The beauty of written words can be held close to the heart and read over and over again. So we will add every single day the closest things to our hearts and create a masterpiece for a life so beautiful . . . . . . it had to be of God!
UPDATE I am so sorry to inform you that Ramona passed away at 3:05am on Friday, Dec 7, 2007. She fought the good fight, she is walking on streets of gold, and sitting at the feet of Jesus. Please keep the family in your prayers.
Visitation: Pickering Funeral Home Mexico, MO at 5:00pm-8:00pm on Sunday, Dec 9, 2007
Funeral Services: Pickering Funeral Home Mexico, MO at 1:00pm
Burial: Eastlawn Memorial Cemetary Mexico, MO following services
Please call me (Judy Pottebaum) if you need to 573-581-0004.
Their home address The Ramona Davidson Family 19347 Audrain Road #316 Mexico, MO 65265 573-581-0950
My Eulogy for My Friend Ramona ~ by Judy Pottebaum ~
The real reason we are here today is not because Ramona died, it is because she lived. So we gather to remember her and carry out the most final sacred and solemn act, to lay Ramona in her final resting place.
Today we come to share our grief with each other and celebrate her beautiful life. We are all here because she touched us in some unique way. My heart is so heavy today as I try the impossible task of summing up what Ramona meant to so many. I sat for many hours trying to summarize the entirety of my friend’s life into just a few minutes, but it became an insurmountable task. A task that I am profoundly unqualified to complete.
This is our last chance to thank her for the way she brightened and enriched our lives. I look out and see the faces of those very special people who were there for Ramona and supported her during these last 3 years. This gathering of family and friends is a more beautiful tribute than I can ever hope to offer her. Ramona was not only my best friend and the keeper of my confidences, we shared a strong faith in the Lord, She blessed me with her prayers, support, encouragement, and she was a great inspiration and comfort when I lost my own mother just recently.
God carved out a special place in my heart just for her when our paths crossed in 1991, 16 years ago. We became the best of friends and instantly she became part of our family. There are friends that are ALWAYS there for you, she was that kind of friend. The kind of friend you could call at 3 am and she would be right there. She would ask what took you so long to call? Relationships were important to her and she nourished them. I created this website for her when she first became ill. It was a wonderful way to keep friends and family informed on her condition. To date, there were over 47,000 visitors leaving her messages of encouragement and prayers on her site. Many of you organized a benefit that was held in her honor and the outpouring of your love touched her and her family deeply.
It was an honor when she asked me to be her matron of honor in her wedding to Bruce. She managed her family and home with such love and care. I have shared some special times with this family. Some were babysitting Whitney when she was only 3 years old, the birth of Dallas, watching as she held him in the crook of her arm for the first time. As the years passed, I witnessed her joys of being a mother, crinkled little noses pressed against clean windows, toothless giggles, potty training, birthday parties, tears from losing a favorite puppy and hundreds of questions that were hard to answer. There was kindergarten thru high school and then the hardest of all when Whitney left for college.
Ramona was the very essence of compassion and beauty and a symbol of selflessness as she never complained. I always thought I knew the true meaning of the words strength, courage & faith. What I found out was that my definition needed a little "fine tuning." It can now be defined in three words-My friend Ramona. When she found out how ill she was, she told me that she wasn't giving up without a fight and fight she did. She never lost her faith and it only grew stronger. As we watched and marveled at her perseverance. Her strength & courage gave so many others strength & courage.
She lived life with such a full heart and had a sweet gentle spirit. She was a great daughter to her parents, a wonderful sister to her brothers and sister in laws and their families, a beloved wife to Bruce, a dedicated loving mother to Whitney and Dallas and the most loyal friend you could ask for.
One of her last days, I had climbed up onto the bed to be closer to hold her, I told her how much I loved her, I’ll never forget, when I asked if she was afraid, she said, No and tell everybody, “this isn’t so bad.” and she smiled. She told me many times, it was not the fear of dying that caused her pain, but rather the thought of leaving her family behind. We talked about how beautiful heaven would be, I ask her to tell my mother how much we miss her and love her, she said she would. We prayed, shared thoughts and closed anything which needed to be said, on our last day , we said our goodbyes on that day knowing that was probably our last time to be face to face on earth. As I left her room, I saw a pair of old tennis shoes over by the door that still held the impressions of her footprint, and thought soon her feet will walk on streets of gold. We came to closure knowing that we loved each other unconditionally and that we shared a life long gift, which I will treasure for the rest of my life.
After many medical procedures and after outrunning all expectations of her doctors, Ramona finished her short journey on this earth. In those early hours of that Friday morning December 7th, she was called peacefully home…met no doubt, by all her passed loved ones that were waiting for her, and Dallas, I know even Skipper your puppy was there to meet her as she returned thru the veil, the same veil she came thru only 45 years ago when her mother and father gave her life.
The amount of time God gives each of us is a mystery, but Ramona was welcomed with open arms by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and the celebration of her life and rewards began.........We have no doubt you are in heaven having arrived safely on the wings of the angels. We will never fully understand why your earthly stay was shorter than most. The Word of God says there are many things which are hidden from us, but God knows all and sees all.
But she left her family with the greatest possible gift of knowing they will see her again. She was a beautiful testimony of His love and grace. Some would say that she is gone, but she most certainly is not. Her spirit is near, and she is …as an angel…loosened by her earthly physical limitations, happy, content and free to move among each of us. We will all have times when we will feel she is near.
