About Deneen Riley
Deneen After Cancer
In the fall of 2000 Deneen's daughter Allison was born and just a year later in the fall of
2001, at the age of 37, Deneen was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer.
Despite the difficulty and hardship on the family, Deneen and Dr. Walker were able to
aggressively fight her cancer with chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. Adding to the
difficulty of this process, near the end of Deneen's treatment her father experienced heart
problems and had major complications during surgery. Deneen had to continue her fight
with one of her biggest supporters in a long term coma.
The following June was Deneen's first Relay
For Life event. In the intervening years, she
became a team leader and raised thousands
of dollars, including over $3,000 in 2005
alone. (With the help of the
United Pentecostal Church of New Castle)
That September, after months in and out of
comas and ICUs, her bedrock of faith and
greatest champion, her father, passed away.
Just three months later, her grandmother,
who only lived four houses down, died of
Deneen continued to recover and flourish
after her treatment. Taking care of her young
daughter, husband and raising money
for the American Cancer Society via
Relay For Life.
In June of 2005, Deneen started having recurring headaches that slowly transitioned over
the next couple of months into muscle weakness, loss of vision and intense seizures.
Deneen's general practitioner misdiagnosed her condition multiple times. Finally, in
November, she was visiting an opthomalogist because of her vision loss and he was
able to assess that the fluid pressure in her brain was at a high level. Deneen spent two
weeks in Methodist Hospital and had surgery to slit the lining behind her eyes to relieve
pressure and had multiple lumbar punctures to relieve the pressure in her spinal column
and brain. When testing the fluid from one of the lumbar punctures, cancer cells were
discovered in the spinal fluid.
Deneen's breast cancer cells had
metatisized to the lining (meninges) of
her brain. The cancer cells made
her lining swell and compress her
brain...causing the seizures, vision
problems and headaches. This
condition is a form of meningitis
and is called Carcinomatous
Meningitis. Deneen was only given
months to live.
Again, Deneen had faith and a will to
survive. With the help of Dr. Rimawi and
Dr. Walker, her condition was treated very
aggressively. With the insertion of a port
into her brain, Deneen started getting twice
weekly methotrexate treatments. This chemotherapy drug was injected into her brain and
spinal fluid to attack the cancer cells. At the same time, Deneen was given radiation
treatments on her brain to also help attack the cancer.
Unfortunately the port into her brain introduced an infection into her spinal fluid and gave
her a second form of meningitis. Deneen was hospitalized and treated for bacterial
meningitis in December 2005. The infection attacked her optic nerve and has made her
The loss of her vision did not set back Deneen's
cancer fight. Deneen continued her
chemo treatments up until August and
had the cancer levels in her spinal fluid
down to undetectable levels. However, a
small cancer was discovered in Deneen's
left lung. Her methotrexate treatments were
stopped and she started a chemotherapy
in pill form to slow down the lung cancer.
During her lung cancer treatment, she
started noticing weakness and pain in her
legs. By Thanksgiving, Deneen was unable
to walk and the pain was intense. After
visiting the Indiana University Medical
Center, Deneen was diagnosed with
Leptomeningeal Carcinoma, which is
related to her previous condition of
Carcinomatous Meningitis. Both conditions
describe the condition where cancer has
inhabited the Meninges or lining of the brain
and spinal cord. Via numerous X-Rays
and CAT-Scans, it was found that the cancer
had intertwined her vertebrae in the lumbar area.
Deneen still has hope to be with her daughter as long as possible...to experience her
daughter's formitive years and to help impart her knowledge and experience upon Allison.
Deneen still tries to care for Allison, but with limited mobility and impaired vision it has
become very difficult to do even the most mundane of tasks. Deneen is painfully aware of
the limited time and impact she may have upon her daughter because her grandfather
passed away when her father was only seven years old. Her father had very little
knowledge and/or memories of his on father and she fears that Allison may in time have
a limited knowledge and memories of her also.
History of Cancer in Our Family
Cancer played a role in Deneen's life well before her diagnoses of breast cancer 5 1/2
years ago. When Deneen was 7 years old, she lost her grandfather to cancer. Also, a
number of years later, she lost her grandmother and uncle to cancer. In 2000, her then 6
year old niece was diagnosed with a bone marrow condition that is related to Leukemia.
And, in the fall of 2001, Deneen was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer
at the age of 37.
Deneen Before Cancer
Deneen before cancer is the story of a child,
a teen, a young woman, a wife and eventually
a mother who has affected all those around
her without design or aim. Deneen was born
in 1964 (making her only 42 years old) and
grew up with her sister Renee, brother
John, father Dewey and mother Shelby Jean.
Deneen's greatest passion is her daughter
Allison, but next in line is cooking and
Deneen eventually became the family recipe
historian. Collecting the recipes of our
grandmothers before they were lost. Deneen
also has a passion for music and, during the
80's, heavily influenced her brother's eclectic
musical tastes. Deneen has also enjoyed making arts and crafts with which she
decorated her home and gave away as gifts. Also, from her father Deneen, acquired a
love for history and current events.
In 1985, Deneen and Colin met and then married two years later. Deneen's passion to
become a mother drove them to try for numerous years and finally in 2001 little Allison
A Mother Fighting Cancer
|Copyright 2007 Deneen Riley
Renee & Deneen As Young Chefs
Deneen & Renee With Presents
Deneen & Colin In Earlier Days
Deneen As Hamburgler Torturing Her Little Brother
Deneen, Colin, Renee & Jeff
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