Updated: Tuesday, 01 Mar 2011, 9:01 AM EST
Published : Monday, 03 Jan 2011, 5:32 PM EST
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - On Nov. 12, a member of our WISH-TV family, Deanna Dewberry, was diagnosed with breast cancer. This is Deanna's third cancer battle, and for years she's worked toward improving the lives of patients and their families. We hope by sharing Deanna's discoveries in her cancer journey, we provide you with information, help and hope. Deanna writes about her journey in her own words:
"Your white count has five different components of it. Neutrophils are the first thing," my nurse, Linda explained. She was explaining my blood count report. And this is my life as of late — chemo, needles, nurses and names — multisyllabic names of drugs and poorly functioning body systems I didn't know I had.
"You're 2.5 so you're low to begin with," Linda explained patiently as she pointed to my abnormally low white count. “Because see 4.5 to 11.5 is normal. And see here? Your neutrophils here is 900."
Neutrophils, Basophils, CBC, RBC, NRBC, the acronyms, the numbers — it's all mind numbing. And then there are the tests. Because I'm taking part in a clinical trial, I'm poked, prodded and biopsied more than most patients.
During my third biopsy, my husband Gary held my feet, as he always does during difficult procedures. We're in this together, and he even refers to my procedures as "our" biopsy and "our" chemo treatment.
My surgeon, Dr. Robert Goulet, removes thin slivers of tissue to be studied by a team of pathologists and scientists. At this point, I had received two chemo treatments and pathologists hope to see structural changes in the cancerous tumor in my right breast. I'll find out the results months from now when the study is complete.
And it's the waiting — the relentlessly ever-present uncertainty a cancer diagnosis brings — that makes the journey emotionally grueling.
It's not the first time I've travelled this road. At 21, I was diagnosed with stage 4 non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Two years later — acute myelogenous leukemia. But this fight is different because this time, I have so much to fight for. I'm married. I have an 8-year-old boy, and I know that losing your mother in childhood isn't life-changing; it's life-defining.
And so armed with faith, family and a host of friends, I will fight. And hopefully I'll learn a great deal along the way which I'll share with you.
I'll l do stories over the next several months about so many of the issues cancer patients face such as choosing your healthcare team, telling your children, clinical trials and dealing with hair loss.
And I want to hear from you. If you have questions or topics you'd like for us to cover, please email me at email@example.com.
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