Yes, I’m Planning My Mom’s Memorial…on Pinterest. She Gave Me the Cue.

I wish this blog post would reach billions of eyes in shock, sadness and horror, but it won’t. Nothing new or earth-shattering for the masses. It’s just another post that joins too many others with the same story line: Cancer taking over a loved one’s life (literally & figuratively). That loved one in my world? My Mom.

Last week, my Mom (Leslie Lehrman) called me crying. “I want to make sure my little guys are with me…you know…you know what I mean?”

I said, “You’re talking about “NoMo” and “Phoenix”…and your service, right?”

“Yes,” she said.

“Your (SMAC!) monkeys wouldn’t miss it for the world, Mom,” I said. “They have been part of the plan since the beginning and they are going to hike up Squaw Peak (Piestewa Peak) with me. Your quilt will be part of it too.”

“I should have known you would have already thought of all of that,” she said.

Then, she said, “I just think you should make sure all of my plans are taken care of.”

Wait….what? My Mom has NEVER said this to me before. Never.

Piestewa Peak (formerly Squaw Peak)

We have talked off and on over the years about her wishes: Her ashes to be spread over Squaw Peak (we still call it that out of habit); and for two specific songs to be played: Taken Care Of by Winfield’s Locket and Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole.

I have asked her many times if she wanted a service at her church in Phoenix and/or in Gothenburg, Nebraska (where my brothers and I were raised). She never really ever gave me a straight answer. It was usually, “Oh, whatever you think is best or want to do.” However, this time my Mom was direct.

“I would like a service at my church here. It’s called Palo Cristi Presbyterian Church. We have an interim pastor right now.”

Whoa! What does all of this mean…this, this urgency? Is this a sign my Mom is coming to terms with the whole “terminal” part of her cancer? It’s been seven long years of lung cancer mercilessly trying to take her down (No, she never smoked. You don’t have to smoke to get lung cancer). She has consistently fought back with the same viciousness, but with unbelievable grace and dignity. Try that for an oxymoron.

Obviously, Not a Good Day

Is this a cue that my Mom can sense the end may be near…or that she may have to determine that fate? Is she “coming to peace” with the outcome, regardless of what leads her to it? Is it a combination of everything? I don’t know. Part of me is relieved to hear her talk so openly about it, perhaps reaching some state of acceptance. The other part of me is immeasurably sad, obviously.

One thing I do know, Mom’s upcoming scan is causing probably the worst “scanxiety” she has ever experienced. I completely understand why.

Mom Taking Her Tarceva Pill

Mom’s scan will reveal whether or not the Tarceva’s she’s been taking is working. This is a biggie, as radiation is no longer an option, blood clots continue to pose a big threat, she’s Stage IV, and if the Tarceva isn’t working, what next? That is the bazillion dollar question. What next?

OK, let’s say the Tarceva is working. Yay…right? In my opinion, yes and no. My Mom feels like absolute hell and has for far too long (again, in my opinion). She is so very tired. Just so tired.

Mom Snuggled in Her Surprise Quilt & Sock Monkeys “Hope” & “NED”

Seriously, how much can one human body take of treatments to keep the cancer at bay, but still suffer from the awful side-effects? Seven years of fighting to remain on this earth to what…be confined to the couch, in pain, beyond fatigued, skin flaking everywhere, nauseous, no veins left to prick and constantly out of breath? Fighting like hell and not be able to take part in even the simplest of pleasures, like grabbing your grand kids and getting ice cream; having some of your closest friends “retreat” because it’s just too painful for them; feeling unimaginable loneliness and isolation? The list goes on and on, believe me.

Mom Overwhelmed After Receiving Her Surprise Quilt

To be completely honest, I don’t know how she has carried on this long. I really don’t. I have to re-share one of my favorite quotes from a good friend and fellow cancer survivor, Bob LeDrew. I think he probably sums up my Mom the best:

“I have a new favorite cookie. It’s the Leslie. It’s the toughest one I’ve ever seen.” – Bob LeDrew

Certainly the toughest cookie I’ve ever encountered – harder than molasses and ginger snaps combined. Wanna crack your teeth and your jaw? Just try getting a piece of my Mom, stupid cancer.

