Saturday, January 31, 2015

Jaymie Jamison Foundation for Hope's Mission

The day after Jaymie passed her oldest daughter Hope had an idea, "Let's string panties across the Purple People Bridge for cervical cancer awareness." In five months Hope's vision came alive. Family and friends came together and formed the Jaymie Jamison Foundation for Hope. This event we were planning was about Jaymie, remembering her, and honoring her. Jaymie had no idea you could actually  die from cervical cancer. We were going to change that misconception. We were bound and determine to make everyone know! We hung over 4,000 panties across the bridge on July 16, 2011. Panties Across the Bridge honored survivors, fighter, and angels lost to this diseases. Signs and symptoms were placed along the bridge. Our largest awareness event caught the attention of people all over, and even made CNN news. All of this conspired from a 14 year old girls big vision. July 11. 2015 will be our 5th annual Panties Across the Bridge. Our mission has changed from our first event. We now cover all gynecological cancers. We have held a health fair to promote healthy living for everyone. We light the bridge teal for awareness. We are currently working towards making the 5th annual the best year yet! Awareness is the center of all we do, we will let all women know what teal means, educate them on signs and symptoms, and make every woman see a yearly gynecological appointment is a necessity. 
What does the Jaymie Jamison Foundation for Hope do with their money? Jaymie's family does not receive a single dime from this organization. All money raised is used to meet our mission of empowering, encouraging, and educating women to eliminate gynecological cancer related deaths. Education is the center of all we do. We used our funds to create awareness events to let every woman know about the importance of yearly gynecological screenings. We also have created Whispers of Hope Comfort kits (shown in the picture) and donate them to local cancer centers to woman battling gynecological cancers. In 2012 we donated money to provide 200 uninsured woman with Pap smears. In 2014 we have joined hands with ABCap to provide uninsured women who received abnormal Pap smears with further treatments. We were told that woman who are uninsured and receive abnormal paps fall through the cracks, and often die. We're here to stop this from happening. Since 2011 we have donated $1,000 to Hospice of Hope, who gave Jaymie wonderful care at the end of her life. This spring we will be awarding a high school senior with a $250 scholarship to college. When a mother battles gynecological cancer, her whole family battles with her. It's time we empower her children as well. We look forward to empowering women in the Cincinnati area at our March 22, 2015 Tealspiration Luncheon at Belterra Park. 

Friday, January 2, 2015

Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. During this month we will be sharing Jaymie's story. We hope to bring to women's attention the symptoms that Jaymie shrugged off are really serious issues. Ladies, if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, or have not see your gynecologist in the last year please call and make an appointment as soon as possible.

Jaymie was 33 years old. She was a mother of 4 beautiful children. Jaymie's children were everything to her. She lived and breathed for them. They were her number one concern. Jaymie had just begun a new job at Clermont County Educational Service Center, and her husband Jon was in school after being laid off. Jaymie had been uninsured causing her to put off her own medical treatment. It had been three years, since the birth of Jet that Jaymie had seen her Dr.
In Jaymie's blog she wrote that she put her kids health in front of her own, like many mother do. She said she was experiencing uncomfortable pain. Ladies, cervical cancer can be detected early and treated effectively in 90% of cases if detected early. The way to detect it early is with a Pap smear. Women who don't receive yearly paps often find their cancer when symptoms appear, like Jaymie's uncomfortable pain. Symptoms show in later stages of gynecological cancers.
Jaymie went to the Dr in April 2010. The Dr found a growth on her cervix.  Before visiting the Dr Jaymie would say, "I've had a litter of kids, maybe I need my bladder tacked up." She felt her pain was related to childbearing. The Dr said the growth was large, and wanted to remove it ASAP. He ordered an ultrasound, and waited on the results from the Pap smear. Jaymie would find out more information when she received her results, but was hoping for just a fibroid. Jaymie's sense of humor would help her through her journey.

