Receiving a cancer diagnosis is devastating on so many levels. Unfortunately, even with the advances in modern medicine, cancer still affects a shocking number of people and claims several hundred thousand lives annually. Treatment options are universally unpleasant (surgery, chemotherapy, radiation), and chances of survival are still basically a roll of the dice. Then there's the emotional impact the news will have on your loved ones, plus the financial strain the disease is likely to put on you/them.
We're all familiar with the old saying, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade." I've heard it said countless times over the years, as I'm sure you have too. I can honestly say, though, that in all that time, no one ever made me really stop to think about it quite like a 90-year-old woman named Norma.
Norma was diagnosed with cancer the same week that her beloved husband of 67 years died. The doctors laid out her options for her, which included the standard mix of surgeries, chemo, and radiation. While Norma had this gargantuan truckload of lemons dumped upon her, she made up her mind...and left. This is her story.
This is the adorable, 90-year-old Norma, originally a resident of Michigan. Back in 2015, she had the single worst week ever when her husband of 67 years, Leo, passed away in hospice care just two days after being told that she had a cancerous mass in her uterus.
Doctors discovered the tumor after detecting blood in her urine during a routine checkup.
They immediately started listing the standard treatment options (surgery, radiation, chemotherapy) and asked her how she'd like to proceed.
The tiny, 101-pound Norma looked at the doctors with exhaustion and, in her strongest voice, said, "I'm 90-years-old, I'm hitting the road."
She had already told her son and daughter-in-law that she didn't want to bother with treatment, and they were on board with her decision.
Although slightly surprised, her doctor completely agreed with her too, saying that, "As doctors, we see what cancer treatment looks like every day. ICU, nursing homes, awful side effects and honestly, there is no guarantee she will survive the initial surgery to remove the mass. You are doing exactly what I would want to do in this situation. Have a fantastic trip!"
Norma's family weren't sure how they felt about her traveling alone, so they all got into an RV and found themselves on an adventure on the open road.
They've been traveling all around the United States, going just about anywhere and everywhere Norma wants to go. They've even visited a few places outside the U.S., most notably China.
Currently, Norma is doing just fine and feeling no pain. In fact, she believes she may even be in remission! In the meanwhile, she's flying high.
She's seen quite a lot of tragedy and loss, but she still stays positive every day.
She's clearly still got quite an appetite for life.
Here's to you, Norma!
H/T: LittleThings | Driving Miss Norma