Suzanne Bianchi, our lovely mom and wife, passed away on November 4, 2013. In July 2014, after 61 wonderful healthy years, she was diagnosed with metastatic pancreatic cancer- not the Apple Executives kind but the more common kind- pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (which has spread). We created this Caring Bridge site to keep friends and family updated. We've appreciated your support and words of hope and encouragement during this time when it matters most.
It was with great sadness that my mom and our family learned that she has metastatic pancreatic cancer. On July 8, 2013. her diagnosis was confirmed including that her cancer had already spread- at least to her liver and probably her lungs. But even though we would wish this news very different, we also are reminded of how much we love our mom and wife.
For more information on pancreatic cancer, check out this presentation from the Simms/Mann UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology (first 30 minutes are most relevant): http://vimeo.com/53980498
How we found out:As surgery was not an option for such cases, she started chemotherapy (abraxane and gemcitabine) on August 14, 2013.
Our mother had been having stomach pain that started in early May 2013. There are many causes of stomach pain so she did not think much of it. She and my dad had a great trip to England and Italy in May 2013. They spent their anniversary hiking in Cinque Terre and saw our Bianchi relatives in Arezzo. They then came to Princeton for my graduation with a Master in Public Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School.
Upon their return to LA, my parents consulted a doctor since the stomach pain had not subsided. We had thought that maybe she had gallstones, but an ultrasound revealed masses around the pancreas. A biopsy through an endoscopic ultrasound that took a fine needle aspirate unfortunately revealed cancerous cells.
Pancreatic cancer develops very slowly. It usually takes about 9 years before patients become symptomatic. This is also what makes pancreatic cancer such a bad cancer; they usually do not catch it until it has already spread. It thus did not matter that my mother waited about 6 weeks before seeing someone and instead spent it living well with my dad, eating pasta and gazing at the Mediterranean. The oncologist said her cancer would not have looked different if she had come in right away.
The oncologist said that the goal is that our mom live as long and as well as possible. Here's to that goal!- we said. But then, she only lived for 4 more months. I would say she lived it well, in spite of the toll the disease took on her body which she uncomplainingly endured. She spent four precious months surrounded by her family with many visits from dear friends. We only wish it could have been longer as she did and of course, healthier, but we are grateful we got that time together which not everyone gets.
We really appreciated everyone’s interest and wanting to stay abreast of her condition. Feel free to email, text, and call us. We might be slower than usual about getting back to you, but it really helps!
Suzanne bianchi *AT* ucla.edu 202-271-4524
Mark msjjjbrowning *AT* gmail.com 202-907-9617
Jen jennie.browning *AT* gmail.com 202-906-9400
James jamesbrowning86 *AT* gmail.com 202-907-9616
Josh jonbrowning1990 *AT* gmail.com 202-487-7473
UCLA Memorial- March 4th at 4pm and Thank You
Feb 11, 2014 1:57am
We would like to thank you for all of your support and to let you know about a memorial service at UCLA for our mother and wife (information below).
We were extremely touched by the donations to Ladies’ Turn in honor of our mom. Together, you donated over $7,500 to Ladies’ Turn. We know you gave so generously because you loved, respected, and will miss our mom. We miss her everyday. But we would not have made it through this time without the outpouring of support we have received and continue to receive, in which the donations to Ladies’ Turn are just a symbol. So thank you for the donations and most of all, thank you for the caring and love that they represent and that we have felt all along these past 8 months.
For the UCLA Memorial Service on March 4, 2014 from 4-5:30pm, see information at the end of this entry. If you think you can come, please RSVP to email@example.com by Friday, Feb. 21, so that UCLA can plan appropriately. In honor of our mom, there will also be a lecture the following day on Wednesday, March 5, at 3 p.m. in 279 Haines Hall that our mom had started to plan: “The Costs of Inequality” to be presented by Annette Lareau.
We also wanted to share her American Sociological Association (ASA) obituary and some very touching tributes from her former students and colleagues.
We know everyone is thinking about us. We are doing ok. Josh is in Santa Monica; James is in Washington, DC; and our Dad is traveling between the two. Although recently for some reason, Dad seems to have been spending more time in Santa Monica. I moved to Addis Ababa in mid-January, but as far as I have been told, the weather is still fabulous in southern California. The weather on the East Coast has apparently been less than fabulous. As for me in Ethiopia, I think my mom has been watching out for me, ensuring that my transition has been smoother than I could have ever imagined, and most importantly, that I have quickly made a few good friends. Including my Japanese colleague, who when learning why I was a bit sad typing this today told me her father had passed away suddenly from pancreatic cancer too. Then she handed me one of her special Japanese handkerchiefs to dry my tears.
So thank you again for everything you have done for us. We do feel loved and supported and best of all, closer to you all.
Jen, James, Josh, and Mark
Celebration of Suzanne Bianchi’s Life, March 4 at 4pm
Dear Colleagues and Friends of Suzanne Bianchi,
We invite you to celebrate the life of Suzanne Bianchi on Tuesday, March 4, 4-5:30 p.m., with a reception to follow. We will gather at the California Center for Population Research (CCPR), 4240 Public Affairs Building on the UCLA campus. Hosts are the Department of Sociology, the Dean of Social Sciences, and CCPR. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, Feb. 21, so that we can plan appropriately.
Suzanne Bianchi was UCLA’s first Dorothy Meier Chair in Social Equities. Suzanne had begun planning the first Dorothy Meier Lecture in spring 2013. We invite you to join us for “The Costs of Inequality” to be presented by Annette Lareau, Stanley I. Sheerr Professor at the University of Pennsylvania. The lecture will be the day after the service on Wednesday, March 5, at 3 p.m. in 279 Haines Hall.
Directions to UCLA and an interactive campus map are at this link: http://www.ucla.edu/maps-directions-parking/
We hope you can join us to honor Suzanne’s memory and celebrate her life.
Director, California Center for Population Research and
Professor, Dept. of Sociology, UCLA
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