Jaymie's ultrasound showed 3 masses on and around her cervix. Her doctor then ordered a biopsy to be done to confirm then indeed were cancerous masses. The results of the biopsy would determine the plan of action he would take. Jaymie was very optimistic. She was going to fight, and fight hard. She has four beautiful children. What other option is there? There was none. 
Jaymie's biopsy results showed she indeed had cervical cancer. Jaymie was scheduled for a complete hysterectomy a week later. On surgery day they removed her cervix and uterus. They removed a lymph node to test to see if the cancer had spread there. Jaymie was shocked she had cancer! What are the chances of her having a type of cervical cancer that only 3% of woman with cervical cancer get. This cancer was aggressive, and moved quick as we soon would find out. Jaymie was determined. After this month Jaymie appreciated life more. The grass was more greener, the sky was more blue, flowers smelled better, and her kids were even more precious. 
After Jaymie's surgery her cancer staging came back as stage 2b cervical cancer. She would need to undergo radiation and chemotherapy in July. Jaymie had a few weeks to heal before radiation and chemo began. She enjoyed time with her family, and even took a girls trip with her mom to Gatlinburg, TN. Jaymie is seen above happily posing in front of a waterfall. Jaymie was ready to face treatment head on.
In Jaymie's last blog entry she wrote, "I want my old life back.." Jaymie healed quickly and well from her hysterectomy. She was waiting to see about how her treatment would go. She had many questions, "when will it begin?", "will I need a port?" On top of the unknown with her treatment Jaymie had no energy, and couldn't sleep at night. She wanted her old life back... How it was before cancer!
In July 2010 Jaymie began radiation and chemotherapy. She had radiation 5 days a week and chemo one day a week for 6 weeks. As strong as Jaymie was the treatment got the best of her and made her extremely nauseous. Jaymie would be sick all week, then as soon as she started to feel better she would begin treatment again. The doctor soon prescribed her an anti-nausea medication.
August 28th was Jaymie's last chemotherapy. A week later Jaymie was feeling great, and she was so positive. For a couple weeks Jaymie was doing good. Her oldest daughter Hope now needed to have a shoulder surgery, and Jaymie was right there by her side. On September 16, 2010 Jaymie and her mom, Cheryl took Hope for her surgery. While Hope was in surgery Jaymie told her mom, "My stomach doesn't feel right." She attempted to take a few bites of her muffin, but put it down. Jaymie got Hope through her surgery and home, never mentioning another word about her. At 7:00am the next morning Cheryl received a phone call from Hope saying, "Mamaw Mom is sick.."
Jaymie's mom, Cheryl went right over to Jaymie's house after she received the phone call from Hope. Jaymie came outside, and Cheryl described her as looking horrible. Jaymie said,"I am in so much pain, and I'm sick at my stomach." Cheryl immediately took her to Brown County Hospital Emergency Room. There they were told Jaymie had a bowel obstruction. The Doctors said Jaymie needed a GI tube to get the fluid off her stomach. Jaymie was scared, and Cheryl was scared for her. That thing was huge!!!!
Jaymie had a cleft palate, and Jaymie's mom Cheryl had explained to the Dr's that her opening may not accommodate a GI that size. They used a smaller tube. Cheryl said, "Jaymie was terrified about everything. I could see it in her face. She wouldn't let us out of her sight." After a day the pain or the nausea had not gone away. The Dr said they would have to change the GI tube to a larger one. Jaymie was absolutely terrified...During this time at the hospital Cheryl had been in contact with Jaymie's gynecological surgeon and oncologist.
Jaymie's gynecological surgeon and oncologist kept saying "this isn't cancer, this is a problem caused by radiation." The Doctors at Brown County seemed to be acting funny towards Jaymie and her family, and kept insisting her doctors at UC should have her transferred back there. Her Doctors at UC wouldn't. After four days Jaymie's doctor at Brown County came and said, "Jaymie, you must go back to UC. You have a lesion on your spleen." This was the beginning of the end for Jaymie's family, all except Jaymie. She wouldn't think that way. She had kids to raise.

When Jaymie got to UC the doctors kept insisting her GI tube was not positioned right, and that was what her problem was. They didn't even look or want to look at the lesion on her spleen. Jaymie was miserable with that tube in. Her throat was so raw, and she couldn't even talk. She wouldn't let her kids see her like that either. She didn't want to scare them. Jon, Jaymie's husband and Cheryl didn't want to leave her, so they set up a schedule to stay with her around the clock.

