Step 4 Life 5K ? Brighton, CO (April 21, 2012)
June 28, 2012: Dr. says that yes I have cancer it is considered Stage IV Ovarian. Oh, and my CA-125 is 89, normal is 35 and under. He went over all the life expectanty stuff that my husband was asking and then we got down to treatment. He said we could do nothing and see what happens or we could start treatment. I said I already knew what I was going to do and my husband said he thought we should discuss it first, like there is anything to discusss. I know he wanted to be in on the decision making, but my mind was already made up and it was my decision to make. That may seem mean, but I did not want to wait another minute. Now we need the por-a-cath. I did not go with one the first time, but I will never go without one ever again. They make is so much easier. So back to the thoracic surgeon we go, oh but we have a problem, my thoracic surgeon is going to be out of town on Monday so he can't do my surgery, oh well we have someone new to do it. So off I go to see the surgeon to get info I need. While walking down the room to see the new dr, I see my surgeon and tell him I am mad at him because he is going to be out of town on Monday and can't do my surgery like he promised me but he said he could do it tomorrow Friday. Happy! Happy! You know how it is when you find a dr. you like even if you have only seen him 1 time before.
Step 4 Life 5K – Brighton, CO (April 21, 2012)
The following morning the Hospice nurse arrived and told us they had a bed for her. I felt relief but also felt bad. My mom would be leaving her home for the last time. A week before I had told her that I dreaded that moment when she would leave for the last time. She told me that death and life are a series of steps or notches. And told me that when she left the house for the last time not to think of it anymore than that....a notch or a natural step in life. When the ambulance drivers were taking her out that last day she actually grabbed my hand and opened her eyes and in her stupor said, "It is only another notch." She was referring to the conversation we had a week ago...Imagine her-comforting me at such moment. Once she was at the Hospice they took her off the patch and put her on morphine instead her mind cleared. She stopped talking that much and every once in a while could speak or answer questions. She told me that her loved ones where there and trying to take her. She was afraid to go with them. She did not want to leave us. I went down a list of deceased relatives and friends and most of them where in the room. She had told me that her father was in the room and when she tried to talk to her he told her he was there to keep an eye on her and take her to heaven when it was time. In the mean time she was not to talk to him but to us. Our priest came down and we prayed with her at her bed. She tried to cross herself and seemed to relax. He comforted her and told her to go with them if they wanted her to go. After this it was difficult to understand what she was saying. We sat there, kept each other company and held her hand. It was a wonderful relief to have the staff to care for her and us. The night before she died everyone left one by one to get home, get the kids to bed and get some sleep. I couldn't leave, I wanted to share every last minute with her even if she was out of it. I sat there in the dark holding her hand and one of the patients in the room called me over. She said, "What would your mother tell you right now?" I said, "she would tell me to go home, get some sleep and come back in the morning." She told me to listen to my mother. I was exhausted. This patient told me she would watch over her for me. What an angel. I reluctantly left and was back in the morning. It was so sunny outside. This Hospice is on the Long Island Sound. I looked out at the water in her room and saw boats going by, waves hitting the shore and sea gulls flying about. It was a beautiful day to die. My mom was awake and alert. I described what it looked like today. I smiled at her and told her that I loved her. She just stared at me. The nurse came in to clean her up...I went next door to the lounge and almost immediately she came flying in telling me to hurry up...that she was going now. I flew back into her room. Her eyes were closed but she clutched my hand when I held it. Her color got very dark reddish-grey and then the color left her face at the same moment she let go of my hand. I know this sounds corny but I looked up at the beautiful sky and in my minds eye saw her-young, beautiful, happy and pain-free in the sky outside her window. When I looked back down at her face she was just a shell. The beautiful part that was my mother was released. There was no sadness in seeing her like that. She was out of pain. And I was privileged to be there for all of it....from the day she was diagnosed to the day she went to heaven. Like so many people, I wish I hadn't needed to work and could have been with her the entire two years but she laughed and said, "You must think highly of yourself to think I would want to be with you that much!" It has been almost five months now and I have to tell you that I learned more about how to live from her death than anything else. You see, my mother did not let cancer rob her of her life. She said that she lived with cancer-not in spite of it. She took her treatments and followed the nurse's and doctor's advise. She called cancer her blessing and really enjoyed what time she had left. She didn't let her illness spoil any moment that was left-cancer did not win and that has truly been a gift to us. My mom was a retired therapeutic recreation director in a nursing home. She said that she learned about life and how to die from some of the residents there. One in particular taught her a poem about death:
