Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

April 20, 2013

Fight cancer like Patty


— A reader asked me about our daughter, Patricia, who passed away in 1994 of ovarion cancer. She said she read Patty’s story on the Web, and wondered how it affected us to lose someone that close.

Well, I have to tell you, it hurts every day, but you learn in time to cope with it by accepting it.

There were many mornings when I would wake up and tell myself that it was a bad dream. But it wasn’t a dream at all. I just had to go on with life, with the memories of that young lady who was our daughter. And if it comes to having to cry at times, I go ahead because I cared.

The story on my webpage at one time had more than 370,000 hits, but I lost the page and had to start another one.

I remember the morning when I received a phone call from Ramona that the doctor came in and told her that Patty had cancer. I, right away, left the store and drove out to the hospital with tears in my eyes and pain in my heart.

Here was a 34-year-old young lady, who, like her sister, meant the world to me and their mother, and there was a chance that we were going to lose her.

As I started into her room, I stopped long enough to wipe my eyes and get my grip before seeing our little girl. I leaned over and gave her a big hug. She said, “Daddy, I have cancer.”

I told her we would fight together to beat this thing, and that was enough for her. She knew that Dad would be there at all times possible, and she did not have to go through this alone. She also had her mother and sister, Deborah, to help her fight. Together, with her friends, all of our families and God, we would get her through.

The next five months were hard on all of us, but that little lady was one strong girl. I don’t know if I could be that strong.

At no time during that five-month span did the doctors and nurses give up on Patricia, and she did not give up on them. When there is a terrible illness such as cancer, you will see people working together in order to fight for a patient. We saw a lot of that in the hospital.

I remember one day when I was about to enter her room, I saw she was crying. So I stepped back into the hallway and said a loud hello to the nurses at their station.

Then when I went in the room, Patty was smiling while hiding the tears she did not want me to see.

In her fourth month, I was staying there at nights. We would talk together, and maybe get a little shuteye. One day, I told her I was going to open the curtains and move her bed so that she could look outdoors. We did this each night for four nights. We watched how night turns into day.

One night I asked her if she knew what I was trying to show her. She said, “Yes, Daddy, I understand that the dark will always turn to light, and the days we have left in our lifetime will do the same.”

All the beautiful colors appear as night turns into day, and we cherish each one of those days because God will one day make his call and we will enter into eternal life.

If you ask me if I miss her, I would say that I do every minute of my life, and I will walk that narrow path so that I can see her again.

Patty’s body is buried in Kokomo Memorial Park Cemetery, and we have a memorial at the gates telling all of you to “help keep Patricia’s fight against cancer alive.”

Cancer one day will be defeated, but today we need to fight with all our might to take it to its knees.

Ray “Uncle Ray” Day is a weekly contributor to the Kokomo Tribune. Contact him at uncleray@earthlink.net.