Help Debi Battle Breast Cancer

After lots of thought, we have decided to create this account and to ask for your help and support through this breast cancer battle my mom, Debi Bell, is facing. For my whole life I have watched how she has worked hard, loved hard, prayed hard, and served well. As a single mom then and now with an 11 year old still at home life has never been easy, but I know that even when mama had little she still gave and helped those that were in need and remained steadfast. I truly believe that each and every one of you that know her could tell a story of her kindness, of her positivity, and of her strength. I’ve seen Jesus work through my mother time and time again, and I pray that if you feel led that you too will help.

Her surgery is scheduled for one week from today on January 22nd and I have chosen to try and raise $7,000 for mom to help with the out of pocket maximum, deductible, and of course to go towards the bill for her surgery that has not been approved by insurance. This will additionally help with the loss of income that she will have during recovery, as she is just 11 hours away from being out of PTO time after all of her appointments she has had. When I look at this number and the size of the medical bills, all I can think of at first is how the size of it scares me. When I break it down into a little bit smaller numbers it helps to ease that anxiousness, and I have calculated that if we could just have 350 people willing to donate $20 we could meet this goal. Of course I know that $20 is very often a lot of money to people and at certain times in life, so if you are only able to give $5 or even just your prayers we would be so grateful. 

If there is any other way you would like or be willing to help, please feel free to call me, message, or email me at arnettkn@gmail.com. 

I have included the story of her journey so far and I will continue to use this account to give updated along the way. 

November 27, 2020 update:

It’s been a long but also quick and crazy month for our family, especially my sweet mama. Recently, mom found a lump in her right breast and the next day at work she let a couple of coworkers know about it and they told her she needed to go upstairs to request a mammogram. The next day she went in for her mammogram at the Kitty Degree Breast Health Center. The nurse told her the doctor would be reaching out to her soon with the results; however, 10 minutes later the nurse came downstairs to mom’s job and asked her to come back upstairs to meet with the doctor. The my did a diagnostic ultrasound which showed a mass and raised concern so an MRI with and without contrast was suggested. I won’t go into all of the details for the sake of time, but awaiting this MRI was a nightmare for mom. Many people dropped the ball on turning in paperwork, getting back to the insurance company, and her request for the MRI was denied by Blue Cross Blue Shield and delayed for days. It took mama standing up for herself and other women and going to the CEO of the Woman’s clinic to finally get the paperwork processed and approved. 

She was able to get the MRI done and there was a large area of non-mass enhancement found to be approximately 7.5x1.6x1.7 cm that was considered “suspicious of malignancy with the initial phase moderate to fast.” From there an MRI guided needle biopsy was recommended and scheduled. Mom received the results of her diagnosis of mammary carcinoma (cancer) by reading her final pathology report in her myChart. It was definitely not like the movies where kind and patient doctor sits you down and tells you. We waited and waited and worried for the next week or so to hear back from the oncologist she was referred to, and during that waiting God placed some sweet people in mama’s path that gave her the advice to sign up for MD Anderson. 

We called and spoke with her MD Anderson representative Monday, November 7th and I asked if there was anyway to get her in the next week when another sweet lady she has met through this would be going for her appointment. The lady on the phone said, “unfortunately it usually takes a month or a month and a half to get an appointment... oh wait, I see that we have one opening for next Wednesday and Thursday the 14th and 15th.” WOW, we scheduled the appointment immediately!!

