This is my own story of life with advanced ovarian cancer. I do not offer medical advice, and my treatment decisions are my own. Please talk to your physician or healer and gain as much information as you can about this dreadful disease called cancer. Remember, knowledge is Power!

Monday, April 25

In The Sky

Hello Blogosphere,

This is Melissa, Patty's daughter. My Mom passed peacefully yesterday afternoon around 3:45pm. She has been incredibly dedicated to being open with details about her life and her dealings with cancer. I am not an expert, nor am I as intimately acquainted with everything as she was. I do not know the majority of you guys, but will do my best here. 

Her last post on April 7th was made from a hospice facility. I can't remember how long she was there, but she did go home from there and my Grandma continued her care, as she had been doing. No one could ask for a better or more dedicated caretaker or Mom than my Grandma. The last few weeks were weeks of general decline in her physical health. Weight loss was dramatic. I don't know how many of you know my Mom in real life, but she is a true Amazon warrior woman. 5'11, broad shoulders, with a happy weight of about 180. She was down to about 100 pounds. For those of you who were also friends with Jayne over at Shopping Kharma, there was a picture that she had posted where her pain pump was incredibly large underneath her skin. My Mom was similarly small in the last few days. The pain was at a point that eating had become an impossibility. The last two weeks my Mom had been completely sustaining herself with Coke and Smart Water, as they were the only two things she could stomach. 

As far as medical going-ons, she had the colostomy bag placed sometime in January, if memory serves. I know she wrote about it, naming it Stella :) In addition to that, another bag was connected to the PEG tube to collect stomach contents. My Mom would sit there sipping on water and would laugh as it went down her throat and then, a few seconds later, out the tube. She said in her last post that the tumors secrete their own fluids, and I believe (though again, I am not a medical professional) that this bag was also there to collect this fluid, as it was a primary cause of the overwhelming nausea. A few days ago she also had a Foley catheter placed, as getting out of bed became too difficult. 

Last Tuesday, the 19th, her bed was replaced with a nursing home style bed. Getting into a position that was comfortable was becoming more difficult, and the bed allowed her to more easily get into a comfortable position. So, we're getting caught up now. If you're still reading, you're a saint! One thing I did not learn from my Mom was brevity. Mentally, we could see her becoming a little less connected to the world. She began to sleep long hours, though sleep is a word I use loosely, as it was more of a heavily-medicated rest. I don't know anything about exact dosage, but I do know that both the methadone and the dilaudid were increased by the members of her hospice team to try to keep her pain under control. Saturday night was a long one. Her anxiety up to that point had been increasingly extreme. My Mom was upset, nervous, worried. My Mom was uncomfortable, tired, in pain, and was incredibly agitated.  The night was spent around her bed, with us holding her hands, stroking her hair and telling her we loved her. 

Yesterday, Easter Sunday, was more peaceful. Hospice came in sometime early, in the wee hours, and she was given Haldol, a strong anti-anxiety medication, to try to help her relax and to rest. The Haldol worked, and gave her a little more peace, giving her the chance to actually rest. At that point, it was just waiting. My Grandma, her Mom, was at the head of the bed holding her hand, and myself, one of my Uncles and my Aunt were around the bed as well. We were all holding her, making sure she was comfortable. While she was sleeping we all watched her breathe and around 3:45 she took her last breath. Everything was as she wanted. It was very peaceful. 

This blog has been something so important. My Mom was dedicated to sharing her life and her experiences, both as a means of release and as a documentation of her trials with cancer. The support, love and friendship that she gained from this blog were of tremendous importance to her. All of your thoughts, words, prayers and vibes have been received by her and by our family. Thank you for loving her and supporting her, for being there for her and for us all. We are all truly blessed to have known Patty in whichever way we knew her and now, she is out of pain and, I have no doubt, is already up in the sky having a party with those that passed before her. 

I have been asked about donations by a few people. If anyone would like to make donations in her name, please make them to Hospice of the Valley in Phoenix, AZ. 