Ramona would not want any of us to grieve over her going home to be with the Father. She would rather we rejoice in knowing she is completely healed, walking, laughing with no pain or suffering. More than anything else, she would desire that we would all come to the salvation knowledge of His Son, Jesus, so we can one day be joined with her again in heaven for eternity.
I now understand that Ramona’s death was not an isolated tragedy that happened to one unfortunate woman and her family. In a real sense, this is the human condition which affects us all. Life will soon be over for everyone in this sanctuary….and for everyone whom we love. Ramona was determined to live each day as Christ would dictate, keeping in mind the temporal nature of everything which now seems so permanent on this earth. Even in death, you see, Ramona has taught us about life. The cycle of life becomes clear that we are born to live, live to die, and die that we might live again.
Did Ramona help you touch the center of your sorrow or will you stay closed by life’s regrets and hurts? Can you see the beauty like she did, even when it is not pretty every day.? What will sustain YOU from the inside when all else falls away?
I don’t know where you are spiritually now, but rest assured that our God is not gone. The still small voice you hear in your heart is His voice. The warmth that sometimes enfolds you is Him. The tears that tremble just beneath your heartbeat is Him.
To Bruce and the Family, These are the moments when the world holds its breath for you, the moments that will change your life forever. As you move on from here, things will be different around you…but the inner you, where the courage is, where the love is, where the dreams are will never change…I can promise you that your burden is being shared…and that you are being sent more loving and healing thoughts and prayers than you can possibly imagine.
Whitney and Dallas, you and your mother shared the same heartbeat. It was important to her that you know how much she loved you. She had important goals loving and raising her children. But what mattered most, she knew your conception of God would be influenced by how she perceived Him. Your mother lived the meaning of courage, grace, dignity and a tower of strength as she fought this fight and was still teaching up to the time of her death. Her memory will live on through you and your children. You have her smile, her eyes, her loving heart, her determination and her amazing ability to love.
Your mother is always with you every step you take, she will never leave you, she is in everything you do, she is in the air you breathe, she is in every beat of your heart. You can still meet her in your dreams, she’s the smell of your freshly laundered clothes, she’s the cool hand on your brow when you’re not well. You cannot see her, but she is with you still.
Your Mother lives inside your laughter. And she’s crystallized in your every teardrop. She’s the place you came from, your first home, and she’s the map you follow with every step you take. She’s your first love and your first heartbreak, and nothing on this earth can separate you, not time, not space, NOT EVEN DEATH
My prayers are with you as you journey on. And you will. Because she taught you how.
Ramona, I will cherish our love and friendship until the day I die and come to meet you. I love you my friend, rest in peace. We will miss you in our world, but I am sure it is beautiful in yours. Forever Friends in Christ, Judy
WELCOME Ramona, this site is all about YOU and the family and friends that love you so much. I hope it will show you the joy you have brought to so many lives. Your life is a wonderful gift to each of us, full of precious memories that should never be forgotten. This site can be a wonderful way to keep in touch with parents, family and friends all over the country. We can add pictures, music and memories. This will keep all your memories online in a journal and safe. Trying to keep journals and records of all the important things in life is so difficult to do. The pages get scattered, tattered and torn, but this site will hold all your most precious memories forever. This site will allow you to leave a greeting, poem or memory for Ramona. Let us show her our love and support when she needs it the most. It means more than you will ever know for her to see encouragement and support from her family and friends. She has touched each of our lives in a very special way, now let us touch hers.
So please feel free to leave a short greeting for Ramona or sign her guestbook with a longer message as you visit this site. All who know and love her are welcome to honor her, to share your memories, and to express ways in which her thoughtfulness, love, care and extraordinary life has touched their lives. Here we can celebrate her life and her passion for living each day to the fullest. I know she enjoys hearing from all of you. Together we can create a memoir that will be forever cherished. I may have created this site but her family, friends and their love have brought it to LIFE!
Ramona was born on September 30, 1962 and raised in Hamilton, Mo. Her parents are George Alden and Janice Alden. Ramona is a sister to two brothers, Robert Alden and Ronald Alden. Ramona married Bruce Davidson on February 20, 1993 and they have two children Whitney and Dallas. Ramona loves scrapbooking, riding 4 wheelers, deer hunting, swimming and anything to do with building or construction. She loves mostly country music, some soft rock and oldies.
*****(Ramona's complete story below) ****
Before you read what's below, I just want to praise Jesus for the many blessings that my family and I have received in our lives. Even in the times of pain and suffering during my illness, He has continued to be a comfort to me. Every time I turn around, there's one more prayer being answered and there have been many things given to us that we didn't even ask for or thought we needed until we received them. Thanks to all of those who have been so kind and generous, giving of yourselves and not asking for anything in return. I give thanks to God for you...my family, my friends.
I Would Give Poem written by: Ramona
When trying times come upon me I often say that "I would give" something if only things would change. I used to say "I would give anything to have a good singing voice," or "I would give anything if I didn't have to struggle with my weight." But those things are now so trivial...so un-important . I believe I am not in control of what happens to me but I am in control of how I react to any circumstance. I have been stricken with an disease that is virtually unheard of and it is making me say many, many times "I would give."
I would give my right arm to know that I will be here to see my children graduate from high school and college. I would give my left arm to know that I would be here to see my children get married and have children of their own. I would give my right leg to know that I will be here to grow old with my husband...that's what I promised him. I would give my left leg to know that, even after the surgeries to that leg, I will walk again. Now what's left? The core of my body. My heart, my mind, my soul. If I gave all my extremities, I could still speak, hear, feel, and love.
