Dear Fellow Travellers,
It is with great sorrow that I must report that my beloved partner and enthusiastic member of the Citizen Science Division and this community has departed our galaxy to realms unknown.
As many of you know, TravelEcho was diagnosed with stage 4 uterine cancer about a year and a half ago. For most of the last year she had been stable and living mostly pain free using a hormone-based treatment. Just over three weeks ago she started having pain in her hips and legs. In the space of a few short days the pain progressed from concerning to debilitating. Also during this time I noticed a certain amount of confusion and lethargy setting in.
After getting admitted to the hospital and following a couple of days of testing, they discovered her calcium levels were off the charts and the cancer had spread to her lower spine and pelvis. Also, a nodule in one of her lungs had grown from the size of a walnut to the size of an orange. Further testing led to the speculation that it was not the uterine cancer but a different, more aggressive cancer, possibly lung cancer, that was attacking her skeleton. Regardless, the prognosis was that she might have as long as 6 months if we pursued an intensive regime of chemotherapy and radiation treatments or a matter of weeks if we pursued a strictly palliative care approach. She chose the latter. Seeing how terribly she was suffering, and knowing that would likely be prolonged by additional interventions, I totally supported her decision.
In the event, she got only two more weeks in this world. During that time she was completely bedridden and somewhat groggy from all the morphine, but still managed to charm the nurses and aides to the point where she made many new friends. As was her wont, she took an interest in everyone and treated them as individual human beings, regardless of their role at the hospital. For the final few days the nursing and aide assignments were being quietly arranged so that the ones we already knew were being assigned to her care as much as possible. In spite of the terrible grief of the situation, the outpouring of love from the staff was beautiful to see.
TravelEcho was a very private person. Her wishes were to be cremated and there will be no burial service. We will be having a small private ceremony sometime in the coming months. We are planning to put up a memorial web site during that same time frame that will feature some of her creative works - her art, music, poems and stories. When that is available I will certainly post a link here. If you feel moved to do something as a remembrance in the meantime, perhaps consider spending an hour doing something creative that you love. Encouraging people to pursue their creativity was one of her favorite things. Or consider a donation to one of the many fine organizations that are working to overcome cancer. While considerable progress has been made, it would be such a fine thing if the terrible suffering inflicted by cancer could be ended entirely.
TravelEcho loved this community and the people in it. It was special place for her. She would often relate to me the discussions that were taking place here and we had many great talks about the current topics of interest. Please know that she thought of you as friends and cared deeply for you. I can understand why. I see a level of genuine engagement and decency here that is rare these days on the internet. It was in a newsgroup back in the 90’s that had a similar vibe where TravelEcho and I first met. But that’s a different story for another day.
If you have any comments or questions please feel free to post them here or DM me. TravelEcho’s favorite things to do in NMS were exploring and mining resources. I know she would wish you all -
as you continue your adventures. As do I, and I will also add another of her favorite sayings that she always strove to live by -
“Love is a verb.”