Firefighter fights breast cancer

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I would like to share my story with you.

Debbie Stanley of the Fort Worth Fire Department

Debbie Stanley, a member of the Fort Worth Fire Department, was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.

Mammogram, what a pain right? Uncomfortable, inconvenient, embarrassing, expensive; I have heard and used all of these same excuses for years. However, the adjectives that best describe your yearly mammogram are: ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY!!!!!

I went in for my yearly mammogram on Aug. 30, 2012. One year to the day from my last mammogram.

I received a call the next morning, which happened to be the start of a four-day Labor Day weekend and was asked to come in for an ultrasound to check several “areas of concern” on Tuesday. Four long days of waiting, wondering, and asking “Why couldn’t they just wait until Tuesday to call?” Don’t they know when you get a call with “areas of concern” you naturally think the worst, or at least, that’s what I thought.

Tuesday finally rolled around, and I and my husband Ben, showed up for the test. The technician located the areas of concern and took pictures for the radiologist to review. A few moments later, the radiologist came in and repeated the test. She showed me three small areas and advised me that a biopsy of each would be necessary to check for a malignancy.

I was upset to say the least, then after regaining my composure I asked for her opinion of the possibility of them being cancerous. She took my hand, and told me that in her opinion there was a 98 percent chance they would be malignant.

This diagnosis was particularly terrifying for me and my husband, because in 1988 he lost his 34-year-old wife and close friend of mine to breast cancer.

After several agonizing days, I received conformation “I HAVE CANCER!”

Two days later, I finally got some positive news. I had “Stage-1 cancer” and it would be treatable with surgery. I am now preparing for surgery and I am confident in my complete recovery even though it will be a long process.

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of going in for your yearly mammogram (or for your family). I am convinced that doing so “SAVED MY LIFE!” Brothers, please encourage your wives. Mothers and sisters and daughters to do this annually. Sisters, you as well!

It may very well save a loved one, or your life, like it has mine.

Sincerely, your sister in fire service,

Engineer Debbie Stanley, FAO, Fort Worth Fire Department

One of the Fort Worth Fire Department's pink fire trucks

The Fort Worth Fire Department turns its fire trucks pink in October in support of breast cancer awareness.

 

This blog post was contributed by Debbie Stanley, a member of the Fort Worth Fire Department

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  • Ben Stanley

    I am Ben Stanley; Debbie’s husband.

    Deb is the strongest person in my life, I admire her attitude and unwavering faith in God.
    When we first learned that she had Cancer, it was a difficult time for both of us.
    I wrote her this poem to try and express my love, and let her know I would be with her through whatever lay ahead of us.
     Praise God! he has been our guide and comforter through her sugery and ongoing revovery.

     HAVE NO FEAR Do not worry, or be dismayed Let my love surround you, when you’re afraidMy arms will carry, what you cannot bearAny heartache that comes, I will lovingly share We have faced trials before, though none this severeI will row the boat, you need only to steerYou have always been there, to lend a handNow it’s my honor, to help you stand Your beauty is not contained, in your body aloneYour most precious gift, is the love you’ve shownSo trust in the Lord, and shed no more tearsI am always beside you, so have no fear                                                             Ben Stanley