Oelwein woman starts cancer treatment; prepares for wig - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Oelwein woman starts cancer treatment; prepares for wig


Deb Howard is the Chamber Coordinator in Oelwein. But in addition to her normal work duties, Deb has something else on her plate these days. She was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.

"I was diagnosed August 30th, and I had a lumpectomy on September 5th," said Deb Howard.

The lump was found during her first mammogram.

"I should've had one starting a couple years ago, but this was my first. I'm very fortunate I went in. My husband had a massive heart attack in April and he filled our deductible and we joked we're going to have everything done. I went in for an annual physical, which should have been an annual physical, and will be for me from now on," said Howard.

After her initial diagnosis, Deb didn't think she'd need chemotherapy. But because of the size of her tumor and tiny traces of cancer in her lymph nodes she must undergo six weeks of chemo. Her first treatment was October 11th. Her last should be January 24th. Then Deb will undergo six and a half weeks of radiation everyday.

In preparation for her hair loss from chemo, Deb got free wigs from Visions Hair Studio in Waterloo.

"When you find out you have chemo, the first thing that comes through your mind is I'm going to lose my hair. I was devastated, and I'm sure the day I go shave my hair isn't going to be a good day, but that's okay because that's all part of getting better," said Deb Howard.

Because Deb's job as Chamber Coordinator requires her to be visible in the community, she said she'll feel more confident and able to maintain a sense of "normalcy" by wearing a wig.

She's grateful Visions Hair Studio, which will cut and donate hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths, can provide wigs to her and other cancer patients for free.

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