Mother of 8 fights aggressive skin cancer: ‘I won’t sit down to die’ – Detroit Free Press
Health and Medical

Mother of 8 fights aggressive skin cancer: ‘I won’t sit down to die’ – Detroit Free Press

DETROIT – Kim Wesley’s New Year’s resolution is very straightforward: She needs to are living.

The forty one-yr-outdated one mother has 8 youthful youngsters to raise, but an aggressive pores and skin cancer has distribute all through her system, draining her bodily.

She used New Year’s Eve getting chemo, her bright-blue eyes fixated on the hanging plastic bag stuffed with toxic, liquid hope.

The Swartz Creek female, who was in remission for 5 yrs following a 2012 melanoma diagnosis, learned final yr that the disorder was again and had spread to her breast, abdomen, lungs and liver.

She was blindsided by the recurrence: Two months previously, a CT scan showed no condition, she stated, noting her health care provider stated she was in the crystal clear. But a regime mammogram in January 2018 revealed the cancer was again. 

Wesley would drop her pink hair, her strength, her livelihood, her vehicle – fallout from two strong chemo medication that landed her in the hospital for extra than a thirty day period last summer, vomiting to the stage of wanting to die, asking to die.

But she doesn’t recall that aspect. The comfortable-spoken woman who smiles at the nurses throughout chemo remedies only remembers surviving the hellish nightmare and wanting to are living. 

The onetime workaholic who worked full-time through chemo desires her old daily life back again. She has usually labored and taken treatment of her young ones. She wants to be impartial once again, generate herself to appointments and take her kids bowling and to the flicks like she employed to. 

She demands the chemo to function. She wants to keep strong and good.

She needs a wonder – and a auto.

Just after the most cancers came back, Wesley became as well unwell to function and experienced to give up her total-time occupation as a qualified nursing assistant at a Grand Blanc nursing property, where by she made about $fifty two,000 a yr. She worked time beyond regulation and double-shifts to cover her costs, which incorporated a $750-a-thirty day period property finance loan and a $400 regular monthly car payment for her 2012 Dodge Journey, she stated.

Her mother and father helped preserve her four-bed room house the car got repossessed soon after she fell powering on payments. She’s now on incapacity: $one,053 a month.

Most cancers has taken its toll, she concedes. But her hope, faith and dignity are not up for grabs.

“I have heard that you will need to remain optimistic … you really don’t sit down to die,” she mentioned just times right before her New Year’s Eve chemo treatment method at Beaumont Hospital’s Rose Most cancers Centre in Royal Oak. “I’ve always been a strong-willed person. I’m not one particular of those people persons to say, ‘I never have this,’ “

And so she fights by means of the nausea, the tiredness, the funds woes.

Due to the fact, she states frankly, caving to despair isn’t an choice.

“I’m actually battling not only the cancer – but for obtaining my life again,” she said.   “Sometimes it really is as well a lot and I get depressed and just cry. But then I recall that if I just remain favourable and combat – that is how you beat cancer.” 

Previously mentioned all, she reported, “My young children need me.”

An unconventional mole 

It was for the duration of a 2012 carnival outing when Wesley’s mom saw a raised, darkish mole on her daughter’s back. It experienced been there awhile. It started out flat, but over time it started off to increase and obtained darker and darker.

By the time her mother noticed it, Wesley reported, the mole had turned blackish and commenced to itch and bleed. Her mom informed her to get it checked out, so she did.

It was melanoma. It experienced traveled to her lymph nodes, so Wesley experienced two surgeries that removed the cancer and place her into remission, she mentioned. For five many years, she considered she was most cancers-absolutely free and even experienced two little ones next her most cancers surgical procedures. 

Wesley’s small children are ages one via thirteen. She is estranged from their father – they split up in 2014 – and she has taken care of the children largely with the aid of her mother and father and three sisters.

In November 2017, Wesley had what she believed was her remaining program CT scan. It showed no cancer and her doctor informed her that she wouldn’t need to have the routine scans any longer, that she was in the clear, she stated.

Then, two months later on, she was blindsided. Wesley went for a routine mammogram in January 2018 when lumps were discovered. A biopsy followed.

The most cancers was back again.

“When I read the benefits, it reported it was melanoma and I was just in tears,” recalled Wesley, who was sitting down in a car with her mother when she discovered the news. “I started off crying. … She started crying.”

The mom and daughter then went to the medical doctor, who delivered additional bad news.

“He mentioned this time close to surgical procedure wasn’t an possibility mainly because it was in my blood and spreading to my organs,” Wesley said. “He just mentioned I had to commence on the chemo.”

