Deborah with her husband, Ron, and daughter, Tiffany.
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Deborah’s Survivor Story: Living a Grateful, Cancer-Free Life

Jun 11 2020
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For Deborah Toman, faith and family have always been her priority in life.

“I’ve always been a devout Catholic and between my faith, my husband and my daughter, I knew I could tackle anything,” she says.

In 2007, Deborah found out just how much those two things would help her conquer the biggest obstacle she would ever face: breast cancer.

“No one ever is prepared to hear a doctor say you have cancer,” she shares.

After a visit with her primary care physician, something didn’t seem right. Shortly after, Deborah had a consultation with Nancy Gantt, MD, at the Joanie Abdu Comprehensive Breast Care Center at Mercy Health – St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital.

“Being a survivor starts the day you are diagnosed and lasts a lifetime,” Deborah says.

After undergoing a single mastectomy, she began 18 months of chemotherapy and 5 years of oral medication. Deborah’s last dose of medicine was taken in October 2012.

At Mercy Health, our patients and their families don’t fight cancer alone. Whether it be a personal nurse navigator, dietitian, comprehensive and coordinated treatment plans or support groups – we are committed to walking alongside you on your cancer journey.

Today, Deborah is a 13-year survivor and has a deeper appreciation for everything and everyone around her.

“Cancer totally changed my life in so many respects: I am truly grateful for my health. I appreciate the simple, everyday things that most people take for granted or don’t even realize exist. Things like the sun, the flowers, the blooming trees, the birds and much more,” Deborah shares.

And she hasn’t just stopped at being survivor. Deborah turned her diagnosis into a career as a front office specialist in the medical oncology department at Mercy Health – Youngstown.

“I share the same journey with patients I see. I do feel like I’ve lived their journey and can help them navigate the road ahead.”

When asked what she may share with others battling cancer, her advice is simple:

“Stay positive at all times. This ‘new normal’ is your new life but remember the past while looking ahead to a brighter, better and healthier future.”

Learn more about the cancer care services offered at Mercy Health.


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