Lots of Tears With Less Than a Few Months to Live

I am reblogging this amazing post.  It is the sad and poignant blog of a young woman who is terminally ill.  This is her story.

Lots of Tears With Less Than a Few Months to Live

Posted: 10/09/2012 3:40 pm
The day after her 36th birthday, Meredith Israel Thomas was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer that had spread to her liver, lymph nodes, spine, ribs and other bones. Doctors didn’t think remission was possible, so opted against a mastectomy, but she has undergone a number of other treatments since then.

An advocate for early detection, she pledged to make the most of what was to be limited time with her family — including her young daughter Niomi, a“miracle baby,” she wrote in a blog post for HuffPost — and closest friends.

After receiving some troubling test results, Meredith met with her doctor, who broke the news that “the cancer has won,” she wrote on her CaringBridge page. “I will die from liver failure. Not in three to six months, but from weeks till around three months. The liver won, and I will die.”

Writing in June for HuffPost, Meredith expressed not a fear of death, but of leaving her daughter behind. She wrote:

I will never get over my fears of not being there for Niomi as that is what truly scares me to death, but until the day comes, I will live each day to the fullest. I will instill in her the most valuable lessons I can. I will teach her to be strong, to give her advice through letters, through videos and even through our little talks while she’s falling asleep at night. But for now, we live day by day and that takes my fears away.

She took to the blog platform to explain the doctor’s opinions and to share her plans for the precious next few weeks.

The following was first published on Meredith’s CaringBridge page:

I want to let everyone know that I tried my heart out in the fight, I won’t quit until the last drop and I’ve done the best I can. This blog is the real story for Niomi. I can’t remember everything, but with this, she will know everything.

I can’t wait for her to read all the journal entries from people on the blog. People will tell her the stories about how much her mommy loves her. I must admit I am scared to walk into that playground tomorrow, but for Niomi, I will do whatever it takes.

I will cherish the dinner between my parents and Gary tonight. It was pouring rain as we left Sloan tonight and I said to my dad, doesn’t this seem like deja vu? I didn’t believe in the one-year diagnosis, but this time the results were right and realistic. My dad keeps hoping that on April Fool’s Day, we say April Fool’s, gotcha! Maybe that’s the miracle. Who knows?

To warn you — I threw out two cancer jokes today. Couldn’t help it, but that’s me. I guess that is how I live life. Example: I told my friend about this project and said it has to get done and I asked when. She said, “I promise to take care of it.” I then texted her back: “I’m on a timeline here, a real timeline, so they really need to move.” She started laughing and said, “Only you would still make jokes on a day like this.”

Everyone, thank you so much for sharing my story with people and spreading the word about early detection. Thank you for being there for me and supporting me. I read every email, text, Facebook post and guestbook entry. They all bring my family and me strength. Thank you!!!!

Can you believe I won’t know the season finale of Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice andParenthood? UGH. Now, that sucks. Hopefully they know these things in Heaven.

Before I leave though, I want to try to get Niomi on skis, I want to be running down the beach with her as much as possible, apple picking and taking in as much healthy air as possible while she smiles.

I have lots to write and to get to on my list. I may not like that I may die bald, that I never really recovered from Bells palsy and lost the pigmentation in my face, but at the end of the day, I am beautiful no matter what. I have a husband who loves me more than anything in this world, and Niomi. I think Los Angeles would have been great and would have been great for my health, but the cards didn’t align this time and maybe it was all meant to be. Three weeks ago I was walking in Cape Town, South Africa and three weeks later I was told I will be dead within weeks to a month or so. Life leaves us all with a lot of questions, but I know I don’t blame anyone and they just better find a fucking cure for this disease before Niomi and the kids of all my friends who have been diagnosed have to fear this horrible disease.

My head is soaked and itchy. Maybe when we get her to a ski mountain, which isn’t really possible, I will walk out into the snow naked to cool off. Just kidding.

Must work on a better list that doesn’t have me flying all over the world. He won’t approve of that. But I dream of Hilton Head. My happy place. I must get back to Hilton Head to see Niomi back there on the beach or bay. I need to find all my happy places on the east coast.

Love always, Meredith

We are scared

Wednesday a specialist surgeon came to see Jared. He said CT findings, such as indicated in Jared’s scan, is nonspecific and are generally “not recommended to rule out the presence of a neoplastic process such as lymphoma. A surgically obtained biopsy is required to confirm the diagnosis of lymphoma.”

Jared asked the doctor exactly what he meant. The doctor tried to avoid answering Jared.

Jared repeated his question: “What do you mean doctor?”

“We have to eliminate lymph cancer.” the doctor said.

He continued to explain to Jared that due to the position of the para-aortic lymph nodes the surgical biopsy is major surgery. A large incision has to be made to allow access to the lymph nodes situated near the aorta, right in front of several lumbar vertebrae. Jared said “Doctor I had major surgery with my Nissen Repair and it was keyhole surgery…Now you want to make a large cut for a biopsy?”

I thought it was a rather intelligent and rational question and even in the scary moment I was proud of my grandson.

The surgeon said Jared would go to theater on Thursday morning for the biopsy. He asked me to be there by 6 am so we could have a further discussion before Jared went into theater.

Jared’s eyes, when he registered what the doctor said, will haunt me until my dying day. He simply said “Oumie can we phone Mom?”

Vic’s first reaction was “Mommy I am just too sick…..” I told her Jared wanted to see her and that her dad would bring her to the hospital.

I took Vic aside and broke the news to her first. Then we spoke as a family. We went to the cafeteria and had a cup of tea. Nobody had an appetite.

Wednesday night I Googled the results of Jared’s CT scan and found the following:  “The paraaortic lymph node is lymph tissue located near the aorta, right in front of several lumbar vertebrae. Another term for the paraaortic lymph node is periaortic lymph node. As part of the lymphatic system, a paraaortic lymph node helps drain dead cells and immune system-neutralized foreign bodies. In particular, a paraaortic lymph node helps drain the organs in the pelvis and the lower part of the digestive system.”  http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-paraaortic-lymph-node.htm

Five broad etiologic categories lead to lymph node enlargement, as follows:[1]

  • An immune response to infective agents (e.g., bacteria, virus, fungus)
  • Inflammatory cells in infections involving the lymph node
  • Infiltration of neoplastic cells carried to the node by lymphatic or blood circulation (metastasis)
  • Localized neoplastic proliferation of lymphocytes or macrophages (e.g., leukemia, lymphoma)
  • Infiltration of macrophages filled with metabolite deposits (e.g., storage disorders)


Paraaortic lymph node

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lymph node regions



We left home at 5.30am on Thursday morning.  It was raining and freezing cold.

At the hospital the surgeon spent a lot of time talking to us.  He discussed the results of the CT scan and said that the most common reason for lymph nodes to enlarge is infection.  The blood tests, done on Monday and repeated on Wednesday, however showed no infection levels.  The CRP levels were perfectly normal.  The problem with Lymphoma is that bio-markers are not enough evidence for a diagnosis…

The surgeon was concerned that he had a very long theater list and that Jared had already had four anesthetics this year.  It was a long procedure….  Furthermore he had to go back to theatre in two weeks time for the removal of the stent.  We agreed that the biopsy would be delayed for two weeks…

Jared came home on Thursday.  He is on very strong antibiotics.  His kidney is still sore.  He is scared.

We are all scared.