Our team is coming together in honor and memory of a former co-worker, who lost her battle to oral cancer. Rose was special from the start, always cheerful, always helpful, always going the extra mile. She never gave much thought to herself, she was always taking care of others.
Rose's battle was short.... she was diagnosed just before Christmas 2019, and passed away on May 26, 2020. What started out as a small sore on her gum turned into a baseball sized, angry, aggressive tumor. The day she was diagnosed, she ended up seeing three different doctors, all telling her they didn't like the looks of it. Because of the holidays, she was delayed getting to see the surgeon but she wasn't worried because she was told that this type of cancer wasn't normally aggressive and responded well to treatment. The doctors decided to try chemo first, to shrink the tumor, with the hopes that removal would be easier. We can't imagine how bad things would have been had they not gone forward with chemo prior to the surgery. When she was finally able to see the surgeon, the tumor had grown substantially, and the doctors weren't even sure if they could operate. Had they waited one more week, it would have been inoperable. Rose had surgery on February 19, 2020, which included removing her entire lower jaw, along with transplanting some muscle from her leg and arm. Doctors were encouraged by her recovery in spite of the drastic measures that had to be taken to remove the tumor. Five weeks after her surgery, she started chemo and radiation. Alas, the cancer was too angry and aggressive - even with radiation and chemo, the tumor returned with a vengeance and spread like wildfire. Just after Easter Sunday, Rose was informed that she was terminal, with two to ten months life expectancy.
She waited a week before she let us know.... I am sure she and her family needed time to accept it and grieve. We were devastated by the news, with lots of tears being shed, just feeling sick over the outcome. Rose slipped peacefully away on May 26, 2020, just six weeks and one day from receiving her terminal diagnosis.
Rose was cremated and her family opted not to do a memorial, which was just as well, because COVID 19 meant that we wouldn't be able to attend anyway. So the days have passed, with us attempting to adjust to the new normal, one that didn't include our beloved co-worker, friend, confidante. And then today, a client asked if there was a charity she could support in honor of Rose. So, I set out on a mission to find something that Rose would have wanted... and found a virtual walk supporting The Oral Cancer Foundation. We couldn't save Rose, but by supporting a foundation for research and support resources means that we might be able to save someone else. Our hope and prayer is that our loss will help someone else gain their life back.
With Much Love and Prayers for our Friend, and all those who are still Fighting!