Sunday, April 3, 2016

A Very Special Girl

                                                                                                            April, 2016

          To the readers of My Big Girl Pants:

April 4th marks three years since Bridget passed away, and losing her is still hard to comprehend. Our hearts ache from missing her; her beautiful smile, her sharp wit and her engaging personality. It is impossible to capture everything she was in mere words. As our lives go on, we mourn the fact that she is missing those milestones all of us enjoy: weddings, babies, family trips, birthdays and simple joy. We know for certain, however, that she is with us at every turn, as, in Bridget fashion, she sends remarkable signs. We are reminded often that her spirit lives among us as we share memories of her and laugh the way she would have wanted. Bridget was truly unforgettable.

Her legacy lives on at Dana Farber also, as the Pink Angels near their goal. The Bridget Spence Fund goes directly to breast cancer research, to spare other young women impacted by this disease...certainly Bridget's greatest wish.

On this April 4th, please keep your fondest memories of Bridget alive.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

                                                                                                                      April, 2015

To the Readers of My Big Girl Pants,

                     Again this year, we are writing a blog post to commemorate the anniversary of our sweet Bridget's death on April 4th. It is hard to believe she has been gone for two years. We miss her terribly, each and every day, and we know that you, her good friends and blog readers understand that pain and miss her as well. We will gather as a family this weekend and raise a toast to Bridget and comfort one another by remembering.

                      It helps us a great deal to know that Bridget is not forgotten. A tangible proof of that is to witness all the good that is ongoing in her name. The Bridget Spence Fund, launched by the Pink Angels continues to grow and to directly support the research of Dr. Ann Partridge. In October, the first annual Bridget Mooney Spence Award was presented at the "Celebrating Young and Strong" Gala, held at the Boston Harbor Hotel, to benefit Dr. Partridge's Young Women with Breast Cancer Program. Bridget's family and many of her friends attended, and we felt her presence strongly, knowing she would have danced into the wee hours! Nothing would have made Bridget happier than knowing she was, in a way, giving back to Dr. Partridge for all of her love and care during Bridget's cancer journey.

                        And so, we come again to ask you to remember Bridget, with even a small donation, by clicking on the Pink Angels' website below and following it to the Bridget Spence Fund. It is not hard to imagine Bridget, flashing her gorgeous smile, and being grateful for all of you.

                        Many thanks......................


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

We will never forget you......

           As we approach the first anniversary of Bridget's death, her family has decided to re-post her blog. We know that for many of her readers, the blog provided not only insight into how she was coping on the cancer journey, but also a sense of her quest for normalcy and her amazing joie de vivre in the face of fear and uncertainty.

         We are also taking this opportunity to make Bridget's readers aware of an incredible undertaking by the Pink Angels, a group of fundraisers who gave so much support over the years to the Boston 3Day. In Bridget's memory, the Pink Angels have instituted a fund whereby all proceeds will directly benefit the research being done by Bridget's oncologist, Dr. Ann Partridge, at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. The fund, named The Bridget Spence Fund for Young Women with Breast Cancer, will channel proceeds to Dr. Partridge to be used as needed towards finding a cure for this awful disease which took Bridget's life at 29 years old.
           To find out more about The Bridget Spence Fund for Young Women with Breast Cancer, click on the link below, and follow the link to Bridget's page. We support the incredibly selfless work of the Pink Angels, and hope that you will also, in Bridget's memory. 

Friday, April 5, 2013


Bridget passed away before midnight last night in the loving embrace of her mother, husband, and Daisy (our beloved dog). I am heartbroken and do not have my wife's eloquence. In a few words, Bridget lived her life with unbridled passion and energy. One look from her beautiful blue eyes and you knew that she was with you in that moment. I am forever humbled by the time and love that we shared.

We ask that you allow family and close personal friends only to celebrate Bridget's life at her funeral. Your expressions of sympathy in Bridget's name would be most appreciated if they were directed toward either the Dana Farber Program for Young Women with Breast Cancer or Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Bridget and I have been so blessed by the care and support of so many these past eight years. Fear, doubt, and pain have been replaced by courage, faith, and peace.

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.