A story of hope and survival: Debbie Martin

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 26, 2019

Story by Ronny Michel.  Every Saturday in October has featured a different breast cancer survivor story of hope and survival.

In early 2016, Debbie Martin felt a grape-sized lump in her breast. Although concerned, she was so preoccupied caring for others that she put off going to the doctor.

“My husband had a triple bypass in September 2015, my dad was diagnosed with glioblastoma in June 2015, and my mom had Parkinson’s,” Martin said.

Two weeks after her dad’s death in February 2016, Martin was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer. She had a mastectomy on April 1, 2016.

“I felt like I was in a fog,” Martin said. “It was surreal. I couldn’t believe this was happening to me.” Martin said that reality set in when her hair began to fall out soon after her first chemotherapy treatment. “My daughter is a hairdresser, so all my daughters and grandbabies went to her shop, and we had a Wine Away the Hair Party. My grandbabies helped shave my head.”

When Martin’s grandchildren noticed the port underneath the skin on her shoulder, they asked the purpose of the ‘button.’ Martin told them to press it. Every time they pressed it, she stuck out her tongue, much to the grandchildren’s delight.

The twenty rounds of chemotherapy Martin endured lasted through July 2017, and in the midst of it, Martin lost her mother in January of that year. She said that she is so grateful for the support of her husband (who never missed going to an appointment with her), her sister, her daughters, and her whole family.

“When I was first diagnosed, I was angry,” Martin said. “My husband, dad, mom, then me? I didn’t think I could take anymore, but I stopped to reflect. I believe that I’m here for a reason.”

Martin said that material things are nice, but only human relationships matter, and she doesn’t take anything for granted.

Now cancer-free for two years, Martin said that she especially enjoys speaking to women who are going through the same thing she went through. “If my story can help someone get through the bad times, that’s all that matters.”