Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Right Place Right Time

Over the past six years of my cancer journey, I've never, thank god, been at a loss for luck. No doctor thought I'd make it this far, and I know deep down that I have each and every one of you to thank for getting me here. Never was my luck more on display than the morning after I awoke from 8 hour long surgery having a new Pleurx catheter placed in my chest. You made this technology possible, and this technology was keeping the cancer at bay in my heart. You were responsible for draining the cancerous fluid that was compounding in my lungs. You were helping me to take every single breath. With every breath I have each of you to thank.

My doctors needed your help too, and they received it. Each time my cancer was exposed to a new chemo drug, my cancer got smarter. Every time my cancer has gotten smarter, we've needed to find a new drug to combat it. The morning I received my Pleurx catheter, also happened to be the morning when I opened up the "Dana Farber Report" and saw this little news snippet.

"Susan G. Komen for the Cure grants $315,000 to Dr. Lein Chen for research into PI3K pathway." That Monday morning also happened to coincide with a visit from my doctor informing me that I had been selected for a clinical trial, a clinical trial looking into a new drug that would inhibit my cancer's ability to grow along a specific - PI3K pathway. Talk about right place at the right time!

Susan G. Komen was planning to go one step further with me though. Never one to stop in just one place, Komen wants to partner with me to help educate the public about clinical trials. Enrolling in this trial was not an easy decision. My life was put on hold and, while that seems like an obvious choice, it may not be an obvious choice for every patient. What are we fighting for? How long do we fight? How much money do we spend fighting? What does our life living and fighting with cancer look like?

To enroll in this clinical trial, I visited Dana Farber every single day, from 7am until 9pm. Over the ensuing six weeks, my cancer shrunk 12%. But then, two weeks before Thanksgiving, I found myself in an ambulance, headed to the hospital because of problems with my heart and lungs.  My body could no longer handle the clinical trial. I just couldn't do it.

The trial bought me time, and I was able to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with my family and friends. But now, I face the reality that the battery of treatments can no longer keep my cancer at bay.

So now here we are. We have made it from Halloween, to Thanksgiving, and now we are celebrating Christmas. (The Big Man bought me a gorgeous diamond ring for Christmas!) Even as we celebrate, my year has, yet again, revolved around cancer. But I'm not complaining. I am thanking you. I thank each and every one of you for getting me here. I'm going to ask now for just one more favor.

It is time for me to ask each of you to let me go. It is time to say goodbye.

Over these past six weeks, my ability to breathe has been compromised. Every breath is a struggle. I cough all night and most days. I am exhausted. My mother and brothers have flown in to help.  I'd like to stop working and go enjoy a nice cold drink with my husband on a beach somewhere. I want some time alone with him. Time without doctors appointments and scans, without work, just the two of us. No PI3K pathways. No trials. No hospitals. Just Bridget and her Big Man.

So thank you. Thank you for fighting with me over these past six years. Thank you for hoping with me. Walking every step of the way alongside me. I couldn't have done this without you. I wouldn't still be here if it weren't for each and every one of you and the dollars you have raised in my name.

Please, don't forget about me.

257 comments:

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Patty Sereno said...

Bridget, We have met at the Boston event, and I assure you that your life and story will not be forgotten. As the local medical director, I will remember you at the 2013 event, although I would rather wbe wishing you a Happy 3oth birthday! In my own practice, I will remember the lessons you have taught me.
Patty Sereno

Anonymous said...

Sending love and peace to you and your family. You made too much of an impact on people to ever be forgotten. Your inspiration is a gift you gave to others and that, too, will live on.

Anonymous said...

Bridget - Thank you for being so open, and sharing your journey. I hope you can somehow feel the love and caring that is being sent your way. I wish you peace. I don't even know you and yet, I will never, ever forget you!

Karen Smith

Anonymous said...

Sadly, I am new to your blog. I am an acquaintance of The Big Man. I wish I would have been blessed enough to meet you. Your love for those around you and your courage is an inspiration. Travel well.

Karen B. said...

Bridget - I just wanted to say that I will never forget you. I have enjoyed reading your blog. I wish things could have turned out different and that you would have had more time. I'm so sad for you and I have never met you. I stumbled upon your blog purely by accident. At the end of this month, I will celebrate my 5 year cancerversary. I will be thinking of you. If cancer was to ever come knocking on my door again, I hope to be even just half as courageous as you have been. I wish you peace and no suffering or pain. Thanks again for your fantastic blog and the beautiful way you convey your story. God Bless You, your family and the Big Man.

