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Survivor Stories: Local woman shares her battles with four different cancers

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Photo Provided Teacher and Cancer Survivor, Maribeth Storey with her husband Jim Storey.
Many students have passed through Maribeth Storey's class while going through school in the Kennett School District. The students have left her class with a better of understanding in Communication Arts, as well as life.

Maribeth Storey, a native of Kennett, is not only a teacher, she is a survivor.

Maribeth Storey, the daughter of the late Bud and Jeanette Hunter has taught in the Kennett School District since she graduated from Southeast Missouri State University in 1974. Maribeth is married to Jim Storey and has two sons; Ryan and Heath.

In 1993, the same year that her brother Terry Hunter passed away, Maribeth was diagnosed with Ductal Carcinoma In Situ, a type of non-invasive breast cancer, where the cancer cells are only in the ducts. Nearly all women with cancer at this stage can be cured. Like in Maribeth's case, Mammograms find many cases of Ductal Carcinoma In Situ. When it came to the discussion of Mammograms, Maribeth said, "I highly recommend them. I am a firm believer, because I don't think I would be here." Maribeth received a lumpectomy for the Ductal Carcinoma In Situ.

Three years later, in 1996, Maribeth was diagnosed with Basal Cell Carcinoma, which is not only the most common type of skin cancer, but the most common type of cancer in humans. About 8 out of 10 skin cancers are basal cell carcinomas. They usually develop on sun-exposed areas, especially the head and neck. Maribeth had the Basal Cell Carcinoma removed.

Then in 1999, Maribeth was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a cancer that starts in cells called lymphocytes, which are part of the body's immune system. Lymphocytes are in the lymph nodes and other lymphoid tissues (such as the spleen and bone marrow). Maribeth went through Chemotherapy and Radiation for the Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. During this time Maribeth took three Chemotherapy treatments, three weeks apart, followed by twenty radiation treatments. She lost her hair and became very tired due to the treatments. Maribeth spoke of the fear that she felt "I just wanted to be here for my children," she said. "I wanted to live."

And in 2005, Maribeth was diagnosed with Melanoma, located on her left ankle. Melanomas can occur anywhere on the skin, but they are more likely to start in certain locations. The chest and back are the most common sites in men. However, like Maribeth, in women it is most common on the legs. Melanoma is much less common than Basal Cell Carcinoma, but it is far more dangerous. Like basal cell Carcinoma, melanoma is almost always curable in its early stages. But it is much more likely than basal or squamous cell cancer to spread to other parts of the body if not caught early.This was treated by Maribeth getting a skin graft.

Today, Maribeth is in remission, continuing to teach children in the Kennett School District and is now expecting her first grandson, Asher James Storey by Ryan and Shauna Storey. She credits her strength and getting through the rough times to her faith. "I just turn it over to him (God) and still do. I always live by 'don't know what the reason why it is happening, and I may never but, He knows and it's in His hands.'" Maribeth went on to say, "I have good friends, good family, and a great church that has helped immensely." She also spoke of having a very supportive administration at the Kennett School District. Maribeth has also been able to keep a great sense of humor.

* Some information in this article was taken from the American Cancer Society's website, www.cancer.org.

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