Our 2021 New England 3-Day Virtual Kick-Off started Saturday morning, August 15th, with an inspiring morning session hosted on both Zoom and Facebook Live. The highlight was getting to hear Debbie Rood’s moving story. If you missed it, here is Debbie’s story, in her own words.
“My story is simple.
On September 19, 2018 I had my annual mammogram and was informed the doctor wanted to see me because they saw something.
I told them if it was my left breast, I have had a hard pea-like nodule for 20 years. It was my left breast and after an ultrasound, the doctor told me he wanted to do a biopsy, right NOW.
I then read him of my list of errands…important things like my nails and the tailor’s…and I left. I was SCARED. The next day I returned with my husband and they confirmed I had Stage 2, Invasive Lobular Carcinoma. I learned Lobular is only 10% of breast cancers and generally is a bilateral disease. I was fast-tracked and scheduled for a lumpectomy within three weeks of my mammogram, so I called a time out.
I decided to receive a second opinion from the largest medical university in our state. The two-hour ride was a wise decision. They identified four additional tumors and one swollen lymph node.
The tests began. We all know the joys of compression during a mammogram, but I had an MRI-guided biopsy where they compress your breast like a mammogram for an hour to conduct the biopsies. They confirmed one additional tumor was malignant and my lymph node was compromised. A PET scan provided excellent news. It had not spread, but DNA testing suggested I had a high propensity for reoccurrence, so my treatment plan would begin with 16 treatments of chemotherapy.
I had my first treatment the week before Thanksgiving and this is our BIG family holiday so we had some fun with the battle I was preparing for…
The following week we cut my long dark hair into a layered pixie and I donated my hair. The day after my second treatment there was more hair in my sink and on my pillow, so I took the plunge to GI Deb.
My attitude throughout my battle was instrumental. My mantra was, “This will not have power over me.” I continued my routine, going to the gym six days a week, and walking the dog 2-3 miles. And no, I couldn’t do the 45-minute spin class, but I set goals and wouldn’t stop until I had 30 minutes under my belt.
After 13 out of 16 chemo treatments, they halted it due to complications with neuropathy. After a month off for good behavior, I had a lumpectomy and lymph node removal in late March, and a second surgery to ensure wider margins in April.
In May 2019, I began the 30 treatments of radiation…five days a week for six weeks.
While the treatment is over, not a day goes by that I don’t remember. Primarily because I see the world differently. I am different.
Colors are brighter, the world seems to shout vs. speak to me, and my grandchildren are even more dear to me, if that’s possible. And while I still experience disappointment and anger, I no longer hold onto my anger like I did pre-cancer.
When I was initially diagnosed, the hospital told me there were only two places to read about my disease, cancer.org and Susan G. Komen. I remembered seeing something about a walk, but I was overwhelmed. So in the fall, I coerced two friends into walking with me and the rest is history.
We have a 10-person team who has raised $21K! I personally have raised $6,000, and almost half of that was through Facebook donations. I also took our neighborhood directory and emailed everyone. People who I didn’t know donated because cancer has touched someone they know. I also posted about the 3-Day on my LinkedIn profile and again was touched and shocked at the former colleagues who donated. So, my advice is to be creative in fundraising, and like me in my battle….don’t ever give up!
I look forward to walking with you all next year, experiencing my first pink bubble!”
Thank you, again, for sharing your story, Debbie. We can’t wait to welcome you to the New England 3-Day next August!
Bonus: Debbie’s granddaughters, ages 8 and 4, watched the Kick-Off with her son and daughter-in-law. 8 year-old Hannah suggested to Mom that they walk 13 miles for their grandma’s 13 chemo treatments. So they walked Saturday and Sunday, took photos at each mile and made this collage and note and posted it to Facebook.
This weekend Oma was supposed to do 60 miles in 3 days at the Susan G. Komen 3-Day. Although this was canceled, she was selected to share her story of battling breast cancer live on the virtual kick-off event! We couldn’t be more proud of her and she is such a shining example of true strength. Hannah and I committed to walking 13 miles in her honor this weekend, one for each round of chemo she endured. Hannah stuck in there like a champ! We love you Oma #theroodgirls #omakickscancer #13milesforoma #teamdeb #3daytogether.
To hear more inspiring stories like this, you have three more chances by attending our kick-off activities. Our next virtual kick-off is on September 12. RSVP today.