Unfortunately (or fortunately), I’m seeing bits of crumbs here and there…and more of them now. No, my Mom’s not giving up or giving in. I think her heart, mind and body may just be softening a bit – coming back to the surface, if you will. I think that “fight, fight, fight” mentality can kick into overdrive for too long, leaving one’s soul and spirit virtually empty. This isn’t sustainable, either, in my opinion. I think my Mom has (and can) finally taken a deep breath (as deep as she possibly can) and is listening – wholeheartedly and voluntarily listening to her innermost needs…finally.

Mom and Me

I have to say, a few days before my Mom called, I had been walking by a box in my bedroom (that’s been unopened for months) feeling a strong urge to finally check it out. A group of amazing friends sent me a video camera that I can wear as I’m hiking up Squaw Peak, with “Phoenix” and “NoMo” in tow, where we’ll take my Mom to her final resting place…together. I just haven’t been able to bring myself to open the box, unwrap the camera, read the instructions and then give it a try. No, it just seems all too wrong. Too premature. Too real.

Mom & Me: 1st Birthday

A few months ago, I started going through old family photos to create a slideshow. I selected about 20 pics one night and my girls asked me what I was doing. “Oh, just going through some pictures, you know. ”  I have been very open and honest with my daughters about grandma being sick, why it makes me sad and what the outcome will be…someday. But, again, this “proactive” memorial service organizational stuff feels uncomfortable to me. I have many, many plans in my head, and have for a long time, but to actually put them into motion before they are needed? Tough, “Leslie Cookie,” tough, but it’s gotta get done. And it will.

“Planning Mom’s Memorial” Pinterest Board

Yes, I literally created a Pinterest board titled, “Planning Mom’s Memorial,” where I can pin all details in one spot. May sound macabre to some. For those who know me, not so much. This is my normal. OUR normal. Open. Honest. Telling my Mom’s story through social media to create change – and Pinterest is highly functional. Wow, a two-for one package deal. The title of the board may make some do a double-take or feel a bit uncomfy. My condolences in advance.

I am happy that we will be able to hold the kind of service my Mom has hand-picked, but I’m not completely sold on the “It’s a blessing you have all this time to prepare” thingy. Look, I’m not even the one who actually has cancer and I’m exhausted. I’m so tired of seeing my Mom suffer. I cannot even imagine how my Mom feels. Cannot. Even. Imagine.

Purely from my perspective, here’s how I can best describe what it’s like living from scan to scan: Looney Tunes…literally. Like Wile E. Coyote running around with an anvil ready to drop on my head at any second…and ACME the very next second. The weight, hanging down on every morsel of my body is indescribable: Anxious. Relieved. Angry. Confused. Nervous. Tired. Optimistic. Hopeful. Anxious. Realistic. Hopeful again. It’s not odd to experience all of these emotions in one single day. Now, imagine riding this emotional Tilt-A-Whirl for seven years…and being the one with cancer.

Mom and Hubby Bob

I don’t know what all of this means. I just know I had to write about it. I don’t mean to sound pessimistic whatsoever. I’m just conflicted, but not an ounce as much as my Mom has to be. Her peace of mind and body is the priority. I want to help her achieve that in any way possible.

Mom and I made a pact: We would share her story – all of it – to create change for this dreaded disease. And, her story will NEVER end. It will continue to be told as long as I’m alive and as long as Squaw Peak still stands.

It’s not easy. It’s damn tough. “Leslie Cookie” tough…with bittersweet chocolate added.

  • Heidimassey

    You are awesome as is your mom Leslie. There are no words to describe how powerful everything you are doing is for people who are experience illness, difficulty, sadness and more. You and your mother are providing powerful role models on how to navigate this with such grace, class, warmth, love, and strength. Even on your most down and vulnerable days, you are shining a light on how to do this. The open conversations, and then the blogging about it all, before you even begin to mention all you are doing in the fight against lung cancer, is extraordinary. You have my respect, admiration, love and big, huge, all consuming bear hugs sent your way, my friend. xoxoxo

    • Jennifer Windrum

      Thanks a million, Heidi. I cannot thank you enough for your friendship and support.  It means the world. 

