Mike and Donna at their daughter’s wedding dance, photo from their album
Donna my sister-in-law was the strongest person I have ever known. I never seen anyone fight so hard to beat breast cancer. Her first fight was lung cancer and she beat it. But the cancer was still in her body hiding. The sad part was she never smoked a day in her life, was very active and always ate healthy. Then five years later she was diagnosed with breast cancer right before Christmas. This was her most favorite time of the year. She and my brother always made Christmas special for all of us (they spoiled my kids rotten). Christmas was so special for her. Shortly after Christmas the doctor removed her left breast and several lymph followed with radiation treatments and weeks of chemo, nausea, puking, constipation and diarrhea. The first couple of weeks she was so sick and terrified, then she lost all her beautiful long red hair. The sad part was the only thing I could do for her was be there, to hold her, talk to her about everything even stupid stuff. When something funny or stupid would happen at work I would tell her just to get her to laugh. She was finished with the radiation first, then finish her round of chemo, the one thing that helped was between my brother, my niece, my nephew and myself one of us was always there with her during her chemo treatments. She was winning the fight and the doctor told her she was cancer free. Not long after she became really nauseous, exhausted and lost a lot of weight. First the doctors treated her for kidney stones. That seem to help, but was not the problem. She was getting worst and was crying a lot, all I could do is hold her. My nephew and I keep making her favorite foods trying to find something she could keep down. My brother took her to her favorite restaurants and David, my son would sit and talk politics with her, something that she enjoyed. Nothing helped, she was getting sicker and more terrified. Then the doctor gave her the devastating news that she had Stage IV breast cancer in was in her bones and liver. When she told me my heart broke for her. Later when no one was a round she said wanted to talk to me. She told me that said she was so scared and was trembling, I could see the fear in her face. Then she started crying and all I could do is hold her and tell her everything was going to be alright. Not long after the doctor started an aggressive type of chemo, she was such a trouper between being so sick and losing her hair again. My brother took a leave of absence from his job to be there for and take care of her. They would go to Disney her favorite place, watch funny movies, and argue about politics. They messed together perfectly for forty-three years even though they were polar opposites. Theirs was a love story that should be written. She tried to keep her spirits up even after the cancer went to her brain. She had to endure more radiation targeting the caner in her brain. She started losing her eye sight, but she seemed to be feeling better again and going to Disney and would come to visit me. The night we went to look at my camper to see if it was the one to buy, I fell in love it as soon as I walked in the door; but I knew by the look on her face it was the right one to buy. When we got back to their RV my bother went inside; so she and I talk about the camper being perfect, I had to go so I gave her a hug and told everything was going to be alright now. Her favorite festival of the year was the Florida Strawberry Festival in Plant City. After they went to the Strawberry Festival she became very ill with a virus and was taken to the hospital. I went to visit her and that was the last time I seen her before she passed. She fought so hard and long to beat the cancer, but a stupid virus took her away from us. Breast cancer affects the whole family. Every member of the family must to pull together to help their love one though their terrifying battle. This is Donna story, a segment of what life is like fighting breast cancer and how our family pulled together to support her. Donna touched so many lives and was so loved. She is still so missed by everyone.
Pray for everyone that has breast cancer and donate to cancer research. One life lost to breast cancer is too many.
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