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Smoaks woman still fighting for one more birthday

Debra Brown

Debra Brown

Debra Brown’s resilience is something she hopes will inspire other women.

Debra was first diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer in July. It was only discovered after she was attacked in her carport by a still unknown assailant. The attacker held the mostly-wheelchair bound woman down at knifepoint and beat her with a bat. “I don’t know what they wanted, and they haven’t found anybody yet,” she said. “I thought it was my husband coming back into the house that day, and it was an attacker.”

While seeking treatment in what authorities called the “random” attack, doctors learned of Debra’s disease. “They were treating my chest and back wounds from the bat when they found it. It was at stage two when they found it, and had progressed into stage four by the time I was actually diagnosed and getting treatment,” she said. “It happened so fast.

“I had four aunts who died from breast cancer, so I knew what it was before the doctors even told me,” she said. “The radiologist that day told me he couldn’t tell me that I had cancer, that my doctor had to do it. But I already knew that I had cancer by looking at his face.”

Now three months later, the 51-year-old Smoaks resident is still fighting her disease. She bravely opted to have her healthy left breast removed after having a complete mastectomy on her right breast. “I didn’t want it to spread, so I tried to be proactive,” she said, matter-of-factly. “I took the left one off to avoid any chance of the cancer coming back.”

Debra still has to do chemotherapy for one more year. Meanwhile, she plans to fully celebrate her upcoming Nov. 15th birthday. The year of 2015 will be a better one for her, she said, with her planning to “survive chemo.” “You can say that this year was one for the books. I want to spend next year enjoying my family,” she said. “There’s no big bucket list. Chemotherapy is pretty costly,” Debra said, laughing. “But, I can tell you that I won’t take another birthday for granted.”

When people hear of her story, Debra said she wants to inspire women to always pay attention to their bodies. “Even if it’s one lump, go to the doctor. Get it checked,” she said.

“Even though I found out about it the way that I did, I am fighting it and I am one blessed woman.”


Heather Walters (1724 Posts)