Categotry Archives: breast cancer

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A Sad End to 2012 And A Year of Change Coming in 2013

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I have to say that for a while, 2012 seemed to be a decent year given what we had been through the last few years.  Our finances were a bit better.  Buggy started pre-K and that was a change but a good one.  We kind of cruised along until October.  On the 20th we participated in our second Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk in support of my friend and L’s former teacher, Robyn.  We got to the meeting area just as her brother was telling everyone that Robyn was in rough shape and unable to attend the walk.  My heart sunk and I just had a bad feeling.  I had seen her at the pre-K school a few weeks before and she had looked good.  I had IM’d with her a couple days before the walk about an extra team T-shirt we had and she seemed in good spirits but then again, she always was.  Little did I know she was deteriorating.  B and I celebrated our 11th anniversary that night but my mind kept going to Robyn.

Not long after the walk, her CaringBridge site was updated to say that she had recently been hospitalized to remove fluid around her lungs.  She was released shortly before Halloween and I saw her at the pre-K Halloween parade.  It was then I learned how severe things were.  She looked good, considering, and was her usual funny self.  But she told me without really saying it that she was preparing for the end.  She was due to start a new kind of chemo soon and she told me if that didn’t work, that was the end of treatment for her.  In turns out, she never even got to start it.

A few days after Halloween, she was hospitalized again with fluid buildup.  Over the course of that stay, it was decided that treatment would stop.  She moved to her parents’ home one town away, where she had been staying during most of her treatments, and hospice was called although she wasn’t yet in critical need of it yet.  I let L know the newest developments although I don’t think she grasped the severity of it.  I hoped Robyn would hang on for one last holiday season with her family…that they would at least have that.

In the end, she did have one more holiday.  She was able to celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends.  That following Monday, her CaringBridge update let us all know that comfort measures had been started.  Her battle was ending and her journey home had begun.  I couldn’t stop crying.  I didn’t tell L about the latest news.  I had no idea how long she would hang on so I thought it better to just tell her when it happened.

The next evening, November 27 at 8:40 pm., beautiful Robyn’s courageous battle ended with her loving family by her side.  My heart was broken for her, her family and my poor L.  She was already in bed so I waited until the next morning to tell her. It turned out she already had a feeling it had happened.  A classmate (who had also been in Robyn;s class with L) had told her the day before that her mom had let her know that Robyn’s family thought she only had 24 hours left.  I prepared L for a somber day at school.  When I dropped her off, you could tell the teachers were fighting back tears.  L and I both wore out Team Knockout shirts from the walk in her honor and I saw many teachers had done the same.

Dropping Buggy off was even worse.  The Director of the school and I hugged and the tone of the school was sad, to say the least.  The following day, I saw Robyn’s daughter in the sick room and once I got to Buggy’s room, I asked her teachers if anyone knew how she was doing.  She was having a rough time which was to be expected so I made sure to poke in and say hi to her as I left.  I left the building in tears.

The Saturday after she passed, L and I attended the celebration of her life.  It was there that the reality of it hit poor L and during a beautiful guitar accompanied version of “God Gave Me You,” she broke down which naturally made me lose it.  But it was a beautiful celebration of her life.  There were funny little stories and reminders of how hard she fought and how she never lost her sense of humor.  When her husband went up, there wasn’t dry eye in the house.  Same thing when her brother got up.  But the amount of people there was a true testament to the kind of person she was and how much she was loved.  It was a dreary day and someone posted on Robyn’s Facebook page that it was because God was crying too because he had to take her home.  Even to my agnostic self, it seemed like a proper response.  But after the service, several people saw rainbows and I knew she was OK and in no more pain.  That was what mattered most.

In the time since she passed away, Robyn has made her presence known.  Twice while I was out to eat, I heard “God Gave Me You” and I knew it was her letting me know she was nearby.  I had NEVER heard the song before her service so to hear it twice in a couple weeks, I just knew it had to be her.  The second time it happened, Linnaea was with me and I told her Robyn was checking on her.  But I think Robyn did something even bigger for me.  The day after she passed, after weeks of no job leads, I got a call for an interview from a company I had come close to working for a few years ago.  It was a position I had a lot of experience in and the office was VERY close by.  I couldn’t help but think that given the timing, Robyn was already working her angel magic.  Last Thursday, I was offered the job and I feel that I have her to thank.

Before 2012 ended, life felt it had to deal one last blow.  On Christmas Eve day, Band Back Together lost one of their own.  Beautiful, kind and funny Misty was someone I had bonded with over the love of food and beer.  Her loss was sudden and unexpected and it shook us to our core.  She was one of the nicest people I have ever known and she is missed terribly.

So despite the sad ending to 2012, 2013 has started off on a happy note and I like to think things can only get better from here.  I start my job on the 21st and I am really excited.  We will have more financial freedom and the ability to go out a bit more and maybe take a couple mini vacations.  The kids are doing well in school and I am sure that will continue.  I am looking forward to the changes ahead.  Right now, life is good.  And when it’s not, I remind myself of what Robyn used to say, “It’s OK to have your bad days BUT you HAVE to get back UP…it’ll get BETTER.”  Wise words indeed.  I miss you, Robyn.

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Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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As many of you know, October is breast cancer awareness month.  I have 2 aunts who are survivors and I know many more.  But this summer, the disease hit close to home for my 7 year old daughter.  As I mentioned at the end of this post, L’s teacher from last year was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer.  It had spread to her bones and her liver.  She tested positive for the breast cancer gene so her two daughters will have to be careful as they get older.  She is in treatment and it appears to be working.  She is awaiting results of her latest scan and we all have our fingers crossed.  The next step will be surgery.

When L found out, of course her first question was if Mrs. U would be OK.  I told her that we hoped she would be but it would be a while before we knew if the medicine was working.  She immediately wanted to do something…draw her pictures, anything to make her beloved teacher feel better.  When Mrs. U posted on Facebook that she was participating in the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer in Orlando, I told L that would be a great way to help and show our support.  At first, I signed just L and me up.  I sent emails to family and friends asking for donations.  After a while, B expressed interest in doing the walk as well so I added him to the team.  Now our whole family will be participating in the walk on October 29.

It has also amazed me how the school community has stepped up.  Every October, they sell pink ribbons and bracelets.  This year, they are doing the same but with one difference…all the proceeds of the sale will go to a fund For Mrs. U and her family.  I think I may have cried when I saw that news because I know this hasn’t been easy on them.  She has not been able to work at all so far this school year and she did not have any type of disability insurance.  I am so proud of the members of the school staff who are doing their best to help out their fellow teacher.  Our entire family bought bracelets and Linnaea was going back today to buy a ribbon.

I wish we could do more.  I hate that anyone has to be touched by this disease and I hate that my daughter has to see it hit so close to home.  I can’t say it enough…Cancer is Bullshit.  We need to find a cure.