11/18/2013 - Rebecca Eberts and her journey with cancer is this week's Shore Good News -
You see, last year this time, Rebecca's world was turned upside down when she received a shocking medical diagnosis that not only shattered her world, but the world of those who love her.
It all started around the end of October of 2012. Rebecca wasn't feeling quite right and noticed a scratchy throat. She had been prone to strep throat in the past or thought she may have had a virus of some sort, but after seeing the doctor and getting some blood tests run, doctors were concerned they had found something much worse then a virus.
This 33 year old mother of 2 precious little boys was told she had Leukemia. At first she thought they had made a mistake. She was young and no one in her family had leukemia. How was this even possible?
She was sent to the hospital in Salisbury where the diagnosis was confirmed. She had Acute Myloid Leukemia and not only would she need chemo and radiation, but Rebecca would need a bone marrow transplant and it would be a long, hard road for this young mother and wife.
Between November 2012 and March of 2013, Rebecca had more than 30 chemo treatments and before she could receive the transplant, she had to be conditioned with 4 days of whole body radiation in 30 minute sessions, twice a day. To make matters worse, on Thanksgiving of 2012, Rebeccas spleen ruptured as a result of a rare side effect from chemo. It was touch and go that night. Five days later, her gall bladder had to be removed.
There were rough days to say the least and Rebecca missed being with her children and wanted to be home with her family so badly. But she knew she had to keep fighting.
To pass the time, she read books and her Bible. But her eyes became so affected by the chemo that she got to a point she could no longer read. So, she downloaded an app and would listen to the Bible instead.
One of the things Rebecca looked forward to the most was being able to Skype with her husband ET and her sons. She admits, however, that there were days in which she was just too weak-but it had to be severe for her to miss that special time.
Rebecca says that through it all, her family was there and she had so much support. Her husband was always uplifting and encouraging. Her parents, Chuck and Karen Parks were extremely supportive. Her sister, Hannah Annis was her rock. Shed call her sister many times in tears and Hannah would have the right words to say that brought comfort to her. And Rebecca could rest assured her sons were in good hands as Hannah took care of them every weekday so her husband could work. Her parents and other people pulled together to help take care of her children too. She says there were countless friends and supporters from the community. She received hundreds of cards from people she knew and people she didn't. She received cards from school children, missionaries and even cards from people in other countries. Rebecca says all of the support was confirmation to her that the Lord had an amazing plan in store. She says her faith in Jesus Christ is what got her through this trying time. And when discouragement came, there were always people that would bless her in such a way that her strength would be renewed over and over again.
Rebecca received a bone marrow transplant on March 27th of this year. Her donor? A stranger who cared enough to be tested and was willing to save the life of someone he doesn't even know. On the morning of the transplant, this unknown donor was put under general anesthesia and bone marrow was aspirated directly out of his hip bone and then flown to Rebecca. At exactly 11:33 p.m. the life saving marrow began infusing into her vein with her parents and husband by her side as they gave thanks to God, and her sister Hannah joining in on FaceTime at home.
Rebecca Eberts was released for good on July 17th of this year. After being in the hospital for 8 long, difficult months, Rebecca was finally going home to her family.
She says that we live in the most amazing and supportive community and her welcome home was unbelievable. There were businesses who had welcome home signs displayed and loads of people were even standing on the side of the road waving and holding up signs as she passed by. She will never forget the love and support she has had.
Rebecca's most recent test results show that the cancer is gone and she says she feels great. Life is more normal now and she's even gone back to work at Kegotank Elementary School, where this past week the staff and students wore orange and Team Eberts bracelets in honor of Rebecca. She was told that there was a meeting after school, but it was a party in celebration of her recovery.
This past Saturday a Be The Match Bone Marrow Registry Drive was held in Rebeccas honor at the Hospice offices in Onancock. They used every single registry kit and had to even refer people to the website to order a kit because they ran out. Rebecca and those who put on the drive are just thrilled with the response.
Registering is very easy and includes a simple swab from your cheek- even I registered on Saturday. I did in honor of Rebecca and in memory of my own mother who passed away from a very rare form of Leukemia. If you are interested in registering and possibly saving someones life, you can visit www.bethematch.org.
Rebecca says this journey was like an emotional roller coaster, but it seemed that every time a door would close, two more opened and the outcome was better each time. She says she is here on this earth because of the power of prayer. She believes with all of her heart that the Lord heard the prayers of so many and answered. Doctors are amazing, says Rebecca, but never forget that God is our great physician!
Photo: Rebecca Eberts (left) Linda Baylis Spence
More Information Last week was a very emotional time for Rebecca Eberts of Cashville.