Maria Howard

First post: Oct 24, 2018 Latest post: Dec 27, 2019
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Maria Teresa Howard (Aguilar) was diagnosed with low grade lymphoma (cancer of the blood system) in 1999. She remembers that her oncologist at the time, Dr. Tim Crowley, told her it would stay slow growing for about 20 years. Sure enough, with intermittent short-term chemotherapy and other treatment, it idled along until a few years ago. As she passed her mid-80’s, a new and more aggressive lymphoma took over from the sleepy tumor. Her strong, healthy body and mindset tolerated more potent chemotherapy and courses of radiation for this new cancer, allowing her another few years of wonderful living. Yes, she did have to retire from her job as a therapist at age 86 (!), but was then able to savor Sea Ranch and Sierra camping trips with her large extended family, Tai Chi outings and retreats with her long term buddies, birthday lunches and Wednesday gatherings with her women’s group, dinners with close friends, walks and “sometimes I just sit” adventures to her happy places like Bon Tempe and Lake Lagunitas. Her grandchildren continued to share with her those many Comforts lunches and gift shopping expeditions, as well as visits filled with long chats and laughter.

Last month, the tumor re-emerged on her arm and other places, just six months after her most recent round of treatment in the spring. This time there are not a lot of options remaining for treatment. She has squared off with the reality of palliative care with her usual spirit, face upturned to the sun and heart filled with a deep appreciation for her wonderful long life and of the many people she loves. Those of you in her CaringBridge community are part of this group. We wanted to share with you on this blog her goings on and the state of her life, hoping you can take comfort from photos of her smile as she takes on this chapter with her usual depth of spirit and zest for life. Renee will be writing the posts with Maria’s approval and input, and that of her favorite editors, her brothers and sisters. We will all make sure mom reads your posts and comments so feel free to send any time.

Renee Howard Erle


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