On October 8, 2010 at UC Jaymie had a surgery to remove as many tumors as they could, unblock her ureters, and try to fix the bowel obstruction. It was semi-successful. Before the surgery the Doctors told Jaymie she was terminal. She was not going to let that stop her from fighting. After the surgery she was told they found cancer in her liver, kidneys, and ureters. Jaymie just wanted to get home to see her oldest daughter perform in her school play that Friday night. She got home, but never made it to the play. She developed a fever, but wonderful friends skyped her in to see the play. 
Jaymie was rushed to Brown County Hospital Emergency Room. The doctor there immediately began antibotics. Once she stabilized she was rushed to UC. She was placed for the first time in the ICU. Her kidney was blocked. The Dr was able to tap into her kidney, and she improved. She was moved back to a regular room for about a week. Jaymie then spiked another high fever, where she was rushed back to the ICU. There they started mass fluids. The staff at the hospital was preparing the family, stating they didn't think she was going to make it because her blood pressure was bottoming out. Then the wonderful doctor in the ICU decided to tap into the other kidney. She then began to rebound. Jaymie was such a fighter!!
Jaymie had went from hours to live to a rebound in blood pressure. She had fought back from death, yet she still wasn't responding. We were all devastated. We would ask the doctors, and they would tell us they were unsure how much of her would come back. She was suffering from psychosis from being in the ICU so long, and from being so sick. It was November 26, 2010; two days before her 34th birthday. Jaymie's kids came in and talked to her. She didn't respond. The next day was Cheryl's shift at the hospital. Jaymie's husband Jon called her to check in on Jaymie, only to hear there had been no change. Then, The kids and Jon started conversing while Cheryl was on the phone. It was becoming chaotic and loud. Cheryl placed the phone up to Jaymie's ear. She HEARD it; her family being a family. It was a MIRACLE! Jaymie started to respond. She was trying to respond to them! It woke her!! That's all it took was for Jaymie to hear her family being themselves. Every minute she woke up more and more.
Two days later family and friends gathered in Jaymie's hospital room for a surprise birthday party. Her favorite artist, Brett Michaels even showed up! Jaymie was surprised! Jaymie opened gifts and enjoyed everyone company. It was a great way to celebrate her last birthday. We made the best of being in the hospital as we could.
After Jaymie's near death experience she really came back around. She had really good days. She was even beginning to eat again. It had been since her first treatment in a July that she really had ate, and it was November/December. We began to talk to the doctors about Jaymie coming home. She had been in the hospital since September 17th! The doctor brought up Hospice. Jaymie was so upset. She knew what Hospice meant, and she wasn't ready for that! She wanted to fight this! The doctor explained that Hospice would be the only way to get her home with proper pain management. She also needed IV's for fluids, and the liquid diet to go through the nasal tube to nourish her, as she still couldn't eat solids, her bowel still wasn't working properly. The doctor worked out a deal with Hospice to let Jaymie have fluids, nourishment, and continue receiving treatments. Normally, Hospice is end of life care without any of that. Hospice agreed to it, and Jaymie was homeward bound! 
Jaymie went to her mom and dad's house when she left the hospital. The kids were there, and Jon stayed every other night. Jon tried to take the kids home and have a normal home life for them, but that was very difficult. Jaymie's friends and local school- Hamersville Began selling t-shirts to support Jaymie emotionally, spiritually, and financially. Angela Shepherd took a lead role in t-shirt sales. Angela was constantly on the phone taking orders. She would kid around with Jaymie saying, "Don't bother me right now, I have a Foundation to run." At this time we had no idea where this Foundation would go. You can still see the Hope for Jaymie t-shirts in our schools. 
After Jaymie got home the doctor wanted to discuss treatment, and begin it right away. Jaymie began treatment in early December. We weren't sure how she was going to handle it. We knew it was going to be even harder on her than it was in the summer. During Jaymie's first round of treatment she never lost her hair. We knew she would with this round of treatment. Jaymie's amazing sister in-law Sunnie came and cut Jaymie's hair short. She did an amazing job!!!
Jaymie had begun treatment before Christmas. Her hair was beginning to fall out, and she felt terrible. Christmas Day came and Jaymie mustered up everything she had to participate that day. When it was time for Santa, Jaymie got up and came where the kids were. She smiled the entire time. She tried her hardest to let the kids know how much she loved them. She had gotten them a keepsake gift from her. The girls were given bracelets, and Jet dog tags. Cheryl asked her what she wanted them to say- Love Mom? "No", she said "ALWAYS Love Mom." She wanted them to know she would ALWAYS love them, and ALWAYS be with them. 
After Christmas Jaymie asked, "Do you think I could go watch the girls play basketball?" So, they loaded Jaymie up, and off she went! Jaymie tried so hard to continue being a "normal mom". Before Jaymie got sick, she continuously was on the run with her kids. She was their number one supporter, always on the sideline cheering them on in whatever they did. It was hard on Jaymie missing their activities. The kids were absolutely thrilled to see her at their game, and Jaymie loved every minute of it! At the end of their season the team even sported teal in honor of Jaymie.
After a few weeks of treatment Jaymie's hair had begun to thin really bad. Every time she took a shower, or got up fom her pillow there was a lot of hair left behind. Jaymie had such beautiful hair. Her mom Cheryl suggested that they shave her head. Jaymie said, "Mom there is something about not having my hair that scares me. I guess if I have my hair I don't have to think about how sick I actually am." It finally got so bad that Jaymie agreed to shave her head. To make lite of it we had a head shaving party! Jaymie went first. The guys in the family went next, and we're laughing so hard and having fun with it. Jaymie said, "Mom it was worth it to just hear them having a good time again." That was Jaymie, it never was about her. 

