Debra Ramos

I knew already the words I was going to hear, “you have breast cancer.” When I hear those words again, “you have ….” These words are not unfamiliar to me. Flashback to 1993, at the age of 21, I was diagnosed with stage Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I had just moved to the Napa Valley to finish nursing school when I was diagnosed. What an inconvenience, upset, horror. First six months of chemotherapy, then three months of radiation to my entire torso-front, neck, back and pelvis. A year and a half later I finished nursing school, and went on with my life. It was September 2012, I am forty years old, and it was my first mammogram. Cancer. Now it’s back, with a vengeance and I have been diagnosed with stage IV metastatic breast cancer. In my liver, and most of my bones – most likely due to the radiationthat I received nearly 20 years ago. In 2001, I met David. Despite having heard it would be difficult to have a child, we became parents of a beautiful son in 2001. We named him Nikolas. The big difference this time is that I am a wife, a mother and caregiver by profession. Since being diagnosed, I have been in chemo and hormone therapy and continue hormone therapy every 3 weeks. My husband and I are busy trying to heal ourselves and our lives, along with raising our 11 year old son. We have also recently taken on my husband’s ailing parents due to their declining health. In spite of my cancer, I find myself being busy with the usual things that life can throw at you, rearing children, caring for aging parents and taking care of self in a new and deeper insistence. Trying to balance has been a challenge, one that I am not taking lightly. I am surrounded by those that I love and I make certain that I take not one day for granted, not even the bad ones. I would very much like a vacation (a break from all of this) to be able to spend some much needed time with my husband. We have never had a honeymoon or vacation where it was just the two of us. I am very much looking forward to some relaxation, rejuvenation and a new beginning to the next chapter in our journey. Thank you for this amazing opportunity. Deborah Ramos