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In April 2008, I was 40 years old, the mother of three children, a practicing attorney, and married to a

physician. Life changed dramatically when I was diagnosed with stage IV, inoperable and incurable

stomach cancer; was told I would need chemotherapy for the rest of my life; and my chance of being

alive in five years was only four percent. There were very few treatment options for advanced stomach

cancer because it is not a common cancer in the United States.

I began to educate myself and to seek the best available care. I was told that I only had a few weeks

to live, so my first thought was that my three-year-old daughter would not remember me, and my

10-year-old twins would go through their teenage years without a mother. I could not imagine missing

out on my children’s lives. I was determined to live to celebrate milestones with them that every mom

waits for. The possibility of not seeing them grow up was not an option.

I have had eight recurrences and remain in treatment to this day. I have been treated with several

different chemotherapy regimens and three rounds of radiation.

I currently live in Florida with my husband and children. My family has helped me to get through a very

difficult time in life. Now, being with my children and husband is my main priority and every birthday,

talent show, soccer game, karate tournament, and recital I can attend is a blessing. There were no

resources available to me when I was diagnosed, so I am very happy that this guide is available to you

as a resource to help you on your journey.

Debbie Zelman

Stage IV Cancer Survivor

Founder, Debbie's Dream Foundation:

Curing Stomach Cancer


NCCN Guidelines for Patients


Stomach Cancer, Version 1.2016


Overview of cancer treatments Radiation therapy