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Dr. from Antartica has died

socallisa Member Posts: 10,184
edited June 2014 in May Their Memory Live On

I just saw this on MSN

updated 7:54 a.m. PT, Wed., June 24, 2009

BOSTON - Dr. Jerri Nielsen FitzGerald, who diagnosed and treated her own breast cancer before a dramatic rescue from the South Pole, has died. She was 57.

This is too sad...


  • Estepp
    Estepp Member Posts: 2,966
    edited June 2009

    Oh, I am sorry to hear about this. I remember hearing her story.. but I will go look it up and I am not 100% on it....

  • Roya
    Roya Member Posts: 16
    edited June 2009

    I read about that.  I was awed by the fact that 10 years ago under dire circumstances she discovered, planned and managed her own care including bioopsy and chemo.  She was unable to have surgery when she really  really needed it but didn't let that keep her from doing what she had to do .  She was remarkable and was one of my most admired women.

    I am so sorry to learn of her passing.

  • dlb823
    dlb823 Member Posts: 2,701
    edited June 2009

    How sad.  She was one tough woman!  What a shame...

  • candie1971
    candie1971 Member Posts: 2,467
    edited June 2009

    I remember this story.. I am so sorry this disease got her!!

  • mrsb
    mrsb Member Posts: 7
    edited June 2009

    I met her last year when she came to Halifax to speak. She was such awarm bubbly  down to earth person. She lit up the room.I was fortuate to also meet her parents .They were so proud of her.

    She will be missed trrribly but she left a wonderful legacy. 

  • saint
    saint Member Posts: 583
    edited June 2009

    Damn-I hate this news, but 10 years IS 10 years!

    I loved her book! She was a feisty warrior woman!

    She was at a benefit luncheon in May & looked fabulous! She is now at peace........

    Thanx for the news Socal!

    be well & stay strong

  • swimangel72
    swimangel72 Member Posts: 142
    edited June 2009

    She was a remarkable woman. Here's the story on CNN:

    I love her words below - they ring so true for so many of us:

    "I believe you're always much better off knowing what the real truth is. I think it's only then that you can come to grips with your illness, or with any difficult situation. Some people call this process 'mourning.' I prefer to call it tiring of the fear and the depression and the denial, and the fake optimism and the irritation of it all -- and just saying, 'Hey, I'm tired of feeling bad about this. Now I go on.' "

  • Emily2008
    Emily2008 Member Posts: 30
    edited June 2009

    I saw this today, too, and felt a tremendous wave of sadness as I remember her story well.  Hard to believe it's been 10 years!  What an incredibly brave woman.

    Okay, am I the only one who hears a story like this and wishes so badly that I could know all her cancer stats:  ER/PR, Her2neu, Stage, Grade, all treaments administered, yada, yada, yada?

    It's really quite narcissistic, I suppose, because I read something like this and wonder to myself, could that be me?  Could I be in remission for 6 years and then have the beast come back, and eventually take me out?  

    Am I messed up for going there in my mind? Frown

  • hollyann
    hollyann Member Posts: 279
    edited June 2009

    I saw the story last night...So sad...I had been thinking of her just a few days ago and wondering how she was doing...We lost a true Warrior Sister.....My sincere condolences to her family and friends........

  • leaf
    leaf Member Posts: 1,821
    edited June 2009

    She seemed like an incredibly generous and brave person in her book.  Those are wonderful words to remember, swimangel. 

    When I read her book, I was shocked, because they had no anesthetic except morphine at the Antartica station.  (Almost all the slide stains were too old to be useful.  She said they had enough bandages for an invasion, but didn't have such things as Xray film, or stains, or - even - local anesthetics like lidocaine.)  Although I don't know the legal rules in Antarctica, its probably technically illegal to prescribe morphine for herself.  They didn't even have any other anesthetics!  So she only used ice for her biopsy, which she performed upon herself, because it was not legal/ethical to use morphine on herself.

    According to her book, she had been in a very abusive relationship with her first husband, who allegedly initially denied she had breast cancer  She said she had stayed in the relationship as long as she did because the way she was brought up was - if there was something wrong with a relationship, it was your own fault. She had gone to Antarctica to show herself and her family that she was strong.

    I'm so glad she remarried.  

    We have lost an incredible human being.