  • Danielle Norden

    About two days before my mom passed from LC,  I prayed that God would take her, like you said,  she was just so tired and had been through more than anyone as beautiful and strong as her should endure.  I think it shows what a beautiful bond you have a mother and daughter that you are able to discuss something so painful . Thank you for all your work that you and your Mom do for LC Awareness, a horrible epidemic that so many suffer from .   You and your family are in my prayers 

    • Jennifer Windrum

      Hi Danielle. I’m so sorry to hear about your Mom.  Such and evil, evil disease. I am sending hugzzz right back to you. We continue to fight on behalf of your Mom, my Mom and so many others out there. <3

  • Johnna Story

    Holding back tears as I read this (at work while observing a training program).  Always keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers.  That tough cookie clearly passed along some molasses and ginger snaps through her genes.  It takes strong souls to fight so hard through the tiredness and fatigue.  You both are inspiring.  Hugs and more to you both.

    • Jennifer Windrum

      Hi Johnna. Thanks so much for your kind words, thoughts and prayers. I am so grateful to have gotten to know you and Mark. Your support is more than appreciated. 

  • Bob LeDrew

    I’m just one stream of a big ol’ river of love flowing towards you and Leslie. Thinking of you both. 

  • Betty

    I am so sorry that you all have to suffer.  I went through the same thing, watching my husband fight lung cancer with all his strength, only to see it  eat away at him for a short 6 months.  It is so painful to watch a loved one suffer, and to know that there is nothing you can do but continue to love them.  The hardest thing I had to do was answer “yes”, when my husband asked me if it was OK for him to die.  His next question was” what about our boys”.  I said I’ll call them to come over, they did come, each had their private time with their dad.  That night, he woke up at 2 a.m., asked for a cup of coffe, and to talk. (he couldn’t drink or talk) This was his way of saying good bye, repeating one of our daily rituals of spending time together,sharing our day and our love.  He died the next day with all of us with him.  As difficult as it was, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to say” good bye, I love you, will miss you terribly, but we will all be OK, go in peace. ”   My prayers are with all suffering from this horrific disease.

  • mrs*molly

    It is hard to find the “right” words to say, but I completely understand what you are going through.  I lost my beloved & adored father to the dreaded LC just 3 years ago.  I admire your strength and your amazing mother’s strength & courage.  Thank you for sharing your battle with all of us.  God Bless.

  • Liz Scherer

    This is a beautiful love letter. Leslie, you are my favourite cookie. Love to you both. 

  • Bridget

    Jennifer, thanks for sharing your journey. It’s important to talk about things like memorials and funerals — even if the end is much further down the road. When we enrolled my aunt in hospice care (a year ago!), we met with her funeral director and began planning her funeral, because I wanted it to be what SHE wanted it to be. That’s important.

    Most important is that, by planning this ahead of time, your loved one can be assured that they are relieving YOU of the burden of having to make these kinds of decisions at a time when it’s hard to make them. In the midst of grief, do you really want to be having to figure out what your loved one wanted to be buried in … or where … or who will take on those special roles in the memorial or funeral? 

    For us, planning her funeral was very liberating. She knew we knew what she wanted (I even videotaped it, so there would be no doubt!) and I knew I would be able to execute it just as she wanted it to happen. Good for you for starting this process before it’s too late.

  • Mark Story

    Oh, Jen. The man whom you can’t shut up is without words. Love to you and mom.

  • Jeaninekm

    Wow, I can really relate to all that you are talking about here.  My precious daughter-in-law passed away in April of lung cancer.  She lived less than a year after her official diagnosis.  It was quite a journey in a short amount of time.  I watched her fight and fight until I knew it would be unfair to ask her to fight anymore.  I know that she didn’t want to leave us, especially her children.  But, with what she was going thru, who could ask her to stay?  I will mourn her the rest of my life, I know this.  But I know that time will help me to feel better and take the rawness of her death away.  I hate this disease.  Not only did it take her too soon, but it made my son a widower before 40, and stole my grandchildrens’ childhood.  I lost a best friend. 
    So keep up what you are doing!  I don’t want not one more family to have to live a year like the past year has been for ours.  We MUST eradicate this monster and there MUST be ways to have a diagnosis before it is too late.
    With much compassion, understanding and determination,
    Jeanine Miller

  • MightyCasey

    Oh, honey. I do know how you feel, although my folks (who died 29 days apart almost 10 years ago) did not have cancer. Daddy had Parkinson’s, and mom had a buffet of issues that added up to horrible-wind-down. I am still grateful to this day to them for having a very clear and robust Advance Directive, and a completely mapped out set of instructions for what-happens-after. 

