Breast Cancer entered our family's life for the 1st time in 1991. My Mother's best friend, Debbie, was diagnosed in her late 30's within 6 months of delivering her 1st child, Emily. She beat stage 4 cancer & was cancer free for 6 1/2 yrs. Unfortunately, during a stressful 3 yr divorce she suddenly collapsed from a grand mal seizure, leading to the ultimate, terrible truth that her cancer had spread to the brain. In less than 2 yrs Debbie passed away leaving behind a young daughter.
Jo Ann's Story
During the 2 yrs of Debbie's horrible treatments & divorce court nightmares our family experienced yet another awful reality...my Mother's long time business partner & dear friend had also been given the worst news possible. Jo Ann was not only diagnosed with Breast Cancer, but she had never had a diagnostic mamogram believing that it was unnecessary for women under 50 yrs old. By the time she had that 1st mamogram her cancer had spread to her spine, ribs, & femur bone. Jo Ann lost her battle with cancer at age 55, 2 yrs after Debbie died. My Mother had lost her 2 best friends & our family's lives were changed forever!
These women represented courage & strength of character. The three of them showed all of us how to live every moment to the fullest. While my Mom would be taking her friends to doctor appointments & treatments, they would somehow manage to be having the time of their lives! They laughed & enjoyed the time they spent together. They even made the hospital stays fun "sleepovers" or ladies day out adventures. Doctors & nurses were entertained by the spirit of the 3 "crazy" women that would envade their offices for appointments, together, each one helping the other make the day something special... in the end, only my Mom was left to carry on their spirit. It reminds us all not to take anything for granted. We all need to remember their motto... it's not how long you live, but how well you live the life you are given.