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my friend Emerald

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    Posted: Jun 13 2013 at 6:19pm
Dear all,

This is a eulogy that will be read, soon, at Emerald's services. She was an exceptional woman and I wanted to share my words with you. Emerald was 54. 

Eulogy Emerald L.

I first ‘met’ Emerald almost two years ago. A dear friend of hers, in Hawaii, who knew of my patient advocacy efforts contacted me and asked if I could help Emerald.
She had metastatic disease and wanted to get other opinions from gynecologic oncologists in the United States.

We had extensive conversations on the phone and another patient advocate friend of mine, Vicki Tashman kindly accompanied Emerald to her appointment, in Los Angeles, as I was out of town.

We then decided to go to a major cancer center in Houston and the physician there told her she had, in his opinion, 3-6 months to live. She asked me “what  I should I do? Shall I just go back home and prepare to die?” “Emerald, why don’t we try someone at the Mayo Clinic? They are ranked number in the country regarding gynecologic cancer. Maybe they have someone there who is a bit more optimistic?”

I said optimistic with a big smile and was treated to Emerald’s wonderful, hearty laugh.

We were at a very nice restaurant in Houston and at the next table a couple were celebrating their 25th anniversary with their son and daughter. Emerald and I had congratulated them and wished them well. Then the waiter brought out a large anniversary cake and I said, out loud, “wow that cake looks good. I wonder if we could get a piece?” Again, Emerald’s wonderful laugh as the couple graciously sent two pieces over to our table.

Here was Emerald receiving terrible news that day, yet able to put that aside for a moment and have a good laugh. Her sense of humor amazingly intact.

We went to the Mayo Clinic together and met a marvelous gynecologic/oncologist by the name of William Cliby. He said that he believed Emerald was a candidate for surgery and he felt he could add meaningful time to her life but it would be a tough, tough surgery with difficult side effects and the choice was hers. We discussed it and she decided to go for it.

Our conversation was rational and she had asked Dr. Cliby very intelligent questions.

The surgery was tough and the side effects were extremely difficult but what was missing was a patient who bitterly complained, although she certainly had reason to. She handled the surgery and her recuperation period with a certain grace and yes, even elegance, that I find hard to describe.

She was an extraordinarily bright woman with a deep faith that never left her. A few months before her passing I asked her if there was anything she would like and she told me she would love to read Believer’s Bible Commentary by William MacDonald.

I can still remember the joyfulness in her voice when she told me the book had arrived. She never abandoned her deep faith as her condition worsened; rather it sustained her, I believe.

What was extraordinary to me was a conversation I had with her a few months before her death. We had discussed her outlook with Dr. Cliby who told her that surgery was no longer an option and there might be various chemotherapies that might help her but each had no guarantee. The only thing that was ‘for-sure’ was that the side effects would greatly affect her quality of life. She had spoken before of her desire to not have treatment when it seemed the chemo would do more harm than good.

Emerald stayed true to her ‘quality of life’ plan. She walked, she read, she went to the theater, she enjoyed her meals for as long as she could. I admire what she did.

I did not know Emerald for as long as many of you, here today, but I can tell you that I will always carry this lovely woman in my heart. She greatly enriched my soul and taught me what grace under fire looks like.

Rest in peace, dear Emerald…you shall be missed and your memory cherished. Thank you for gracing my life with your presence.

with my love,


Edited by steve - Jun 13 2013 at 7:19pm
I am a BRCA1+ grandson, son and father of women affected by breast/oc-my daughter inherited mutation from me, and at 36, was dx 2004 TNBC I am a volunteer patient advocate with SAGE Patient Advocates
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123Donna View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 123Donna Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 13 2013 at 7:31pm
Oh Steve, that was absolutely beautiful.  You highlighted the essence of Emerald and what made her so special.  You have a wonderful way with words!

DX IDC TNBC 6/09 age 49, Stage 1,Grade 3, 1.5cm,0/5Nodes,KI-67 48%,BRCA-,6/09bi-mx, recon, T/C X4(9/09)
11/10 Recur IM node, Gem,Carb,Iniparib 12/10,MRI NED 2/11,IMRT Radsx40,CT NED11/13,MRI NED3/15

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TNBC_in_NS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 16 2013 at 7:57am
Awesome testimony of Emerald's faith, strength & humor! Thanks Steve! Brilliant eulogy! hugs xo
Too young, again,
to have this horrible disease!
Too young, again, to leave this world.
So rest in peace sweet Emerald.
Diag@57TNBC04/092.5cm Lquad 05/09 TCx4Radsx30CT03/01/10 FU03/31/10ClearBRCA- 01/2011 RTNBC BMX 06/14/2011~2013 clear
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote arabella Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 16 2013 at 11:02pm
Beautifully written, Steve!  Emerald's energy and spirit shine brightly through your words.  May she now RIP.

Dx TNBC 1/2013; age 63; 1.1 cm; Stage 1, Grade 1(?); lumpectomy clear margins; ALND -; severe SEs to first TC and treatment stopped; radsX25; BRCA -
Recur 6/2015 Mastectomy
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote courtice Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 30 2013 at 8:04pm
Very moving Steve, Emerald sounds like a special person!
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