Debbie Raney

BMPS teacher Debbie Raney survived breast cancer in 2018. She's pictured here with fellow teacher Amanda Howse's son, Bryson, at last year's "Pink Out" day for Breast Cancer Awareness Day, which was held in Raney's honor. 

Brindlee Mountain Primary teacher Debbie Raney went through most of her adult life not thinking much of breast cancer.

She figured she had nothing to worry about considering the disease didn’t run in her family. However, in February and March of 2018, that would all be turned upside down.

In February of 2018, her mother, Elaine Strickland, was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma breast cancer. She had a double mastectomy almost immediately.

“I had gone to my gynecologist and she found something in my left breast that didn’t feel right,” Raney said. “But it wasn’t a lump. So, I didn’t think too much of it and on top of that, mom got diagnosed with breast cancer. She had the double mastectomy done and I spent most of my days taking care of her. One particular day I had some time, so I decided to finally have a mammogram done.”

Raney said the mammogram didn’t find anything, which is why she now strongly suggests having a sonogram done as well.

“The mammogram showed that I was fine and it’s because breast tissue was so dense,” she said. “So, I had the sonogram done and that’s when they found it. The doctor’s office called me on March 6 and told me I had the same exact cancer my mother had. Keep in mind, we’ve never had breast cancer in our family.”

Raney had a double mastectomy done on March 27 because more cancer was found in her right breast. She did not have to undergo any other treatments beside the mastectomy.

“So far I’ve been good since the surgery,” she said. “I get checked every six months just to make sure everything is still alright. My biggest piece of advice, if something doesn’t feel normal have it checked out. I found out firsthand that it doesn’t have to be a knot to be cancer.”

Raney still remembers the day she was called at work and told the news of her diagnosis.

“I just went numb when they called and told me,” she said. “All I could think about was not making it through this and not getting to see my children grow up. I was just in a state of disbelief considering my mother had just been diagnosed with it.”

Raney and her husband, Chad, live in Union Grove with their five children. She is the Brindlee Primary special education teacher and originally from Arab.

“There’s no way I could’ve made it through all of this without my family and my work family,” she said. “Everyone in the school system, including the central office, was so supportive and amazing. They had bracelets and shirts made in my honor and everything. Going through breast cancer with my mother at the same time gave me a ton of perspective on everything.”

Raney concluded, “The little things that used to bother don’t anymore. I strongly urge any woman who thinks something doesn’t seem  right to get checked out immediately.”

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