“I Love Our Life” – The Becki Goad Story
Becki was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in May 2005 after surgery to remove tumors from her pelvic area. When the doctor gave us the news, we were all in shock being that we’d never heard the “C” word associated with a family member. The doctor looked at us and said “you all seem to be in shock” which we acknowledged in that we’d never had any experience with this disease. He stated that the battle was just beginning and thus started the incredible 8 ½ battle Becki has waged.
When the doctor informed her of his findings and discussed treatment options and the side effects, without hesitation she said “let’s go”. She received traditional chemo treatments for 2 years and then underwent additional surgery as the cancer metastasized to her colon. Thereafter she received another 2 years of traditional chemo but eventually became platinum resistant, as which point the oncologist recommended clinical trials. She was referred to Premier Oncology in Scottsdale, AZ (Dr. Michael Gordon) and has gone through 4 trials, one of which kept the cancer stabilized for 27 months. Two more trials after this were ineffective and being that she was still platinum resistant, there were no trial options at this time. After hearing this news we started doing our own research. We were surprised to find that there are literally hundreds of trails available but she did not qualify for any of them.
One of the first things she had to decide after being diagnosed was whether to keep the disease private or let other than family members know. In that she intended to fight for as long as it took to get the disease under control (we knew of 2 situations where people has survived 9 and 10 years), she decided to let everyone know. Having lived in the Phoenix area for over 55 years she had many friends, neighbors and business acquaintances to go with a large family and she was well liked by everyone. Immediately people rallied to her support in the following ways.
People started praying for her on a regular basis. As time went on, they mentioned her to their relatives, friends etc. who also prayed for her. Soon we found out she was on prayer lists all over the US and in some other countries and several churches. It seemed that when people told other people what a wonderful person she is and how hard she was fighting, the prayers keep growing.
As the word spread, people constantly provided support with visits, lunch invites, phone calls, e-mails, cards and tweets. It gave her strength to know that so many people were pulling for her and that they were willing to do anything to help. Her husband Larry took over most of the domestic duties and became a caregiver as needed.
Due to the harshness of some of the treatment side effects she often had little appetite (which was enhanced by Larry’s lack of cooking experience). A neighbor organized a weekly meal program and even set up a web site so people could pick dates and menu selections. As time went on, Larry learned some basic cooking and prepared a meal every night. This was very important because the doctors wanted her to keep her nutrition up and when a meal was placed in front of her it was easier to become motivated to eat.
A positive attitude was very important and Becki rarely let herself get down. Some of the patient friends she made during this ordeal eventually gave up, which just reinforced her ability to keep positive. In spite of the harshness of the treatments she felt that she had a lot to live for and was motivated to fight hard to enjoy every day. It was not easy – there were times that she wondered how long she could keep going. But then she would get a call or letter, a lunch date, a good meal or attend a family gathering and it picked her back up.
Being involved in as many activities as possible was important also. Being so close to family, friends and neighbors there were always events going one, particularly with the grandchildren. She pushed herself to do as much as possible, even though it was difficult at times. Realizing the importance of each day, she wanted to enjoy every minute she could. She attended many vacations with family and some out-of –state trips to visit friends.
After getting started on traditional chemo treatments the oncologist made a statement that “you don’t want to ever hear me say clinical trials”. Eventually he did use those words and again, Becki’s response was “let’s go”. She has spent the last 4 years at Premier Oncology who has done a fantastic job and became very attached to Becki due to her friendly, happy, positive attitude and her support of fellow patients.
Top Notch Medical
Becki was very fortunate of have Dr. Mike Janicek as her oncologist initially. He was highly regarded, very informative and did everything he could for her during the initial treatments. After she moved to Premier she was assigned to Dr. Gordon, a renowned national oncologist. His treatment program was outstanding.
Even though she lost her hair during the initial treatment she was always concerned about her appearance and dressed nicely and kept her appearance up (people always commented on how good she looked). She has a beautiful home in Scottsdale and always made sure it was kept up.
In conclusion, the outpouring of support from family and friends, keeping active, spousal support and a beautiful home all lead to her constantly saying “I love our life”. She was always concerned about fellow patients and developed a strong relationship with some of them. It was always her hope that by participating in clinical trials, others would benefit someday. She has been described as a “trooper”, a hero and an inspiration. She has been blessed to have all these resources available to assist in the fight. Others may not but even if one of the things mentioned above helped prolong someone’s life, Becki would be very happy.
P.S. Becki is currently under Hospice care as she deals with the final stages of her disease.