Nancy discusses how losing her daughter to cancer impacted her pulmonary fibrosis.
She became ill two years last November with kidney problems. She lived like, she lived in the West Valley, I lived in the East Valley. So, 50 miles apart, saw each other every two-three weeks, something like that, talked on the phone.
All of a sudden she didn’t want to talk on the phone a lot and didn’t feel well. I had to, she did come out for Thanksgiving but laid on the couch the entire time not feeling well and threw up dinner.
By Christmas she was so sick that I took Christmas dinner to her; fixed it at her house and sat in the bedroom and ate it with her.
Realized at the time how sick she was, but she kept saying, “Oh, you know, it’s just a kidney infection, it’s just this.” And she was a nurse. She was an RN, so I took her word for it.
In January she came to stay with me for two days, at my insistence. I then saw what I was dealing with, and on the Monday morning, took her to Mayo’s emergency room, where, within two hours she was diagnosed with cancer everywhere.
It had started in her lungs. It had metastasized to her kidneys, which is where the only symptoms were coming from. Her brain, her stomach, her bones, everything was involved.
I didn’t realize that her downplaying everything was brain cancer at the time. She was not able to make those decisions and really express what was happening to her.
The last day of March, she was gone. She was 38 years old. She was a registered nurse working in the Valley full time until six months before that.
I had emphysema at the time. I was working full time; I was not on oxygen.
I had spent my whole life saying, if I ever lost a child I would die. Everyone I know has said that at one time or another. Within six months I was told that I was dying of a disease that I could not recover from.
What does one have to do with the other? I think more than we’ll ever know.
Definitely, definitely. I think the emotions and the severe sadness and the way your body feels during that time can definitely make you sick. And I think it took the weakest part of me and just hit me right in it.
Maybe the pulmonary fibrosis was there but maybe it wouldn’t have been found for a few years. Maybe I wouldn’t have had to be on oxygen so quickly.
And just out of the blue, I think that your body just takes all of that sadness and, it’s much more than sadness and I can’t even think of a word, just a life-changing event.
You internalize it to the point where nothing about you, including your body, is never the same. And from then on, you’re building yourself up again. I was anyway. Just trying to stay on top of it instead of just letting it kill me immediately.