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Published on September 24, 2015

Patient Story: Deborah Avery

Deborah Avery Cancer PatientWhen Bristol resident Deborah Avery began to lose her hair during chemotherapy, she laid the shining strands carefully on branches in her back yard. “It helped a little to think that the birds would have silver linings in their nests,” she remembers.

Deborah has always been drawn to life’s silver linings. She found one a car ride away, with the radiation therapy team at Concord Hospital Payson Center for Cancer Care – thanks to her oncologist, Dr. Charles Catcher, who sees patients at Lakes Region General Hospital as well as Payson Center for Cancer Care. Deborah recalls Dr. Catcher’s assurance: “I’ll be right upstairs when you’re having radiation treatments in Concord.”

Deborah and her daughter, Kendall, a nurse, agreed that Payson Center was an excellent option. “We both felt that it was important to go where I was comfortable,” Deborah says.

“It came out of the blue,” Deborah says, remembering the moment when
she received her diagnosis. She had lost her husband to cancer. But there
was no history of it among her biological relatives.

She would have 33 treatments at Payson, in the care of Dr. Bryan Rowe and his team.

“They were so good,” Deborah remembers. “I felt at ease with Dr. Rowe from our first visit, when we discovered that we both have Siamese cats. He and his team set everything up for me and were so caring throughout my entire treatment. My nurse, Natalie, made sure I had everything I needed – including covering my pacemaker so it wouldn’t be damaged by radiation and placing a monitor on my heart during treatments.”

Having her radiation therapy at Payson Center also made room in Deborah’s life for more than cancer – including continuing to take friends on weekly grocery runs throughout her treatment.

Today, Deborah is healthy and enjoying children; grandchildren; an active church life; and volunteering weekly with “Day Away,” a social program for adults with early Alzheimer’s or related dementia. “The more you put into life, the more you get out,” she says.

“My journey has been about three Fs: faith, family, and friends,” she says. “I’ve been lucky to have wonderful support."

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