Thank you again for all of your love and support. 

      Love, 


45 comments:

  1. It's Lory, here. Sending all our love to the family ... we were so blessed to have Patty in our lives.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you so much for sharing. Prayers go out for you and your family as you cope with your loss. If you ever need anything there is a huge community out here just waiting to toss a helping hand. We loved your mother dearly as she inspired so many of us.

    -Queen Dementia

    ReplyDelete
  3. Melissa, thank you so much for sharing this with us.

    I knew Pateeta via the Queens, and I can say without an ounce of doubt that we will always remember her-- for many things, and for fun times, certainly, but her spirit, her attitude, her sense of humor, and all that she has taught us -- these are the things that have left permanent impressions on us all. Our world is better for having had her a part of it, and we will never ever forget her.

    You and your family will continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.

    With love,
    Kimmy

    ReplyDelete
  4. Blessings and prayers for you dear and all your family. Your mother was such and inspiration to so many. She was truly loved. While I'm so sorry to hear of her passing, yet relieved that she is no longer in pain, it's also comforting to know she is in heaven looking over us. God Bless you all.
    ~Holly

    ReplyDelete
  5. Cyndia aka Sissy PaycheckApril 25, 2011 at 11:03 AM

    Melissa, it is obvious you have inherited your mom's strength, as I know how hard it had to be to relive her last moments to recant them to us. Thank you. I first came to know Pateeta while Dutchy was ill, and admired her so much. Over the years I have come to admire her more, for her ability to find humor in places that others might only see darkness. She was so courageous, determined, and so downright irreverent that it was impossible NOT to love her. She will never be forgotten, I promise you.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Melissa, I am so sorry for your loss! Your Mom was a beautiful and kind woman. We did not get to know her well, but enjoyed the time we did get to spend with her. May God bless you and your family as you grieve your loss but I am glad Patty is no longer in pain. Tom & Tina Anthony

    ReplyDelete
  7. Melissa, Thank you Darlin'. Love, hugs and prayers for comfort continue to be with you, your Brother, your Grandma, your daughter and all of your family.
    "Pateeta" was such an inspiration and will be remembered with Love.
    Sincerely, Roz/"Iris"

    ReplyDelete
  8. Melissa,
    Thank you so much for letting us know about your mom's passing. I'm glad to hear that she went in peace. Know I"m sending lots of love and prayers to you and your family during this difficult time. I'm one of the queens.
    much love and starry kisses,
    Allison Browning (Stardancin)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thank you Melissa. You will probably never know how many lives your mother touched, but I hope you realize it was many. And thank you for taking this day, the day after your mother's death, to keep us informed when I know you are needed elsewhere. You are truly your mother's daughter. Thank you.

    Newfie

    ReplyDelete
  10. Melissa, I also knew your mom through The Queens. I was lucky enough to be in Jackson with her and party with her. Such a fun gal! "Pateeta" loved life to the hilt, lived it, and made no excuses. She was funny, brave, charming (n that "queenly" way), no holds barred ,and honest. The world was a much better place because she was in it. I send strength and peace to you across the miles, and memories of your mom's laughter. Patty was simply amazing.

    ReplyDelete
  11. your family is in my thoughts and prayers.

