How often do you become frustrated while waiting anxiously for a traffic light to turn green, or become agitated when you do not receive a thank you while politely holding a door open for a stranger, or find yourself shouting a few unpleasant words the moment you realize your favorite fast food restaurant failed to include half of your dinner order.
We all experience small frustrations in life such as these, however, these frustrations are minor compared to the vast amount of life changing challenges waiting to ambush us at any moment, which is exactly what happened to Debbie (Deb) Gisick nearly seven years ago.
Deb is a mother of two fabulous children and has been married to her loving husband for over 31 years. Like many of you reading this, Deb is a hard working mother who spends most of her time on the job and caring for her family. One typical afternoon on the job, Deb began experiencing what she believed was a migraine headache. As she was making her way down one of the office hallways, she began weaving from side to side. In addition to the weaving, her vision became temporarily impaired by flashes of light caused by her brain. What appeared to be a common ailment such as a migraine headache was actually something much worse.
Deb later learned that one of her kidneys was covered in cancer and the terrible disease was spreading to her brain. This unimaginable news is absolutely devastating for a mother with two young children—a mother with so much to live for and so many adventures left to experience. I have no doubt the news crippled Deb and her family the moment the words rolled off the doctor’s tongue. However, Deb is a fighter and she did not allow this horrible affliction to dictate how she is going to live her life.
Over the years, doctors have been battling Deb’s cancer and have managed to slow the growth, but in February 2015, Deb received news that she also has ovarian cancer. Unfortunately, doctors were unable to treat both cancers simultaneously, which caused them to terminate treatment of the first cancer to focus on the more aggressive ovarian cancer. Doctors immediately began a weekly chemotherapy (chemo) drip lasting from three to five hours per session. A quick Google search on the negative side effects of chemotherapy will make you cry.
Make no mistake, Deb is not looking for sympathy. One of her goals is to encourage other cancer victims to stay positive and to keep fighting. According to Deb’s younger sister, Pam, “If someone outside of Deb’s immediate family were to ask her about her journey, she would respond positively because that’s what she does. She says, “I have it lucky. When I go up…to get chemo in that room…it’s amazing what I see and I am thankful.” She would also explain that she is grateful to still be here and fighting, and for every day she has on this earth to harass her girls.”
Deb’s story is not over…not even close. I believe Deb will fight until she has overcome this temporary obstacle in her life. Much of Deb’s strength comes from the tremendous amount of support she receives from her family, and I had the pleasure of witnessing this support during Deb’s photo shoot.
Dozens of smiling faces arrived during Deb’s photo shoot to show their support and to reinforce her daughter’s message that her mother is “unbeatable.” Deb’s friends and family are truly special people and made me feel very welcome in their home. There were moments I felt like I was sharing laughs with my own family. With Deb’s strong family support and her desire to live, I truly believe Deb is unbeatable and will turn this negative into a positive by showing other cancer victims they too can be unbeatable.
To learn more about Deb’s battle against cancer and to show your support, visit and like Deb's Facebook page, Unbeatable. Your like will help spread Deb's message to others battling cancer or to those who have a friend or family member also battling this horrible affliction.
Deb, you are an amazing women and have inspired me not to waste time and energy on little inconveniences in life. Instead, I will focus my energy and love on friends and family, because in the end, they are all that really matter.
All my best,
AnthonyLIKE DEB'S PAGE
Unfortunately, Deb lost her battle with cancer. However, she is still very much alive in all of us. My time with her was brief, but I will never forget her courage, determination and kindness. My thoughts and prayers go out to her friends and family.
Friends & Family Support
Photos taken at Dillon Nature Center in Hutchinson, Kansas.