🌈 Welcome to our Caring Bridge page for Becky Proaps. Thank you for taking the time to visit this site. We created this page to share information about Becky Proaps to family and friends and to keep everyone updated in one central place. 💖
Mom was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in 2018 (it had metastasized to the bone at that point) after being in remission and cancer-free since 2006. There is no cure for stage 4 and there is no remission. The answer to the question “when will treatment be done?” since 2018 has been “when there is no other compassionate option.” Individuals with this type of cancer undergo treatments and therapies of various kinds depending on the type and location of cancer cells for the remainder of their lives. With treatments and constant vigilance through routine tests and scans, the prognosis is still only about five years.
With an incredible oncologist chasing the cancer with a variety of treatment options, and her strength and bravery, Mom was able to live with a high quality of life, given the circumstances. We knew our time together was limited. Unfortunately, we missed out on many planned adventures due to the pandemic. But we were able to continue making great memories here in Virginia Beach.
In late 2021, Mom’s cancer began to spread to multiple areas that are extremely difficult to treat (like the liver, stomach, spinal fluid, eyes, and central nervous system). And metastatic breast cancer also changes form which limits opportunities for successful treatment.
In April, Mom reached the clear, difficult, brave, understandable decision to begin hospice care at home. Treatment was no longer a compassionate choice. Together we are doing our best for her on this final journey. For better and worse, we were prepared for some aspects of being so involved in the end of life process because we went through a similar journey too soon with our grandmother (Pegoo - Peggy Bryson) twelve years ago.
Like our grandmother Pegoo, Mom has always been strong and resilient in the face of adversity, and never thought of herself as a “survivor" no matter how hard things got. They have been more private than we might have preferred about their illnesses because they never wanted to burden anyone or make anyone worry. It has been a painful and overwhelming process these last two years on top of the pandemic and all the other cards the Universe hands us. But it has been especially difficult since February when Mom's condition worsened and she was hospitalized. At that point, she agreed that we could start reaching out more, so we've been touching base with our closest circle and carrying the heartbreak together.
We have not always known how to touch base with people, explain things, stay strong, and navigate this uncertainty. It is scary in some ways to let more people in during this challenging personal season in our lives. But as a family, we wanted everyone to understand the situation more so they would be able to shower mom with love and support.
🙏🌈💕 We greatly appreciate your grace, kindness, patience, support, and words of comfort, hope, and encouragement.
💌 Please reach out to her soon. Her vision and voice are also becoming more limited, but we are here with her 24/7. It can be impossible to know what to say right now. “I love you,” “I am thinking of you, and “I was just remembering that time we had so much fun doing…” are some of the most important words you can say to her today in a voicemail, text, card, post, or email.
And as much as we would love to see everyone, it is too challenging for us to take on visitors here at home.
On the links and pages here you will find:
📸 A place where you can share memories, love, and support. She will also read Facebook or text messages, even if it is too much to respond immediately.
📚 Resources to learn more about metastatic breast cancer.
🍜 Other ways you can support us during this challenging time - sending a card for us to read with her, dropping off food or groceries or emailing a gift card for takeout, or watering the flowers in the garden.
🦋 Below you will find other ways you can honor her right now - especially instead of sending flowers (she has more beautiful blooms than we can manage already!!) or if other support isn’t possible. 🤗
🌱🌻🐛 Mom has brought so much beauty - and life - into the Universe with her green thumb. Over the years she has raised hundreds of Monarchs (and spice bush swallowtails, tiger swallowtails, zebra swallowtails, Eastern swallowtails…) and created a pesticide-free, beautiful space for many more pollinators by cultivating a garden filled with native plants and pollinator food sources.
The thing that would probably honor mom the most would be to plant some milkweed (or other native plants in your area) as soon as possible this season or start to grow some next spring! Think of mom when you see your first and last Monarchs this summer.
Find native plants for your area: https://www.nwf.org/nativeplantfinder/plants
💲🎀 🎁 Please consider supporting METAvivor and their research efforts towards a cure and treatment for stage 4, metastatic breast cancer.
Breast cancer fundraisers are everywhere, but most of the money raised goes toward breast cancer prevention and early detection efforts. Very little of it, only 2-3%, is dedicated toward research for metastatic breast cancer. METAvivor is the only organization that solely funds MBC research through a scientific peer review process (https://www.metavivor.org/research/grant-program
). 100% of all donations go into MBC-specific research grants.
Visit my fundraising page here to donate in honor of Becky: https://donate.metavivor.org/fundraiser/3855703
🌹 🏞 🎁 We are collecting donations to build a memorial bench at the Norfolk Botanical Gardens to honor Mom and Pegoo's memory and legacy.
We spent countless hours at the Norfolk Botanical Gardens as a family, mother-daughter, siblings, and with friends - many long walks and talks, lunches and sunsets, plant shows and sales, art installations and exhibits, and butterfly house visits. Mom is a brilliant gardener with a green thumb and incredible botanical knowledge, and raised hundreds of native pollinators like Monarchs from egg to butterfly. So the gardens were such an important part of our lives where we made so many memories.
It would be such a beautiful gift to create this space for anyone to sit at the gardens anytime thinking of them.
If you are interested in contributing, visit PayPal: https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/alexproaps.
We can accept Zelle or Venmo directly at email@example.com or you can contact us directly.
Thank you. All the love,
Alex, MG, Jack, Michael