Ovarian Cancer – A Girl’s Fight

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Today marks the one month anniversary of my cousin Rebekah’s passing.  I really can’t believe its been a month.  Time just keeps ticking on and waits for no one.  I think about her every day and the powerful story of strength she left behind.

Rebekah K. Dickison was born June 1st, 1978 to Rev. Mack T. Dickison, Jr. and Ethel Jeannette (Birchfield) Dickison(Obituary).  She is survived by her mother, three sisters, Deloris, Katherine, and Kristina, numerous extended family, nearly 650 Facebook friends, 430 Kickin Cancers Butt friends, and countless other work, church, and community friends.  She touched so many in her 36 years.

Rebekah was first diagnosed with Stage 2B Ovarian and Uterine Cancer on December 22, 2008.  Never really one to call attention to her troubles, Rebekah kept posts about her health at the time to a minimum.  Fight Like A Girl was her adopted motto and fight is exactly what she would do and on July 7th, 2009 Rebekah posts, “Overcame Ovarian Cancer…Best Day Ever!”

Following this victory, Rebekah proceeded to become a promoter of Women’s Health by constantly reminding women to have regular checkups to detect this silent killer.  Public Awareness became her mission.  Over the next four years, Rebekah would enjoy a diagnosis of remission.  She never once forgot to Thank God for her health, family, and friends. Rebekah posts, “What a world this would be if we could forget our troubles as easily as we forget our blessings.”

Rebekah was a fighter from day 1 and never really one to complain.  She was a social butterfly- very energetic, bubbly, and outgoing(Obituary).  Rebekah was blessed with a love of traveling. During her life she had the opportunity to go on numerous trips including New York, Canada, Tennessee, California, New Providence, Sinaloa, Pennsylvania, Puerto Vallarata, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, St. Marteen, Florida, Cabo San Lucas, Niagara Falls, and several cruises.  A 1996 graduate of Mansfield Senior High, Rebekah worked for Dairyland in Mansfield, Ohio for 16 years and most recently, was employed with the Ashland County Board of Developmental Disabilities in the DR Services Division(Obituary).  She also dedicated over 10 years to community activities including Relay for Life and the Ontario Upward Basketball program(Obituary).  She was such an adventurous soul and giver of happiness.  Rebekah was just another girl, living her life, a cancer survivor, a daughter, sister, cousin, and friend, when once again she would be called upon to fight like a girl.

In July 2013, after experiencing back pain, tests would confirm that the cancer was back.  Rebekah posts, “I was and am completely devastated.  I’ve gone 4 years cancer free…I’m trying to stay as upbeat as possible.  It’s hard.  I’m pissed off.  I’m scared.  I’m anxious and I’m hurt”(Aug.2013).  She lays it out, her raw emotions, and couldn’t have said it better.  At this stage, I believe that all of us felt the same way.  But, Rebekah is not a quitter, and quickly bounces back, posting, “Fear is useless, Faith is priceless.”  It was during this time that a coworker and friend, Ashley Thornton started a Facebook page titled Kickin Cancers Butt with Rebekah.  Kickin Cancers Butt would become a community page where friends and family could post words of encouragement, updates on Rebekah’s treatment, and also advertise any fundraisers and events held in her honor.  To this day, one month after her passing, the site and her Facebook profile continue to receive posts from those who loved her most.

November 2013 Rebekah posts,”On this Thanksgiving day I’m thankful for my health.  Though it’s not the best I am still alive and able to spend this day with my natural family and the family I’ve made.  Everyone be safe and have a Happy Thanksgiving and remember why we celebrate this day!”  Always thankful and always thinking of everyone else.  This was Rebekah.  After enjoying a relatively normal Christmas and New Year’s, Rebekah foretells, “I have claimed a healing and believe I will be healed in due time”(Feb. 2014).  The next month, Rebekah receives news that no new lesions on her liver were found and that her current lesions were shrinking.  Her reaction,”Praise God!  Thank you all for praying for me.  You see, there is POWER IN PRAYER!”  Unfortunately, this victory would be short lived as April brings a switch in chemo treatments and May follows with sickness and pain for Rebekah.  She writes, “Please keep me and my family in your thoughts and prayers as they are going through this mess along with me.”  Thousands were praying for Rebekah by this time, but sometimes God has a different plan.

“Last night we received the news that none of us wanted to ever hear.  The time has come that chemo is no longer an option for Rebekah.  The cancer has now completely overtaken her liver and other organs,” Kristina posts in June 2014.  The verdict is that no more chemo will be administered because it would only weaken Rebekah further.  Rebekah returns home to rest and weigh options.  While at home, Rebekah receives countless visitors.  Never one to disappoint, she visits with all of them, often struggling to get through the conversation, and needing to take breaks often.  The outpouring of love and support was never lost on her or her family.

On July 2nd Kristina posts, “…Beck’s health has been getting progressively worse…this afternoon we had a very difficult conversation with Beck’s nurse and social worker and now are aware of how very little precious time we have left with our sister.” The next morning, July 3rd, 2014, Rebekah would pass away.

“We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body,

and to be present with the Lord.” II Corinthians 5:8

Her funeral was held on July 8th at the Mansfield Cemetery.  Rebekah was preceded in death by her grandparents, James and Lula Birchfield and Mack T. and Reba Dickison: Aunt Shirley Carver; and Uncle George Allen Birchfield, but probably none more important as her father, Rev. Mack T. Dickison, Jr. whose passing she remembered in her Facebook post, ‘Saddest Day Ever’, as “…the best man who ever lived.”

In the days that followed, Rebekah’s family, even in their grief, thanked family and friends for all their continued support. Katherine carried on Rebekah’s fight by reminding all women to continue getting annual checkups, the very day Rebekah passed.  Too many to count, the condolences poured in and flooded, not only Rebekah’s, but Kickin Cancers Butt, and her sisters sites.  Rebekah flies with angels now and feels no pain.  She has been welcomed into the arms of our Lord and waits in Heaven for the reuniting of all those left behind.  Rebekah may not live on earth anymore, but she will always be in the memories and hearts of all who loved her.

“For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.  I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” II Timothy 4:6-8

Ovarian Cancer kills over 15,000 women a year according to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund and it is the 5th most common women’s cancer.  Symptoms include, but are not limited to, abnormal bleeding from the vagina, pelvic pain, a mass in the pelvic area, and weight loss.  The survival rate of women diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer is generally 5 years. Help carry on Rebekah’s fight. Educate yourself and others about Ovarian and Uterine Cancer today.   For more information please click the highlighted links.

 

Redeemed

My fight is almost over

But I will not sound retreat

The grave calls me nearer

But I will not accept defeat

For from the grave I will rise

Christ owns this soul of mine

Although death tries to claim me

I am a child of the divine

Rising ever upwards

Heavens gates I see

Family come to greet me

Welcome home, my soul is set free

I say to you

My earthly friends

Grieve not for me today

For I am no longer suffering

My soul has been redeemed

Praise God, My Savior

Christ, My King

My soul has been redeemed

This blog is dedicated to my cousin, Rebekah K. Dickison and her family.  Love you Becky.

Mandy Lee

-And that was something to mlchitchat about!

Ovarian Cancer Ribbon Butterfly designed by FightCancerTees

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