13 January 2010

Loss of a dear friend

On Jan. 1st the world lost an amazing sole a dear friend had lost her battle with cancer. In one moment my world stopped.

I had the opportunity to talk with her on the phone a couple weeks before Christmas. I was lucky enough to speak with her as she asked her daughter to have me call her in the hospital. Even though our short conversation gave me no hope of a quick recover I knew she still had her humor and this made me smile if even for a moment.

I wanted to share this letter that I had written about her shortly before the holidays.

A dear family friend of ours was recently diagnosed with the rarest cancer cell, Multiple Myeloma.

We worked together for 4 years. She is a loving, compassionate person who never wants to burden herself on others. Before her diagnosis she was a vibrant woman with lots of life! She loves music, quilting, her cats, drinking wine, eating good food and spending time with her friends and family.

I will never forget the day she went to the doctor. The day before we meet up with her and her daughter for the Dave Matthews Concert! The very next day she went to Grady for her doctor’s appointment, she had been to the doctor before with complaints of stomach pain and hip pain but the doctor’s couldn’t figure it out just yet. Finally they figured out that she has cancer. The cancer cells had attacked much of her body and she is already at the late stage 3 of the cancer progression.

Since her diagnosed in May 2009 she’s had many changes in her life; she decided to quit her job to focus on her health but she has no insurance; she had to move from the home she loved to a smaller place just to afford rent and utilities; her daughter and 4 yr old granddaughter moved from DC to be with her and help her out; she’s on her 2nd run of chemo and hoping that she can afford or find funding for her Stem Cell Transplant; she’s in lots of physical pain that never stop; and now she has a hard time walking as the cancer lesions have increased and spread to her ankles which she will need a walker or a wheelchair to get around.

She went for about a month with out treatment as the first round gave excellent results. However, since she not only has a rare form of cancer, but the rarest cancer cell with in Multiple Myeloma the levels have come back up rapidly and she is undergoing chemotherapy again. Basically she HAS to have the stem cell transplant. We are working on the government funding for that so hopefully it will come through soon and we can start that process.

Soon after Thanksgiving, she was readmitted to the hospital due to her calcium levels increasing in her brain causing her to hallucinate and have signs of dementia. A few weeks later after additional and extensive chemo treatments we learned that her heart couldn't take the pain any longer.

My friend, a mother, a daughter, a wife, and a sister lost her battle after 6 months of being diagnosed.

She is in heaven pain free. Though she'll never know how much I think about her everyday, you are still with me.

She had given me a quote several years a go as a reminder of who we are and what we do isn't always easy.

"If it wasn't hard everyone would do it. It's hard that makes it Great."