Remembering Barbara Cole

My mother, Barbara, lost her valiant battle with sarcoma on June 30, 2015. It was short and long all at the same time. My mother was a fighter and did well, for a while but the beast took over.

My mother’s biggest question was “How did I get this?”. Of course, it was a question no one could answer because there is no answer.

My mother was unofficially diagnosed with sarcoma in October 2014. It started in the pulmonary artery spread to the lungs and off it went through her body and this was before she was diagnosed. As with most sarcomas her diagnosis was a bit confusing. A biopsy on her lung gave the unofficial diagnosis. A PET scan showed it in various places. When a rod was placed in her femur because the sarcoma was just tearing up that bone, we made sure enough tissue was taken to confirm any diagnosis. It confirmed our worst fears.

In January 2015, she started treatment at MSKCC. As odd as it may sound, we felt at home there. My mother never complained about going there, well she did complain about the traffic. She always went in with a smile and enjoyed her interaction with everyone there.   The lesions on her brain were discovered a few days before her birthday. She had started repeating herself and it felt like the movie 50 First Dates. When we arrived at MSKCC parts of her memory were a bit scattered but the one thing she remembered was her birthday. She shared it with everyone and anyone who would listen. We spent her 77th birthday at the hospital and the staff shared this special day with her. It truly made me cry.

On the ride to chemo treatment one day (sitting in traffic on the FDR), she asked me to make sure her senior group donated money to sarcoma research as a memorial when she passed. It was extremely hard to hear her say that. It truly came from her heart. She knew that research wouldn’t help her but could help someone else so they didn’t have to take this path.

My heart is forever broken and I will keep the promise I made to her about sarcoma research and awareness. She has put me on a mission.