Georgina of Yardley: A Memoir of Death, Grief and Resurrection in Love (Chapter 4)

Unless they could figure out a way to cure her — it was going to kill her. It was 2016 — over two years after her diagnosis.

It had been a tough few years for them.

After Amy’s cancer diagnosis in October 2013, they’d waged war — against her cancer and against the problem they both recognized had harmed her and many other women like her.

They’d almost definitively won one fight, and a lot of women where now protected — they both knew this.

But, despite everything they’d done, her cancer was back with a vengeance — and it was growing in her abdomen and pelvis.

There was no cure — only chemotherapy. But that would make her very sick and only slow down the tumor’s growth a bit.

Unless they could figure out a way to cure her — it was going to kill her.

It was 2016 — over two years after her diagnosis.

They had to work fast now — if they were going to find a cure. All the conventional stuff was failing.

I don’t want to die — what’ll happen to our babies.”

“I won’t let you die. And our babies will be fine no matter what.”

He held her tightly as she sobbed in the bed they’d shared so much love in.

He kissed her shoulders softly as she heaved and choked on her tears.

No more crying. We’ll fix this. We always fix it.”

*****

“We need to somehow get your immune system to target this fucking monster and kill it”, he said

I agree. But how?”

Between the two of them, they had two PhDs in Immunology and two MDs.

We should be able to figure it out. If not us, then who?”

So they tried. They experimented. And they implemented.

They cried. They laughed. And they did what they could have never imagined they would.

They trusted each other and they worked methodically to get her immune system to reject the cancer. They did this with all they had in their intellectual and professional arsenal.

She’d already lived much longer and healthier than anyone had expected.

Their approach was working: Stay away from the toxic chemotherapies that don’t work with this cancer. Surgically remove or ablate any masses that were accessible or immediately life threatening. And work on ways to get her immune system to target the cancer.

There were even glimmers of hope along the way — there were times when they felt they may have the monster on the run.

“Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could find a cure and then take it to the others?”, they would muse together.

Maybe there is a reason this happened to me”, she’d say.

“That would be something, hon! I wouldn’t put it past you. You’ve always been an outlier.”

In the process of trying to find a way out, he stored her blood and bits of her tumor, frozen — in liquid nitrogen, so cold in it time itself pauses.

But despite their hopes and all they did, the tumor came back — with a vengeance.

It filled her belly. It choked off her intestines and it killed her kidneys.

The cancer they’d carelessly spread in her belly on October 17, 2013, — on his 41st birthday — came back relentlessly.

Then it killed her — on Wednesday May 24, 2017 at 8:09pm.

She was only 44 years old.

And he had no more tears — only fury.

*****

She had a state funeral — with a police escort and members of congress present to pay their respect to her and her campaign to save women.

Amy’s Celebration mass on June 1, 2017 at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia, PA.

A flag was flown over the United States Capitol building in her honor and was used to drape her coffin in procession.

Hundreds of people came to view her before the burial.

All knew what she had done.

She’d turned her suffering and grief outward and saved countless unsuspecting women into the future.

She was a heroine to women — many of whom would not even know her name.

Some called her the doctor who “moved mountains”. Others called her Georgina.

A flag was flown over the United States Capitol building in her honor and was used to drape her coffin in procession.

She was buried on June 1, 2017.

He stood there with their children — as those present dropped flowers on her casket.

His legs felt like steel balls. He felt like vomiting. It was surreal.

How the FUCK can you just leave her here, Hooman — in this fucking hole?

How the FUCK can you just leave her here, Hooman — in this fucking hole?

He had no more tears — only fury.

His fury was because he knew they’d killed her.

Every self-respecting surgeon who knew her story, knew, that what they had done to her spread a dangerous cancer and created an unsolvable problem for her — and for the other women like her.

They’d taken any chance she could’ve had of surviving this cancer and reduced it to exactly ZERO!

He felt his own fury flowing through his bloodstream — every minute of every day.

His fury was directed at those who had recklessly harmed her and to those who callously defended the practice.

He knew it was an injustice to her and to their children — and to so many others. A totally avoidable injustice!

But she was dead now.

And he wasn’t.

He’d promised her on that night from hell: “Our kids will grow into powerful and healthy citizens. I’ll stand by them until they do — then I’ll join you.”

But what was he to do with this fury?

He knew, fury can kill almost as effectively as cancer does — but it wasn’t his time yet.

“You still have our work to do, Hooman, in that place bound by time.”

“You still have our work to do, Hooman, in that place bound by time.”

****

Georgina of Yardley — A Memoir of Death, Grief and Resurrection in Love:

-Prologue-

-Chapter 1-

-Chapter 2-

-Chapter 3-

-Chapter 4-

-Chapter 5-

-Chapter 6-

-Chapter 7-

-Chapter 8-

-Chapter 9-

-Chapter 10-

Hooman Noorchashm MD, PhD is a physician-scientist. He is an advocate for ethics, patient safety and women’s health. He and his 6 children live in Pennsylvania.

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