Breast Cancer DIY

...created by women with breast cancer, for women and men with breast cancer!

In Loving Memory...

 

 
 A note from Heaven

As I sit in heaven
And watch you everyday
I try to let you know with signs
I never went away
I hear you when you’re laughing
And watch you as you sleep
I even place my arms around you
To calm you as you weep
I see you wish the days away
Begging to have me home
So I try to send you signs
So you know you are not alone
Don’t feel guilty that you have
Life that was denied to me
Heaven is truly beautiful
Just you wait and see
So live your life, laugh again
Enjoy yourself, be free
Then I know with every breath you take
You’ll be taking one for me.

Author Unknown
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Norma Lee Miget  - Mesa, AZ   10/8/1942 - 7/22/2014


Norma was my dear friend, and  the wife of my husband's shipmate on the USS Woodrow Wilson, a US Navy Submarine.  Norma was a great gal, wonderful nurse, and she fought a great fight!

Our friendship has been a blessing.
You've been a dear friend to me...
And I know that God will protect you..
For his Angel you will be...
You have given love and comfort...
Never a harsh word would you say...
So Today I say "Goodbye", may God speed you on your way.
We will miss your joy and laughter, and your always ready hand...
But Heaven needed you my dear, so it was time to leave this land...
Heaven will be richer,  just because you are there,
So I say farewell, and pray that we'll meet again....
And we can quilt on a cloud somewhere. 

Love, Marion 

Carolyn Merritt from Matthew

My mother was all of the things described in her memorial guestbook, and all the good things now on news releases and postings on the web. But to me she was something else – something different, and more. Though I am unequal to the task of describing in detail, all that mom was to all the people who knew her, I thought I’d try to offer a few words about who she was to me.

God gave mom the desire to make a difference in the world in which she lived and worked. She put her whole self into everything she did, and was committed to being mentally and emotionally present wherever she was and in whatever role she found herself. Mom ran the race.

She was a great mother. When Shannon and I were growing up, she made sure that we did the things that kids want to do. She was a Girl Scout leader when Shannon was in scouts, and she loved to plan and take the troop on trips. She would pull off amazing camping trips with 20 six-year-olds (though she wasn’t much of a “camper”). She would come to my school and tell stories to my elementary school classes: Uncle Remus, Grandfather Tales, and Jack Tales - stories that had their roots in the South and Southeast - although she was a “Yankee transplant” at best. She came to lacrosse games, basketball games, football games, baseball games, softball games, tennis matches, and helped me type school papers at 2:00 in the morning. And, as much as anything else, even when she traveled, she would always take my call. As children, she was also our Sunday school teacher more years than she wasn’t. And she did all of it while maintaining her professional life in a way that so many people have chronicled far better than I could.

She was engaged as a wife, a mother, friend, community enthusiast, and Sunday School teacher. She was into everything - that’s just who she was. When she saw a need or an opportunity that she felt her kids should have, she found time to get involved personally to make certain that things were as good as they could be. We didn’t have it all (does anyone?), but we did, and experienced, and laughed, and had lives which were fuller because she made it a priority.

Mom loved the Church. She was always reading and studying - C.S. Lewis, Oswald Chambers, Bonhoeffer, William Barklay, John Calvin, Martin Luther, Max Lucado, Phillip Yancey, and hosts of others. I think C.S. Lewis was her favorite, and lately she said “The Great Divorce” gave her comfort.

She loved to learn, and as long as she was learning she was willing to teach others what she knew, and willing to talk to anyone about what she suspected. She taught with patience, passion, and humility, and she listened the same way. I never saw her teach a Sunday School class as an adult, and forever I will wish that I have been able to learn more from her about how to teach and interact with people so that they are engaged and involved and interested. She really had such a gift for that.

God’s hand on mom’s life was the thing that made her who she was. I think she would say that was true. She was God’s very special daughter. She was a heart full of hope and laughter and compassion and generosity for every story before her. She was the very heart and smile of every family holiday. She was a warm and steady light in the storm. She was a million wonderful thoughts stretching beyond the horizon, and with all that was wonderful about her and with all the ways that she touched the world and all the amazing things she accomplished – to me, she was my most loving mother.

Carolyn Merritt died August 29th, 2008 in St. Louis, Mo.

She was the wife of one, and a mother and a grandmother to two.

She was a sister to 4.

She is survived by her father, her sisters, her brother, her husband, her children and her grandchildren.

She loved her life and lived to love. She touched the world. She finished the race.

I love you Mom.

