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The Bald Blogger Part I
October 8, 2022

It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month and I am an ever-so-grateful, fourteen-year survivor. I lost a sister to breast cancer in 1998, and how I wish the testing and treatments that were available to me had been there for her. May the cure come soon.

As I read Katie Couric’s story, I began to wonder what I might share with you. Many of you read my CaringBridge journal and encouraged me through my fear of needles, phobia of medical procedures, and anger rants. You celebrated with me during successful chemotherapy, clear margins, and six weeks of radiation.

At the time I was diagnosed, I was working out with a trainer three times a week, hiking, eating healthy, and had just returned from a dream trip where I tirelessly walked the hill towns of Italy with my husband of two years, BF. I was loving my part-time teaching schedule. Kids were good. Life was good.  

And then things got scary. This is how it all began. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I was chatting with BF through the shower door. My soapy hands slid back and forth over the marble under the skin at the top of my right breast.

“Uh oh,” I said. “We have a problem.”

I knew, and yet I hoped.

I taught school that day, attempting not to worry, but used my prep period to set an appointment with my primary care physician that afternoon. 

Dr. Thomason thought it was likely a cyst but scheduled an MRI for the following morning. I scheduled a half-day sub.

Staying true to our Wednesday date night tradition, we packed a picnic, swung on swings in the park, and made-up scenarios of alternate tomorrows. BF visualized us walking along the seacoast in Italy; I chose a cabin and hike in the mountains.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

6:00 A.M. BF and I arrived at St. Francis hospital for the breast MRI. Didn’t sleep. I’m afraid of hospitals, needles, or closed-in spaces. I was facing all three. BF’s attempts to keep me calm helped, but I sat with tears running down my cheeks as the handsome, young nurse inserted the IV. It was all I could do not to panic as they rolled me into that cave. I kept thinking about the night before when we were swinging at the park and our visualizations. It helped.

Back home, we ate our favorite multigrain blueberry pancakes and I quickly showered for the afternoon of school. I was relieved to have made it through the MRI; I was happy. Phone rings. It was one of those world-as-you-know-it-is-over, rings.

It was Dr. Thomason. “Suspicious mass. Pick up your films at the hospital and go straight to surgeon, Dr. Lottich’s office.”

Dr. Lottich was confident. A quick thinker and talker, straight shooter, and I liked her immediately. She told me straight up that she thought it was “garden variety” breast cancer and that she saw nothing that scared her. She told us I would be having a series of tests, and we were going to move quickly–starting right now. She stood up and with her hand on the doorknob, looked at me and asked, “Do you have any questions?” 

I didn’t.

“We’ll get through this,” BF said, “and I’ll be with you every step of the way.”



Core Needle Biopsy.

Pathology report to come.

We went home, shocked, starving, exhausted. We ate lunch together on the patio at 2:30 in the afternoon, tears spilling down our cheeks. Long day.

Friday, September 19, 2008

After our work days were finished, we sat at the kitchen table and called all the kids, “I have cancer.” The words did not come easy. 

Monday, September 22, 2008

Report is in and we are to be in Dr. Lottich’s office at 3:00 for the “Family Meeting.” 

Stage II, Grade III, Triple Negative, and it had leaked out into the breast tissue. Chemotherapy first, followed by either lumpectomy & radiation or mastectomy, to be determined later. We arranged a date to have genetic testing, Analysis for the BRCA mutation the “cancer gene,” and a meeting with Dr. Mayer, oncologist. 

Yes, I would lose all of my hair and feel really sick. No, I would not die. My doctors would take care of me. The Bald Blogger was born.

The Bald Blogger

It’s weird to read back through this. So long ago, and yet it takes me right back to the car where BF and I waited in line at PNC Bank when the call finally came through with the pathology report, and we immediately shifted from waiting for answers into battle mode.

I’ll be sharing more of my story this October. For now, may we all be mammogrammed and healthy.

A great big thank you to Melissa in Customer Care for CaringBridge who helped me get back into my account. I’m grateful for this resource and for a company whose mantra is: “Because no one should go through a health journey alone.”

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  1. Debi, the first think I felt when I read this was thankfulness. So thankful you made it through your journey and are here to share that trip you two took with others. Hopefully your story can give others strength and courage through their trip. The second thing I thought of was the day I walked out of our sanctuary and right past a young couple standing there that I hardly gave a thought to. Suddenly the young woman said, “Deette, aren’t you even going to speak and hug me?” It was Susie and I didn’t recognize her with no hair. I grabbed her and we cried. And we talked and talked. She was so young and so brave and I stood there wishing she was again the oldest of those three little girls that Kenny and Maggie walked through the doors of Mt. Pleasant looking so pretty and so sweet. God bless you, Debi

  2. Such a scary time, but I’m so grateful for the medical care you had!

  3. This blog series will be a blessing to many it was when first written. I remember waiting for “my daily dose of Debi”?

    • Thanks Judy! I appreciate you being with me then–and now!


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Debi Dixon

Debi Dixon

The Universe is guiding me on an incredible adventure: my Plan B. I write here to share bits of my Odyssey, hopefully to inspire, encourage, or extend the virtual hand of friendship.

When I quit teaching in 2014, I could never have imagined the growth I would experience through travel, writing, reading, therapy, and introspection.

I believe human connection and compassion will go a long way toward our healing, and the best way to connect and feel compassion for one another is through the sharing of our stories.

Thank you for joining me here. I appreciate you and may we grow together.

Inspirational Quote

“You must give up the life you planned in order to have the life that is waiting for you.”
~Joseph Campbell

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