29 May 2008

Insert witty-yet-somber-title here

It seems that I've had nothing to say for about ten days now.  Lots has been happening, but all I can think about is the passing of my aunt, and the husband and young daughter she leaves behind.

She had cancer. I knew death was a possibility, but I truly did not expect her to die.

My Aunt Sandra had been sick for the last few years, originally diagnosed with Diverticulitis.  Her doctor, Dr. Brady, seemed rather busy, and in some ways annoyed by incoming patients.  He just wanted Sandra to take her pills and disappear.  When she complained the pills weren't working and she was in pain, he told her to "suck it up and go to pain management."  My uncle met the doctor and verified Sandra's story: this guy had a horrible bedside manner.  He was kind of a jerk, actually.  

She found a new doctor, Dr. Feldman, and he was a blood hound.  Rather than make one diagnosis and run with it, he performed test after test until he exhausted his resources.  Finding nothing conclusive, he sent tissue and blood samples to the Mayo clinic where, even they had a hard time identifying the problem.  They discovered she had a form of cancer called Mantle Cell Lymphoma.  Not only is it rare, but it's typically found in old men - not middle-aged women.  

She began chemotherapy on August 31, 2007, very soon after she was correctly diagnosed.  She went through two rounds of chemo and a stem cell transplant.  The treatments worked; last month she was declared cancer-free!  

As these radical therapies completely wiped out her immune system, she was in the hospital recovering to protect her from infection.  Despite all of this she was doing much better than expected. On Saturday, May 17, they made plans for her to go home in a week. 

Then sometime after midnight, Sandra went into cardiac arrest and they were not able to revive her.  Before she had time to recover from her battle with cancer, she had a heart attack.  

Dude!  A heart attack!?  That was NOT supposed to happen.

My silly aunt, the shit-disturber, the feisty one, the one I got together with to misbehave, make inappropriate jokes and share secrets - she wasn't supposed to die at 46.   

But it happened.

14 comments:

  1. Oh I'm so sorry. I went thru something kinda similar with my dad - he wasn't supposed to die at 52 but he did. Best wishes and good thoughts to you and your family.

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  2. oh, jeannette. . . you're in my thoughts. may your aunt's memory be eternal. *hugs*

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  3. I'm very sorry for your loss

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  4. :( I'm sorry jnet.

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  5. (sigh) It's moments like this that I wish I was good with words.


    All this reminds me to life life with a little edge, take a risk or two, love hard, hug often, forgive generously, laugh freely, and look to the future, but live in the moment.


    Somewhere, in the back of my head, Michael Palin of Monty Python is singing "Always look on the bright side of life..."

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  6. I'm so sorry for your loss. No, that's not supposed to happen.

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  7. I'm sorry to hear of your loss. Too much of that is happening lately. Hang in there!

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  8. I am so sorry. Perhaps it will be helpful to focus on the fact that all of the pain and sufferings of this world is now over for her; but this may not be much of a comfort unto you for a while.

    Be assured that I have been made all too painfully aware of just how "wonderful" our general medical care in this country really is. For I have gotten to see some doctors who have at least admitted that there probably is something really physically wrong with me over the years; but that is as far as it goes. Perhaps I am just expecting too much???

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  9. Demeritrious30 May, 2008 16:38

    I'm sorry to hear that...thats real sad...id hug you as well...i pray things get better for you and your family.

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  10. Holly crap!! I'll be 45 in July & this post freaked me out!

    I know you will miss her. The same thing happened to my Uncle. He was finishing the treatments & had a heart attack as well. He lived (and is C free) but it totally wiped out one side of his body (the crazy bastard still drives though)

    I don't worry about the small stuff anymore, because when it is my time, I just hope I'm not in a public place where everyone can see me loose the fluids, ya know?

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  11. Jeannette - sorry for your loss. Your aunt sounds like a very fun woman and a great influence on you. Not ever knowing her, just from your description it is obvious you share her spirit here in your posts everyday.

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  12. Oh Jeannette, I'm so sorry. One of my favorite aunts is currently battling breast cancer and it has never occured to me that she won't make it. Thank you for your post-- I'll be sure to tell how I feel more often.

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  13. This is quite a story!

    (Insert appropriate-yet-personal condolences here.)

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