U. S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board: Farewell video:  click here
CaringBridge.com Memorial click here

 

 

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Patricia Agnes Graves

 1932-1973
 

T

he arrival in the United States of her Grandfather from Ireland in 1905 led to Patricia Agnes Gibbs growing up in the town of Richburg in western New York State. Her childhood was a rural setting that included the proverbial walk to the schoolhouse a mile and a half in the snow with firewood for the stove and a lunch made from a chicken she’d chased down her driveway just the day before. There were derricks pumping crude oil 24 hours a day outside the windows of her home. She grew up as tough as the rest of her Celtic clan including 2 sisters and 2 brothers.

While Pat was known for creating her share of waves, she also very early on developed a desire to help out anyone with any type of need. It didn’t really seem to matter whether Pat’s needs were taken care of- there was always someone who she could look to give her time and energy to help make their life a little easier.

Migrating to what must have seemed to the small-town girl a bustling metropolis of Wellsville New York in her teens, Pat learned more of the life lessons that shaped her commitment to others when her parents took a residence along the street on the edge of the town of 6,000 that otherwise was populated by families whose own ethnic origins were from Africa. Patty Gibbs would have had it no other way.

World War II had wound down, and consistent with the mood in America Pat Gibbs became enamored with a young vet who had entered the war at 17 years of age with his parent’s permission. Whether Pat was attracted to Fritz Graves’ war record on beaches from Iwo Jima to Kwajalein or from Guam to Okinawa, we do know without question that Patty Gibbs didn’t need to become Patricia Graves to improve her courage quotient.

As a post-war housewife, Pat raised her own family of 5 rotten little kids that she loved without condition. I can say that because I was one of them. My mom was the heart of everything she got into- whether it was the Easter Seals or the Catholic Youth Organization or any of the other causes she supported and managed; to borrow a phrase from the game of poker- mom was “all in” on everything she embraced.

After her youngest child was born in 1961, and with the oldest leaving for- ironically enough- his own military stint on Guam, Pat balanced her duties at home with a college course in medical records terminology. She founded a singing group to raise money to buy a jeep for a missionary in South Korea. Her college degree led to her invitation to teach the same Medical Records class at the State University of New York in Alfred, an invitation she could not refuse.

In 1969 the things being taught in her medical terminology classes did not include drugs like tamoxifen and host of others that were not yet available; lumpectomy was not offered as an option for breast cancer patients because it was still thought to be ineffective. The medical profession was still years from discovering that pre-operative chemo would make surgery easier on the patient. These were not good times for women discovering they had breast cancer. Pat’s home was 100 miles from a major city and mammography was not yet available there.

Pat’s doctor told her that the lump she’d discovered on her breast was something they should “watch”. They “watched” it for a year before she took it upon herself to seek testing outside the area, tests that she was told indicated she had terminal cancer. She came home to share with her husband the tragic news- she was being given a 6 months, maybe a year, to live. She didn’t waver, and without tears she asked Fritz to bear with the situation and promise not to “tell the kids”. His emotions had been tempered by war, and he promised to keep her secret. In this most crushing moment of both of their lives a witness unknown to them watched the display of courage from his hiding place just a few feet away- their 12 year old son.

The surgeries came rapidly- from the radical mastectomy, oophrectomy and lobectomies on both lungs- 7 operations in total. This didn’t keep her from teaching, didn’t keep her from her family duties or the other responsibilities she considered hers- in fact she added to everything else by joining and chairing the local fundraising arm of the American Cancer Society.

It wasn’t easy to see the work done in the early 70s on the flesh of your own mother. The scars that ran like a railroad switching station on her torso were so large and raised that they seemed almost unreal, honestly like something from a 1930’s Universal movie makeup department. Advances in treatment here in the U.S. will hopefully continue improving treatment worldwide to keep cancer victims from facing the breathtaking disfigurement of the past. Families must find solace in the part their loved ones played in allowing these advances. With so much left she intended to do for others, my own mother left us far, far too soon.

In 1983 the EPA named its second Superfund Toxic Waste Cleanup site in Wellsville, on the land of an abandoned oil refinery that was just upstream of our water treatment facility. Dumping there by Hooker Chemical in the 1950s had led to unusual cancer rates among our population. The scenario was eerily similar to the dumping in Love Canal, New York, the first Superfund site. In 1990, and with funds provided by the new owner of the property (ARCO), a new treatment plant was brought online with an intake this time upstream from the Superfund Site. While this is surely a positive development for the residents of Wellsville, New York, it probably does little for the comfort of those living downstream in the 29 small towns that line the Genesee River as it flows to Rochester on its way into Lake Ontario. 

 
Thank You, Kurt
Tax Free Charity

 

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Teresa "T" Wilhelm: What God Won't Ask


What God Won't Ask

 God won't ask what kind of fancy car you drove. He will ask how many
people you took to church who didn't have transportation.

