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.