Debra is a native Floridian and has been married to her spouse, Nathan, for 30 years. They are the proud parents of five children and six grandchildren. Debra has worked in the public school system for over two decades.
Debra’s diagnosis of multiple myeloma was eventually made in September 2013 – just two weeks shy of her 53rd birthday. Debra began experiencing episodes of shortness of breath, chest tightness, and hoarseness that only occurred while at work. After numerous doctors’ visits, she was misdiagnosed with asthma, allergies, and even upper respiratory infections. Then Debra received the diagnosis of anemia. In an attempt to resolve the anemia, she underwent several weekly sessions of intravenous iron treatments which continued over the course of five years. The anemia was never resolved.
During the summer of 2013, Debra suffered horribly from muscle spasms, back pain, hip pain, and pain in her legs, neck and wrists. After a desperate attempt to determine the cause of her pain, she scheduled appointments with several doctors, including a spine specialist. All documented that there was nothing wrong with her. One noted that the pain that Debra was experiencing was due to her age. After seeing the spine specialist, she was referred to a neurosurgeon, who told her that she needed to have her head examined because there was nothing wrong with her. Based on the doctor’s medical report, Debra’s employer cut her off from workers’ compensation benefits.
By September 2013, the pain had become so intense that Debra began to feel hopeless. At the suggestion of her daughter, she went to the hospital one last time. Within an hour, she was admitted to the hospital. During the two-week period of her hospital stay, she was finally properly diagnosed with multiple myeloma.
In February 2014, Debra received a bone marrow transplant in Miami. Currently, she is working on rebuilding her immune system and requires a wheelchair and/or walker. The fractures in her back are continuing to heal.
Since Debra’s diagnosis, she has not been able to return to work as an educator. The disability she receives is less than 50% of the salary that she earned from employment. She pays nearly $600 a month for insurance. Her financial stressors consist of costs related to treatment including transportation, co-pays, various medical expenses, and cost of living expenses including major home repairs which have become overbearing due to loss of income.
Debra has decided to team up with The Bone Marrow Foundation to help fundraise for medical expenses. Any support will help ease both emotional and financial stress for Debra and her family.
Or you can send a check, payable to The Bone Marrow Foundation.
Be sure to include Debra’s name on the front of the check.
Send check to:
The Bone Marrow Foundation
515 Madison Avenue, Suite 1130
New York, New York 10022