I never thought I would be facing any of the challenges I now have before me. I f I gave all these things, does it mean I'm selfish if it gets me what I want? I know God can care for everyone better that I ever could but I don't want to miss out...I don't want them to be without me.
I believe God is the ultimate physician and that He can heal me, if it is His will. I guess all these things shouldn't matter because none of us know how much time we have left here on Earth. We are all living on borrowed time but, it does matter...at least to me. This is one obstacle I must overcome. I am thankful for every day and I must live every day one day at a time; but still... I would give anything to know my Earthly future... to know if my family will have me around for a few more years.
THANK YOU TO ALL FOR THE WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT MAY GOD BLESS EACH OF YOU AS YOU HAVE BLESSED HER FAMILY WITH YOUR PRAYERS, SUPPORT, LOVE, FRIENDSHIP, KINDNESS, AND THOUGHTFULNESS.
THIS OUTPOURING OF LOVE HAS NO DOUBT GIVEN THEM COMFORT AND STRENGTH. WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT WE HOPED IT WOULD DO. WHAT A BLESSING TO HAVE SUCH SPECIAL FRIENDS AND FAMILY. PLEASE CONTINUE TO KEEP RAMONA AND HER FAMILY IN YOUR PRAYERS.
One Day At A Time I cannot change my yesterdays The things that I have done For those days are behind me A new day has begun
I cannot live tomorrow A captive of my fears I will face those future challenges When that day is here
So I have made the choice today To be the best that I can be I will ask the Lord to guide my steps And give me victory
And I know that He will answer True contentment I will find As He gives me strength and courage One day at a time. (Judith Bulock Morse)
"I promise to live my life for all it is worth and take all that life has to offer and make my mark upon this earth. I must trust my God and my heart to show me everything I will ever need to know."
We have years of memories yet to record, so let's get busy and have fun doing it. The magnitude of this site needs to represent Ramona's life, her faith, her courage and be created not by one person but all the lives she has touched. Family and friends can help us by their sharing. Feel free to contact me if you have pictures you would like posted on the site.
Please leave a greeting, poem or memory for Ramona. Let us show her our love and support when she needs it the most. It means more than you will ever know for her to see encouragement and support from her family and friends. She has touched each of our lives in a very special way, now let us touch hers.
Thank you for all the outpouring of love for my friend.
****(Ramona's lives in Mexico, MO with her husband, Bruce, and two kids, Whitney & Dallas. Whitney is 19 and she spent her first year at MU and decided it wasn't for her. So, she's taking online classes this summer while working. She will continue the online classes this fall and transfer to Columbia College. She was a member of the Jazz band, Concert & Marching bands, (takes after me by playing alto & barry sax) in high school. Key club president and a couple other clubs. She will be majoring in accounting. We're so proud of her. She recieved 8 scholarships this year...what a relief that is! I promised her that when she graduated, I'd take her to New York or Chicago for a graduation gift...I think she's earned it (3.8 GPA)! I hope that will become a reality but I don't know for sure. Maybe I could take her to see the Ellen show or Oprah! Dallas was 13 on July 11th & is in the 8th grade. He is playing the drums in band. He enjoys his dirtbike and 4 wheeling & he wants to farm like his dad and be a professional dirtbike racer. He's going out for wrestling this year. I would love for him to have professional racing lessons from Ricky Carmichael & be in an actual race. That would just be too awsome! Bruce has a 4x4 pulling truck that hasn't ran in many years. Hopefully, one of these days, he can find the extra time & money to finish rebuilding it & get it back on the pulling track. As for me, I'd love to swim with the dolphins at Discovery Cove in Florida, see a Broadway show & have a cameo appearance on a soap opera (sounds crazy but SO MUCH FUN!!!) & maybe even have a couple commercials. It's just time to let my hair down & do the totally unexpected & have FUN (I have no hair right now so that's just a figure of speech for me!). I'd also love to see Ellen or Oprah.
Until July '04, I was a substitute teacher, cheerleading coach, & I farmed 1500 acres full time with Bruce & we also have 60 head of cattle. (I always said I'd never marry a farmer...boy did I eat those words). I now work at Martinsburg Bank & Trust here in Mexico (but I am on a medical leave of absence...details below). I raise Jack Russell Terriers & just recently sold my 3 llamas. I had to find a job if I wanted a new house!!! Let me know how to pay for that too!!!
On November 3, 2004 I had to undergo an emergency hysterectomy. A tumor the size of a football was removed and I was diagnosed with Leiomyo Sarcoma (LMS) cancer. The doctor felt the cancer was contained to the uterus and I didn't have to undergo any treatments. I was deer hunting after 2 weeks, back to work full time after 6 weeks and on a bus to Dallas, TX after 8 weeks as a chaperone to my daughter's highschool band, who performed at the Cotton Bowl. Life seemed pretty much back to normal until...
UPDATES April 19,2005 Well, I guess I'm not over the scare of this cancer. A tumor was spotted on my upper left femur. After further testing, I was also found to have a few spots on both lungs & one on my skull. This means I'm in stage IV of this unforgiving & unpredictible cancer. Statistically, LMS doesn't respond to chemo or radiation. If only my doctor would have done scans immediately after my hysterectomy or had me go through precautionary treatments, maybe I wouldn't be going through all of this now. (I'll guess we'll never know).
I underwent surgery on 5/5/05 to have a steel rod inserted in my leg to stablize it so it won't break. I have had 12 rounds of radiation on my head & leg & am being treated with an experimental chemo drug in a clinical trial. I have to go to St. Louis once a week but who cares...I have to believe that this will be my miracle!!!
