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We Take Your Fight With Cancer Personally

An Unexpected Turn for the Better 

Debbi Sorci

Debbi SorciMany of our own staff members, including Debbi Sorci, registered nurse in the Piper Surgical Center, have fought and won their battle with cancer at the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center and Scottsdale Healthcare Shea Medical Center. 

Debbi was diagnosed with breast cancer during a routine mammogram in December 2007. After carefully weighing her options, she chose to have a bilateral mastectomy followed by reconstructive surgery in the spring of 2008. Though a difficult decision, the choice became clear when she learned that she would not need chemotherapy or radiation, and she would not have to worry about future breast cancer scares. 

Doctors Nedra Harrison and Bryan Gawley performed Debbi’s procedures. “I was treated so well here,” she said. “Everybody strives to do their best. They were all so compassionate and caring. I have all the confidence in the world in the team that cared for me. I never hesitate to recommend Scottsdale Healthcare to my family and friends.” 

Prior to her diagnosis, Debbi was blessed with incredible health and an active lifestyle. She thought that cancer was something that happened to “other people.” That changed when she met Bonnie Skochinski, supervisor of Tina’s Treasures boutique, located inside the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center. As Bonnie fitted her for a bra before her surgery, she told her that no matter what they find, never give up hope. Coming from a breast cancer survivor herself, Debbi walked away from that fitting knowing that she was going to be normal again. 

Her recovery period wasn’t horrible, but she felt weak and had to empty drains for about two or three weeks following the surgery. The hardest part for her was the emotional and mental adjustment she had to make. “There’s a lot of pressure to look good in your clothes,” Debbi said. “It took some time for me to realize that I can look good and feel good again.” 

She truly believes that something good comes from something bad. In this case, Debbi decided that after being out of school for 33 years, she would go back to get her Master’s Degree in Nursing Education – something she may never have done if it weren’t for her diagnosis and surgery. 

Looking back, Debbi says, “It sounds trite, but I’m a better person and a better nurse because of this experience. I always tell my patients to explore all of their options before deciding the best course of treatment. Be informed. It isn’t one size fits all. Be your own best advocate and then make your decisions. Most importantly, know that your diagnosis is not a death sentence and there is definitely life after cancer.” 

For more information about breast cancer, the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center, or Scottsdale Healthcare, please contact a Cancer Care Coordinator at 480-323-1255 (toll free: 1-877-273-3639), or via e-mail at ccc@shc.org.

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