Too many to count

Twice it was defeated and twice it has returned, yet she has proven to be a worthy adversary each time. For over 5 years she has been resilient, strong. Despite being tired, she has never once considered backing down. She is an inspiration for all those around her as she forges ahead; pressing on, she has refused to allow her cancer to define or defeat her.

She has undergone numerous and varied forms of radiation, chemotherapy and surgery, all working toward the erradication of the monster that intends to kill her. The doctors have tried every concoction of treatment that science can muster, but the impotency of modern medicine has become increasingly apparent as the tumors continue to grow in spite of the medication. Designed to kill the disease, treatment has, instead, robbed her of her sense of self, her identity.

When my grandmother looks in the mirror, she struggles to recognize herself. With only one breast, radiation burns, little hair, and after losing an inordinate amount of weight, she is a shell of her former self. At 82 years of age and with neuropathy numbing her hands, she struggles to apply makeup and don her wig, but it all seemed worthwhile 2 weeks ago: imaging showed that her tumors were shrinking.  She was winning…

…and now she knows she will lose. Three days after developing a focal headache behind her left eye, the results are in: metastatic tumors in the brain.

She asked how many, but it wouldn’t matter.

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