8/11/05 I have been in a lot of pain & back on my crutches. I saw my surgeon yesterday & he didn't see any change in the leg from June, which is good news. The radiologist who read last week's x-rays felt there was a thinning of the bone but the doctor doesn't see it. The only thing we can think of is that the tumor did grow some between surgery & radiation so maybe the rod in my leg just isn't enough support anymore. I'm ordered to stay off that leg & stay on the crutches.
9/28/05 I had my first scans, a few weeks ago, after 1 round (8 sessions) of chemo & the doctor is glad to see some shrinkage in the tumors in my lungs...YEA!!! (20-30%). I have started my second round (another 8 weeks) of treatment. I still may have to have a hip replacement...still on those crutches but I can deal with that for a while. As long as there is no growth in the leg tumor, there's no real hurry to do anything to it just yet. There have been a couple small spots seen on the scans on my spine but they haven't grown & my oncologist isn't very concerned. Anyway, the doctor considers me "stable", which is a good thing!
9/29/05 Now I have learned that my blood sugar has been on the rise throughout all of this & I have to check it 3 times a day. I'm sure it is the chemo that is affecting it but I will still have to deal with it. Other that these few obstacles, Life is GREAT!
I will have a second set of scans on November 4, 2005 (1 year after being diagnosed & 16 weeks after treatment began). Let's pray that there is continuing good news. I can't believe that it has already been one year since my original diagnosis. Time flies when you're having fun & when your not!
11/10/05 I saw my olcologist yesterday. Scans are still looking good...tumors are down another 10% he thinks. He still has to compare to my original scans from April to get the actual % of improvement. My blood counts are good enough to have my hip replacement surgery. That will be scheduled as soon as everything can be coordinated with my clinical trial study...surgery has to be approved because I'll have to be off the drug for a few weeks. I'm sooo looking forward to being able to walk without those darned ole crutches! Isn't life wonderful!!!
12/14/05 Wow! It's been 12 days since my hip replacement. Recovery is going well but slow, as was expected. The surgeon told Bruce that he was able to remove most of the tumor that was in my leg but not all of it. I'll know more about the whole operation after Friday. I will have more scans tomorrow & have my staples out on Friday. Chemo will resume next Wednesday 12/21/05. I'm feeling pretty good considering everything that's been going on.
12/29/05 My last scans looked stable. Being off of chemo for 3 weeks for my surgery didn't appear to affect anything. I started back on treatments 12/21/05. Everything is the same as before...the road to St. Louis seems to get longer each time but I'll do what I have to do. Have a GREAT New Year everyone!
1/6/06 I've started reading a book entitles "The Purpose Driven Life". You have to get it & read it. I don't usually like to read, but books like this are uplifting & encouraging. My new year is going great so far...hope all of yours are too.
I just figured up that in 2005, we put about 10,130 miles on our truck just for my treatments. Good Ole Chevy. 10 years old & over 230,000 miles...still going strong, rust & all! (Let's hope it holds out a few more miles for us!).
Just one more thing...I'm trying to get on Oprah so I can tell my story. Maybe I can be an encouragement to others. I'd like to be one one of her Wildest Dreams shows so, if anyone can help me out by getting in contact with her, let me know...apparently they don't accept conventional mail or packages anymore & my story is too long to e-mail. Let me know what you find out! Thanks, Love you all Ramona
1/12/06 I had my 6 week check up withmy surgeon yesterday. Looks like I'm healing pretty good. He gave me the okay to put the crutches aside & begin walking as much as I can (with a cane, if needed). I'll see him in 6 months.
2/16/06 Well, it looks like it's time to fight another battle in this war against cancer. I got news yesterday that the tumors in my lungs are growing and multiplying. I am no longer responding to the experimental chemo drug. There is also another area of concern in the gastric region. There is either a small tumor or enlarged lymph node right behind my stomach. Also, I've been having some swelling in my left ankle (the leg that has cancer). The oncologist feels it might be related to the cancer because of what he saw on the bone scan but he won't know for sure until my next scans. If the swelling goes down with my new chemo treatment, that will tell him that it is cancer. If it remains swollen, it's possible that it's just something degenerative.
I started the new treatment yesterday. I will still go to St. Louis one day a week. I am to have treatments for two weeks then off for a week , then it will all start over again. The side affects will be more. I will lose my hair, my blood counts will probably drop. There'll be flu-like symptoms and fatigue but over all, I'm told that these side affects are still mild in comparison to others.
So, I'll start looking at wigs, hats, and turbins, I told Bruce that he could have his pick of colors. I'd be a blonde one day or a red head or a brunette! I think he prefers my natural brunette color. I'm trying to get him to shave his head when I lose my hair but he won't go for that!
I also need to mention that I am now walking without the aide of walker, crutches or cane!!! I take a cane with me for moral support but am getting along pretty good without it. There is no longer any pain in that leg. Praise God!
2/21/06 Tomorrow is the 2nd week of my new treatment. This is when they will add the 2nd drug along with the 1st one. I'm very nervous about it because I know what's coming in a couple of weeks after this treatment. I went to our local hospital yesterday. There's a wonderful cancer nurse there, Lynne, who helped me pick out a wig and a few hats, she made it fun...I was really nervous about that too. I took my dearest friend, Judy, with me along with my camera. She got a couple of shots of me with some wigs that , believe me, didn't do me any favors but certainly made us laugh. Anyway, hair will grow back right? I just hate the thought of that sick, flu-like feeling. I pray that I will tollerate these drugs well. I am anticipating the worst so when it doesn't happen, it will be a pleasant surprise!
