Falling Off the Tightrope


I share a post below that my friend Holly did to a circle of close friends. I went to the Emeregency Room Thursday, April 2nd, early in the morning after my sister, a doctor in the Midwest made urgent calls to friends and me saying, “Go to the ER now.” Everyone scrambled to get dressed and I was out the door in five minutes, overnight bag in hand. All my complaints and moaning of the last few weeks neatly adding up to a bowel obstruction. As cancer expands it damages organs in its path.

I had enormous pain because what came into my system, food and liquids, could no longer exit. Below is the update as of two days ago. I have now been in the hospital four days with no food and just sips of water as we wait to see if my body can self heal. My first try at food may be Wednesday. Chemo is set for Thursday.  Warmly, marcy

Hi everyone,

I know you’re anxious to hear how Marcy’s doing – thanks for your patience.

Marcy is still at OHSU Hospital. She is stable and relatively comfortable, alert and very on top of her situation. That said, this is clearly the diciest her situation has been. A sudden downturn is possible at any time.

Marcy asks that you light a candle for her and focus your thoughts and well wishes and prayers on her.

Her doctors here at OHSU (and those consulting from the San Jose team) agree that continuing to wait and watch is the right course for her bowel obstruction. She will be in the hospital through the weekend and possibly for a full week as her bowels rest and – we hope – recover. If there are no further complications they agree that continuing her current chemo makes sense… her present situation is not a failure of the chemo, which after only one round hasn’t had a chance to prove itself.

Again, the hard truth is that the current chemo may not be beneficial even after additional rounds, or that other complications could arise.

All the more reason for us to continue to add our own positive energy in support of Marcy’s phenomenal life force and will to live.

Feel free to send Marcy photos of those candles. Email (Marcy@rop.org) remains the best way to let her know she’s in your thoughts (and keep her amused with snippets from your life).

With thanks for your love and prayers,


Holly Pruett


About marcy westerling

I am a long time community organizer with a passion for justice and founded the Rural Organizing Project in 1992. Derailed by a Stage IV Ovarian Cancer diagnosis in spring 2010, I have stayed in treatment since then. I am learning how to embrace livingly dying and hope that by starting a Phase One immunology clinical trial at UPenn in spring of 2013 I will have more time to find the sweet spots of thriving while terminally ill.

20 responses »

  1. Candle lit, prayers continuing. Healing rest hoped for, and wisdom – as you have had throughout. A stop along the way – present with you, praying for you.

  2. Marcy, I just finished reading your update and the replies above. I have shared it with others.
    Peace…love….hope – the same warm wish to you!
    This quote reminds me of YOU. “I like living. I have sometimes been wildly despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing. . (Agatha Christie)
    You are certainly a trooper in your attitude and efforts to fight your cancer and to share your thoughts with us.
    Love & kisses to you.and family.
    Louise Rickard –

  3. Marcy, you have our prayers and best wishes for a turnaround and recovery from this latest battle you are fighting with more energy than most of us can imagine. A candle is lit.

  4. We love you, Marcy. You are in our positive thoughts and prayers every day and tonight a candle will be lit for you.

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