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Breast cancer survivor Debra Koziol says prayers made difference

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Debra Koziol discovered lumps at least three times before, beginning when she was 24. Each time, biopsies determined them to be benign. Every year, she had a mammogram, and she had begun having sonograms. In June 2011, six months after her annual mammogram, she noticed her left nipple had begun to change shape. A biopsy confirmed cancer, and her oncologist recommended a mastectomy.

Debra Koziol considers herself blessed because radiation and chemotherapy were not needed after her double mastectomy.   EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
Debra Koziol considers herself blessed because radiation and chemotherapy were not needed after her double mastectomy.

Koziol had watched her sister Carolyn Gordy battle breast cancer five years before and seen how she still lived in fear of the cancer returning in her remaining breast. So, when doctors told Koziol she had three suspicious spots in her right breast, she told her surgeon to take it, too.

“I’m really glad I did,” she said.

Because her cancer has only a 10 percent chance of returning, her doctors did not think she needed chemotherapy or radiation. She said she felt blessed and thrilled.

Koziol called the experience “beautiful” because of the love and support of her friends and co-workers. As a single woman with no children, she did not expect the outpouring she received.

“Just people I didn’t know cared about me. People cooking for me, bringing me food,” she said.

ABOUT DEBRA KOZIOL

AGE: 53

FAMILY: Sisters, Carolyn Gordy and Kathy Thames

OCCUPATION: Human resources coordinator for Legion Industries Inc.

DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT: June 8, 2011; double mastectomy

HER ADVICE: “Pray. Just pray, because God will get you through it. He will lead you and he will guide you, and he will get you through it. He provided in every kind of way for me. It’s not the end of the world.”


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