Community is stronger than cancer.®

Cancer is a Scary Word: Heather’s Story


“Our community is stronger than cancer and I’m beyond thrilled to be part of this community that is making such an impact.” ~ Heather, CSCGLV Board Member

Cancer is a scary word and not exactly one my family was prepared to hear. My dad had a stroke on May 6, 2021 and we thought we were dealing with stroke rehabilitation, and while that would be hard, it was going to be manageable. Or so we thought. About a week later, my dad had another stroke, which wiped out everything – his speech and most of his mobility.Then came the meeting with the physician team, which included an oncologist, and we knew that meant bad news. That’s when we heard the words ‘metastatic cancer’ and with treatment, he might have six months to a year and without treatment, might be less. We were stunned – what? Six months? We seriously had no idea, no warning and no symptoms. Apparently, cancer can throw blood clots, and that was his symptom.We tried our best to understand what my dad wanted to do, but his communication was extremely limited. From the limited speech, we were able to understand that he didn’t want chemo, tests or a biopsy. He just wanted to be home. We were never able to confirm the diagnosis 100%, but the doctors were fairly certain it was stage IV pancreatic cancer, based on the many lesions spread throughout my dad’s organs.The family room where I grew up was unfortunately turned into a room with a hospital bed. After only a few short weeks, my dad’s cancer progressed and home hospice care needed to be brought in, to provide my mom the assistance she needed to care for him at home.We barely had time to cope with or understand how to process any of this, as it all came so quickly. My dad passed away peacefully on June 21, 2021. Six weeks is definitely not enough time to process this kind of tragedy.My family is still reeling in emotions, and grief comes in waves. If my dad would have been given a longer timeframe, maybe he could have benefited from some of the services at Cancer Support Community of the Greater Lehigh Valley. I’ve been involved with the CSCGLV for a few years and have always been so  impressed at the programs and services this organization provides to the community.I am now proud to be a CSCGLV board member and will make it my mission to promote the meaningful work this organization does. Today and every day, I will make it my priority to share this amazing resource with any friend or family member who needs it. Our community is stronger than cancer and I’m beyond thrilled to be part of this community that is making such an impact.