By Stacy Tests for Cancer and HPV, My Beloved was taken from me

A Tribute to my beloved Jessika 

Part II

January 14: I created a Cancer and HPV Test group on Facebook to keep Jessika’s friends updated on how she was doing at my house. Jessika was typically too sick to contact her friends by phone.

January 17: I took Jessika to one of her many follow-up doctor visits. I asked him if he would mind ordering her PET scan so that we would not have to drive to Charlotte to get it done, and I had a fear her radiation oncologist would delay it again. Luckily, this doctor agreed to the PET scan and wanted to repeat an endoscopy.

January 19: Jessika had a repeat endoscopy with biopsies.

The results were abnormal and showed a narrowing of her oesophagus from the outside.

January 20: Jess had her second follow-up PET scan and saw a kidney doctor for the severe right flank/back pain she had been having, as requested by the pain clinic. I told the doctor she had just had a PET scan, and he looked up the HPV Pre-cancer test and Exam results. There was no issue with the right kidney, but the left kidney was blocked. There was also some fluid around her left lung. He did not feel intervention was needed unless she needed chemo at some point.

On the way home, Jess decided she wanted Mexican food. I could not believe what I heard, but I was excited that she wanted to try to eat real food. My mom was at my house waiting to see her, so I dropped her off and got the chips and refried beans with cheese on top, as she requested. The most I could ever get her to eat was broth, dry Cheerios®, Ensure® and milkshakes. My mom and I could not believe how she was going to town with the chips and dip.

This was one of our funniest moments.

However, this was the last moment we had together at my house. I walked my mom out to her car and then came in.  I told Jess I was going to get her pain medication. When I came back, I found her lying on the floor. She wasn’t sure how she fell, but after looking her over and checking her blood pressure and heart rate, I called EMS just to be safe, and she ended up in the ER. While there, I got the horrifying, unexpected news from the PET scan.

Jessika had metastatic cancer throughout her body, including her spine and liver.

Jess and I were alone while my brother was an hour away. I told her the doctors were admitting her to the hospital for the fluid around her left lung. I could not tell her alone or my brother on the phone. When she asked why I was crying, I lied. I told her that my previous boyfriend and I got into an argument. As I left the ER, Jessika said, “Well, you don’t have to get up with me tonight, and you get to sleep tomorrow.” Little did Jessika know, I would rather do that for the rest of my life than hear the news I had just heard.

I called my parents, and they met me in Hickory to tell my brother in person. My best friend drove me, and after avoiding a phone call and text from my brother, we arrived at his house around midnight. I know he had the worst possible thought when we showed up at his house, but I did not want to wait another moment to tell him. He was in shock, as we all were, and shortly after we told him, he went upstairs and got my six-year-old niece Sydney. He sat in a chair, holding her like a baby as tears rolled down his face. I will never forget that night. This was the night that our lives completely changed.

Jessika was discharged from the hospice hospice less than one week after getting the devastating news.

Her oesophagal biopsies from the endoscopy were positive and compatible with metastatic cancer in her primary cervix) cancer. Treatment was not an option due to the severity of the cancer and the state her body was already in.

I went home with Jess to continue providing what was now called “comfort care.” After the HPV Test and then the Cancer diagnosis, we went in shock. I went from keeping Jess on a very strict morphine-weaning schedule to giving her anything she needed to be comfortable. The weaning that I had been doing for over a month while she had cancer throughout her body has been one of the hardest things for me to accept. It is not like a nurse or family member to cause suffering, and this is something that I have struggled with since getting the PET scan results.

February 12: After spending over three months away and less than two weeks at home with her children, husband, family, and friends, Jess went home to be with the Lord on February 12, 2011. This was just a little over one month shy of her 33rd birthday. She got her cancer diagnosis on March 12, 2010, which was exactly, to the day, 11 months before her passing.

I know God’s plan was set the day Jessika came into this world

I’m thankful she can rest in peace now. HPV Lab Tests helped, but it was too late for her. I pray that my family and I can accept this devastating event in our lives. I pray that our story will inspire others to live each day as their last, and I know that one day, I will be healed from my guilt, anger, frustration and sadness.

Jessika and her mother had cervical cancer. I pray for a cure before this deadly beast affects my niece, too. As I continue on this journey, I will use our story, my nursing career, and guidance from God to celebrate Jessika’s life while fighting back at this ugly thing called CANCER.

February 15: Visitation

February 16: Funeral

March 19: Jessika’s 33rd birthday celebration was at her gravesite. We wrote messages on balloons and released them to her. It was a beautiful, sunny day as Jessika shined down.

April 15: We had a successful relay for life and raised more than $2500 in memory of Jessika for HPV Type DNA Tests for others with cancer worries!

April 28: EmpowER, a company that advocates for women’s health, contacted me. They wanted to spotlight Jessika’s journey on their website in memory of her this Mother’s Day! I am so excited and honoured that they have asked me to do this. Their website provides individuals access to women’s health information and resources.

It is also an online community of women discussing their health and wellness issues while sharing their stories.