Tell us about yourself.
I am a play-at-home mother of two young daughters, Caroline, age six, and one-year-old Lauren. I am a former teacher, an aspiring writer, and a breast cancer survivor. Throughout my cancer journey, I wrote a blog that incorporated my own journey, along with research on healthier ways of living and eating: caringbridge.org/visit/deborahbailey
When were you diagnosed?
I was diagnosed with Stage III Breast Cancer one year ago on September 16, 2009. My children were 5 years and 7 months old at the time. I began 16 rounds of chemotherapy in October 2009, had a double mastectomy in March 2010, and completed radiation in June 2010. I am now cancer-free, but vigilant.
How has cancer changed your outlook on life?
Cancer has given me clarity and a true sense of living in the present. Everyday I feel wonder and gratitude... the kind of feeling one gets when attending a beautiful wedding or taking a fabulous trip. I am really lucky to be here, so we try to make each day an event in some small way.
What words of encouragement would you share with others with cancer?
Be your own advocate! Do your own research, do your homework, ask every question—repeatedly if you must. Know your disease and respect it, but do not allow yourself to fear it. Seek out breast cancer survivors who are willing to lend advice. The information and guidance they give you will be priceless. Also, be open to all kinds of healing modalities— Reiki, writing, and meditation were particularly helpful to me.
Support this non-profit in honor of Deborah:
The Charleston Breast Center, charlestonbreastcenter.com
Please support those battling breast cancer by donating.