One morning Jaymie woke up and had a purple spot on her abdomen. Jaymie had an appointment that day with the Dr. So when Jaymie got to the doctor's office she showed him. He said, " Oh we need to open that up right away. That's a fistula." Opening the fistula ended up being a blessing. On the way home from the doctor's office Jaymie's parents stopped at Frisches. She got a Big Boy and was able to eat it. Just opening the fistula took the pressure off her bowel and took away the nausea. She was nausea and pain free for days! She couldn't get enough to eat. After opening the fistula they had to put a colostomy bag over the opening. She wouldn't let anyone but her dad change it.  
Jaymie kind of became better. She loved watching her kids play and fight. Jet, Jaymie's youngest always has bounced off the walls. He knows one speed- fast and furious. All the kids and Jon were at Cheryl's house. It was loud and chaotic. Cheryl looked at Jaymie and said, "Lord Jaymie it is a zoo in here!"  Jaymie turned to her and smiled and said, "It's MY zoo." After that Cheryl never tried to make anyone be quiet. The noise made her feel normal. 
Jaymie had to go into the hospital a couple times for pain management, in which resulted in a day or two stay. The ambulance would always bring Jaymie home, because the car ride was too hard on her. This particular time the ambulance took her to the wrong place! Jaymie had been staying at her mom and dad's house. The ambulance took Jaymie back to her own house. Hope, Jaymie's oldest daughter was there. She saw the ambulance back in, and she ran out in a panic to tell them they brought Jaymie to the wrong place. Hope could see her mom in the back of the ambulance. There Jaymie was smiling and waving. We all laughed. Jaymie said, "I couldn't see where the ambulance was  taking me until I heard Hope in a panic." 
A few weeks past after Jaymie had the fistula. Another one came up, but this time it was different. Jaymie's mom and dad took her to most of her appointments, as Jon just started a new job and had to support their family. So off we went to the doctor's office and saw the surgeon. He tried to open this fistula, but nothing came out. It was very painful, and finally we said, "STOP!"  The doctor then asked to see Cheryl and Jeff in the hallway. Jaymie looked so scared. In the hallway he told us what we knew.  There was nothing else they could do for Jaymie. The doctor didn't tell Jaymie, he knew we would want to tell her. Jaymie kept asking Cheryl what the doctor said, but Cheryl couldn't tell Jaymie. Cheryl called Jon and told him. Jon said bravely, "It's okay, I'll tell her."
Even with the doctor's saying there is nothing left for us to do for Jaymie, her family never gave up hope. Jaymie's mom Cheryl was even getting creative. She was blending holistic cancer fighting diets and sneaking them into Jaymie's feeding tube. The tube was really long so Cheryl would hide in the kitchen and put the blended mix into the tube. One day Jaymie's best friend Monica was visiting. Cheryl heard her tell Monica, "she doesn't think I know what she is doing in there." Jaymie kept her humor all the way through her battle. 
Jaymie took the doctor's news of there being nothing else they can do for her better than us. She talked to her oldest daughter Hope about it. Cheryl had assured Jaymie she would help Jon take care of the kids, and never leave them. Jaymie felt secure with it. As the days went by Jaymie was in and out of consciousness. There were always wonderful friends around that brought us food, and helped us find laughter. It was the Thursday before Jaymie passed when she woke up and said, "I want to watch a movie with my family." So, we put her in the recliner and pushed her to the living room. The movie was put in while Jaymie made a phone call to her brother Kyle to wish him a Happy Birthday (which made his life by the way). She hung up the phone, crossed her arms and said, " Okay, let's watch a movie." We all sat down and was ready to watch the movie. We looked over and Jaymie was out like a light. Jaymie willed herself to be normal all the way to her final days.
Jaymie was in and out of consciousness. Jaymie woke up at one time and wanted to speak to her sister in-law Sissy. Sissy came and laid with her, and Jaymie told her how she wanted to write everyone a letter, and for Sissy to give it to everyone after she passes. Amazingly Sissy was able to write letters for everyone from Jaymie as Jaymie went in and out of consciousness. 

We knew time was running out. Jaymie had now gone a few days without responding. The Golden Girls came on, and Cheryl started dancing to the theme song, and out of no where Jaymie began laughing! Cheryl about threw her hip out getting her to laugh again!! In these types of situations you hang on to what you can. 
The end was drawing near. A friend of the family, Diana Hitt came up with the idea of a candlelight vigil. It went viral across the community. Friends banded together to make this happen. Vans picked up people from Hamersville Elementary school and dropped them off in Cheryl and Jeff's front yard. There was well over 100 people that gathered to pray for Jaymie. Our community was absolutely amazing. In August 2010 they threw a fundraising event after Jaymie completed her first round of treatment. With Jaymie sick and Jon in school the fundraiser raised enough money to help them pay their bills and be able to keep their house. Our community wrapped their arms around us and got us through it. We can never thank them enough.

Jaymie passed away on Sunday February 6, 2011 with her family surrounding her. As much as we miss Jaymie she isn't  suffering anymore. She saw something beautiful on her way from this Earth and she was smiling...