    babylarva

    ReplyDelete
  12. Melissa,
    Thank you so much for posting about this. I was thinking of your mom quite a bit yesterday. It must have meant she was all around those she knew and cared about. I will be sure to send thoughts and prayers your way for comfort and peace. Take care, sweets. It's been an honor following you wonderful women through this journey.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi Patty,
    (I apologize if this isn’t the right forum to tell you this, but it’s too long to text…)
    i've spent the last few days aggrieved by a lack of any sense of real definition or feeling that I can attach to this holiday. I know that it is, or should be, for all intents and purposes, the foundation of core sensibilities for any christian, owed more than a penultimate nod to pastel ritual for the average (--practices major holidays) christian’s calendar. I’ve looked into the religious right’s interpretation and found little worth in their well-rehearsed verse (sorry I couldn’t resist, and I know you’re smirking too) as well as querying various eastern philosophies for recognizable patterns or meaning. Meaning.… Maybe this is me scrambling for meaning as I try not to say good bye, maybe this is me saying thank you for giving me another beautiful perspective on Kim, for letting me care about how you were doing, how you are doing, for smiling something special with your eyes, a smirk understood with everything left unsaid. Maybe this is what I get to realize about this holiday, that in all that you give to everyone, that maybe I can explain something of that love to Roo one day. I hope this isn’t coming out as cringe-worthy as it feels as I steal a few rereads; words fail this emotion today. Fuck it… thankyouweloveyouandmissyou. bye

    ReplyDelete
  14. Like many, I only knew Patty online, but her humor, grace, charm and Warrior spirit will continue to inspire me as I battle my own illness. While she may be physically gone, her words will live on forever.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Dear Melissa, thank you so much for posting this sweetie - and brevity? why? :) your post is lovely - by the end, I was, of course, crying. I am so sad to lose such a strong and feisty woman - she was amazing and encouraging. I loved all her cursing and ranting against this stupid disease. All women who have had this type of cancer worry about how we will cope IF we have to go through what Patita did...the blasted recurrence.

    I for one hope to be as brave as she was. I knew Jayne well - this has come as a horrible blow so soon after Jayne dying. BUT they will never leave us. They will always be in our hearts.

    I am SO, so sorry for your loss. Love to you and your family.
    xx

    PS: Anonymous - I know EXACTLY how you feel.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Dear Melissa,
    Thank you for letting us know about your mother. I have been thinking about her over the past few days. I knew your mom through her blog and Facebook. Oh ,how I wish I had gotten a chance to meet her in person. She was an inspiration to those of us walking the ovarian cancer journey. We will not forget her.

    My deepest sympathies,
    Dee

    ReplyDelete
  17. Melissa, thank you so much for honoring your mom by posting here on her blog. Your mother was a fabulous force for good in this world and inspired so many of us. She made us laugh and she cheered us on. Godspeed, Patty.

    hugs and prayers
    Bop

    ReplyDelete
  18. Melissa- thank you for telling us how her last moments were for we all love her dearly and were wondering. I can't begin to imagine how hard that was to type out or how hard it is to lose such a force of nature as Patty was. I know her through the Queens and was in Jackson with her. She will never be forgotten by any of us. I am so glad she's not in pain any longer yet so sad I won't see her posts any more. Peace be with you and yours. Love to y'all.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Melissa, you Mom was the perfect example of strength, bravery, humility, kindness and class. It was an honor to have known her. Bless you and your family. You are truly blessed to have had such a wonderful Mom, and I can only find comfort in the fact that she is now pain free and living it up with those that went before her.

    Fifi

    ReplyDelete
  20. Melissa,
    My sympathies and prayers are with you and your family.

    WTP

    ReplyDelete
  21. I posted as anonymous because I don't know much about urls or any of that crap. My name is Rob. I am Patty's oldest brother. My sister was a person that would give the shirt off her back if you really needed it,or help you understand all the reasons you don't. She pulled no punches and took no prisoners. My baby sister was living life to the fullest, and refused to be brought down willingly by this fucking insidious disease. Those that read her blog knew she told it like it was, regardless of the "cringe" factor, as there seems to be so many people suffering this dread disease,she felt the truth was paramount to all fluff and childish fantasy. She waited patiently for God when those of lesser metal would have taken their own life. Our family has a bond that I have witnessed in few others. If Patty could give you any more advice, I'm sure that it would be to love your family with all your heart, and never forget that when the chips finally really stack up against you, family is all you got. To the other 'anonymous' I feel sad that you chose this forum to express views Patty would tolerate but would definitely disagree with. It's simple folks. We didn't design, manufacture or consult in the origins of mankind, but I assure you GOD did. I respect your right to spew your beliefs, but again I question you choice of forums, especially since you know neither Patty nor her family. I am the brother of Patty Ann Higgins. I have never had a higher privilege. God is good and my sister now can dance with Jesus, as she said she wanted to do. Thank you all for the love and support. My sister would have been proud of you all. Good bye, thank you, and may whatever higher power you hold dearly bless and keep you.
    Robert Higgins