3/9/06 What a time I've had the past week. I spent last Thursday in the hospital here in Mexico. I was getting out of my chair and I felt my new hip roll out of socket. I was not in any pain, I just couldn't move. I called my mother-in-law & a friend and they helped me get out of my chair but I still couldn't get down the stairs to the car. I needed to go to the hospital to get x-rays so that my hip could get put back into place. Needless to say, we had to call an ambulance. When they put me on the stretcher...LOOK OUT!!! I have NEVER been in so much pain. I was given morphine 3 times and none of it phased me. I had to be taken to surgery & knocked completely out so that my hip could be put back into place. I saw my surgeon yesterday and he said that since I wasn't in pain, the hip probably wasn't completely out until the EMTs put me on the stretcher...the way they lifted me made it so much worse. Now I have to wear a abduction brace for 2 months. It's not very pretty to look at and it's VERY uncomfortable. At least I don't have sleep in it...just gives me more of an excuse to stay in bed longer!!! Also, the hair is now gone. I had Whitney & Dallas clip it down to 1" on Tuesday but when I got in the shower, it just wouldn't quit coming out so I had Whitney take it the rest of the way off. She told me I looked like my dad (without the comb-over!). What a sweet thing to say! I put my wig on for a while but it was uncomfortable so I've been wearing fleece hats. Dallas isn't quite ready to see me without anything so I haven't pushed the subject with him. Bruce hasn't seen me yet either. I guess it will take me some time to get used to seeing myself in the mirror before I'm ready to let anyone else see me this way.
4/21/06 Okay. Time for another update. The past nine weeks have been torture for me. In the back of my mind, there's always been a little bit of doubt about these new drugs... I still have swelling in my feet & ankles, I went through a bout of cellulitis a couple of weeks ago, I've had heartburn & a heaviness in my left arm but...GREAT news. I had my first scans after being on these drugs on 4/10/06 and they show signs of shrinkage!!! Needless to say, I felt a huge cloud lifted from over me. I've had two ultrasounds to the left leg to rule out blood clots & my doctors are now thinking that my lymphatic system has been damaged a little from the radiation I went through therefore, my body is retaining fluid. I guess it's something I'll have to live with. I had a scan of my heart & it was normal too. I can tell that it is getting harder for me to climb steps...I guess the added weight from the fluid retention makes my legs feel really heavy so I have to slow down. Anyway, things are looking good so far. Keep the faith & keep on praying.
5/26/06 Here I am again. Things have been going pretty good, exxcept for a couple of weeks ago. Bruce & I drove 2 hours to St. Louis for 2 doctor appointments & treatment & I didn't get any of that accomplished. When getting out of the Blazer, I dislocated my hip...again. I spent the entire day in the emergency room without getting to make any of my appointments. I have to wear my hip brace for another 6 weeks...that SUCKS! Oh Well, I have been feeling pretty good. My energy level stays up there and it seems that the swelling in my feet & ankles, despite the heat, has begun to diminish. I hope that continues because now, I can ust my hot tub occasionally...yea!!! It's now been a year since I was given the prognosis of 12-18 months. At that time, my first thought was, "Lord, I want to see Whitney graduate...it would be sad if I didn't make it to that point". Well, she graduated on May 15th & even though it was a very joyous event, there were still a lot of tears. Now we have to get her moved into the dorms...what a sad day & joyous day that will be too. I'm glad she will only be 40 minutes from home. I will now have even more reasons to take a nice drive to Columbia...whether it be to go out to eat with her or just to see that beautiful smile.
I try to set just a daily goal now with long term to Christmas and beyond. I have a lot of people ask me if I can tell that I have cancer & the answer is no. I don't feel anything growing inside me, I just know that things aren't what they used to be. I'm not used to just sitting around doing nothing and & still try not to do that. The hardest thing I find is climbing my 13 steps to get from the basement garage to the main house. That does tire me out. Bruce bought me a Bush Hog Trail Hand. I can't ride the 4-wheeler becase of my hip so this helps me get around outside. I can now drive down the road to help Dallas feed the cows. That alone gives me a great sense of freedom...again. I feel like I'm actually accomplishing something. The next big thing we usually do every summer is have a big 4th of July get together. We also celebrate Dallas' birthday that night so I son't have to have another party the following week. He will be 12 this year...going on 20 (he thinks)! I don't know if we'll have the party or not...it will all depend on how I'm feeling.
My oncologist has recommended another local (Columbia) medical oncologist for me to see. This way, I can get my treatments in Columbia , only 40 miles away, instead of driving to St. Louis, 125 miles. I would still have my St. Louis olcologist to see when I have my scans and to plan out my treatment path since he is the one who specialized in Sarcomas but it will be so much nicer to have someone local too. I won't meet with him until June 26 so I don't have anything in stone yet. Keep praying & God Bless you ALL!
***I MADE IT!!!*** June 23, 2006 was Audrain County's Relay For Life. I was able to walk the Survivors lap and another lap with my kids, Whitney & Dallas. Although it wasn't as hot as last years event, I chose to do the unthinkable...NO Cap, NO Wig, NO Problem!!! I thought it would be neat to have my head autographed by as many friends & supporters as possible. I didn't get a final count but my head was full of signatures in a multitude of colors. I had a blast. I even got one of our local TV weathermen's autograph. KOMU Channel 8, Eric Aldrich. He laughed & said he had never been asked to sign someone's head before but he was honored to do so. Hopefully all the pictures will turn out & I'll get them on site as soon as I can.
