My mother celebrated her 97th birthday last weekend. She was born 10 November 1916 in Bargoed, Wales and emigrated with her family to the Seattle area at age 10. Her sister and three brothers all stayed in the area so there was always a large extended family for holidays and celebrations.
Last Saturday was no exception when 40 family members (and a couple of family friends) gathered to wish her well.
I say she is beating the odds because two years ago, just before her 95th birthday, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer after a large mass was found and the fluid drawn from it showed cancer cells not an infection as originally expected.
The hospital oncologist who first saw her was suggesting major surgery to remove as much of the uterine region as possible and then months of chemo. Without his recommended intervention, he predicted she would have six months to live. Mom turned down his offer figuring, at age 95, she did not want to go through all that.
Fortunately, her regular Group Health doctor, the Group Health oncologist, and other GHC staff all agreed with her. She was admitted to hospice care when she returned home but after six months, she “flunked out” since was really exhibiting no further complications and having no pain. Now, she is still just plugging along. Her dementia is sometimes an issue but she is for the most part happy and enjoying her days. She commented as we all started to leave the party, “This was a wonderful birthday!”