    ReplyDelete
  22. I only knew Patty via her blog. Somehow she found my blog and we hit it off. Loved her sense of humor and her sharing ability, her humanity. Hers is a huge loss for the blogging community, the cancer community, the female and human community though I'm thrilled that her suffering is over. She is off to bigger and better things. Thanks to her daughter, Melissa for posting this message to us all. Thanks to her brother, Robert for his thoughts and words. She will be greatly missed and surely loved.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Melissa

    Thank you for posting, and especially for posting the details. I know that must have been very difficult - but it is SO appreciated by those of us who interacted with Patty on this blog and on facebook.

    I really enjoy Patty's writing, her attitude, and the way she took control when she knew that her treatment wasn't helping. She truly helped many of us who are battling the same disease. She helped me. I felt a kinship with her through her writing, and she would often post what others of us couldn't. I will miss her.

    I hope for peace and comfort for the whole family and all of Patty's friends. I could see the depth of her love for all of you through her writing.

    Melissa, you write so well! Remember this blog family, if you need somewhere to write out your feelings or to vent. Feel free to lean on us as we have leaned on each other.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I met Patty, known to me as Pateeta or Patty Cakes, on a message board/book club but we became close friends and when we both were diagnosed with cancer we became even closer. We texted, we called, we used the internet and built a friendship. We were supposed to meet 5 months ago but cancer intervened again. She got me through some rough chemo moments.
    We talked about her "Heathens". How proud we were of them, since they are so similar in ages.
    She taught me to live in the moment. To not worry so much. She's say "Niecie Cakes go put your boots on and make yourself a drink girl!"
    She loved you Melissa & Steven. She loved her family...she loved her friends. I'm really going to miss her. A lot.
    Much love
    Denise
    DaDivaMom

    ReplyDelete
  25. It was such a pleasure to have had the opportunity to meet Patty in Jackson, and to keep in touch with her via the internet and this blog. We have all been so blessed being given the chance to get to know her. She was a remarkable woman. So full of life. So strong, and giving. Thank you for sharing her with us. Keeping you all in my prayers.
    Ampryncess aka: Brenda

    ReplyDelete
  26. Melissa, Rob, and other family members, words cannot express how sorry I am for your loss, but how glad I was that I even briefly got to know and respect Patty through messageboards through the years. My prayers are with you all in the days, weeks, and months to come.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I only knew Pateeta through her blog, she touched my heart with her honesty and her love of life, family and friends.
    God Bless you all and give you strength to carry on without this much loved daughter, sister, Mom, friend.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Melissa,

    Thank you so much for sharing her with us. I met your mom on one of the many messageboards and she was a glorious woman to meet, even through the internet. My prayers go out to you and your family.

    Megan

    ReplyDelete
  29. I am glad Patty is out of pain but this world has suffered the loss of one flipping amazingly strong woman. We have all learned how to live through her trials and tribulations. I sure know I learned how to pull myself up by my boot straps and get on with living! Thank you, Patty, for everything. You will forever live in my heart.
    ~Sherri / QEJ

    ReplyDelete
  30. God Bless you, Melissa. I know he's holding your mother in his arms. I was blessed to meet Patty through a support group at the Wellness Community. Her love was big--especially for her kids. Prayers for you and your family. Peace-Jane

    ReplyDelete
  31. Dear Melissa,
    You do not know me, but I started following your mom several months ago. I am so terribly sorry for your loss. I feel very very very sad right now. Oh God, please take care of our sweet Pateeta as she was a beautiful spirited woman who inspired many. Oh I'm just so sad. My deepest sympathies and a hug to you.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Awe, my wild-eyed, Irish, Warrior Woman! Through your physical departing is a profound peace of mind as your spirit is with us all, in lessons and fond memories.

