Devora fell in love with Colorado the first time visited and went mountain biking.
“I considered myself a pretty athletic person,” she said. “Then I came out here and the first mountain biking trail I went on whipped me pretty well. I fell in love, and soon after that, my husband and I moved out here.”
Devora began working at Rose Medical Center as a nurse, a job that she still loves 15 years later. Her love of biking continued and she even cycled competitively on the United States Masters cycling team. Then in 1999, a bike crash changed everything.
She was experiencing chronic pain in her shoulder, which she thought was caused by the crash. When the pain continued to get worse, she went in to see her doctor. He listened to her lungs, and was concerned she didn’t have very strong breath sounds.
It turned out that Devora’s lungs were filled with fluid, and the plural tap tests came back indicating cancer. She was diagnosed with Stage 4 ovarian cancer that had already begun to spread.
“I had all of the classic symptoms, like bloating, spotting and fatigue,” Devora said. “I just wasn’t looking for them.”
Devora had surgery to remove the tumors, which she says was the hardest part. “It was a huge abdominal surgery, and it took me a while to recover,” she said. She then went through several rounds of chemotherapy to eradicate all of the cancer at the Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers.
Doctors gave her a 5% chance of survival, which Devora saw as a challenge to take on. She put together a training plan, like she would do with cycling.
“I came up with a plan to get better,” Devora said. “I made a list of everything in my life that was important. I worked on exercising every day, even if it was something as little as walking around the house. I knew I needed to have good nutrition and a stable weight, because those are both important to performance, just like in cycling.”
10 years later, Devora is cancer free. She sees her oncologist, Dr. Michele Basche, regularly to make sure that there are no reoccurrences. Devora is still working at Rose and cycling. She says that exercise is what saved her, and she returned to competitive cycling in 2001, to one of the best years of her cycling career.
The Rose “Surviving Well” Calendar is a 15-month calendar highlighting our cancer services, physicians, and some inspirational stories from our patients. Devora is our survivor for August. Click here to sign up to receive your FREE copy of the calendar.