Medial Update: Michelle Romani shares her mother's story
Sep 26, 2013 at 6:05 PM CST
Sep 26, 2013
It was 20 years ago that Michelle Romani lost her mother, Mary, to ovarian cancer, and since then she hasn't stopped spreading the message of the importance of early detection. "My mother was very vivacious, I mean, she was the life of the family." Michelle says she remembers her mother experiencing symptoms like weight gain, gas, and bloating, but she just figured it all came with growing older. But when she started feeling a lot of discomfort she decided to have it checked out by her doctor. "She said, I have some news for you. I kinda had this thing in the pit of my stomach, saying ok, and then she said, it's cancer... it was... it hit me like lightning." At the time, Michelle lived in Austin and would travel back and forth to see her mom. After Mary underwent a hysterectomy and chemotherapy, the family was hopeful she would recover. "There were nights when she would wake up, screaming because there was pain, crying and she would say take me... take me... and then she would calm down and start praying." It was Mary’s faith and the relationship the family had with Our Lady of Guadalupe Church that helped Michelle and her father stay strong. "She was baptized here, she was married here, and in fact I was baptized here too, so Guadalupe always held something special in her heart." But less than a year after her diagnosis Mary took a turn for the worse. "About 9:30, I got the call from my father, he said come home." Michelle made the drive from Austin to Laredo to be at her mother's bedside. "The look on my Aunt Matty's face, just... I thought no... and I went and hugged her... and my dad said she's gone. I had missed my mother by five minutes, and those are five minutes I will never get back." Twenty years later Michelle still shares her mom's story in the hope that more women will get themselves checked for ovarian cancer. "For every survivor story that you have for other cancers, there will always be many Mary Romanis whose story is never heard." "My mother would want women to get themselves checked, I don't want her death to be in vain."