6/24/06 More GREAT news. I had my scans on June 19. They show not only continued shrinking in size but in numbers too. In April, my left lung had 20 lesions & now there are only 12, my right lung had 15 and now show only 11. Praise the Lord. The solid part of the tumor behind my stomach appears to be the same size but there is an increase in the cystic area around it. My oncology nurse says that cycsit means fluid but I won't know until I see my doctor next week exactly what it all means. At least the radiologist don't think the actual tumor wasn't changed.
8/15/06 I've ever had to do this week...we moved Whitney to college. Even though, between her school, work, & boyfriend, I didn't get to see much of her anyway, the house just feels empty. I cried all the way home & sat in the car when we got home looking at the empty spot next to my Blazer. It probably took me a good 20 minutes to finally go into the house, then I had to pass right by her empty room. Today is the first day I've been in the room...it's where the internet computer is. I figured I should check my e-mail & answer a few so everyone wouldn't think I was ignoring them. Whitney did come to see me while I was getting my treatment the day after we moved her in. It felt like I hadn't seen her in a month and it had only been a day! We've had phone contact several times...it's ALWAYS good to hear her voice. I just hope she doesn't think I'm bugging her too much. I'm trying to let go & it's hard. I know this is another chapter of HER life and of mine but even realizing that hasn't made it any easier. I have cried every day so far but it's getting a little less each day. Dallas says he doesn't miss her, yet he can't wait to go visit her to see how she's decorated her dorm room so I know he does miss her. Bruce misses her too. He called her about 4 times the first day she was gone. She will start classes Monday the 21st of August. I hope & pray that all goes well with this transition and that she'll meet a lot of new people & enjoy all the new & exciting things she will be experiencing. I love you Whitney, with all my heart.
9/1/06 This stuff is still working!!! My scans showed more improvement again. My left lung is down to 7 lesions while my right one remained the same at 11. The tumor behind my stomach is back down again. And, there more signs of healing around my skull tumor. I'll have scans again in late October. Dr. Schlossman, Columbia oncologist, tried to put a damper on things though. I know he's just being honest & realistic but he keeps saying that these drugs will eventually stop working too and the next drugs of choice will be even harder on me than these are. So...I say, let's all keep praying that the drugs I'm on now are the oned that are going to get me thgough this ordeal!
10/18/06 I had an appointment with my Columbia Oncologist today. All is still looking good. He said I was responding remarkably to treatments as far as Sarcoma patient are concerned. I will have my next scans on the 25th & see my St. Louis Oncologist the following week. Keep me in your prayers.
10/27/06 I picked my scans & reports up today. Everything looks stable except for my lungs. The reports say there is an increase in the number of tumors in both lungs but at the same time, it also says that they are decreasing in size. So, what does that mean? How can they be going down in size but up in numbers???? That's for Dr. Adkins to tell me on Tuesday. I'll update more after that appointment. Keep me in your prayers. Okay, there is a mixed result of my scans but I am staying on the current treatment for another 9 weeks & we'll see what happens then. Dr. Adkins doesn't feel concerned about anything going on so I will trust in the Lord & the doctors and continue marching on.
Thanksgiving '06 What a beautiful day! We went to my brother & sister-in-law's for lunch. It was excellent, as usual. Thanks guys! After we ate, I retreated to a recliner & watched tv while the others went outside to shoot skeet. Whitney spent a few days with her dad & grandparents at Branson along with other family members. She'll be home on Saturday. On Saturday, I plan on traveling to Hamilton to visit with my family & enjoy the annual cattle sale at my brother's house...hope the weather stays good. I haven't been to one of the sales for about 10 years probably.
12/23/06 I was released from Boone Hospital this Tuesday after a 5 day stay. I had chemo last Wednesday, 12/13/06, and was sick ALL night...but not from the chemo. I overindulged in some christmas candy! Anyway, by Thursday morning, I was running a fever & had chills & flu symptoms. I went to the doctor & they immediately put me in the hospital. They think the fever was caused by cellulites in my leg. It was redder than normal & warm to the touch. So...4 days of IV antibiotics & fluids before switching to oral meds but they made my stomach upset & my potassium levels were way down so I had to stay for an extra day. I'm better now; it was good to get home. My dog, Mattie, was extremely glad to see me & stays by my side most of the time. I was able to get my scans on the 21st so I'm waiting for those results. I'll try to get them the 26th & give you an update...keep praying.
1/8/07 Okay, here it is. I did pick up my scans on the 26th of December but I didn't want to ruin the holidays with what they said, which is: I have a few more very small tumors growing in my lungs, the tumor on my skull appears to be slightly larger, and I have fluid building up around the lining of my lungs & heart. I did pretty good about not getting too uptight about this until I saw my St. Louis oncologist, Dr. Adkins, which was today. He agreed that there are a few more tumors growing in my lungs but they are very small & he's not too concerned about them yet. He doesn't see the change in my skull but there is the fluid in my lungs & heart. He said the fluid was probably caused by the Taxotere I've been on for the past 10 months, so...I am stopping the current chemo treatment of Gemzar & Taxotere. I will be getting an echo cardiogram of the heart within the next 2 weeks and more scans the week of February 12th. I will go back to see him on the 19th of February. He wants to see if taking me off the Taxotere will help the fluid go away on its own, if not, they will have to drain it. He also mentioned another clinical trial drug that is already FDA approved for some types of kidney cancer & it is now being tested in some sarcoma cancers. He has to do more research to see if I am a candidate. I hope so...it is in pill form so I can take it at home. If I'm not a candidate, we'll have to discuss what other options there are for me. Right now, I'm just glad to get a break from everything. The past 3 weeks I haven't had any treatments have been WONDERFUL! I also saw my hip surgeon today. The hip looks good & feels good too. The only problem with that left leg is the lymphodema caused by the radiation. the tissues of the leg continue to get hard and my range of movement ormotion isn't very good. It's getting really hard to lift that leg high enough to even get into my Blazer...especially on the passenger side because that leg has to go in first. Oh well, I'll deal with that. I don't have to go back to see him unless I have problems with the hip.