"From what we get we can make a living; what we give, however, we make a life"-Arthur AsheIt all started on the day after Mother's Day in 1997, it was a day that life as I knew it, changed completely. I was living a typical 16 year olds life, when my mother broke the news that she had Ovarian Cancer, I along with my sisters and step dad were shocked and as you can imagine devastated. My mother was the strongest person I had known, so there was no way that she could suffer from this disease. As the days passed I realized that this disease was for real, my mother went through extensive treatments including chemotherapy. As a result, she began to feel as if the world around her was beginning to change, her strength was not there, her hair was gone, and she was beginning to lose her faith in life. Even so, she never lost her heart. A few months passed and she was "cured" from this horrible disease. We planned a trip to Yosemite National Park and we all went as a family, there she received a call from one of her physicians. I remember watching her as she spoke to him and the second when she received the news that her cancer had appeared in other areas. She broke down and cried like I had never seen her cry. We did not know what had happened, but we had an idea. A few months later she was admitted into the hospital (ICU) where she lasted a month and passed on February 9, 1999. She was and will continue being my life, with her passing she has taught me how to appreciate life and every moment that is before us. Although, I miss her every day, I also know that she has and will continue to show me that life is nothing without love. Even though this story is not your typical feel good story, I guess I am saying that it should be. Through my mom's passing I have learned to appreciate life and every moment it consists of. Mom, you continue to be my hero,idol,mentor, and most of all teacher. I Love You Mom!
I am writing to you today concerning a very special person in my life who has just started her journey into womanhood. My beautiful 15 year old daughter Sarah Megan. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer March 7th of 2001. Needless to say Myself, my family and her doctors where shocked that a young girl could be diagnosed with this horrible disease! She had had blood in her urine a couple of times prior to her diagnosis, and her pediatrician did urine cultures and diagnosed her as having a bladder infection. This happened two consecutive times in a row! Never was any other testing done. I did notice, however, that Sarah had seemed to be gaining weight and that she seemed to complain about her closes fitting snugger lately! She had never had a period at this point either, so I was thinking as well as my mom and sister that all of these symptoms where leading up to that wonderful? moment that we all get to experience as young ladies. It was March 6th, and the school nurse called and said that Sarah was running a low-grade fever and was complaining of cramps... she too suggested that she was probably ready to start her first period. We picked her up from school and brought her home, I gave her some Tylenol and a heating blanket for the cramps and made her some hot tea. She fell asleep and when she woke she was feeling somewhat better, but there were no signs of her period starting yet. We all went to bed that evening and around 3:00 a.m. I heard blood-curdling screams from Sarah whose room was downstairs. Needless to say, I do not even remember touching the steps as my husband and I ran to her side! She was writhing back and forth on her bed and her stomach looked extended to me, I looked at my husband and said to get the van started that this was no longer about her starting her period! Motherly intuition was telling me otherwise! We got to the hospital and I don't recall talking to anyone at the sign-in desk I just remember the panic in the nurse's face when she saw the distress that my daughter was in! They rushed her to the sonogram room after giving her a whopping dose of morphine! I watched the woman reading the sonogram screen. She looked at my daughter and looked at the screen and repeated the process about 3 or four times...I finally said what is it? She would not say and said that the doctor would have to tell me the results, at this point I went over to the monitor where she was sitting and noticed that there were no visible organs just a black mass! I told myself that I did not know how to read this and that it was nothing, however, being that I have had four children and quite a few sonograms done I knew in my heart that this was not the case! Sarah's pediatrician came into the room and asked me to sit down. I began weeping. He said that there was a huge mass covering her ovaries and uterus and it had ruptured and was causing the pain. The nurses instructed me to go home and get anything she may need for a week stay at the hospital. I went home and just grabbed things and threw them hurriedly into a suitcase while weeping and screaming and begging to God not to take my oldest daughter and best friend away from me! It seemed that the trip to Pittsburgh was endless and I watched my daughter's face the entire time questioning how was this happening to her and not me! Never allowing the thought to settle in my mind that was this tumor or mass might be cancerous? No way, I would not allow such a thought to exist! They would remove this horrible ugly darkness from my daughter's body, and we would go home and everything would get back to normal!