Brissette survived an aggressive form of breast cancer

Published 11:03 am Thursday, November 1, 2018

For those who hear the diagnosis of breast cancer, they know it comes with a lot of emotion and fear. Even though the prognosis is better than it once was, it is still one of the major forms of cancer.

Diane Brissette is one who has had to face the fact that she was diagnosed with, not only breast cancer, but one of the fastest growing types there is.

“I had a mammogram done on the 18th of April in 2010,” she said. “There was nothing special about it; it was just time to have it done. I was surprised when they called me from my doctor’s office at Sacred Heart and wanted me to come back in. They wanted to do an biopsy and I knew that wasn’t good. I went back, had the biopsy and found out on April 23, that I had cancer. It all happened so quickly, I knew it must be bad.”

The doctors in Pensacola did not hesitate with her treatment. They did surgery but had to go back in again to make sure they had targeted all of the cancer. She then underwent 12 rounds of chemotherapy, going once a week to Pensacola. When she finished the chemo, she made the trip to Pensacola five days a week for 33 days of radiation treatments.

“The radiation was brutal,” she said. “The chemo wasn’t too bad, but the radiation was bad. It about wore me out making all those trips down there. I think one of the worse things about it was the not knowing what was going to happen.

“I had an amazing support system,” she added. “My husband and my co-workers were wonderful. When he couldn’t take me to my appointments, someone else was always able to drive me. My work family and his work family were there for us anytime we needed them.”

It didn’t hurt that they work in the same building. Stephen Brissette works with the Escambia County Clerk’s Office while Diane does accounts payable in the Escambia County District Attorney’s Office.

“There are a lot of wonderful people in the world and it helps at lot in the situation to have a sense of humor. When I started to lose my hair during treatment, Stephen took the razor and shaved off the hair that was left and then drew a cat’s face on the back of my head. We had some laughs out of that.

“God has blessed me so much,” she added. “I am cancer free, I have a wonderful husband and I have wonderful support from my friends and co-workers.”

She is always excited to see people standing up and bringing awareness to others, but she said she wished that sometimes other types of cancer could be spotlighted.

One thing she and her husband have enjoyed is Camp Bluebird, an adult cancer camp staffed and supported by Sacred Heart. It is located at Beulah, Fla. near Pensacola and is “America’s First Adult Cancer Camp.”

“It gives us, who have cancer or have had cancer, an opportunity to be around others who truly understand what we are going through,” she said.

Brissette is a native of the Brewton area. She attended and graduated from W.S. Neal High School in 1977. She lived away from Brewton for a few years and when she came back, she attended Reid State and graduated from there in 1995 with a degree in office administration. She worked with a local law firm in Brewton for nine years and in 2004, she moved to the District Attorney’s office. She married Stephen Brissette in 1999, whom she met on-line. He lived in Canada and after corresponding for a while, he moved to Brewton and now works for the county clerk’s office.

Brissette said she feels blessed. She has her husband, her work, and her “children,” several cats that she loves dearly.