The information also blindsided her mom, Terri Gronau, 60, who has been Wesley’s major support process, driving her to appointments, seeing her kids and feeding them evening meal just about every evening when her daughter fights for her everyday living.

“We had been just stunned. … I assumed she was in remission,” Gronau said. “To feel it all started from just one small place on her back again. … It truly is frightening and it truly is stressful and it helps make me ill sometimes. I’d rather it be me than her.”

Combating the unthinkable 

Gronau has observed her daughter via some dark times. It has been gut-wrenching for the supportive mom, who sits in the healthcare facility parking good deal with her grandchildren whilst their mother receives chemo. Wesley gets chemo each and every two months.

“She’s obtained a good heart. She enjoys most people,” Gronau claimed of Wesley, her oldest child. “To see her like this, it truly is hard for most people. I assume it can be tough for her due to the fact she’s employed to being the sturdy just one. … She’s made use of to remaining the a single that other individuals could depend on.”

But she watches her daughter struggle by way of it. 1 powerful mom supporting the other, both of those hiding their fears and pain for the sake of their youngsters.

“I see her fret about the children. … She attempts to continue to be optimistic and she would not seriously blame anyone. That’s section of her character and spirit,” Gronau explained, smiling the similar way her daughter does when she talks of the illness.

But the dark days have been difficult. Gronau almost shed her daughter in July, when her potassium degrees dropped to dangerously lower amounts from the two chemo prescription drugs she was taking at the similar time: Opdivo and Yervoy. The latter one particular she couldn’t tolerate.

“There are not a lot of men and women who can get those people collectively, but they experienced to attempt it. The cancer arrived again so aggressively they necessary to strike it aggressively. It was rough,” Gronau said, recalling the nausea and vomiting had been nonstop. “It was awful. She carried a bucket. She threw up a ton.”

 Wesley attained a breaking position.

“She just looked at me one night … she turned her head and claimed, “Mom, I need to go to the clinic, induce I am in the dying levels,’ ” Gronau recalled.

Wesley invested all of June and aspect of July in the medical center. The Yervoy drug was stopped. The intense treatment did what it was supposed to do.

“Considering the fact that then, they’ve re-scanned me. It truly is out of my lungs,” Wesley said. “I have a few of places on my liver but they have gotten more compact. Right now, I am reacting positive to the drugs.”

And which is what she’s keeping on to.

She claimed her doctor advised her that she has to stay on the chemo drug right up until it stops operating. And when and if it does, she claimed, the health practitioner advised her “he is obtained two other meds in his again pocket.”

Wesley’s not giving up. 

She’s on health care leave from her occupation. And her employer, she stated, has informed her she can come back to work when she’s more robust.

Suzette Harrison, human sources coordinator at the Wellbridge of Grand Blanc nursing dwelling exactly where Wesley worked, describes Wesley as a dependable and really hard employee who picked up shifts all the time, even when she was likely through chemo. 

“You could often depend on her. So when this hit her, it hit her difficult,” Harrison reported, referring to Wesley’s fight with most cancers. “She was usually at do the job. … She’s a very really hard employee who supported her family and herself.”

In accordance to Harrison, Wesley’s coworkers typically attempted to persuade Wesley to stay dwelling to get much better. But Wesley wouldn’t hear of it.

“I feel that was a lot more of her drive to retain pushing forward,” Harrison stated. “That was her power. She wasn’t just heading to lay down and die. She needed to live.”

It wasn’t until finally the aggressive chemo treatment method started off that Wesley lastly had to give up operating.

“By the time it bought to me, it experienced already hit her tougher. I realized that she was going as a result of it. I was like, ‘Kim, you should really truly be resting,’ ” claimed Harrison, noting that Wesley’s position remains open up and that she can appear again to it when she feels far better. 

So Wesley prays for that day, just about every day.  

“I pray for my wellness to get superior so that my young children can have their mother. I pray for my children to get taken treatment of. I pray for other people. I pray for my household,” she explained

The battle continues 

Even though sitting in the hospital lobby on New Year’s Eve, ready for her name to be termed for her chemo therapy, Wesley rocked again and forth in her chair even though rubbing her hands on her thighs. She smiled as a result of the panic, talked about lacking get the job done and joked about not liking her new white hair or her pixie lower.

When her name was ultimately called, she said, “Which is me.” And obtained up and walked to the chemo heart sporting a T-shirt she purchased for herself. It go through: ‘You’ve got this.’

Adhere to Tresa Baldas on Twitter:@Tbaldas.

