Gwen lost her battle with cancer
on Nov 22, 2011. Our deepest sympathies to her family!
A Story of Hope: A Recipe for Recovery
I have always been blessed with good health. In my lifetime, I
have had four or five major surgeries, but have always bounced
right back, usually working at home while recuperating. Breast
cancer had never run in my family.
While standing in my bathroom in May of 2006, at age 71 -- five
months after my yearly mammogram -- I found a very large lump in
my left breast. I immediately made an appointment with my
doctor, and he confirmed that I had "The Big C." My battle with
cancer began with a mastectomy the following month. I was
informed that, due to the large size of the tumor and the number
of lymph nodes that were to be removed, I was in stage-3 breast
Shortly after surgery, I started aggressive chemotherapy and
radiation. I gathered lots of strength from my family and
friends and relied upon the power of prayer as I went through
Just a few days before I completed radiation treatments, my
mother passed away from natural causes at age 92.
The next six months proved to be a trying period for me. The
doctors found that the cancer was in multiple locations in my
lymph nodes, and I began a daily regimen of Xeloda (chemo
pills,) 3,000 mg daily, for two and a half years.
Follow-up tests revealed that cancer had spread to both of my
lungs and was inoperable. I was also told that I had thyroid
cancer, and had a thyroidectomy. At this point, I was diagnosed
at stage 4 -- I had lesions behind the aorta, liver, lungs,
pancreas and kidneys. After undergoing many tests, the
chemotherapy pills stopped, and I began taking two different
types of chemotherapy drugs intravenously. I am currently
receiving chemotherapy treatments on three consecutive Friday
afternoons, with one-week intervals between treatment cycles.
This will be my ongoing routine. I have now completed three
months of this type of chemotherapy.
My most-recent CT scan, conducted November 10, 2010, showed
positive internal response to therapy, with nearly-complete
resolution of the bilateral pulmonary and left supraclavicular
lymph node nodules and unchanged appearance of low-attenuation
lesions in my kidneys. Praise the Lord for a good report!
This rigid schedule of chemotherapy has caused my blood levels
to become extremely low, and I'm sure that I will be receiving
blood transfusions in order to be able to continue my
I am enjoying the daily experiences that are enlightening me
with laughter and encouragement. I am simply amazed with the
outpouring of support from my family, friends, and complete
strangers from all over the world. My daughter, Melissa,
created a website for me: "A Daughter's Love: 1,000 Cards for
Cancer," located online at
http://tokeepyourhopealive.webs.com, where visitors are
asked to send a card of hope and inspiration. To date, I have
received 782 cards - and counting - from all over the world.
These uplifting cards bring a smile to my face and brighten my
Sometimes, we feel helpless in situations such as this. We have
to remember that the power of prayer is stronger than we simple
humans are able to comprehend. I am just grateful that there is
treatment available. Please continue to pray for me - and for
This is my story of hope and my recipe for recovery: Find
strength in the power of prayer, enjoy the little things in
life, and hold your family and friends close to your heart.
November 15, 2010
Comments: Hobbies: loves flowers (roses & hibiscus, gardenias)
Reading inspirational books
the love of angels, hummingbirds, animals
favorite colors (baby blue, green, pink)
Scents of lavender, Vanilla