Karen

Anonymous said...

Bridget,

There is simply no way that a beautiful person like you would ever be forgotten. You are not only beautiful, but funny and smart and ever so inspirational. Who laughs in the face of cancer? You do! And you make us all laugh along with you.

It was an honor, a true honor meeting you and getting to work with you.

I hold you and your family in my prayers.

Rest well Bridget.

Love always,

Karen

Anonymous said...

Bridget,

I work for a pharmaceutical company in oncology research and patients like you keep us going 12-14 hours a day to find a cure for cancer. It has been an honor to be included in your life through this blog and I promise we will not stop until we have succeeded.

With much respect and affection, and thoughts for you and your family, I wish you eternal peace.

Anonymous said...

For the countless women past, present and future that have been and will be diagnosed with breast cancer, I thank you. YOU have made an incredible difference in their lives whether they know it or not. You are not only a fighter and an inspiration to many, you have left a legacy that goes beyond this moment in time. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. From the bottom of our hearts. God bless.

Shannon said...

I've followed your blog and feel like I know you. Reading your post brought tears to my eyes as I thought about how hard it was for you to write this and what your going through. You're amazing and selfless to do this for us. Thank YOU!

Believe me, you will never be forgotten. I will continue to walk for all of the Bridgets in the world.

God bless you, your husband, and family and friends. You will never be forgotten!

Anonymous said...

May your remaining days be full of hope and peace. May you dance with the angels in heaven when your time comes. May your Big Man husband and amazing mother have every ounce of support, love and light to guide them through this time.

Anonymous said...

Bridget,
We've never met, but I will never forget you. I was diagnosed with cancer at 22, and found your blog at a time when I was struggling. You have helped me so much, and with every post you published I learned about how to live fully, even with cancer hanging over my life. You have been my model of how I want to live, how I want to fight my cancer, and how I want to move forward and live and love fearlessly and fully, no matter what happens to my health. Thank you so much for sharing your story and your courageous and passionate character with the world. I wish you the best in this next part of your journey, and I hope that you can spend good quality time with your Big Man and your family. Thank you, take care, and God bless you.

Connie said...

Bridget, you have forever changed my life. My perspective will never be the same and I will be eternally grateful for finding your blog. The 3 Day will always be a part of my life and I will never forget you. There are not enough words to thank you. Blessings and peace be with you, dear woman. You and your family will be in my prayers.

Jessica said...

Bridget,
We went to school together from Cedarcroft through Roland Park. I remember you as a cute girl, always laughing and smiling. I have been following your story for some time and I wanted to tell you that you are truly an inspiration and a beautiful person. I ran into your brother John not too long ago and he was telling me about the 60 mile walk in your honor. You have done so much for the cause and you've touched more lives than you'll ever know. You will not be forgotten. I wish you peace.

Lauren said...

Bridgett,

The first time I met you we were wearing bridal gowns down a catwalk for a fundraiser with Randy Fenoli! I listened to your story as you were introduced and was so inspired by your confidence and ability to take on the fight and do what you needed to do. In the last couple years our paths had crossed again. I was at Dana, in a very uncertain place, looked up, saw your face and was reminded of your courage and strength in this fight. In that moment you instantly gave me hope. I am so glad to have known you for you will never be forgotten and always remain a source of hope to all of the lives you have touched.

God Bless,
Lauren Foster

Sharon said...

My Dearest Bridget,
I fell in love with you five minutes after meeting you. I think of you always. And I always will. Bright Spirit, Dear Love, If we are measured by how we live, how many lives we touch, then you are a woman who has lived beyond measure. I thank you, Elegant Lady. Virtual Endless Hug, Sharon xoxoxoxooxoxooxoxoxoxoxoox

Karen Kossow said...

Bridget,

I have been following your story since I heard you speak at the 2012Global Race for the Cure. You are an amazing young woman and you have been so selfless along your journey. You have helped so many with your story and your participation in clinical trials, etc.

You will never be forgotten by anyone whose life you have touched in some way. Enjoy that drink on the beach and enjoy time with your family!

Thank you for everything that you have done for others....I hope that efforts such as yours make it so that my 2 young nieces (5 years old and 17 months old) never have to worry about this disease.

Anonymous said...

Bridgett, I met you in 2008 at a 3-day meeting & you have been in my thoughts & prayers since that day. Thank you for your hard work throughout the years. You will never be forgotten.
God bless you.

suzib said...

