The time has come for me to write a tribute to my mother who passed away near the end of last year after a tragically short though incredibly courageous battle with cancer. It’s still hard for me to believe I am actually typing these words. This past year has been the most difficult of my life. About one year ago this time, I found out my mother had been diagnosed with stage four gallbladder cancer. Cancer of this type is extremely rare, less than 2,000 or so cases in the US each year. What isn’t rare unfortunately though is the heartache and struggle that watching someone with cancer can bring.
My mother bravely fought this battle and gave it everything she had. Amidst her very short journey with cancer, she endured chemotherapy AND radiation (something that, in retrospect, I wish she had never even considered)! She also lost close to 75 pounds in a few short months, and never was able to regain a normal semblance of her lifestyle, after her final round of radiation in late August, 2010. Vegangroom and I moved the to east coast to be by her side (and also for me to “nurse” her back to health as I was intent on doing. I hoped to aid her with a 100% vegan diet made up mostly of with freshly pressed organic vegetable juice, raw foods, and other healing supplements to give her immune system the kick-start it needed. My mother however, not being a devotee’ of the health and wellness lifestyle, wasn’t really “on board” with all of this. Loving her the way I did, I definitely did not (and could not) impose my lifestyle upon her (even if having to watch her die in the process- the most gut-wrenching experience of my life). By the time I made it home in late August following her second round of radiation, she was vomiting multiple times a day on a daily basis, and was mostly completely bed-ridden. It was all she could to embrace the Noni juice (which, surprisingly, though the taste made her want to gag (when going through chemo & radiation it seems one loses their taste for nearly all foods) The Noni juice seemed to lessen her nausea SIGNIFICANTLY, and in the very last days, was all her diet consisted of, along with Glucerna! (Ugh). The organic vegetables and other vegan healing foods I had hoped so desperately to get into her system along with any solid foods proved too difficult after the radiation have ravaged her system. She took her last breath with me (and a tiny group of family members) by her side on October 31, 2010.
I am sad to write that I am still no where near being healed from her loss. There is a constant pain and sadness that emanates from my breast at all times when I think of her. What’s more, I feel extreme angst and frustration over the state of conventional “health care” in this country! The fact that alternative and non-toxic treatments for cancer and other degenerative illnesses are often discouraged (and even suppressed) by mainstream medicine is maddening to me. (Her team of oncologists definitely discouraged these). Should this horrifying disease affect anyone close to you (and chances are it will due to the rampant statistics- 1 in every 3 women will be affected at some point in her life)- please please educated yourself as much as possible as to ALL of the treatment options available to you! I witnessed firsthand how chemotherapy and radiation took a thriving, energetic, passionate individual and reduced her to a frail, exhausted and helpless one! (I am talking CHEMO & RADIATION here-NOT cancer- cancer itself is actually a slow-growing problem in most cases! Radiation and toxic chemicals are NOT!) Please google or you tube “Healing Cancer from the Inside Out” to learn more about what I’m talking about and to find out more about alternative, IMMUNE-ENHANCING treatments. (If only my mother had been open and if only we had been exposed to this information earlier… Sadly, I was not, however I plan to make it part of my life’s work that other people ARE, starting with you- which is why I am so very thankful to you for reading this.
Of course, being the self-proclaimed tree-hugging, health conscious, vegan, liberal that I am, I LONGED for my mother to adopt a healthier lifestyle since the day it became evident to me that there was such a strong association between the food we eat and our health! Sadly, the conventional lifestyle was just too much embedded in my mother’s everyday lifestyle. Nonetheless, she accomplished more in her 67 years than most people could or would in multiple lifetimes! She (still unbelievable to me) as the product of a poor and single-mother household became NJ’s first African-American female superior court judge. She also was honored with innumerable accolades for her un-ending charitable and service-driven accomplishments. At her funeral, more than 2,000 people came out to pay her tribute. When the streets of Jersey City were lined with perfect strangers who removed their hats and publicly prayed and offered blessings to her as we passed them by and then when we passed in front of the courthouse to see a host of judges in their robes and sheriff’s officer’s standing at attention to salute her casket, it was the most moving sight I have ever seen.
Mommy, everything I’ve learned about love, life, laughter, giving, accomplishments, happiness, and all things beautiful, I learned from you. I will miss you until the day I see you again, and I will hold you in my heart forever. Yours truly and completely,
May God bless and keep you all. Thanks for reading. VB