    A applaud you, I salute you, and most of all my heart goes out to you, because I know how it feels to watch as someone who has loved & cared for you all your life literally stares mortality in the face … and weighs whether to fall forward. All my love heading Omaha-way right now.

    • Jennifer Windrum

      Thank you so much Casey – another warrior friend. Can’t imagine losing both parents in that span of time. I am glad to hear you look back with fondness of “the process” of all this “stuff.”  Your friendship means a lot and thanks a million for helping to spread the word about lung cancer too. 

      • MightyCasey

        The 29 days covered the time encircling Thanksgiving and Christmas, so it was *quite* the holiday season! My only advice is to spend as much time as you can telling your mom all the reasons you love her, and to also spend as much time as you can finding things that make you both laugh. Laughter is what saved my sanity, and that of my bro and sis, in that very wild and wooly few months at the end of ’02 …

        • Jennifer Windrum

          Wow, can’t even imagine how hard that had to be…and continues to be. My Mom and I both love Stephen Colbert. I think we’ll be watching A TON of his videos when we need some cheering up. Thanks for the advice. Thanks again for your friendship. 

  • Meg

    My heart aches for you both..literally.  I cannot possibly imagine SEVEN YEARS of watching a slow bus drive toward your mom.  God mercifully took my mom home 15 weeks after diagnosis and I do think I could have taken a day more…I hate lung cancer.  You are so courageous and brave and I love your posts.

  • NitaHemrick

    Jennifer…Leslie has been my Lung Cancer Role Model. I’ve “only” been living with LC for 3 years, but many, many times I have asked myself “what would Leslie do?” She is SO strong. I have no doubt she is tired and you are tired too. And, you are absolutely NOT  macabre. I think it is very healthy to discuss end of life plans, particularly what she wants. Thank you so much for your articulate and informative post. I love Leslie and I love what you have done for Lung Cancer. Nita

  • Jennifer Windrum

    Betty. I’m so sorry you had to go through all of this. However, I am so grateful you had that cup of coffee. What a sweet cup it was. Sending you hugzzz.

  • Jennifer Windrum

    Thank you Mr. “Tough Cookie” coiner. Love that quote. Thanks a million for your support, bro. You keep SMAC!-ing cancer too. 

  • Janine Franzen

    Yet again, I am amazed at the strength of both you and your mom…thank   you for writing this beautiful story and sharing…

    • Jennifer Windrum

      Thank you so much Janine. Maybe I’ll bump into you sometime soon now that you’re in Lincoln. That would be nice. Hugzzz.

  • Jennifer Windrum

    Hi Nita. You keep SMAC!-ing that dang LC, girl.  You got me? :):) I  want YOU to know that it’s because of people like you that my Mom continues to have strength. I cannot tell you how many times she has said she would be lost without the LC community. I am so grateful my Mom has been an inspiration to you. She definitely has been to me, too. She is a brave and courageous person to allow me to tell her story. I know how lucky I am, we are, for that.  Many hugzzzz to you.  

  • Jennifer Windrum

    Hi Meg. I am so very sorry about your Mom. My condolences to you. Yes, it has been a long road…and who knows how much longer this road will wind, but we will try to treasure each and every moment. Many hugzzzzz to you. 

  • Jacqui LaMorte

    You are an awesome daughter! My mother has been battling Non Hodgkins lymphoma for over 25 years.. 6 rounds of chemo, stem cell transplant the works. She is as tough as nails.. literally.  When I read how open you are with your daughters is the part that scares me more, is that my girls (2&4) who love their Nonni to the moon and back may not have her as long as I have. I think that’s the tough part. But I guess, just they way we do not want to break our daughter’s hearts, our mothers do not want to break ours. BIG HUGS FOR ALL OF YOU!! thanks for sharing… xxxxxxx

    • Jennifer Windrum

      Hi Jacqui. Wow, you’re right…your Mom is a tough cookie too. Give her a big hug from me. Yes, it is so difficult when it comes to the grandkids. I have twin daughters that are 8 years-old. Still to young to completely understand, but they “get it” as much as kids their age possibly can. I lost my grandma when I was 12 and it still breaks my heart today. While your kiddos may not have your Mom as long as you have, you will have so many memories and stories to share. Not the same, I know. Not even close. Man, I wish there were an alternative to all this – like no cancer. I guess this is that thing they call “life.”  Sending your family many hugzzz and kisses and strength. Again, give your Mom (and yourself) a gigantic big hug. 

