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In memory of redwolf8812

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elainetherese
elainetherese Member Posts: 1,627
edited June 2016 in May Their Memory Live On

On February 23, 2014, Penny Knowles began a new thread on the BCO message board. It was called "Amen for the Morning," and it included prayers of praise, petition, and gratitude. But, most of all, it was a celebration of life. Despite the fact that Penny's cancer had metastasized to her liver and that she struggled to maintain liver function, she was grateful for every single day that God had given her.

Indeed, the relentlessly upbeat tone of this thread endured despite the fact that posts elsewhere on BCO revealed that Penny suffered many ordeals associated with her disease. Some of her days were spent in pain; some days, she was receiving medical care in the hospital for various disease-related ailments. Of course, other days passed far more pleasantly. Even as her life was winding down, Penny spent May 17, 2015 at the beach with her family.

I first "met" Penny on the "Catholics" thread, where she initiated Novenas and prayed for anyone and everyone, regardless of the severity of their situation. Every day, Penny updated "Amen for the Morning," and I began to read her posts. Some were very brief; "Amen for the morning," she wrote, "Have a blessed day." Some were longer posts, in which Penny and other BCO members offered inspirational thoughts, prayers, and quotes from Scripture passages or Christian thinkers.

By May 18, 2015, however, Penny knew that the end was near. "Bilirubin so high that oncologist surprised I'm functioning," she wrote. "I have anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months to live." As her friends chimed in to comfort her, one of them asked her, "You are a very spiritual woman and seem very close to Jesus - is he dead to you?" Penny replied, "Jesus never was and never will be, 'dead' to me. He is the Most Alive Person I know and love, and The One Who Loves Me Most. I'm looking forward to hugging Him!"

On June 3, 2015, Penny updated "Amen for the Morning" for the last time: "Amen. Good morning. Have a Blessed day. Penny. 'Make me to know thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me, for thou art the God of my salvation; for thee I wait all the day long. Be mindful of thy mercy, O LORD, and of thy steadfast love, for they have been from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth, or my transgressions; according to thy steadfast love remember me, for thy goodness' sake, O LORD!' (Psalm 25:4-7 RSV)." By June 6, Penny was in hospice, sleeping most of the time, and on June 9, 2015, Penny went to be with her Lord and Savior.

Though dead at age 46, Penny inspired many women on BCO.org. As a Catholic Christian, I admired her for the steadfastness of her faith and her capacity to give support to others even as her own life ebbed away. Every day, I try to be grateful to be alive and to thank God for the joys of living. Amen for the morning.

Comments

  • farmerlucy
    farmerlucy Member Posts: 596
    edited June 2016
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    Lovely post, ElaineTherese. Thank you for telling us about redwolf

  • tangandchris
    tangandchris Member Posts: 934
    edited June 2016
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    Beautiful....thank you for sharing and spreading her inspiration even after she's gone.

  • mike3121
    mike3121 Member Posts: 280
    edited June 2016
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    Though I never knew of her or about her I, as a Catholic, was touched by the above.

    My wife's BC history. My wife refuses to use the internet, well except for Amazon and Ebay.

    My wife, back in Dec of 2012 was diagnosed with Stage 4 ER+ PR+ HER2-breast cancer. One node and a small spot on the spine. After 3 infusions of AC she was clean except for the 6 cm tumor in her breast. The oncologist said since the cancer was responding well to estrogen blocker (aromasin) it was best to leave it be. Ops forgot to mention in the midst of all this cancer stuff she had to have removed a grapefruit sized and very painful non-cancerous ovarian cyst.

    A little over a year later, Nov 2014, the cancer morphed and went crazy. She had a radical mastectomy and breast removal. A biopsy showed it to be ER+ and the oncologist prescribed tamoxifen. 19 lymph nodes were removed and 9 of the 19 had triple negative Metaplastic keratinized squamous carcinoma. A PET scan done after the surgery showed some cancer still in her armpit, probably spill over from the nodes. She has two cancers, one ER+ PR+ HER2- and another triple negative. She went back on A-C (lifetime amount), no Taxol as she almost died from it earlier. Almost died from NeuLasta too. Also 7 weeks of radiation.

    After all that she had to have major surgery to remove a tumor from her kidney. Eighty five percent were cancerous but hers was benign. Happy dance, she's NED and back on tamoxifen.

    For Penny.

    image

  • elainetherese
    elainetherese Member Posts: 1,627
    edited June 2016
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    Wow, Mike! That's an inspiring story. I love to hear stories about women who struggled but then became NED. They show that almost anything is possible. And, bless you, Mike, for being an awesome husband, who was by her side during her roller-coaster ride.

  • hopeful82014
    hopeful82014 Member Posts: 887
    edited June 2016
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    Elaine Therese, thank you for capturing Penny's spirit so beautifully. I know you've lost a dear friend and you're in my prayers, as if Penny's family. I'm sure Penny herself is not only at peace but in glory.Amen for the morning, indeed.

    Mike, thank you for your lovely tribute to Penny as well as for sharing your wife's story.
  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 8,074
    edited June 2016
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    Elaine, thank you for sharing redwolf's story. She truly was an inspiration!

    --The Mods