I met you in 2007 at DFCI as one of your clinical assistants. I took your vitals and verified your birth date, and realized that you and I were the same age. For 3 years, I saw you come in every week or so and I always knew you were a fighter. I don't work at the Farber any more, but have followed your blog ever since. This week I start my journey of nursing school with the end goal of becoming an oncology nurse. I promise to succeed in school not just for me, but for you, and all the other patients that have crossed my path and made me the better person I am today. Thank you for inspiring me.

Anonymous said...

Forgotten? Not possible. You have shared the most amazing and inspiring journey. You are loved all over the world, how many can say that? Much love to you and your family.

LD said...

Thank you, Bridget.

xo

Anonymous said...

Bridget, hearing your story one time was enough to make me seek out more information about you-- you're very google-able, you know! What I found was an amazing woman radiating grace, courage, and dignity. The world is a better place, simply because you are in it. I wish you love and peace.

Lisa Matuszewski said...

Bridget, you’re in my thoughts every day. That is not going to change. I’m in constant awe that while you’ve been fighting you’ve also inspired an army. I just had a vision of you in pink on Mel Gibson’s horse in Braveheart:) You chose not to be quiet about your fight and for that you’ve inspired others to take action and fight alongside you. A war is never won soon enough, but your inspiration and courage is carried on in the hearts of thousands that you’ve touched. It would be impossible to forget you.

I’m glad you are safe in the arms of your Big Man. You and your family are in my thoughts.
Lots of love,
Lisa

Nurse Tales said...

Bridget....
I knew you before I met you. I had followed your blog last year when it was posted on the Komen FB page...your words helped me decide to walk for Komen for my fourth year. I later contacted Komen to be a flag carrier at opening ceremonies..you were the one that responded to me and told me I would be holding the flag Belief...and then I met you at opening ceremonies rehearsal...and it was YOU, The Big Girl Pants Girl!!!! You were even more beautiful in person!!! Your light shined for all off us!! You are the bravest and more beautiful women I have ever met..thank you for sharing your story. God Bless you...xoxox
Kimberley, Team Squeez'em, Boston

Anonymous said...

There is a special project in Bridget's honor that was started a couple of weeks ago and the deadline is today. You can read about what some women started to honor her. This was written by another woman who has stage 4 cancer, but a different kind. http://corallevang.wordpress.com/2012/12/30/bridget-spence-and-a-pearl-to-bridget-project/

Anonymous said...

Bridget,
I was diagnosed in June of 2013 with aggressive breast cancer - your words on each and every one of your entries helped me beyond any words I could type here. You are amazing! (So is the "Big Man"). I have never had the privilage to meet you - but I feel like I know one of the most courageous individuals on the planet. I have prayed for you every
day and will continue to do so for the rest of my life. I will never forget you!
Venise

Ellie VanCaster said...

Still thinking of you and your family-praying you all are getting what you need.

Anonymous said...

Bridget,

There may come a day when I cannot recall your name. As much as I do not want to write this, there may come a day when I do not recall your very inspiring story. But whether or not you and this blog remain close to my mind, you will always remain close to my heart. I've never met you, but we are both from Baltimore and attended CMOQ. When I heard about you I instantly began following your blog. You have made me laugh, cry, rejoice, and be grateful for the life I have. You have reminded me to be proactive about my health and encourage the same of others. You, through your radiant spirit, have made me a better person. So, yes, there may come a day when I do not recall the name of that beautiful girl who chose every day to put on her big girl pants, but that is immaterial. You are a thread in the tapestry of my life (a pink one of course!),and for that I thank you. I wish you Godspeed on your next journey.

xx

Anonymous said...

Bridget, we have never met, but I have been reading your blog ever since a friend told me about it several years ago. I will remember you always for your candor and beautiful words and cannot thank you enough for sharing yourself so openly with the world. I wish you and your Big Man comfort and peace, and I hope that the two of you are already relaxing on that warm beach enjoying the most delicious, ridiculously frou-frou tropical drinks possible. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Sincerely yours,

Caroline in NYC

Casey said...

Bridget-
I have followed your blog now for awhile. What a source of inspiration you have been to so many women and so many families traveling down a similar road. Your honesty, candidness, and your willingness to let so many others go alongside you in your journey has touched more lives than you will ever be able to imagine. I am praying for strength and peace for you and your sweet family.

In Christ,
Casey

Anonymous said...