  • sandy

    wonderful job on you and your mom’s story. I am just so sorry you all are going through all this. 7 yrs is a long time and to your mom, i am sure a life time. she will know as most do . a body can only take so much and not many people can help with there memorial. my best to the family and a special hug for you and your mom. Prayers

    • Jennifer Windrum

      Thanks so much Sandy. Your kind words mean a lot. Thank you for the prayers. 

  • Jennifer Windrum

    My sincere condolences to you, Jeanine, and your son and grandchildren. Yes, we will continue the fight to beat this…we must. I am sending you all the hugzzzz possible on the planet. 

  • Jennifer Windrum

    No worries Mark. No words necessary. I so appreciate your support, bro. 

  • Jennifer Windrum

    Hi Bridget. Thank you so much for your response. I really appreciate it and it is very helpful to hear your perspective. Don’t be surprised if I contact you for more guidance. Many thanks. 

  • Jennifer Windrum

    I love you Liz. More than you know. Thanks so much….for so much. <3

  • Jennifer Windrum

    I’m so very sorry you lost your father. Very sorry. Thank you for your kinds words and encouragement.  I greatly appreciate it. Hugzzz to you. 

  • Sandy S

    I’ve only known you both through Facebook, but I cannot imagine never meeting either one of you. Your Mom is the toughest cookie out there and thank you, Leslie, for letting Jen share all of your journey with us. You are both a beacon of strength in this fleeting pathway of life. I’m praying for my amazing friends and sending lots of love your way.

  • Julie Pippert

    I think it’s just the perfect idea. I can totally imagine the scanxiety, mixed feelings and will send all my que sera sera prayers your way. As well as the gracefully tough ones. But it’s perfect, using Pinterest. I really, really admire you bringing all of this up, to conversation. And I really, really send you my support and love.

  • Annie MacDonald

    I Feel for both of you from my heart of hearts. This is not an easy thing to do or for some to even think about. Fortunately  there is a great depth of open conversation between the two of you Jennifer.  Every time I try to comunicate my wishes to either my husband or my son it is as if the have hearing aids & they shut them off. Jennifer your mum wants to make plans before it is too late to tell you all what she would like.She wants to be involved with her goodbye to you!!! Having just passed my expiry date LOL,  I Know how she is feeling!! Thank God she has such a wonderful daughter in you Jen. You are a very special daughter & have so much from afar. Just remember that when the day does come            :)   I Love you BOTH!!!  xoxoxoxoxoxox

  • Annie MacDonald

    wow Casey I had to say something as the same thing happened to a university friend of mine.  Only her mum died first, basically she gave in to exhaustion, & her dad died a couple weeks later after fighting cancer of the mouth. It was just such a shock to the family as the mother had always seemed fine.  I believe in cases like these that God shows his true love for us , knowing that one cannot go on without the other.

  • magpie


    One really hard thing about my mother’s death (from lung cancer, diagnosed at stage IV) was that she never really came to terms with it. She was in hospice care for a year, in her own house, in a hospital bed in the living room, and she thought she was going to get better and move back upstairs. At least I think she did. She never seemed to understand that she wasn’t getting better, that she was dying. So we never talked about any of that funeral/memorial stuff.

    Good that you’re doing it – hard as it is.

  • Adam Zand

    Can’t help but be inspired by the grace, dignity, fight and caring you and your Mom have as you keep us updated and educated. Hang in there my friend

  • Debra Henson

    I’ve been fighting the fight for four years now, admiring the strength of you and your mom. A fight that takes a toll on the entire family. A fight that she has fought with such dignity ang grace. A story that you have told so open, honest and sincere. Thank you both for sharing and being such an inspiration to so many.

    • Jennifer Windrum

      Hi Debra. Thanks for your comment. Yes, you have been fighting big time. I wish you continued strength and thank you for your advocacy. Keep it up, girl. Many hugzzzz.

