Cancer Steals a Smile, Ray of Sunshine, and Life

by GregP_WN

Last Tuesday, cancer stole another life. This one wasn't just another cancer patient, this one was a dear family member of ours. She was one of the sweetest people that could be found on earth. She was a beautiful young woman, mother to two great sons, wife to a fantastic husband, who will be missed dearly by all of her family and friends.

Adrienne Wonder Warrior Shirt

We see new cancer diagnoses almost every week. All of us know of someone who has been diagnosed, either themselves, someone in their family, a friend or acquaintance. Nobody is safe from being the next person that we know that has been diagnosed with cancer. No matter what your race is, your gender, your age, your status in life, or how you live your life, we are not exempt from being a cancer patient. When we learn of a new diagnosis of someone we are aquanted with we often say something like, "that's terrible", "that's so sad", "I'm sorry for that", or something similar, then we go on with our life. 

But when the person diagnosed is one of your own dear family members, one who has tried to do everything that a good wife and mother should do, one of the most liked persons in the little town she lived in, and the type of person who many would point to her life and say "that's how you do it", then we start asking why? Why was she diagnosed and taken from us? We say she didn't deserve this, and we mean it. This one cancer diagnosis is one of many that have been in our family, yet, this one hurts more, for many reasons. 

Our sweet Adrienne Lynne Light was diagnosed with triple negative, invasive breast cancer a little less than a year ago. She stepped up with a positive attitude and determination that made this three time survivor proud. She went through her first rounds of chemo like a champ, continued working at her job at Rolla Family Dentistry, where her work family supported her and loved her just like our family does. 

Her story of being diagnosed is one more reminder that everyone needs to be aware of symptoms, get screened, eat right, and exercise to stay in good health. These things increase our odds for NOT being diagnosed, but they are no guarantee that we won't be. Adrienne is a perfect example. She was fit, in good health, lived a good life, but it made no difference. Sometimes even when you are doing all of the right things, cancer still comes.

The Lights

After chemo treatments, she also had a double mastectomy and radiation. But during one radiation visit a rash was discovered on her skin that was determined to be the breast cancer that had metastasized. A scan later revealed that it had also spread to her lungs. 

A new type of radiation called Hyperthermia Radiation, where the skin is heated to increase blood flow to the area prior to radiation which in turn makes the cancer cells more susceptible to being killed by the radiation, was used on her new cancer location on the skin. 

After finding the metastasis, her doctors started oral chemo treatments using Xeloda. This treatment was not kind to Adrienne. She had severe side effects, fatigue, nausea, and whole body pain from it. 

Shortly after starting the Xeloda other side effects or symptoms of her now stage IV breast cancer started to show. Mainly fluid build up in her lungs. At this point she had reached the point where the treatments weren't working, and were making her life unbearable. This is the point where all cancer patients hope we never reach, the decision to stop treatments. 

Adrienne And Jeremy

Her care shifted to comfort at that point. The news of this change was devastating to all of our family. Many of us said things like, "this can't be happening", or "why is this happening", and "she doesn't deserve this".  

Our family made the 6 hour trip to visit her one last time before what we all new was coming could happen. We were greeted by that great big smile of hers when we walked into her room. She didn't know who all would be coming to visit, the look on her face was priceless. Even while facing eminent death, she was still the sweet, kind, beautiful Adrienne that we all knew. 

We visited and talked about various things, in between her spells of drifting off to sleep, and trying to fight off some of the signs that her cancer was attacking her and trying to take her. She even would laugh at some of the things we talked about, still smiling. 

Adrienne

Our first visit was on that Sunday. After being glad that we were able to see her and have cherished conversations with her, we spent the night in a local hotel. The following morning we went back for one last visit, one more chance to hear her sweet voice and see that beautiful smile one last time. During this last visit the fact that this was the last time we would ever talk to and be in her company again began to loom over us. 

At some point you have to go, you have to leave the room knowing that this beautiful person was going to soon die and we would never be able to see her again. What do you say to someone that is dying? How can you wrap up everything you would like to say and how you feel in a few sentences? If you have never had to do this, trust us, it's one of the hardest things you will ever do.

She was positive even in her last days knowing that she was dying. She told everyone not to say goodbye. But to say 'until we meet again". So, that was our final words, I love you, and we will see you again. 

We left her that Monday to drive home, then Tuesday morning we received the news that she had passed on. 

So cancer steals another one from us. But in addition to stealing a loved family member, she didn't get to see one of the boys all decked out for his prom, it also stole her being able to witness her sons graduations from her. Her boys won't be able to see the pride and love in her eyes as they walk down the isle at their weddings. She won't be there as they go through life and will no doubt ask "what would Mom do". It has stolen her smile from everyone in her life, from family and friends, to her work family and even those she touched that she never knew, and there were hundreds, if not thousands. 

Rolla Family Dentistry

Her funeral service was attended by hundreds, a testament to her personality, her magnetic outgoing way of living her life and the love that everyone had for her. 

We have known many cancer patients that have been taken from us, some family, some friends, and some distant acquaintances. This one was different. This person was special in so many ways. This one hurt more. 

To Jeremy, Grant, and Zach, we don't know how you'll get by without her because it's going to be hard for all of us, we can't imagine your state of mind at this point. Remembering her beautiful smile will surely help. We wish you the very best. 

Cancer continues to suck! It steals things from us that we don't think about until they are gone. It cuts families apart, it causes great pain and financial hardships. And sometimes, it snuffs our the brightest smile and ray of sunshine you can find. 

Until we meet again.  

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