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The past few months have been a whirlwind for me.  

It all began one day while I was at work. It was a normal day, just as many others. Then I received a phone message from my sister, "Lisa, call me, it's Mom!" I called her back right away, my sister told me my mother was in severe pain, and she thought she may have fell and broke a rib. My mother & sister live in NC, I live in Florida.

Fast forward, a few hours and X-rays later, 2 masses were found, one on each of her ovaries. Huge masses. Still, we were in denial. After all, our history was very good, her mother, my grandmother lived to 94. Everything would be okay.  

Surgery, Friday, February 13th.  (Yes, Friday the 13th, I'm not superstitious, but hey) I won't forget that date.  

Cancer.  Cancer? This cannot happen. She is only 73. She is young to me, active, happy.

We wait for the biopsy results. What she is told after surgery is not the whole story. It has spread. It is bad. I get on a plane to fly to her. My sister and I tell her together. We sit at her feet and we tell her the most difficult thing I have ever had to tell anyone before. My mother is stoic. Brave. Serene. Calm. Peaceful. She knows where she will go when she dies; she has no fear at all. (Her words)


The first round is tough, much tougher then she expects. It does her in. She just about gets back on her feet and round two begins.  Not long after the second round, she gets double vision, etc.  My sister takes her to the emergency room.


I fly back again. I don't recognize her. It hasn't been very long, but she has no hair, she is weak, she is ill, she is miserable.  She is done.

Quality vs. quantity.  

Mom decides no more chemo, no more hell.  Whatever time she has left she is not going to undergo chemo and be so sick.  We are praying she will regain some strength. So far, this has not happened.


We had hospice come in to speak with Mom, my sister & I.  So many questions. I think Mom feels better now that she has a handle on what they will provide for her. I spent the entire time that the hospice nurse was with us, trying to keep the tears from showing up. Finally, I failed miserably. Mom, in her infinite wisdom said, "Soon this will all be over sweetie, then you can go back to your life. I am sorry you have to go through this."  Oh, great!! Don't I feel like crap!  This is not what she meant, she honestly was trying to console me, but the last thing I want is for "this" to be OVER.  


Don't misunderstand; I want her suffering to be over. I just don't want her to be gone. I don't know who I am going to call and share my stories about my daughters with.  I don't know who I will call and talk to about "anything" and know that she cares about everything I have to say.  I will miss our endless talks. I will miss her advice, her wisdom and experience, her quick sense of humor.  

Most of all, I don't know how I will ever, ever, ever not miss her.


Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Laurie Zieber wrote Apr 24, 2009
    • I don’t think you will ever not miss her. But the freshness of the pain will subside and you will miss her with the joy of memories and a little less pain.  

      I can feel that deep ache in my own heart just reading your words and imagining myself in your place. Tell her every memory that pops in your head through these days- tell her every time you thought she was amazing and tell her every memory you have when you thought she was nuts and then grew up and learned again that she was amazing.  

      I think it might help the hospice time some and I think it might help the grieving and healing time too.  

      And remember that we don’t grieve in the way that people grieve when they have no hope. Because she is confident in her God- you and she will be together to share your memories again- forever.  

      And I am praying for you.

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Marie66 wrote Apr 24, 2009
    • I don’t think you will ever not miss her..The way you talk about your mother touched my heart, and no matter what you will have all those loving memories you and her shared..Talk to her about everything and anything.. When the time does come, know that she will NOT be in pain, she will be that beautiful,loving caring women you have always known your whole life.. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family..God Bless..


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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Jenz ~ wrote Apr 24, 2009
    • I wish I knew what to say besides the expected. I am very sorry you‘re going through such a tough time, sincerely. Your Mother sounds like a wise, gracious, strong woman. You’ll always miss her of course. If you ever need anyone to talk to we are all here 24/7!
      Many hugs, prayers and positive thoughts coming your way.
      More hugs,

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Susan Sullivan wrote Apr 25, 2009
    • Your mom and mine are the same age and I too am not with her.  I feel your pain and you’ll always miss her...I still miss my grandma but it does ease over time to a degree.  As others have said, there is so much peace and comfort knowing that one day you will be reunited.  Families are forever for those who know God.  Make the most of the time left - it’s the best way to have fewer regrets.  Blessings to you.