I don't even know you and yet I don't want to say goodbye to you. This is breaking my heart.

Linda in Seattle said...

Hello Bridget,

I have followed your blog for the past year or so, trying to send good thoughts and prayers to you. I have read your December 26th blog post, and I want to assure you that YOU WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN! I KNOW I speak for many, many people, when I say I will always remember you as you have been an unbelievable inspiration in so many ways. I have not, thankfully, been directly impacted by breast cancer but like everyone else, have had many other challenges in life. You FREQUENTLY come to mind during those challenges and I am immediately inspired. When my kids are older I will share your story of inspiration with them so that THEY will never forget about you. My circle of friends feels the same way. Believe me, being forgotten about is a thought you can simply CROSS OF YOUR LIST!!! You will ALWAYS be remembered.

I wish you the very, very best on your journey. You are an amazing person and I hope you know the extent of that!

I think a bracelet is in order: "WWBD"? ("What Would Bridget Do?") THAT'S what an inspiration you are!!!

Linda in Seattle said...

Hello Bridget,

I have followed your blog for the past year or so, trying to send good thoughts and prayers to you. I have read your December 26th blog post, and I want to assure you that YOU WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN! I KNOW I speak for many, many people, when I say I will always remember you as you have been an unbelievable inspiration in so many ways. I have not, thankfully, been directly impacted by breast cancer but like everyone else, have had many other challenges in life. You FREQUENTLY come to mind during those challenges and I am immediately inspired. When my kids are older I will share your story of inspiration with them so that THEY will never forget about you. My circle of friends feels the same way. Believe me, being forgotten about is a thought you can simply CROSS OF YOUR LIST!!! You will ALWAYS be remembered.

I wish you the very, very best on your journey. You are an amazing person and I hope you know the extent of that!

I think a bracelet is in order: "WWBD"? (What Would BRIDGET Do?) THAT'S how inspirational you are :)

Anonymous said...

Bridget, I found your blog when I thought that i might have had bc. Thankfully so far I dont. Can you believe I found you the whole way from Ireland, I imagine with a name like Bridget Mooney you might have some irish links. I would like to give you and your family an Irish blessing. "May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always on your back.May the sun shine warm upon your face;the rain fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Adrienne Aubin said...

Bridget,
I knew you before I met you. My friend Deb heard your story at a 3-Day meeting and shared it with me. I was in tears. Moments after she finished your story (it seemed) we saw you, on the walk and we chatted and you took our picture.
You are an incredible woman with a beautiful soul. You have touched more lives than you will ever know. You will not be forgotten, as you will continue to touch lives long after your journey on earth ends.
I cannot say good-bye. I will say thank you for all that you have done, for who you are.
May the rest of your days be exactly as you wish. Rest easy. xo

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to let you know I am thinking of you and praying for peace in your life. You will ALWAYS be remembered - love to all! Lynn

Konstantina said...

Bridget, your legacy will live on. My mom is also at the 6 year mark fighting stage 4 breast cancer and things have recently taken a negative turn. If only saying goodbye were easy...

Anonymous said...

Bridget,

Someone with your courage and concern for others can never be forgotten. You are a reminder that given a tough situation, it is still possible to love others. You have done everything you were meant to do here, and more. I pray for peace and love as your journey goes on in heaven. What a beautiful angel you have been and will continue to be.

Wendy

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Barry said...

No, I will never forget you, jumping up and down in the survivor circle, big smile on your face. One of the bravest, most beautiful people I have ever met!

Anonymous said...

They may not remember the details of your face; they may not remember the exact words; but they will never forget the way you made them feel.

Anonymous said...

You are wonderful and beautiful and most certainly will never be forgotten. Love to you and your family now and always, Katie

Anonymous said...

Would like to know if she has passed away? I have been following her blog for some time now and i check everyday for an update. Does anyone know?

Anonymous said...

To the Anonymous poster from February 27, 2013 at 10:58 AM,

Your comment has to be the most insensitive thing I have ever seen. You should remove it. I would hate for Bridget or her family to see such a heartless comment. There are so many eloquent things you could have said. Shame on you.

Anonymous said...

To the Anonymous poster from March 8, 2013 @ 2:10 pm....

Actually no, I'm not ashamed of asking something you and everyone else is wondering. By me asking it does not diminish my admiration towards her nor have I become an insentive person for wanting an update.

Shame on you for pointing out my concern and being a meddler. This is not about you.

Anonymous said...

