for the rest of her life. There’s no giving up now! The thoughts that keep her going are of her kids, that have already lost their biological dad, they can’t lose their mom too. Not without a big fight!
Dee is continually in awe of the goodness of people all around. She also had many angel friends and family members pitch in to help in innumerable ways.
What an honor it is to be nominated as a Wall of Hope recipient. Thank you to all who work so hard to contribute to such a worthy cause in building a community of support for those fighting for their lives and for their families! Your generosity will never be forgotten!