Cancer really, really sucks

I had an ex-sister-in-law (ex-wife’s brother’s wife) with whom I stayed in touch after my divorce. She and her husband were the only people in my ex’s family who reached out to me after the divorce and cared about my side of the story, and it meant an awful lot to me at a time when I felt like I’d lost all of the rest of my family in one fell swoop.

Some time ago, she was diagnosed with lymphoma. I kept in contact as she’d been fighting it, dealing with chemo and such, and had been winning for a time. Ultimately, cancer fought back hard.

After not seeing her for a while, I got to see her in December of this past year, at the birthday party of one of her young sons. She caught me up on what she’d been dealing with in terms of the cancer treatment, and just life in general. Other than not having as much hair as I’d been used to seeing on her, she’s seemed very much like the woman I’d always known. Not long afterward, I went out of town for a month and a half, but we kept in touch, and I learned that her disease had started becoming a real problem.

I next saw her in March. Despite being warned, I was really taken aback by how much of a toll the cancer seemed to be taking on her. She was in the midst of chemo treatment, so she was incredibly weak and ill. Prior chemo treatments had been ineffective, and they had moved on to more desperate treatments.

The next time I saw her was near the beginning of this month. The treatment she’d been on the prior time had been stopped, and she and her husband were considering their options and planning for the worst. Talk was of perhaps one last treatment to try. Although she was on a lot of pain medication at the time and using a walker to get around, she was pretty much the same person in personality that I’d always known. Plans were made to see her again in the next week or two during some meetings with oncologists that were going to take place not far from where I live.

The day after that, she went into the hospital for an infection.

When I next spoke to my brother-in-law, a little over a week later, he told me that she’d been in the hospital that entire week, and that they’d run out of options. They’d stopped any sort of treatment, and were bringing her home. The estimate he gave me was that she’d have a few weeks, maybe three months on the extreme outside. He suggested I come and visit her soon to make sure I got a chance to say goodbye, a concept I had difficulty fathoming. That was on May 22nd.

This Saturday, the 26th, my wife and I went to make that visit. But she had degraded more quickly than had been anticipated. She was on a large number of pain killers and a breathing apparatus, and didn’t have any moments of lucidity during the time we were there. I wasn’t expecting that the last time I’d seen her was going to be the last time I’d get to have a conversation with her. I’d expected the visit to be an emotionally painful one, but not quite so much as it had turned out to be.

This afternoon, she passed away after being home less than a week. She was 46 years old. She left behind a great husband, two young sons, and a lot of sad friends and family. Sheila, thank you for being there when I needed you. I’m glad that your struggle is over, and I’m glad that it wasn’t prolonged. You’ve definitely left your mark on this earth. Be at peace.

How awful! How sad she was so young. I am so sorry for your loss. A good friend of mine is obviously slowly losing her battle with breast cancer. It is dreadful. I hope she’ll beat the odds but they are alas not in her favor.

Your main rememberance has been her personality. That’s her legacy.

What a really good “ex” you’ve been.

I’m sorry for your loss, and grateful for the memories you have of a wonderful lady. I hope those memories will bring you comfort.

Yes, cancer sucks. And it sometimes sucks beyond the ability of the victim to fight back.

Yeah, cancer sucks. We need more people like Sheila on this planet, not fewer.

I’m so sorry for your loss, asimovian.

I’m so sorry. She sounds like a really great person. Cancer is just the worst.

I’m very sorry for your loss, Asimovian, and for her family’s loss. It sucks.

Though I never met her when she was well, I got to seem glimpses of the smart funny woman she was. I regret not knowing her better.

So sorry to hear of your loss. That is way too young.

What a touching story, thanks Asimovian and please accept my sympathy.

Fuck cancer.

It isn’t fair, Asimovian, and I’m sorry for your family’s loss.

I’m glad you made that last visit. It may or may not have done her any good - it’s always hard to know how aware someone is when they’re dying - but I’m sure it meant a great deal to her family to have you there.

I’m sorry to hear of her passing.

I’m so sorry.

Sorry for your loss. Sounds like it was awful for everyone. Peace to you and them.

Thank you for sharing a little of this remarkable woman, with us.

My heart goes out to you and her family, I wish you all peace.

I lost a sister about five years ago to ovarian cancer. Your story pretty much mirror’s our families’ experience.

You are absolutely right. Cancer sucks.


Well, shit.

I’m so sorry, Asi.

You’re right. It does suck. :frowning:

This would be the perfect time to come up with something suitably eloquent to say, but it doesn’t seem to be forthcoming.

Sheila is fortunate to have you remembering her as kindly as you do. Cancer does indeed suck.