Saturday, July 05, 2008
My Cousin's Wife
It sucks to die when you are only 50 years old and have a real love of life. It sucks to deprive your three sons, the youngest only eleven, of their mother. It sucks to for a husband to lose the wife he has been in love with since his teen years.
Donna is lying in an ICU right now, stricken down with an ovarian cancer that has spread through her body. The cancer was detected five years ago, at stage three. There were rough days and miserable treatments, but she was beating this disease, until recently. Last week she went into the hospital for a routine chemo treatment and the hope of becoming part of a new, experimental program. Things did not go as planned. She developed a pulmonary problem. Her stomach became distended and the doctor's discovered the cancer spread to her colon. Her colon was removed. Unfortunately the cancer spread to other parts of her body. Now she is on a ventilator, sedated and her survival chances are very slim. Her 18 year old does not leave her side. Her 16 year old can't bare being in the room with her. Her 11 year old is confused about what is going. Her husband is numb. Her sister-in-law flew cross country to help for a week and is now staying indefinitely because her brother needs her.
I was with Donna at the Montreal wedding just three weeks ago. She danced and partied and laughed and talked about beating the disease. I just found out that she was in pain, even then. She hid it. She didn't want people to worry. I will always remember her twirling around the dance floor with her three sons.
Donna is a Bronx girl that never forgot her roots, no matter how much money her family has made. My cousin, to whom she is married is a top lawyer in a major firm but you would never know this by looking at her and talking to her. She is as humble and loving in wealth as she was in the projects of the Bronx.
Life is not fair. Donna is in the hands of great doctors. I pray that Donna's family will have the support they need to carrying on without her.