Photo credit: Sophie LeMay
I am done being poked, prodded, cut, and poisoned.
Somehow, it seems I am finished with my work here on earth as well.
Chicago treatments aren’t working.
They were not able to replicate what I was receiving in Istanbul closely enough.
Should I have stayed in Turkey? Maybe, but I was not near remission there either…my body couldn’t hold onto the progress I’d made there through so many brutal treatments. I’ve lost ~6 months of hard work.
I’ve loved being home with John, Sophie, and Grant and would have made this tradeoff to come home with full knowledge of what would happen.
At some point, even with integrated chemotherapy, the bone marrow gives out.
I’m nearly there, and nowhere near remission.
There are no effective immunotherapies that seem to be ready for me now either.
We have done absolutely everything, but I am suffering. It has become hard to eat and drink, with cancer disrupting all of that.
My body is done. It’s time to find peace and pass as painlessly as possible.
We are initiating hospice.
A few last thoughts…
I’m glad I learned…
- How much I love my family. John, Sophie, and Grant are my favorite people. Rocky too. Being with all of them has been comforting.
- How liberating it is to dissociate from emotional toxicity…better late than never
- How much I’ve enjoyed being alive for as long as I have been
- How to navigate cancer, with John’s constant partnership, to be alive and mostly out of pain this long…NOT without complaint, mind you. This whole thing is obscene. Courage amounted to going through these treatments, anyway.
- CA125 testing were standard for perimenopausal women (note you can ask for this and order it yourself through any number of lab services, e.g., requestatest.com); there are many false positives but secondary imaging will let you know if you need to take action (which could be as simple as having your fallopian tubes removed)
- Gynecologists listened to women coming in with unusual symptoms (bloating, UTI’s, post-menopausal bleeding) the first time
- The integrative care I received in Turkey was fully available in the US
- Effective treatments were available for the majority of ovarian cancer patients – chemo simply doesn’t work most of the time.
- Chemotherapy for all cancers is ultimately replaced by immunotherapies that don’t damage our bodies
- Preventive cancer care, including clean nutrition and environments, becomes normal from birth on. This would be “gold standard of care.”
- I could stick around for the fun part with John, Sophie, and Grant
- I had more time to live, love, work, enjoy
- Sophie, Grant, and John can remember me when I was well, forgive me for not being able to stay that way, and live fully without me
- That you will help them do that and keep them company; there is never a good time to leave
- That their memories of me provide comfort as they navigate a new normal without the wife and mom they knew until now
- That my words provided some inspiration along the way, and they might continue to do so (Currency of Empathy holds true; Cancer Culture: Fixing the Landscape by Infusing Empathy to be published soon…)
- That life in some form continues so I can keep my family company somehow…I believe this is true…I just don’t know how. Soon, I’ll find out. It’s a big adventure, really. I’m not afraid of death, just the painful part before the transition…
- That I get all the answers to the questions I have about health, life, the point of everything…my version of heaven. Even Google can’t do all that.
- That my dad meets me on the other side
- That in the life after this time on earth, I again experience the kind of wholeness and joy which has been hard to access while accepting cancer treatments, dealing with many constraints, and living with constant discomfort (who knows how it works but maybe pizza and wine come back on the celestial menu…Minna’s dumplings and peach cobbler, Aunt Rusty’s spaghetti, Grandma Acho’s tacrathas)
- That you who get to carry on here with life on earth, enjoy retirement, have fun with your spouse, travel as much as you’d like, watch your kids graduate, become adults, get married, and have kids (if they so choose).
- That you get to rock your grandkids…that maybe you’ll even rock mine and somehow let them know how much I love them already
- For the unfettered love I’ve experienced in my life
- For the partnership and family John LeMay and I have built; may it sustain him even in my absence…as I’ve told him, he’s so loveable and deserving of partnership in his life still, but I get first dibs in heaven.
- For the work I’ve been able to do in the world
- For a healthy body that supported all of that for ~50 years, with hardly a thought about time limits
Maybe we always want more time.
I bet we do. I know I do.
But it’s time to rest, and I’ve earned it.
Thank you for your company, love, and prayers.
Much love back to you.