Don't let the twinkle in her eye or that beautiful smile fool you. Behind that smile lay a twistedly funny sense of humor, and a ferocious, no nonsense, determination to beat her sworn enemy into oblivion. She was wickedly fierce, a whole lot of stubborn, a bit ornery, and undeniably determined that Metastatic Breast Cancer would not define who she was. Her name was Lisa Sloat. And she was a breast cancer ass kicker to her very last breath.
Lisa was diagnosed with Metastatic Breast Cancer in 2012 after successfully beating early stage breast cancer a few years earlier. Her hip had broken while she slept. The cancer returned and metastasized to her bones. She learned that day that she'd have a long journey of treatments and surgeries ahead of her, but that didn't stop Lisa. And it didn't squash her uncanny ability to laugh in cancer's face.
Lisa came into my life in early 2014 when she enrolled into our Road to Resources program. I remember thinking to myself, if I was a beer drinker, she'd be a fun lady to sit and have a beer with. She was gritty and she was tough. Looking back I think that's why she thrived all these years. We shared many late night conversations, long text messages, celebrations, and even a few cries.
But then she got the news a few weeks ago that the last of her treatment options had failed and she should start making her final plans. Those plans included a trip to Disney World with her best friend. She fought tooth and nail to be well for that trip; though her body had other plans for her. Despite a lengthy stay in the hospital, they sent Lisa home on hospice. And you know what she said when she got there.....
I didn't come home on hospice to die. I came home to rest so I COULD FIGHT!"
And fight she did --- until her very last breath last night surrounded by friends and her two fur-babies.
Rest in Peace, Lisa. Your ring says it all.
***Note: The photographer, Lisa Otto, is not the same Lisa in this story.
Shannon Moneymaker is the Executive Director of F3S and experiences life in the breast cancer community, not through just her own eyes but through the eyes of others.
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