Seeing the leaves change is a gift for ovarian cancer patient

Nov. 10, 2020
Debbie Bunten with her husband
Debbie Bunten is grateful for the care she received for stage 4 ovarian cancer at UCHealth Cancer Center – Memorial Hospital Central. She is photographed with her husband, Gary. Photo courtesy Debbie Bunten.

Debbie Bunten has always been slim and active. She hikes, bikes, does technical rock climbing and taught dance for 25 years.

In February, her abdomen became so bloated, she said, “I looked like I was ready to deliver.’’

She had Stage 4 ovarian cancer which had spread to her liver, colon and abdomen. That led her to Dr. Dirk Pikaart and caregivers at UCHealth Cancer Center – Memorial Hospital Central. Debbie had surgery and rounds of chemotherapy. She could not be more grateful for the people, including those in the infusion center, who cared for her during the pandemic.

“Dr. Pikaart and his staff, they are the best I’ve ever seen,’’ Bunten said. “They are absolutely great – nothing falls through the cracks, they are always available and they always answer my questions. They treat patients like they are royalty and every accommodation is met with a smile.

“To go from not even knowing if I was going to see Memorial Day back in February when I got diagnosed, to seeing the leaves turn, it’s been quite the journey. I just had my 3-month checkup. My blood numbers look perfect and I just had my port removed.

She’s back to hiking and biking.

“I’d be buying airline tickets and going places if not for the COVID, but we’re staying close to home and I’m getting my mojo back. They saved my life.’’


About the author

Erin Emery is editor of UCHealth Today, a hub for medical news, inspiring patient stories and tips for healthy living. Erin spent years as a reporter for The Denver Post, Colorado Springs Gazette and Colorado Springs Sun. She was part of a team of Denver Post reporters who won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news reporting.

Erin joined UCHealth in 2008, and she is awed by the strength of patients and their stories.