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My Daughter (age 24) Has Peritoneal Mesothelioma, A Rare Cancer

January 13, 2015

Today I took down my Christmas tree and decorations. I’m guessing that this is the latest I’ve ever left the tree and Christmas ornaments lingering in the living room. I played my Johnny Mathis Christmas CD throughout the packing up of the tree ornaments, the nativity and the sentimental things that adorned the mantle.

Even with the time-consuming job finished, I’m bummed that it’s all packed away. I’m not sure if my attachment to the season this year is because I put it all out so late (days before Christmas) or because of life circumstances. My perspective on everything changed in November when I sat with my daughter, Olivia, as she was told that she has a rare cancer.

Olivia’s 24. Only a handful of women her age are diagnosed with malignant peritoneal epithelial mesothelioma each year in the U.S. I’d never heard of the cancer, which was stumbled upon during a surgery for another purpose altogether. It’s so rare that there are really only five doctors in the U.S. who are considered the “go to” people for this cancer. We’ve chosen one in Baltimore who specializes in women Olivia’s age who have peritoneal mesothelioma, and we’re grateful he’s on the east coast, as we are, though he’s 300 miles from us.

Within the layers of accumulated experience that is Olivia, there is an astounding amount of wisdom. And, as I’ve told her all her life, I don’t know another person with her strength. Nothing for her has come easily and yet she’s persevered and found her way. In this latest development she will too.

I feel that I am alone. Despite having numerous friends who are mothers and who are so loving and supportive of us, not one has experienced a child with cancer. I feel isolated, adrift on my own maternal raft. Disconnected entirely from them, despite their care, concern and contact with me.

Whatever my feelings are, Olivia’s must be magnified a hundred-fold.

I put my faith in prayers, in whatever form they take. I ask everyone, friends and strangers, to please pray for my daughter.

Except that I think it would mortify her, I’d like to make a button I can wear that has a picture of her and says, “Please pray for my daughter, Olivia. She’s 24 and she has cancer.”

I want everyone praying for her. I want everyone to call upon and to ask their God to look on Olivia with love and healing.

Ironically, this Christmas was the absolute best Christmas I’ve had in my adult life – in spite of or because of this new skewed view on life. I focused only on my children and prayer.

Through the wonder of Christmastime I always feel that there is an opening, a more direct portal for our supplications and expressions of gratitude to God. So, this year, I often sat quietly, alone with the nativity and the soft glow of the tree, and I prayed my heart out.

If it weren’t for the fact that I’ll be moving soon to a place that Liv and I will share for the next year so that I can care for her through a surgery, HIPEC treatment and recovery, I think I would have let Christmas stay in my home through the year. But it’s packed up until December when, if my heart’s greatest desire is realized, I’ll be before the nativity expressing joyous gratitude.

Please pray for Olivia. Thank you.

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29 Comments leave one →
  1. March 11, 2015 7:25 am

    I am thinking about you during this difficult time and sending you positive energy and love.
    Michelle

    Like

    • March 14, 2015 2:08 pm

      Thanks so much Michelle.
      It is a difficult time for sure.
      There are moments of fear and worry; we’re all having episodes of anxiety.
      But our family has so much love and humor that there are times that are purely golden!
      And Liv’s grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins are surrounding her with their love and prayers.
      Our friends, you among them, bless us with their care and healing thoughts.
      I can’t tell you how much it means to me to know that you are thinking about us.
      I draw strength from knowing heartfelt concern surrounds us.
      Thanks so much, xoxoxo, Mary

      Like

  2. February 21, 2015 2:09 am

    I wish all the best for your daughter. My she recover well!

    Like

  3. January 28, 2015 2:19 pm

    Dear Mary, wishing you strength for the journey ahead. Will keep you both in my prayers.

    Like

    • January 28, 2015 4:13 pm

      Hi Liz, Thanks so very much.
      It means everything to me to know that people are praying for Liv.
      Thanks for remembering me in your prayers too.
      xo

      Like

  4. January 21, 2015 12:44 am

    Thinking of you and your daughter and wishing you both the very best.

    Like

  5. January 21, 2015 12:37 am

    sending you love and positive energy… and a heartfelt hug.

    Like

  6. January 20, 2015 4:56 am

    Best wishes to you and to Olivia. She is lucky to have your constant support and I’m sure she appreciates you. Take care.

    Like

    • January 20, 2015 11:33 pm

      Thanks Carol.
      Yes, Olivia does appreciate me – and for me, it’s never a chore to be with her!
      She’s fun and funny and so interesting.
      We’ll be glad to be living together through the coming year.
      Thanks for commenting ~ all good wishes in the New Year.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. January 20, 2015 3:59 am

    let’s be positive and hope you all find strength!

    Like

    • January 20, 2015 11:19 pm

      Thanks Joshi ~
      Olivia is so delightful a person, it’s hard to not be positive in her presence!
      And she’s amazingly strong.
      So, onward we go ~

      Liked by 1 person

  8. January 16, 2015 2:27 pm

    Prayers and positive thoughts are winging your way. Olivia’s inner strength and positivity will be an important asset in the journey ahead. Blessings.

    Like

    • January 16, 2015 3:02 pm

      Thanks so much Ellen – ❤
      You can't imagine how it bolsters me to know people are praying for Liv.
      All good wishes to you in 2015 ~

      Like

  9. Judy permalink
    January 15, 2015 8:54 am

    I send my love and positive thoughts to both you and Olivia. Love conquers all! I love you both.

    Like

  10. January 13, 2015 11:59 pm

    Dear Mary,
    Sending prayers for strength, courage, and guidance through this very difficult journey that you and Olivia must endure. Have faith in our higher power…Patti

    Like

    • January 14, 2015 12:50 pm

      Thank you, Patti.
      I do have faith, especially in the power of love, which I think comprises much of the essence of the higher power.
      So, I ask family and friends to send Olivia their healing love as they pray.
      I appreciate you reading the post and commenting.
      Best wishes to you in the coming year. ❤

      Like

  11. January 13, 2015 5:06 pm

    Dear Mary, my prayers will be for your daugther and for you. God be with you, love, nia

    Like

  12. January 13, 2015 3:42 pm

    I hope Olivia makes a full recovery.

    Like

    • January 13, 2015 4:45 pm

      Thanks, Gary.
      There’s no cure for this cancer – she’ll always have it and will need to be diligent in watching for it reasserting.
      But our hope is that the treatment she has in February (surgery and HIPEC)
      will halt its progression and for a long time.
      I appreciate that you read the post and commented.
      Thanks again. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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