In May 2002, Doris Riccelli looked forward to celebrating her 40th birthday, unaware she would receive a startling diagnosis. During a breast self-exam, Doris found a lump in her left breast and immediately sought medical attention. Extensive tests and a lumpectomy confirmed stage 1 breast cancer. In August, she began receiving chemotherapy through a surgically-inserted port in her chest. In October, the port became infected and had to be removed. After much prayer and against her doctorsí recommendations, Doris decided against a new port. In December, she found a lump in her right breast where the port had been. A second lumpectomy again proved positive for stage 1 breast cancer. Doctors recommended a more aggressive regime of chemotherapy, but Doris decided against it. She then received 34 radiation treatments.
Doris took cancer preventative drugs, but after suffering for four years from unbearable side-effects including loss of energy, arthritis and pain, she stopped taking the drugs in November 2006. While Doris still struggles with the after-effects of her treatments, she trusts God with her life and has been cancer-free for six years.
Dorisís garden symbolizes people she loves. In the center is a ribbon of pink sand, outlined in red to signify her husband, who always inspires her. The white flowers represent Dorisís faith. Attached to the ribbon are two flower pots; one signifying the courageous spirit of her beloved mother and the other her dearest friend, Linda, both who lost their lives to cancer. A third pot honors her daughter, Britney, and symbolizes hope. Two areas represent beaches where Doris and her loved ones shared precious moments together. The peonies are in memory of her husbandís mother, and the tulips signify new life.
Dorisís desire is for all to have a personal relationship with God, show care for those experiencing challenges, and be vigilant about regular check-ups for early detection. Doris has experienced amazing blessings during her cancer journey and believes God has a plan for each personís life.