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Vikki Hall wrote Apr 25, 2009
    • Oh Lisa,
      I am so sorry for your pain. You all were sucker punched and it makes it so much harder to deal with it.
      I will tell you first hand that you will never stop missing your mom. The pain will subside but there will be moments when it all hits you again.
      I’ve been there.... my mom was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and was given 6 mos to a year to live. We went thru the chemo twice, radiation and whatever else.
      When my mom was ready she had us call hospice. We did and she left us 3 days later. She was ready.
      I miss her!
      So how will you deal? One day at a time
      Who will you talk to? Anyone who will listen- BTW hospice will help you
      Will the pain go away? No, it’s been a year and a half and I still feel it.

      But honor your mom while she is still here and after she is gone. You are her daughter and she won’t want you to be sad. So remember all the good things.

      We are here.....

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Toddlein wrote Apr 25, 2009
    • Thank you for sharing....that really touched me. Your blog brought back many memories and I just wanted you to know that my thoughts and prayers are with you. And you ALWAYS have everyone here...take care!
      God bless

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Linda Hendricks wrote Apr 25, 2009
    • I’m sorry for your pain ... and you will always miss her and think of her... I was especially close to my Grandmother’s... it’s been over 20 years for one of tehm... and I still hear her voice as clear as when she was with me... believe it or not... it’s comforting...

      My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

      God Bless,

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Carolnphil wrote Apr 25, 2009
    • Lisa,

      I’ve spent the last two years gathering friends and family near to tell them how much they have meant to me.  I have told each of them how much I love them.  I have already said my goodbyes.

      I was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer on September 5, 2007 at age 45.  I’d experienced diarrhea for six months.  Thought it was a virus or long term stomach flu.  Boy was I wrong!

      After a lot of testing and everything turned out negative I asked for a colonscopy.  My family doctor said no because the rule is first colonoscopy at age 50. I told him my mom’s baby sister died from colon cancer in 1983 at age 29.  My colonoscopy was September 5.

      I was the youngest person in the recovery room.  Everyone else was in their late 70s/early 80s.  Everyone else was normal but me.  The doctor found a large tumor and told me I had to have surgery right away. The tumor was biopsied and found to be colon cancer.  

      I met with a surgeon on September 11.  Thought it would be a consultation.  He came in and immediately told me the cancer had probably spread to my liver, kidney and lymph nodes therefore I didn’t have long to live.  I had surgery on September 17, the day after our 18th wedding anniversary.

      The surgeon removed the tumor, a large section of colon and 17 lymph nodes.  He felt a large mass on my pancreas but knew he couldn’t remove it without killing me.  On October 23 I had an endoscopic biopsy of the mass on the pancreas.  

      At first they thought it was a benign fatty tumor but the pathology results came back as colon cancer which spread to a lymph node and attached itself to the head of the pancreas.

      I was sent to the pancreatic cancer specialist at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (Dr. Jim Moser).  I met with him on November 7.  He told me we’d do six months of chemo followed by radiation with hopes of shrinking the lymph node in order to remove it, along with that portion of the pancreas, doing the Whipple procedure.

      I met with an oncologist at Hillman Clinic in Pittsburgh.  He wanted me to get in a clinical trial he was sponsoring.  His clinical procedure nurse told me that I would be on chemo for the rest of my life, that chemo wouldn’t be able to cure me but would let me live a longer life.  

      Phil and I took a break and went to Florida for a week before chemo was to start.  When we got back I had a portacath installed in my chest.  Three days later I got my first dose of chemo at the hospital and went home with chemo drugs from the clinical trial.  After 12 days on the chemo drugs I ended up in the hospital.

      I spent 11 days in the hospital’s critical care unit.  They kept telling my husband I would probably not come home from the hospital.  All of my family came up to see me.

      God answered prayers and I was able to leave the hospital.  I was very weak and the doctors kept telling me I would probably end up back in the hospital in a matter of days but I didn’t.  

      The next day, December 27, we went to meet with a new oncologist.  I turned in the meds from the clinical trial.  They were toxic to my system and almost killed me.  Seems the dose they gave me was the same dose a 300 pound man would have gotten.

      My mom came to stay with me.  I started my next session of chemo around January 15.  I did 10 sessions which finally ended at the end of May.  I had my second PET scan in June and met again with Dr. Moser.  Surgery was scheduled for July 25.

