Jeanne,This is my explanation, which I still think is correct.
You took the last 7 letters of persevered: ***severed
and rearranged them as the last 7 letters of deserved: *eserved.
So far so good.
Then you took the first three letters of persevered: per-
You dropped two of them and changed one of them to d-
Two letters dropped and one changed, total three. Agreed?