Our Cancer Survivor is: DEBRA LONGORIA RIVAS
Founder of C.I.O.C.® Cancer Support Group
Type of Cancer: UTERINE
Year of Diagnose: 2010
Type of Cancer: Thyroid
Year of Diagnose: 2016
I have never posted about my life anywhere, so here it goes.
I thought I was on the top of the mountain after marrying my husband. Well, I was high on a mountain of love. My husband Alex and I married in 1991 after meeting at our popular downtown hangout, Market Square. We exchanged phone numbers and everything fell in place after that. After we married, I gave birth to our first soon in August of 1991. We were so excited and happy. Wedding, baby shower, a baby boy, our new apartment and finally, our own car. Four years into our marriage, we had managed to live on our own. As I was interviewing and training for a new job, I received a page with an unusual phone number with 911 after. So I left training to call the phone number. It was my husbands employer informing me that my husband had become ill and was taken to the hospital by EMS. All frightened and scared, I left my training job and meet my husband at the hospital. Our son Alex was being watched by my in-laws. After being in the hospital for a few days, we later found out that my husband had leukemia. Leukemia? What the hell is that was my first thought. After discussions with the doctor and nurses at the Baptist downtown, I learned that ALL (Acute Leukemia/Lymphoma) was a cancer. CANCER? Wth? What am I going to do now? What about our son? What about our bills? What, what, what?
Well, I didn't finish my training class so that I could take care of my husband and son. We left the apt. to move into my in-laws house to I could concentrate on my husband and get help watching my son. This is 1995. This was a new beginning to another life for us. Almost a year and a half of treatments, my husband was on remission and of couse after all the dr appts and treatments, we were all excited. One thing I recall was the dr telling us that we would probably not be able to bare anymore kids but I was ok to only have one blessing, my son. But.....the dr lied! Soon after being on remission, I became pregnant. Again, we were excited about having another baby. Our second baby was due in January of 1997. Late in 1996, my husband relapsed. We were devastated knowing that we were going to have to go through all the dr appts and treatments all over again, and pregnant. But this time around, my husband was going to need a bone marrow transplant. Luckily, my sister-in-law was a match for him. The transplant took place but my husband was having complications. He fought as much as he could because our baby was coming soon. My husband was admitted to the hospital late December 1996 to continue to receive more treatments. I recall before he got admitted, we had a baby shower and celebrated my birthday at the same time. It was on a Saturday. That following Monday, we went to one of his dr appts. When we returned back home, our home had been broken into. All of the gifts, both mine and the baby shower gifts were stolen along with the Christmas gifts under our tree. My son's TV, Nintendo and his VHS cartoon video's were stolen too. It was a horrible feeling and sad. Soon after that, my husband was admitted to the hospital. My delivery date was approaching and I was concerned because my husband was still in the hospital. After speaking with my ob/gyn, he agreed to deliver my baby in the same hospital where my husband even if he didn't work out of that hospital. As they prepared me to deliver my second son, the staff brought my husband from his room to join me as I delivered our baby. What an experience. We were then both dismissed from the hospital and went home in January. A few weeks later, my husband became ill again. But because of the treatment he needed, we had to admit him to the University Hospital. By this time, his job insurance had expired. Complications after complications after complications, my husband knew he wasn't going to last long so he made me promise to go do our income tax so we can buy a car for us since our vehicle had been stolen from the apts we lived in. So I went and filed our income tax in March and purchased our Ford Escort. After I bought the vehicle, my husband was still in the hospital so I drove it to the front of the hospital so I can show it to my husband from his room window. He was all excited and now knew that we were not going to have to ride the bus or ask for rides to get around. I then received an early phone call in mid-April saying the my husband had a bad night and they needed me to go to the hospital. As I entered his room, there was blood everywhere. My husband had gauze in his nose to stop the bleeding. According to the nurse, she said her sneezed and all the blood just started coming out. After spending a few minutes with him, I left his room so he could rest. Not even about 15 minutes later, they called a code blue and I heard all the commosion from the waiting room. As I approached the area from where the noise was coming from, I realized it was from my husbands room. I panicked and I was scared. The nurses advised me to step aside so they can work on him. They took him in the elevators and was told to get his belongings and go the ICU because that is where they were taking him. Instead of going to the ICU, I followed them to another location in the hospital. I don't know what the name of this location was but I managed to sneak in and found a room full of drs and nurses working on my husband. My husband laid flat on the hospital be uncovered, he looked peaceful. As I returned to the ICU, they told me they would come get me when my husband was ready. A few hours went by, then they came to get me. As I entered my husbands room, he still had the gauze in his nose along with tubes everywhere. All naive, I didn't know what was going on. Later I found out the they had placed him on the life support machine and maybe they would do dialysis on him since he was retaining fluid. About a week went by until I made the choice of leaving him alone. My mother made me realize that he was just suffering being on the machine, to let him rest. With the support of my family and in-laws, we lost my husband. I was left with our son, Alex Jr. age 5 and our baby Christopher age 3 months.
PART II - Will be posted soon.