    Please know that we are all going to be just peachy and no need to worry, for all is well here on earth with your added sparkle in the sky! I cry to grieve your loss as I need to go through this process myself to heal, knowing it will pass.

    Thanks for the T-shirts you let me have, rummaging through "your drawers" after your party. "Lick you all over, 10 cents" just cracked us up that day, all the witty one-liners we pulled out, laughing so hard about that sleep shirt!

    Even in the end of days, even when you weren't strong, even then your spirit wanted to be free from the pain know that the impression you leave is embedded on our souls as a positive reminder of how to live your life with no regrets. I am a better woman because of our sharing and lessons, I will live them the way you would have wanted, to lighten up!

    Forever yours, Kelly

    ReplyDelete
  33. Thank you for sharing that story with us, it was heart warming and very touching. Your mom was loved by so many people and will truly be missed by everyone. She was such an inspiration to everyone and the way she fought was incredible. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family. We love you Patty and will miss you. Love, Julie Blanchard

    ReplyDelete
  34. Thank u for posting for your mom babe, I know it was tough but you did great. Its been very hard to understand that my physical sissy is now with God, our dad and so many other people we have loved and lost but her beautiful spirit will forever remain strong in my heart. I love you my sweet sissy n I have not n will not ever say goodbye. Forever, ur babysister, Teresa

    ReplyDelete
  35. Thank you for sharing this. I only knew your mother online and only recently. My deepest sympathies to you and your family on your loss.

    ReplyDelete
  36. I am so incredibly sorry for your loss. Like many, I followed your Mom via her blog and was impressed by her honesty, strength, courage and humor. 10 Months ago (today) my Mom passed after having fought Ovarian Cancer and the grief is so hard to deal with when you love someone so much. My thoughts & prayers are with you and your family. Thanks for 'sharing' your Mom's final moments. May she be at peace now.

    ReplyDelete
  37. To Rob and Melissa and your sweet Mom and grandmother who cared for Pateeta, and to her son and all her wonderful family, I just want to say that I am so sorry and sad for you, and that I am happy for Pateeta that she took her flight into Jesus's arms and is now safe and warm. It must be hard to have strangers to you commenting on her life, when you were the ones who really knew and loved her, you were the ones holding her hand during her hard days. I am near her age, and only knew her through her blog, which I found when searching for information about my husband's sarcoma. I have to tell you that she has influenced me profoundly and will have a bearing on the way I live the rest of my life. She is my hero, and I only wish I had half of her spirit. I will miss her blogs greatly. God bless you.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Blessings to you and the rest of her family from an ovarian cancer sister.
    You live on in our memories, brave Warrior Woman.

    ReplyDelete
  39. I am so sorry for your loss. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Our thoughts are with you and our prayers go out for your family. May God Bless you and your family. Love from the Marvins

    ReplyDelete
  41. Very sad to hear about Pateeta's passing but Melissa thanks for posting and letting us know, those of us who knew her only from her blog. May she rest in peace.Am very sad. She always sounded pretty gutsy and that was very inspiring.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Me again. Hadn't been following this blog for a long time so just went back and read most of it, and Pateeta's other blog, Make it a double, too. A special gal. Yes, she made me laugh a lot and it's hard to believe she is no more. My thoughts are with you all.

    ReplyDelete
  43. I am so blessed to have spent the last 7 weeks with Patty and our loving, warm and wonderful family...She has changed my life forever by bringing me into our family and all of your love...Each and every one of you have etched your love deep into my heart....Thank you Pateeta, I love you forever and always...

    ReplyDelete
  44. Melissa, Just thinking of you and hope you are doing OK. Miss your mom.

    Denise

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment!
Love,
Pateeta