That next week mama and I traveled to Houston where on her first day starting at 7:30 AM she had a mammogram, bilateral ultrasound, and a 5 core biopsy done on the farthest spot from the the first biopsy. She was in and out by 1:30 and she just kept saying, “wow they were so good to me, I felt like a celebrity!” They offered her warm blankets, she met lots of other sweet patients in the back waiting rooms, and got to see a room be transformed from just a meeting room to where she would be having all of these procedures done. On Thursday we met with the surgical oncologist, Dr. Merrick Ross and his Physician’s Assistant, Alyssa! We could not have asked for a better pair to meet with mom and I to answer all of our questions and to explain her options. We both agreed they were so “human” so kind, funny, patient, and comforting!  They confirmed that the biopsy we had sent from Monroe did come back as mammary intra ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and stained for both estrogen and progesterone (ER+ PR+) meaning the cancer is fueled by the hormones. We finally had some answers and they told us we would need to await the biopsy results from the day before which should be in that coming Monday. Dr. Ross and Alyssa let us know that if the results came back in that area as the same results that would be a sign that the cancer is still in its earlier stages and if she chooses to have a mastectomy there would be a good chance that she would not need to have chemotherapy or radiation, and instead would need to be a hormone blockers for 8-10 years. This of course will not be confirmed until after the tissue is tested after the surgery, but definitely something to be hopeful for! Those results did indeed come in on Monday confirming the same cancer and stains so these past couple of weeks have been trying to schedule doctors together for the surgery. 

Mama just wanted an answer before Thanksgiving and that’s exactly what she got! Mom received the phone call today that her consultation has been scheduled at MD Anderson for December 19th and the double mastectomy has been scheduled for December 30th!! 

Mom has been so so brave throughout this whole entire process and has continued to remain positive and strong for all of us, but I can only imagine the fear that she has been facing and the fight that stills lies ahead! I share this to ask for your prayers and encouragement for mama throughout this season, and also to remind you to never take your time with your loved ones for granted! Regardless of this, we have so many reasons to be thankful this year! #BreastCancer 

December 13, 2020 update:

Friends and family, I am asking for all of your prayers. We received a call today from the Financial Clearance Department at MD Anderson letting us know that the double mastectomy has been denied by mom’s health insurance (BCBS), and they are only wanting to approve the “affected breast.” It is in the first stage of appeal, where the insurance and the medical team will have to have a peer to peer phone call to discuss why the double mastectomy was deemed necessary.  

What’s so crazy is just yesterday mom’s surgery was pushed from December 30th to January 22nd because of scheduling conflicts. I spent last night and most of the morning feeling saddened and confused as to why this had to happen, because I knew that mom’s deductible and out of pocket maximum had already been met for this year and will renew on January 1st. I couldn’t help but think, “is there more I could have done?” and “doesn’t she have enough to worry about?” I know that I know that I know God is in control, but he reminded me of this today. Here I was trying to lean on my own understanding and trying to control the outcome, when I know that his plan is so much greater. God knew that this battle with the insurance would not be settled in time for the original surgery date and he already began working on our behalf. 

Despite her remaining strong, I know that this has all hit mom pretty hard this week with there just being one thing after another, and so I ask for your continued prayers and encouragement towards her throughout this journey.

January 15, 2020 update:

We are one week from mom’s double mastectomy surgery that is scheduled to be at MD Anderson in Houston for January 22nd. Last week we traveled to Houston with the help of Pilot’s for Patients (thank God for this generous organization). She had 6 appointments in a 24 hour span that included a consultation, anesthesia, EKG, chest xray, endocrine, lab work, and a pre-op appointment with her surgical oncologist. This trip to MD Anderson made everything seem that much more real, especially knowing that we were only 2 weeks away from the surgery. While we were there Dr. Ross confirmed with us that he did the peer to peer with mom’s insurance for the appeal and they decided to still deny the double mastectomy. He requested that the radiologist do an addendum to include things such as the density of the other breast in hopes that would help and he also wrote a letter of medical necessity especially as it pertains to her diabetes and her cancer being hormone positive. Both of those were submitted to BCBS and I received the call from Lee at the Financial Clearance Department today that Blue Cross Blue Shield has still stated that their decision is unchanged and will not be approving the removal of both breasts. I know that there is power in prayer, and that their minds can still be changed, so I will be reaching out to them myself tomorrow to see what else can be done for appeal. Either way we have decided to move forward with the double mastectomy because mom knows and feels that is ultimately what is best. 


Mama reminded me of the end of Matthew chapter 6 recently, and I want to leave it for all of you here.

25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

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Organizer

Kaitlin Arnett 
Organizer
West Monroe, LA
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