Alisi Namupau'u Vanisi, or Aunty Namu is Ova's aunty and I love her so much! She is one of the most amazing women I know. She's the kind of person who always does anything for anyone. She's the best cook ever, and everything she makes is super delicious. She's an amazing woman! She's a single mother of four children, but really she had a hand in raising all her nieces and nephews....including my husband. When I married into the family, I was immediately included and I could feel her love for me. There are countless times, too many for me to name, where she was there for me. When my brother came home from his mission, she was there....helping us cook for his homecoming. When my brother got married, she was here. Any time anything goes on in my family....she's always there. I love her so much. Everyone loves her so much.....she's just one of those people.....such a GOOD person.
That's what made it so hard when we heard the devastating news.
She wasn't feeling good for a while, but she tried to be strong. Her daughters took her to many different doctors and many different specialists. She was having a weird pain in her stomach, and she actually described it like she felt like her bladder was falling out. Several doctors tested her and said she was fine, but that they didn't know what was wrong. Finally one doctor really figured it out. CANCER. Uterine cancer. Stage 4.
When we got the news, we cried for weeks. Every time we thought about it, or about her, we would cry. I kept telling Ova that he needed to call and talk to her, but he just couldn't. He said he didn't know what he would say...and he didn't want to just sit there and cry. I told him that he should just call. Whatever he needed to say would come to him. And if all he could do is cry, she would appreciate it because it just meant that he loved her so much. After a couple days, he finally got the nerve up to call her. They cried on the phone for a while, but he was glad he got to talk to her.
The doctors prescribed her chemo therapy treatments. And they started right away. Jr and Tauafu drove down to California to be with her on her first chemo. That was hard.
How could she, amazing Aunty Namu have cancer? It wasn't fair. She is such a good person, always putting others before herself, Christlike in everything, faithful, loving and very family oriented....how could she have cancer? And how in the heck is it already stage 4? Stage 4 is terminal....it's the worst cancer you can have, which pretty much means there's nothing we can do to get rid of it. It meant she was going to die from it. Li and Leka were searching the internet for other people who had stage 4 uterine cancer.....if you had stage 1 or 2, you had a 80% chance of survival.....stage 4 drops to only 20%. They finally decided that they needed to just stop looking for other people's success stories, and focus on their mom.
Right when they found out it was cancer, they did a hysterectomy and took out her uterus.....but they cancer had already spread to her lymphnodes....that's what made it stage 4. She didn't have one tumor that they could operate on and remove, she had cancer cells in her body and they were spreading. We were told that the cancer was already in the layer of fat in her stomach and it's very hard for them to see it, or to see if it's spreading. The only thing they could do is chemo in hopes of killing the cells off and pray and hope for the best.
Not to long after the chemo therapy treatments started, she lost all her hair. Her daughters scheduled a photo shoot for her because they knew it was a possibility that was going to happen, and it just so happened that that is the first day that she started losing handfuls of her hair.
All dressed up and ready for her photoshoot with her big sister Pisila
She is such a strong and amazing woman. I just can't say it enough. Even being diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, she never let it get her down. There were times she felt like crap...but she was so strong. And she always kept a positive attitude.
Wish we lived closer to her, so we could be there more for her and help her, but she lives in Frisco and we're in Utah. We just keep as updated as we can through the phone and facebook. But I happened to have a day off of both my jobs so Ova and I decided to jump on a plane and fly out to her. She loves Ova's ox tail soup, so we went and bought all the stuff for it and flew there with Lautala (the boys were in school and we left baby Katea with gramma Tea). We were there for less than 24 hours, but it was so nice to be able to spend some time with her and her girls. Ova made his soup, and she grubbed! I love her so so much. Glad we got to go spend a few hours with her!
On the plane on our way to Frisco
It can happen to anyone....no one is exempt.
We love you Aunty Namu, and we are continually praying for you!