All in all, even though the cancer is growing again, I felt very relieved after talking to Dr. Adkins, that it isn't quite as bad as I was imagining. Keep on praying. I love you ALL!
1/14/07 I had my echocardiogram on Wednesday (1/10/07). Dr. Schlossman phoned this morning to let me know that the fluid around my heart was insignificant by echo standards so there's currently nothing to worry about. I hope that by going off the chemo, the fluid will reabsorb on its own & I won't have to get it drained.
3-14-07 okay. I got out of the hospital on the 24th of February & I was in from 2/13/07. I had a brain tumor that knocked my speech out. I am still taking speech therapy so bare with me as I try to type this. I had a hemmorage the night before surgery & I don't remember a whole lot of anything after that. My next thing I have to do is go to my St, Louis oncologist. He will probably tell me that I have to go on these drugs called Ifosfomide & Adriamycin. they're supposed to be 1 1/2 times harder on my system. I don't know if my body can take that. I' m feeling great right now.
5/15/07 Sorry it's been a while since I've posted anything. it's been hectic around here. as soon as I get home from the hospital (every 21 days from the time I go in) it seems like there's bills piling up and groceries to buy. I seem to be handling the new chemo okay. I got sick the first day & seemed to handle it pretty until this last time when I got sick everyday for the entire first week I was out of the hospital. I had my scans on Friday & am set to see my oncologist in St. Louis on Wednesday. I have another posting then.
I Started a new chemo drug 6/5/07. It's called Rapamune. It's originally designed for people who have had kidney transplants so they won't reject the new organ. It is in pill form so I can take it at home. I'll be on it for three months then I'll have scans again.
I Had scans on Monday. Found out Yesterday that the chemo didn't work.
Now what??? I don't really know. PRAY LIKE YOU'VE NEVER PRAYED BEFORE!
8/29/07 I saw my St. Louis doctor today. I have to have radiation again but this time on my right hip. After that he wants to try my on Day......... something. it's an older drug thats been used in Leiomyo Sarcomas before. I'm getting really tired of all of this. How do I go on???
8/31/07 I went over to Missouri Cancer associates today. They had some planning to do on my radiation. Got that done but now they cant get me in to see the doctor until the Friday after Labor Day.
9/8/07 First day of radiation done. 11 more to go. I'll be glad when this is over; it takes me longer to change clothes than to have the treatment! I should be done on the 25th.
9/25/07 I finished up with radiation treatments today!!! I'll wait the week out & start my new chemo on 10/1/07.
10/1/07 Whitney came home for my birthday yesterday & spent the night so she could take me over for my treatment. I have no idea how i'll react to it. Its called Daicarbozine or something like that. The only problem I had was my face felt like it was on fire. I have to go back over tomorrow afternoon for a shot on Neulasta.
10/2/07 feel pretty good today. I'll drive myself over today to get my shot.
10/22/07 Another treatment today. Mom was here to take me over again. I love her so much. I don't know what I'd do without her.
10/30/07 Scans are set for the 5th of November. I will see my St. Louis oncologist on the 7th. We'll see how it goes from there.
11/9/07 Not good news. I've exhausted all my options. It's spreading to my spleen now. The St.Louis doctor wasn't too hip on my trying the last option of a drug called Sorafinib. He said it would be too hard om my system for what I'd get out of it. he didn't recommend it at all. so, I'm asking everyone to pray for myself & my family. for Strength to make it through this time & Hope & That God's will be done.
Thanks to all who have visited this site & left greetings & messages for me to enjoy. Your thoughtfulness & prayers have been very uplifting. I know that when I have times that I cannot pray for myself, I have all of you to do my praying for me. The love & support you have all shown throughout my battle with cancer is amazing. I love you all. God Bless.
Take care everyone & keep me & my family in your prayers. Ramona
We believe that hope survives, trust prevails, love abounds, faith triumphs, optimism predominates, wishes conquer, and that prayers are answered!
* * * * * * * * Cancer is so limited . . . It cannot cripple love, It cannot shatter hope, It cannot corrode faith, It cannot eat away peace, It cannot destroy confidence, It cannot kill friendships, It cannot shut out memories, It cannot silence courage, It cannot invade the soul It cannot reduce eternal life, It cannot quench the spirit, It cannot lessen the power of the ressurection.
CONGRATULATIONS.....-.Grandma RAMONA!!! / Julia (Best FRIEND )
I will let your sweet daughter be the first to write about your granddaughters....Just wanted to say CONGRATULATIONS...You would be so proud...BRIANNA AND BROOKLYN... are beautiful!! <3<3
MEMORIES OF MY FRIEND / Judy (A Forever Friend)
MEMORY OF MY FRIEND HAVE YOU EVER LOST A BEST FRIEND WHO WAS VERY DEAR TO YOU? ONE YOU LOVE SO VERY MUCH AND MISS HER LIKE I DO, HAVE YOU EVER HAD A HEARTACHE OR EVER FELT THE PAIN OR SHED THOSE BITTER TEARS THAT DROP LIKE FALLING RAIN? HAVE YOU...
