Deanna's Discoveries: Saying goodbye

April 29, 2019 10:56 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) -- I've returned to News10NBC after having been away for seven weeks receiving cancer treatment but I wasn't the only one in my family being treated for cancer.  

My mother was as well. She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in February.

I've chosen to share my journey because I believe every trial has something to teach. And sharing those life lessons has provided a forum through which we as a community of folks who have faced serious illness can support each other.

My surgery last fall revealed microscopic disease remained, so I had radiation treatment followed by chemotherapy. The chemo agent is a pill that can cause hand and foot syndrome.

In my case, my hands became so tender that typing hurt and my feet were so sensitive that I wore house shoes and had to use a wheelchair if I had to walk long distances.

Then, the most devastating diagnosis yet - my sweet mama, my best friend, was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer in February.

So, I took off work to care for both of us.

I flew her to the esteemed MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and I was also treated there.

My children missed us terribly, so I took them out of school for a few days and flew them to Houston to see us. The reunion was beautiful, and my mom was able to take the kids to the Houston Zoo, one of her favorite places.

Then my mom started planning for Easter. My family has a tradition of color coordinating our Easter outfits in spring pastels. This year, the color was baby blue. My mom and I had so much fun as we shopped for her Easter suit. She was thrilled when she found matching hats for the two of us.

But our Heavenly Father had other plans for my mom. 

She died at 4:18 p.m. on Holy Saturday, leaving behind my sweet 83-year-old daddy. They had a union that spanned four decades, and while his faith is unwavering, his grief, like mine, is real and raw.

We celebrated my mom's life days later wearing our Easter blue again in her honor. And my sweet mom was dressed in that baby blue suit and hat she had chosen weeks before.

Now, my family begins a life re-imagined in a world without my mom while celebrating the place we know she now calls home.

As for me, I got encouraging news a week before my mom's death. Tests revealed no sign of cancer, but I still face another year of treatment. 

In the weeks ahead, I'll explore grief in Deanna's Discoveries. How do you learn to live without a loved one? 

We'll learn about that together.


Deanna Dewberry

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