If you are intrigued in aiding Wesley, a Kim Wesley Most cancers Fund has been set up at: https://www.gofundme.com/kimberly-wesley-cancer-fund

Kim Voelker-Wesley, 41, of Montrose hugs her son Cameron Wesley, 3, as her mother Terrie Gronau of Montrose looks on while sitting in the dining room of her home in Montrose on Thursday, January 3, 2019.Voelker-Wesley is battling skin cancer that spread to her breast, lungs and liver after being in remission for five years. The disease has robbed her of her livelihood and independence, but not her hopes. She has one New Year's Resolution: to live.

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Kim Voelker-Wesley, 41, of Montrose goes through chemotherapy at the Rose Cancer Center in Royal Oak on Monday, December 31, 2018. Voelker-Wesley is battling skin cancer that spread to her breast, lungs and liver after being in remission for five years. The disease has robbed her of her livelihood and independence, but not her hopes. She has one New Year's Resolution: to live.

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Terrie Gronau of Montrose looks to her daughter Kim Voelker-Wesley, 41, of Montrose while helping her around the house at her home in Montrose on Thursday, January 3, 2019.Voelker-Wesley is battling skin cancer that spread to her breast, lungs and liver after being in remission for five years. The disease has robbed her of her livelihood and independence, but not her hopes. She has one New Year's Resolution: to live.

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Kim Voelker-Wesley, 41, of Montrose sits in pain as her mother Terrie Gronau of Montrose helps play with her daughters son Cameron Wesley, 3, and daughter Brooklyn Wesley, 9, at their home in Montrose on Thursday, January 3, 2019.Voelker-Wesley is battling skin cancer that spread to her breast, lungs and liver after being in remission for five years. The disease has robbed her of her livelihood and independence, but not her hopes. She has one New Year's Resolution: to live.

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Kim Voelker-Wesley, 41, of Montrose watches videos with her son Cameron Wesley, 3, at her home in Montrose on Thursday, January 3, 2019.Voelker-Wesley is battling skin cancer that spread to her breast, lungs and liver after being in remission for five years. The disease has robbed her of her livelihood and independence, but not her hopes. She has one New Year's Resolution: to live.

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Kim Voelker-Wesley, 41, of Montrose sits with her daughters Brooklyn Wesley (left), 9, and Madison Wesley, 10, as the children are home on holiday break from school at her home in Montrose on Thursday, January 3, 2019.Voelker-Wesley is battling skin cancer that spread to her breast, lungs and liver after being in remission for five years. The disease has robbed her of her livelihood and independence, but not her hopes. She has one New Year's Resolution: to live.

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Kim Voelker-Wesley, 41, of Montrose watches as Erica Tomich RN connects her bag for the start of her chemotherapy at the Rose Cancer Center in Royal Oak on Monday, December 31, 2018. Voelker-Wesley is battling skin cancer that spread to her breast, lungs and liver after being in remission for five years. The disease has robbed her of her livelihood and independence, but not her hopes. She has one New Year's Resolution: to live.

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Kim Voelker-Wesley, 41, of Montrose nervously waits for the start of her chemotherapy at the Rose Cancer Center in Royal Oak on Monday, December 31, 2018. Voelker-Wesley is battling skin cancer that spread to her breast, lungs and liver after being in remission for five years. The disease has robbed her of her livelihood and independence, but not her hopes. She has one New Year's Resolution: to live.

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Kim Voelker-Wesley, 41, of Montrose listens to test results before the start of her chemotherapy at the Rose Cancer Center in Royal Oak on Monday, December 31, 2018. Voelker-Wesley is battling skin cancer that spread to her breast, lungs and liver after being in remission for five years. The disease has robbed her of her livelihood and independence, but not her hopes. She has one New Year's Resolution: to live.

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Kim Voelker-Wesley, 41, of Montrose watches her sons Donald Wesley (left), 6, and Cameron Wesley, 3, run around the living room while home on holiday break from school her home in Montrose on Thursday, January 3, 2019.Voelker-Wesley is battling skin cancer that spread to her breast, lungs and liver after being in remission for five years. The disease has robbed her of her livelihood and independence, but not her hopes. She has one New Year's Resolution: to live.

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Kim Voelker-Wesley, 41, of Montrose sits in her home in Montrose on Thursday, January 3, 2019.Voelker-Wesley is battling skin cancer that spread to her breast, lungs and liver after being in remission for five years. The disease has robbed her of her livelihood and independence, but not her hopes. She has one New Year's Resolution: to live.

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