Miss you Ramona! / Judy (BEST BUD)
Ramona, I sure miss you , my friend, So many times I think about you and the friendship we shared. I miss your phone calls and the great person and friend you were to me. Your bronze plate is so beautiful. It h...
Thinking of You!! / Judy
I found a letter you had written to me in 1997 when I was going through some rough times. You were always there for me, weren't you? I watched your video again tonight and I will cherish the memories we made together. Y...
Praying for you / Scot Dahl (family friend )
Hey Ramona, Just wanted to drop you a line and let you know you are in our prayers. Added your name to a few hundred people's prayer list today as well! May God Be with you and give you strength! In Christ- Scot
Growing Up Some of my fondest memories growing up were walking to the local grocery store in Kidder, MO, where my grandparents (Cornelius) lived, with a little loose change in hand & getting a ice cream bar with my cousins. We'd eat it on the way back to their house then go upstairs & play in the attic. There were these little miniature doors that led to storage areas but we would pretend to play store or just hide & seek. We'd enjoy a nice Sunday dinner with my favorite...my grandma's maccaroni & cheese. Years later, after I was married, she shared her secret with me & now my son, Dallas, loves my mac 'n' cheese (grandma's recipe). Thanks grandma.
I remember my grandpa smoking his pipe or cigars & blowing smoke rings. We would try to catch them. I remember helping my grandma run the freshly washed laundry through the old time ringer washer. I thought it was so neat to watch the clothes get so flat!
I also had tons of fun with my other grandparents, Nannie & Grandpa Alden. I remember my grandpa taking his false teeth out and making funny faces without them! We would have bunking parties for all grandkids' birthdays. We'd play "Authors" card games and Dominos and have weenie roasts...that was the big thing. I remember milking the cows & squirting milk at the cats. Fresh cow's milk was always my favorite thing to drink. I remember Grandma skimming the thick cream off the top & setting it aside to make fresh butter. We'd go gather eggs from the hen house. When I got older, I remember there being a copperhead or two that my dad had to come & get rid of because they were eating the eggs. Once in a while, my brothers would have calf riding comtests. It was fun to see who would be the first to fall off.
When it came time for the local 4-H fairs & the state fair, my mom & I would make a shopping run to St. Joe. We'd stop at the Goodrich Dairy store, or whatever it was called ,and get some ice cream before heading home. When we got home, sometimes we would go to the store & get all the fixins' to make our own bananna splits for later on. I also remember the family would always watch Disney movies on Sunday nights & mom would always make popcorn & homemade fudge...Yummy!
Mom & I played Canasta for hours on end. When I was sick & had to stay home from school, she'd always get me paper dolls to play with. I remember her taking us fishing in the afternoon when we got off the school bus. I used to fish ALL the time...I was such a tom boy. I loved to climb trees & ride my brothers' motorcycle.
Growing up for me was mostly fun but I hated not having anyone close by to play with. I had to work hard, mowing the yard & working with the cattle. In the summer, when I was old enough, I helped haul hay from the field to the elevator where I unloaded the wagons for the guys in the barn. I always had a crush on the guys in the hay crew.
I couldn't wait to be able to ride Robert's Honda 100 motorcycle. I got pretty good at jumping terraces & popping some small wheelies! That was a blast for me!
My Best Friend In The World God carved out a special place in my heart just for you when our paths crossed in 1991. How has it turned into that many years? It seems you have always been a part of my life. Little did I know, what a very special friend you and I would become. We instantly bonded and became as close as sisters and the best of friends. There are friends that are ALWAYS there for you. You are that kind of friend to me. The kind of friend you could call at 4:30 am with a sick child and you would bring over Tylenol and cough syrup. You would ask, what took you so long to call? What is most valuable is not what we have in our lives, but WHO we have in our lives.
It was an honor when you asked me to be your matron of honor in your wedding to Bruce. I've shared some special times with your family. Some were babysitting Whitney, the birth of Dallas, (my video taping the happy occasion, even if most of it was of the floor :-) until I got the hang of it. In years to come, their crinkled little noses pressed against clean windows, toothless giggles, potty training, bedtime stories, birthday parties, spiked fevers, crutches, twisted ankles, kindergarten, grade school, jr high, high school, tears when they lost a favorite puppy & kitten and hundreds of questions that were hard to answer. Whitney is now almost ready to graduate and preparing for college. We watched as Whitney turned into a beautiful young lady, it seems she was born under a lucky star. She will no doubt be successful in all that she endeavors. Dallas is beginning Junior High and will be in band & starting to play sports & have girlfriends.
You are the most beautiful person inside and out that I have ever known. You are a PROVERBS woman in every way. (Here's where you read every verse in Proverbs to see how wonderful you are). You are so caring, thoughtful and compassionate of others. You have enriched others lives in so many ways. You have turned so many simple everyday things into special occasions. You asked yourself what in life has lasting meaning and live your life as though that matters. You have important goals raising and loving your family. You put your love for God and those things first in your life. You always see a future filled with hope and promise.
You have struggled through some tough times and found happiness with Bruce and began to live life again with a stronger faith and a newfound direction. It seems that no matter what the circumstance, we support each other with our long long talks, hugs, tears and have prayed together many times to our God. We share a strong faith in the Lord and He has blessed me with your support, encouragement and a soft place to fall sometimes. We always have each other to lean on and you have filled my heart with a friendship I truly cherish. Thank you for being YOU and for loving me.
Ramona's Photo Album
Ramona & Whitney, July 2005
Whitney picked me for her senior pic Buddy pose!