Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Aunt Debbie

My Aunt Debbie died today, at the end of a seven-month long battle with fast-moving peritoneal cancer. She was 58.

She did everything right--she got checked regularly, since her mother had had ovarian cancer. But despite that, despite the screenings every six months, she still developed peritoneal cancer. The doctors placed it as starting in March 2009, but it wasn't diagnosed until the summer months.

And it was so fast-moving that it ignored everything medical science could throw at it. Two disastrous surgeries did nothing. A course of chemo between the surgeries did nothing. You know it's bad, when the chemo doesn't even work in the slightest.

Peritoneal cancer, for those that don't know, is cancer of the peritoneum. Your peritoneum is the lining of your abdomen, so it literally touches every organ in your abdomen. And so at the end, my poor Aunt Debbie had cancer throughout her body that they could do nothing at all about.

It's a terrible way to die. A really terrible way to die.

But she hung on for almost a month after they moved her to a hospice. She hung on enough to spend time with her three children; two girls, Sara who's in college, Lauren who's in graduate school, and my cousin, Josh, who has Down's Syndrome and doesn't comprehend it all. She had so many visitors come to the hospice that they moved her to a larger room to hold them all. She had laughter and love and the Jets to watch in her last days.

And I know it was unavoidable, but I am still terribly sad. I want to rail against the universe for taking her away from her family and her friends. For taking this woman who has been my aunt as long as I can remember, since she married my uncle when I was two. I danced at her wedding. I remember all three of her children being born. It doesn't seem fair that I'm still alive, and she isn't, but that's how life works and it sucks.

She was beautiful, kind, and funny. She rode horses in her youth and loved science fiction. She read FEDERATIONS while she went through chemo, and loved the stories in it. She was the most dedicated Doctor Who fan I had ever met. And I will miss her terribly.

18 comments:

Shelli said...

im so sorry Jenny. It just sux and isnt fair.

annathepiper said...

My condolences to you and your family. Cancer sucks. :(

All Adither said...

I'm really sorry to hear about your loss. 58 is way too young.

aimee said...

Ah, honey. I'm so sorry. *many hugs and much love to you*

Casey McCormick said...

I'm so sorry, Jenny. My heart felt condolences to all.

Deb Salisbury said...

Hugs, Jenny.

veela-valoom said...

I know saying "Sorry" doesn't fix anything, but I am sorry for your loss. That's hard, especially with it being so quick. You like to think if you do what the doctors say and follow the rules you'll be fine. Unfortunately it doesn't work that way.

So sad.

ryan field said...

Very sorry.

Jodi Meadows said...

*hugs*

Jodi Meadows said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dominique said...

Please accept my condolences to you and your family. I am so sorry for your loss.

Colleen said...

I am very sorry for your loss and hope you are surrounded by family and friends to help you through this.

Julie Butcher-Fedynich said...

I hope you find comfort in your wonderful memories of your aunt.

Nathalie Mallet said...

I’m so sorry, Jenny. My condolences to you and your family.

Kim said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. Condolences and many hugs to you.

Laurel Amberdine said...

She sounds like a really cool person. I'm sorry :(

Anne Harris said...

Please accept my heartfelt sympathies for your loss.

David J. Williams said...

Jenny - so sorry to be getting to this so belatedly ; that's awful news and at least you were there for her throughout. hang in there. . --D