You can wonder but show a little class and don't do it here. This is not about you. Is is about beautiful Bridget.

Anonymous said...

Listen it was not the most tactful way to ask, but Bridget asked us not to forget her, it is kind of normal to wonder how she is doing or if she is still alive.
I hope she is well enough to see that we are wondering how she is.
I really hope she got to take some time with her husband, and had some time she felt better without treatment.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous from February 27: this is such an insensitive post. Maybe you forget this is not a movie or a reality show. It's Bridget's life.

Anonymous said...

To all of you in the last few days shame on you for arguing on her blog. One she never would want this and I know would have had a lot of class to say thanks for the concern and moved on. All of you could have had the same class and ignored it, take the high road...do not argue here. Take care Bridget and family, may you all find peace!

Anonymous said...

Shame on you for engaging in the exact same argument you claim to have too much class to be involved in. Maybe you should have taken the high road yourself, led by example and not said anything instead of accusing people of exhibiting a lack of class. Everybody here -- even if they didn't say it in the most tactful manner -- cares deeply about Bridget and her family. We will never forget her. I think we can all agree on that.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to state this anonymously but I've never posted in the comments section of this blog so I'm a "different anonymous" than the others.

This whole cyberspace thing is so fairly recent & new, as is "dying in public" which is basically what blogs like this are. Years ago, the only people we walked the path towards heaven with were those in our immediate circle. Now, we are able to take the cyberhand of people we haven't even met in-person & help them along their path to the Next Place, where pain is no more & only happiness reigns.

We check blogs everyday, we wonder how this "friend" that we've become so close to, but never met, is feeling...so the question can't be helped & the wondering is obviously going to take place. Is this friend out of pain now or is she suffering still? It's a common question that, in the good ole days, we would have been able to walk next door, to our neighbor's house, and find out... or would have been able to call Aunt Lizzie to find out how Uncle Bobby is doing. But with this cyberspace thing, it's all different & I believe we're all still navigating it. Some with more "tact" than others.

I'm of the opinion that when you involved others in your life & know that they are worrying, caring, praying, for your welfare...well, I believe you have an obligation to see it through to the end. If you are unable to, then you should appoint someone else to do it for you. Leaving people hanging is, in my never-always-right opinion, not a real good thing to do. Bridget wanted to spend her last months, weeks, days with her husband & who in their generous heart couldn't grant her that? But I think she had a moral obligation (now that she's involved people in her story) then, to appoint someone to speak on her behalf, on this blog, to keep them abreast of what is happening with Bridget. No intimate details but simply something... a word of some sort... about what is going on with her.

The modern buzz word seems to be "closure" but I think it fits here. People who followed Bridget's story, cared about her, some who held her hand even if only in their thoughts & prayers, *need* to hear something until the end of the story has come. To end this blog as she did is, of course, Bridget's option & certainly not a wrong way to go about it. I personally simply don't think it was the most considerate of ways to handle it.

But it is what it is. May God bless Bridget & I hope she is either in the arms of Angels right now or having a peaceful, restful, pain-managed last days of her life here on earth, surrounded by those who love her.

Anonymous said...

https://www.facebook.com/bridget.spence.14?fref=ts

Here is her facebook if you would like updates.

Anonymous said...

https://www.facebook.com/bridget.spence

Anonymous said...

Could someone please recap? I'm not on facebook and can't access the page.

Anonymous said...

Dear Alex, Words cannot express how sorry we are to hear of the passing of your dear wife, Bridget. She was an inspiration to so, so many people. Our thoughts are with you and your families during this most difficult of times.
With Sympathy,
The McCulloughs

Beth Milliken said...

I am so sorry to hear about Bridget's passing. She will be missed terribly, she was such a blessing and I was lucky to know her and feel her passion for life and her fight.
I will keep fighting and she, as well, as her husband and family, will be in thoughts.

Unknown said...

Good bye sweet girl. Stories like yours will fuel my fight to get BC off this planet forever.
Pray for us Bridget.

Alisen Dupre said...

Every Christmas I reflect back upon your last entry and think back fondly on how I could literally hear your smile thru the phone the few times I spoke to you. Your light burns bright in the 3 day world as your beautiful wedding picture hung in the remembrance tent, pearls were worn by many, staff wore a symbolic B on their shirt sleeves and the huge letter B could be seen I swear from miles away on the flag raised at opening. My team, Bridget's Brigade walked San Diego again in your honor. I hold your family close to my heart this time of year especially. Thinking of you fondly.

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