Happy Monday! We had a bit of a rough weekend. A woman who we used to work with at the courthouse in Wilmington lost her 26-year old daughter last Thursday to breast cancer. While I did not really know this young woman, I had reached out to her and spoken to her mother about her at length. I reached out to her and tried to get her to join our "pink posse" group of BC survivors. We also ran into her at UNC Chapel Hill Hospital when we both had doctors' appointments. What bothers me so much is that I had a lot in common with this young woman.
I don't know about the past few months but last I heard she "only" had bone mets (no organ involvement) and mets in one lymph node on her chest. This woman was stage IV at diagnosis because they found the bone mets when the docs also found cancer in one of her breasts. She did not even have as many bone mets as I do and seemed to be doing fairly well (based upon her blog) up until recently. She even managed to work at a local restaurant and earn a college degree at ECU through all of this.
I felt drawn to go to the funeral despite the fact that we did not personally know this young lady. The church was packed to overflow as hundreds of people attended her funeral. While exiting the church following the wonderful service, her mother walked up to me (and not any of the other dozens of people standing near the exit door) put her arms around me and proceeded to break down into tears. I felt so horrible for this mother who spent the past 3 years taking her daughter to all kinds of appointments and procedures. A child is not supposed to precede their parent in death! It was so sad. I have found some comfort in knowing that she is in a better place now. This young lady struggled a great deal with being in her 20's and having stage IV breast cancer. While her friends got married, graduated from college, and had babies, she went to see her oncologist and got Lupron shots (to shut down her ovarian function). While her friends dated men she wondered what kind of a man would want to date a 26 year old woman who has had a mastectomy. Ugghh.
All of this made me feel fortunate to have my husband and children but of course also scared that I could go that fast. And of course, I have a lot more responsibility BECAUSE I have 2 girls. I don't usually think about statistics, but they say that about 20% of stage IV breast cancer patients live 5 years. I'm closing in on 4 years in August 2011. I KNOW I can beat the odds but I also know that I may not. It is all in God's hands and I GLADLY surrender this stress to him. It's too much for me to handle. I recall the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians (forget exactly where) asking God to remove the "thorn" [illness or ailment] from his side. Lord, I pray for you to remove the thorn from my side. Heal my pain. Give me the energy to care for our children and my husband. That is all I ask. Please take good care of our Angel Kim in heaven. And ease the burden in her mother Vicki's heart -- let her feel the peace and comfort that only you can bring. In Christ's name,