As a nurse at Swedish Medical Center in Cle Elum, Debra Cadiente says she should have guessed that having her heart race and being totally out of breath while going up a snowy hill in December 2010 meant something was wrong. Shortly after the holidays and at age 55, she was diagnosed with colon cancer. The cancer had gone to her liver and lymph nodes.
It took Debra time to adjust to the diagnosis, especially as there is a history of colon cancer in her family. But, once she realized there is life after colon cancer, she got down to the business of getting better. “I believed I would be cured,” she said. “I didn’t let chemotherapy be the center of my world. I made plans for the future. I focused on what I was going to do once I was better.” Friends and family have been with her all the way, encouraging her with letters, cards, and visits. While undergoing chemo, she also has had visitors sew quilt blocks with her. She adds, “Make plans for the future, write your bucket list. Don’t dwell on what you are experiencing at the moment because it is fleeting and there is an end.”