Debbie Richardson

Debbie Richardson

Breast CancerThyroid Cancer

Wheeling, WV



Debbie shared her story with us in her childhood church in Wheeling, West Virginia, where she now lives with her husband and three dogs. Cautious by nature, Debbie had been receiving regularly planned mammograms every June. In September of 2007, she was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer. While undergoing treatment for breast cancer, doctors discovered a slowly-developing thyroid cancer. Debbie’s story illustrates the power of a positive attitude and the importance of prevention and early detection methods.

A Positive Perspective

At one point I did think, why me? What did I do? But it’s nothing that you’ve done: it’s just something that happens. But I do think that your attitude, your outlook on things, has a tremendous effect on your recovery. I think it’s so easy to feel bad for yourself, but you have to look beyond that. But I really don’t think God is finished with me yet. I still think there are things He has in mind for me that He wants me to do. I don’t feel that my life is over… I’m happy to be getting older, which means I’m still here.

Little things that used to really bother me, that I used to worry about… those things really don’t matter anymore. It’s spending time with the people you care about and making sure that your family knows just how much you do love them.

Know Your Body

I would say you have to know your own body. You have to know that something is different in your body. In the shower is the best because your skin is slippery and you can feel. That is where I found my lump. I think that if I wouldn’t have been doing that, if I hadn’t been conscious of that, I might not have gone. You have to be responsible.  If you notice something different about your body, you need to have it checked because most of the time it will be nothing, but just that one time it might be.

I feel mission bound. If someone talks to me at all about it, I’ll say you need to be doing self-breast exams. I do find myself probably giving people a lot more information than they want to know. Probably many times people are like, “Why did I even say anything to that woman, because she went on and on and on.” But you just keep thinking: if you can tell one person, it can make a difference for them. It can save their life or it can help not to have to go through a full mastectomy.