God won't ask the square footage of your house. He will ask how many
people you helped who didn't have a house.

God won't ask how many material possessions you had. He will ask
whether those material possessions dictated your life.

God won't ask what your highest salary was. He will ask if you
trampled over any people to obtain that salary.

God won't ask how many promotions you received. He will ask what
you did to promote others.

God won't ask what your job title was. He will ask did you perform
your job to the best of your ability.

God won't ask how many promotions you took to chase a dollar
bill. He will ask how many promotions you refused to advance your
family's quality of life.

God won't ask how many times you didn't run around on your spouse.  
He will ask how many times you did.

God won't ask how many degrees you had. He will ask how many
people you thanked for helping you get those degrees.

God won't ask what you did to help yourself.

He will ask what you did to help others.

God won't ask how many friends you had.

He will ask how many people you were a friend to.

God won't ask what you did to protect your rights. He will ask what
you did to protect the right of others.

God won't ask how many times you told the truth. He will ask how
many times you told a lie.

God won't ask about the color of your skin. He will ask about the
color of your heart.

God won't ask how many times your deeds matched your words. He
will ask how many times they didn't.

God won't ask what neighborhood you lived in. He will ask what
other neighborhoods you visited.

 

"God ordinarily will not show you His will in order for you to consider
it. He will show you His will when He knows you are willing to do it."

Ray Pritchard

Teresa wrote her own Celebration of Life service, and this was the
writing that she chose to express her feelings about life.
 

Bev: We were "Friends Across the World!"

To My Friend Bev,
from Marion/BCDIY

(Who wrote part of this to me: Marion)
“To my dearest friend whom I have never met, but feel I have known all my life.  Thank you for all the pleasure you have given me over the last few years.”  Our internet friendship was one that defies description.
Bev survived breast cancer for 18 years, but lost her fight November 15, 2008.

 

TONI'S TRIBUTE TO HER MOTHER: 
(Bev’s oldest daughter):

 

M

um was one of the most beautiful people I have ever known. I am not only talking about how she looked, I mean, in her heart.  Mum had the kindest gentle soul.  --  Mum was born in Brisbane, Australia.  At 16 she met a handsome young rusty headed man at a local dance.  His name was Ron, who would become my father. 


Mum & Dad saved & worked hard. Mum picked strawberries for extra income, to help with the family budget. She still found time to sew for us & dress all beautifully. We were a happy family of five.

           
Mum often told us kids, “It’s not so important how well you do, just be honest to yourself & do your best…” 

           
Mum loved an adventure. These adventures took her exploring in remote parts of New Zealand & Tasmania, walking through pristine rainforest searching for native animals.  Dad & Mum lived with native villagers in the Solomon Islands for a number of months, hunting & fishing with them & sleeping in their huts. Mum was particularly taken by the inner beauty of the Solomon Islanders.

           
Mum became quite involved with dads love of aircraft, to the extent that she got her pilots license.  She loved flying with him to different parts of Australia for various reasons. 

           
Some of my fondest memories with Mum revolve around the kitchen. We would spend hours making elaborate Chinese meals for the family – going exactly by the book – that was one thing about Mum – she was a perfectionist!  One particular trait that sadly, I did not inherit! She was particular about everything that she made: cooking, sewing, knitting, patchwork. The dresses she made Helen & me for various formals & balls & weddings & especially our own wedding gowns, were always finely detailed & immaculately finished. Although she always told anyone who would listen that she wasn’t an artist & she couldn’t even draw a straight line, I believe she was an artist in the truest sense of the word.  She could take a variety of materials & create something breathtakingly beautiful.

           
As her children moved out of the family nest, she found a new passion: patchwork quilting.  No wall was left bare, no bed uncovered, no cupboard left unfilled with beautiful intricate quilts.  Then Mum really began putting a few people out by she entering her patchwork in the local shows & consistently winning numerous awards. Although she was very happy with herself, I think dad was even prouder!

           
Mum instilled in us a love of nature & all its wonders. Mum taught us to love life, & to live honestly.  She taught us to be aware of our environment & to leave it pristine for generations to come.  Mum helped us see what is important & what isn’t. She taught us to search our soul & follow our heart.

           
Mum was a wingless angel, here for a short time to make the lives she touched, and a little bit better. I would often talk to her about some dribble or issue I had & she would quietly listen, never judging, let me get it off my chest, she was the best listener. I don’t think there are enough listeners in the world today; we are all in such a hurry to be heard above everyone else. 

I will miss talking with you Mum.  Therefore Mum, I do not bid you farewell, because in each moment, of every day of my life & all the lives of the people that you have touched along the way, we will feel you singing in all of our hearts.



