What I have learned from my Grandmother's life being taken by Cancer

My Grandmother passed away just over two weeks ago, in the middle of December, right before Christmas which was her favorite Holiday. My family was looking forward to spending their first Christmas with her in 14 years as a whole family. She had just moved back to Minnesota from New Mexico where she spent the majority of her retired years.

A bit of background on my Grandmothers health, she was 80 years old and fighting Cancer for the THIRD time. I learned just how stubborn she was in those final weeks, refusing narcotic pain medication because she wanted to be "all there" mentally with her family. This is a Woman who birthed seven children, had a heart attack, and Cancer three times. The pain was not unfamiliar to her, in fact, I believe because of spending a large majority of her life in pain, she learned to live with it, it became her normal, she just dealt with the pain, suffered through it. We learned this to be true in her final days when we would ask her what number pain level she was at she would reply “3” and then we would go on to describe the different pain levels to her in words, and she was really at an 8,9, or 10.

This right here is what shook me to my core. I am 30 years old, I lived for 19 years with one of the most painful incurable diseases (Endometriosis) out there, and just like my Grandmother I never allowed myself to take narcotic level pain medications. Instead, I chose to suffer through it, not living my life at all. Endometriosis controlled my life (and it still does to some degree), it affected my relationships: friendships, social life, and my career.

I am only two months post-op from having deep-excision laparoscopic surgery to remove Endometriosis. If you’re familiar with these terms and this disease at all you would know that this surgery is not a cure, there is no cure, but it is my chance at a more comfortable life going forward. -- To learn more about my surgery please see my blog post titled: MY STORY | PART TWO | SURGERY.

The eye-opening moment I had while spending time with my Grandmother in her final days.... I had just missed a physical therapy appointment so that I could hang out with Grams in the hospital and I was talking to her about pain. She was telling me her women's health history. She and I agreed it is HIGHLY likely she too had endometriosis, and it was never adequately treated or even recognized by medical professionals. As I watched my Grandmother fade away into the relief of morphine after finally convincing her to take some, I realized I DO NOT WANT TO BE 80 YEARS OLD AND TO HAVE LIVED THE LARGE MAJORITY OF MY LIFE IN PAIN.

I started making changes for my health in September before surgery, and now after cancer took the life of my grandmother, I have never been more impassioned to move forward with changing my lifestyle and doing whatever I have to to make my physical body and mind as pain-free and comfortable as possible.

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There are some medical theories out there that suggest Endometriosis in genetic, and there is medical research out there that proves this theory to be true.

a 7-10 fold risk exists in those whose mother or relative has disease

XoXo

Jess Wonders