      When he went in to do my surgery he couldn’t find any cancer, just traces of where it had been.  He explained it looked like burned charcoal.  He checked every organ ... no evidence of cancer was found.  He said it was a miracle as he expected to have found that it migrated and spread to other organs.

      During all this time I believed what the doctors said.  I thought my time was limited.  I finally prayed and asked God for peace about the surgery and whether I lived or died.  I had peace and went into surgery with that peace.

      All the biopsies came back with a pathiological cure.  He said some people have systematic cures but this one was different and never in his career had he seen this happen.  Only 1 percent of colon cancer patients have this cure.

      I truly believe it was a miracle and I spend every day thanking God for the second chance I’ve been given.  Every day that my mom was with me taking care of me we talked about me dying.  I never asked why it happened or was depressed about it. I wanted to live my life to the fullest even during treatment.

      I think your mother was telling you that she wants you to be able to go on with your life and not to worry about her.  She loves you so much she doesn’t want you to feel guilty about anything.  I know she appreciates the time you are with her.  I know this brought me and my mom closer together and I appreciate everything she did for me.  I thank God for her every day.

      I knew I was dying and didn’t have much time.  Your mother knows that, too.  Try and discuss how she’s feeling about this so that you can let her know how you feel, as well.  It will do a lot of good.

      I worried so much about my husband.  I knew my sons had their families.  My parents had each other but my husband would be alone and he and I are two legs in the same pair of pants.  He wouldn’t be able to make it without me.  

      The doctors told me to make my final arrangements. Phil wouldn’t discuss anything about funeral arrangements or where I wanted to be buried.  I had to discuss that with my mom and sister.

      Saying goodbye is very difficult.  More difficult for the ones left behind.  I am so glad I had the chance to say my goodbyes.  Some people are never given that chance.  Then the ones who are left live a life filled with regret.

      I hope this has helped in some small way.  It wasn’t meant to add to your sorrow in any way.  I have already lived longer than the doctors had given me which was 18 months.


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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mztracy wrote Apr 25, 2009
    • You are in my thoughts!!
      You will always miss her...

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cmrobert wrote Apr 25, 2009
    • I am so sorry.  I pray that God will give you the peace and comfort that only He can give.  


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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Deb Darby wrote Apr 25, 2009
    • Hello sweet Lisa.

      You know I’m feeling for you and praying for your peace. It’s wonderful that your Mom is at peace; but until yours comes, it’s got to be so hard. I KNOW it will come, though. Nevertheless, you will miss her. I pray that you can enjoy each other as much as possible with the time you have left. I haven’t lost anyone close to me yet; but some of you here know how close I’ve come lately. Michael is still in quite a bit of danger.

      Also, thank you carolnphil for your amazing story (not to mention the one about your son). You’ve given us alot of hope.

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Ruthor wrote May 13, 2009
    • I lost my baby sister 12 years ago, she was 27 and my dad 6 years ago, he had just turned 60. I miss them every day and sometimes I still cry. They both died suddenly, there was no time for goodbye.  

      You will always miss your mom but be comforted that the suffering will stop and that you were able to share so much together.  

      I have been fighting breast cancer since 2004, I was 39 when diagnosed. There is no history in my family of any cancer, we were all blinsided. I can understand what you are going through, all the fears and feelings you are experiencing I also have, except they are for my three kids. It’s good to have family and friends who will help you through these tough times, who will listen, even if it’s 3am!

      All I can say is to cherish everyday and keep her alive in your heart. You and your family are in my prayers and I am truly sorry that you are all going through this.

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Ruthor wrote May 15, 2009
    • I just joined this site, so please forgive me if this is so much later than everyone else. Someone sent me a poem for Mother’s Day and this part was in there. I thought it was very appropriate for what you are going through.

      “Your Mother is always with you.... She’s the whisper
      of the leaves as you walk down the street; she’s the smell of bleach in your freshly laundered socks; she’s the cool hand on your brow when you‘re not well. Your Mother lives
      inside your laughter. And she’s crystallized in every tear drop. She’s the place you came from, your first home; and
      she’s the map you follow with every step you take. She’s your first love and your first heartbreak, and nothing on earth can separate you.

      Not time, not space.... not even death!

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