One year ago today, my wife of thirty-four years died of ovarian cancer. Diagnosed on July 27, 1999, with Stage IIIC ovarian cancer, at that time Judy's life expectancy was about three years. She lived nine and one-half years.
Judy's doctors called her "a poster child for effective cancer treatment." She endured over fifty chemotherapy treatments, the first two dozen characterized by five days of post-chemo sickness that no medication could bring under control. Each cancer patient is different with regard to how they experience the side-effects of chemo, and how they respond to anti-nausea medication; for that matter, each cancer has its own various medical protocols, and each patient is unique in his/her response to specific medications. Eventually, a new anti-nausea drug alleviated the worst of Judy's nausea.
Judy experienced hundreds of radiation treatments, five major surgeries including stereotactic brain surgery, and a stem-cell transplant. The stem-cell transplant was brutal. Judy was deathly ill for thirty days at M. D. Anderson. The most vivid expressions of that treatment are too indelicate to mention here.
Despite all that, for the nine years after her diagnosis, Judy was "in good health" most of the time. She deteriorated rapidly during the last year of her life, the cancer metastasizing to her lungs and brain. Thankfully, the brain tumors never manifested neurologically or physiologically, but the lung tumors caused increasing respiratory distress and were the eventual cause of her death.
During those nine years, Judy lived gracefully and graciously, the same way she had lived the previous forty-nine years. She "walked in beauty," not just physically but in every other way, especially spiritually. Those who knew her saw the personification of God's grace throughout her life, especially during her sickness. She has left upon us an indelible impression of heaven, a testimony to the reality of God, and an almost impeccable Christian example. Indeed, "the king's daughter was all glorious within."
All who knew her miss her and love her. Those who know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior will see her again.