Can you support CaringBridge during our Spring giving campaign? Generous donors like you ensure that CaringBridge remains ad-free, private and protected.
Apr 13, 2018 Latest post:
Apr 30, 2018
Some call her Debbie, others call her Mom or Gama, but the truth is, she's actually Super Woman. At a level 68 (yes, thats the same as years but it sounds cooler), this woman's strength and passion to live life is undeniable as she continues to conquer the battles placed before her. And although she goes by many names, and you may call her what you will, I choose to call her my hero.
Chapter 1: Her story begins in 2006, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer after discovering a lump in her breast. Under the care of her doctors, she was able to walk away with a lumpectomy and years of medication to keep the odds of reoccurance at bay.
Chapter 2: Like with all stories, there was a plot twist in October of 2011, when she was diagnosed with melanoma, one of the most dangerous cancers. With a surgery and some TLC, she quickly moved on as she had no time for cancer. She had weeds to pull, plants to plant, and grass to cut. However, she did have to listen to the wrath of her daughter inlaw every time she was caught outside without a hat or sunscreen on. It only took a few times (and a sniff test) for Gama to get the hint that even Super Woman has to cover up.
Chapter 3: Fast forward to July 2016, almost 10 years later, where a lump in her neck and a visit to a lung doctor, led to the discovery of a relapse/reoccurance of "malignant neoplasm of upper-inner quadrant" breast cancer. As with most super heros, she decided to give it her all. She opted for a double mastectomy. The plot thickened as she developed a surgical site infection and cellulitis that resulted in an additional surgery to remove the infected hardware. Due to the infection, she required daily antibiotic infusions that led to her developing a deadly disease called CDIFF. But....I hope you don't think that stopped her...it merely was a pebble in her shoe.
Chapter 4: She continued on her journey with the first round of chemotherapy which was a 3 month dose (5 cycles) of catastrophic drugs that caused our Super Woman to lose her hair, her blood, her desire to eat, but not her will to live. After surviving the initial dose of poison, doctors discovered that her body was made of steel and that even the strongest of drugs couldn't penetrate her armor. They needed something stronger as they discovered that the cancer had moved into her liver in December of 2016.
Chapter 5: The next three months required more chemotherapy that almost wiped her out, but like with every hero, she mustarded up supernatural strength and beat the odds as she finished the cycle of chemo. At this time, with no progress being made, she packed up Super Man and flew to Houston, to MD Anderson to get expert opinions from the nation's top liver/breast specialists. Now, when I tell you that she literally convinced the doctors to perform surgery, I am not exaggerating. The doctors told her that outcomes for people at level 68 with her diagnosis were not great. She challenged them by saying that she wasn't your average person. She seriously negotiated with the surgeons and came up with the deal that if her bone scan was clear, they would take a chance and do a liver surgery. Low and behold, her bone scan was clean!
Chapter 6: In May of 2017, Super Woman had a total of 2 liver surgeries that consisted of a liver ablation of 4 tumors. She had a few complications like internal bleeding and a popped lung that required a chest tube, but that was merely the doctors overreacting if you asked her. It didn't take long for her to recover as she was seen cutting the grass a week later. Her actual medical report follow-up note states: Review of Systems Neurological: Positive for light-headedness (when out doing yard work). Numbness: and tingling in feet. All other systems reviewed and are negative.
Chapter 7: Nothing could stop her. She started a new chemo maintanence regimen when she returned home but as with most stories, there was another twist. Her scans showed that the liver tumors had come back and she was not a candidate for additional surgery although Gama tried to convince the doctors that she could be the first person to live without a liver. In October of 2017, she started a new estrogen based chemotherapy with a new oncologist, where it was estimated that with her history and the results of her last scan, that she was 'terminal' with an estimated time frame of around 6 months to live. Of course, Gama saw this as a challenge and has lived every day since that appointment trying to beat the odds, determined to prove her doctor wrong.
Chapter 8: In March of this year, Gama's liver decided to go rogue and do its own thing. Because it wasn't cooperating with the medicatons, this forced the doctor to stop the chemo medications that had been keeping her disease stable. Scans showed that the cancer in her liver was progressing and that options were limited. The doctor told Super Woman that there was one more drug that had a 10% chance of working, so our Super Woman welcomed it, and its side effects, with open arms. This medicine only lasted a mere 6 days before we booted it to the curb. It was stealing the energy and strength from our Super Woman and she decided that she could do this without the medications.
Chapter 9: Yesterday, Super Woman decided to listen to her doctor as he told her that the medications were doing more harm than good. She accepted his recommendation to enter into Hospice Care at her home. As she finishes writing the end of her story, we have to realize that no one knows how many pages or chapters Super Woman plans to write, but we do know that even the greatest of stories have to end.
Chapter 10: We we will continue to live, love, and laugh with our Super Woman as her story continues. We invite you to read her story, share her story, and hope that each of you find peace in reading her story. She is an inspiration and the strongest woman we know...she is the real Super Woman.