After 18 years of her breast cancer being in remission, Debra Oliver’s cancer returned in May 2015. With a vengeance, the stage 4 cancer had spread into her bones throughout her chest, spine, and tailbone. Unsure of her next move, Debra turned to her trusted gynecologist, Steven Brown, M.D., for answers.
Dr. Brown referred Debra to Hesham Hazin, M.D., Medical Oncologist with the CHRISTUS St. Michael Oncology Clinic.
“When I first met both Dr. Hazin and his nurse, Brandi, I knew God had brought me to the right place,” says Debra. “I was impressed with Dr. Hazin’s manner. He was very supportive, honest and genuine.”
Since Debra’s cancer was not a fast metastasizing disease, Dr. Hazin introduced an alternative type of treatment to chemotherapy or radiation. Debra takes a daily pill that slows the growth of many types of breast cancer cells. She also receives an injec tion every four weeks to prevent fractures, spinal cord compression, or the need for radiation or surgery for patients with bone metastases from solid tumors.
“This particular injection is fairly new,” says Dr. Hazin. “It has proven to prevent serious bone fractures in patients with bone metastases from breast and prostate cancer.”
Faith in her Corner
After three months of treatment, Debra, along with her husband and sister, met with Dr. Hazin to reveal the results of her latest scans.
“With a huge grin, Dr. Hazin informed me my cancer had shrunk by 50% and one spot on my chest had completely disappeared,” shares Debra. “I started crying, I was so relieved. Without hesitation, Dr. Hazin walked over and hugged me. I was overwhelmed with his compassion. At that moment, I knew I wasn’t fighting this battle alone.”
Living Life Again
Debra has not allowed cancer to slow down her active lifestyle. She continues working in the yard, caring for her horses, walking her dogs, and riding her bike down a country road with her daughter and grandchildren.
“One of our biggest prayers was that she would be able to tolerate the medicine and it wouldn’t prevent her from living life,” says Debra’s daughter, Brandy. “My mom has always been a positive person. Doing what she loves and being around family has always helped her keep her positive attitude. We are thankful she is able to spend her time with family instead of traveling three hours or more to see a doctor.”
Although Debra’s cancer is not curable, it is treatable.
“Our job is to see what treatment can be most effective in fighting the cancer while assuring Debra gets to have an enjoyable and prolonged life,” says Dr. Hazin.
“God has a plan and I am so thankful Dr. Hazin and Brandi are a part of that plan,” says Debra. “Life doesn’t have to stop because you have cancer; if anything you should live more. With the support of the CHRISTUS St. Michael Oncology Clinic, my family and friends, I am still living my life.”