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Helen Descovich: Bev's Daughter

This is Helen, Bev’s youngest daughter, who also had breast cancer and predeceased her mother (Bev) on December 29, 2004.


Toni's Tribute to her younger sister Helen:

F

rom the outset, Helen was a determined, passionate person with a great love of life.   She was a person who was quick to smile, tell a joke, and who was fearless.  Like our Mum & Dad loved nature and Mum’s philosophy of:  Help Others First.

In the 70’s, Helen developed her love for horses, - with all her time devoted to her beautiful Chestnut horse, Trinity.  Theirs was a match made in heaven. He would courageously swim through murky, eel infested dams with a gaggle of girls giggling hysterically, as we clutched at his mane and tail to stay afloat. And with his goofy nature on top of all this - he was very much like Helen herself!!

     In 1996, Helen met and married Greg Descovich.  Over the years, Helen retained her passion for horses and for riding, then began competing in a number of different events locally (in Australia).  She also developed a sidelong passion for travel that took her as far as Europe to watch the World Equestrian Games.  She happily dragged Greg to many parts of Australia and the world!

      Helen saw each day as a journey.  Along her journey she inspired many people.  Her ability to smile and make jokes when she was in great pain, was humbling to those of us who sometimes struggle to cope with the pressures of everyday life. Her positive outlook throughout her illness, despite loosing her hair, despite loosing her independence - which she so fiercely fought to keep - even despite loosing her ability to ride, was nothing short of courageous.  And she still had the strength of will to take Greg on holidays to New Zealand, Melbourne, & Cairns, (to name but a few) in between series of chemotherapy!  I’m sure she was on a first name basis with the concierge staff in a lot of different parts of the world!   Her motto was: Make Every Day Count, Don’t Count Every Day.

     Helen left us on the 29th December, 2004 after a long battle with metastatic breast cancer.   

Helen, you will be with me forever.  I will feel your strength in the tallest trees. I will feel your free spirit in the beautiful sea eagles hovering over the cliffs on Moffat Headland.  I will feel your fierce determination in my beautiful children.  And I will hear your bubbling laughter, and see you as a teenager: freckled face red from the sun, with the wind whipping your long dark hair, galloping bareback, running free...when ever I feel absolute happiness & joy.

   

The following thoughts were found in Helen’s journal the day after she passed away.  We thought she would like us to share them with you:

 

Journey every Day

Give gratitude everyday to something.

Counsel people from the soul & heart.

Don’t wear yourself out and don’t think that you
are the only one who can care for people like you do.

Understand they have responsibilities to themselves.

People show they care in different ways - you can accept this.

Forgive people when you need to.

Say what needs to be said, when it needs to be said.

Let the past be the past.

Go for it.

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To Jill Buchanan from Kat Albrecht

I

t is with deep sadness that I share that my friend, Missing Pet Partnership volunteer , and self proclaimed "number one slave" Jill Buchanan passed away March 12, 2009 in Clovis, CA due to a long battle with breast cancer. Well, that's not entirely true. Jill didn't battle the cancer, she accepted it and her lived the last several years knowing that God had a plan in this and she was very much at peace about dying. 

About three weeks ago I had a conversation with her about dying and she was most certainly ready. I am so grateful that when I recently visited Fresno that I was able to see Jill twice -- once for lunch and a second time at her home. She was bloated and felt terrible, but was doing well enough to kinda sorta get around. I last saw her a week ago Monday and a few days later, she had a seizure and quickly deteriorated.  

The attached photo was taken the day before I pulled out of Fresno and moved to Seattle. We talked about her pending death, how much I would miss her, but how we both knew exactly where she was heading (hence the humor in the U-haul slogan of "Where Will U Go Next?" I take comfort in knowing that Jill is free from her pain now and that she's moved into God's Kingdom.  But of course, I will deeply miss her love, her friendship, and her hysterical jokes!  

Jill, Kat, and Karen/BCDIY: members of Missing Pet Partnership:
http://www.missingpetpartnership.org/

To view her tesitimonial: click here

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Shin Na, Singapore
http://shinscancerblog.blogspot.com


Inspiring Personal Journey:  Shin Na
http://shinscancerblog.blogspot.com/2008/11/my-documentary-video.html

 

We are saddened by the passing of our sister, Shin Na, on Tuesday, January 27, 2009.

We thought of you with love today,
but that is nothing new.

We thought about you yesterday,
and the days before that, too.

We think of you in silence,
We often speak your name.

All we have are memories,
and your picture in a frame.

Your memory is our keepsake
with which we'll never part.

God has you in his keeping,
we have you in our hearts.

- author unknown -

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