  • Stacey

    I’m so grateful for both you and your mom’s openness and honesty through out this journey. Last November my mom (who was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer and who also never smoked) passed away at home two days after switching to hospice care.  I’ll never forget the conversations we had within those days.  We made preliminary funeral arrangements and said our good byes.  I’ll though I found peace in the fact that she came to terms with everything, I had a difficult time accepting the sense of loss and an even more difficult time talking about that experience. Subsequently, I returned to college the day after her funeral and submersed myself in completing my degree and enjoying school.  Now I’m learning to allow myself to feel all of the emotions associated with loss and that it is okay to open up to my friends and family for support.  

    Please tell your mom that her bravery to document her journey through social media has had a profound effect on me. It has shown me that I am not alone in this experience– that in some weird, spiritual way we are all connected with each other.  The fulfillment and strength she is receiving from her openness is inspiring me to open up about my feelings as well.  Thank you for sharing your experience and for giving lung cancer a voice, sending all my love your way!!!!

  • Sally Samuels

    WOW … this is something to read.  Jen, I am so proud of you.  You have taken the bull by the horn for your mom.  Leslie is a great lady ,,, a real fighter.  The name “The Leslie Cookie” is perfect for her.  My love, thoughts, and prayers are with you both.

    • Jennifer Windrum

      Thank you so much Sally. We love you. 

  • Fthrlady

    Just got home from the hospital and decided to take the chance that I could finally log on to f/b.
    Then, I read this posting on WTF. At first, I thought something had happened to my sweet Les. I can’t tell you how many emotions were going on inside me. First, I thought Oh God no not Les too. Then I read further, and realized my fears were pre-mature. As I wiped the tears away, I suddenly felt the strong need to go to AZ immediately.
    All the plans for Sqaw Peak are amazing, and you know I will surely be there when the memorial comes to reality, although I hope not soon.
    I have to wonder though, if my brother felt the same as Les does. It must be so frightening for her, and I can’t even imagine how Bob is taking all of this in either. If we are all having a time with this, he being directly involved each day, must be devastated.
    I can only hope and pray, that we still have time with her, and that the scan will be promising. It’s all a game of fate with LC. I hate Cancer and the excrutiating pain it causes when we lose a loved one.
    I will NEVER GIVE UP HOPE for “tough cookie Les!”

    • Jennifer Windrum

      Yeah, it would be interesting to see if Fred felt the same. I am hoping to get to AZ soon after the 20th – scan results. Thank you so much for your love, support and friendship. It means the world. Please know that. 

  • Gini Dietrich

    I love you. From such a tough cookie comes an incredible daughter. I am so amazed at your strength and willingness to share your journey. xoxo

    • Jennifer Windrum

      Thanks so much Gini. So great to have wonderful friends like you. You help get me through…for realz. :)

  • Lynda

    Good luck with everything. My sister had 4 1/2 months and we didn’t plan anything because she was going to beat it. But I think she just got too tired for it all. I don’t think no matter how much time you have, you can ever be prepared.

    I am keeping my fingers crossed that the Tarceva works and you and your mom have my best wishes. No matter what, your mother is an inspiration!

  • Pingback: DEATH (chats) and TAXES (cancer treatments) Part I | WTF? For Lung Cancer()

  • Bootful_lil_ems

    I feel your pain I’m 19 and my. Mums 50 she has lung cancer I am do thankful for this page I wish you all the best

  • Slampsh

    Omg. My mother has suffered from alzheimers for fourteen years. She got it at sixty when I had just gotten married. Recently she fell and broke both hips. I too live in Nebraska, have been planning her memorial in my head for years, and have felt every emmotion you mentioned in one day every day. I thank you for sharing this story. I am a teacher and thus that makes me driven to plan things out. I want it meaningful and special for my mom. I think my sister doesn’t understand how I can even go there. You helped me feel normal at this time when no day is normal. Thank you

  • sue

    I just lost my mom to NSCLC three weeks ago. She was on Tarceva as well and watching her battle every day was hard and emotionally draining on us all Thankfully she knew how much we all loved her and cared for her and she didn’t go down without a fight. She fought for about two years. I too have two daughters who are just having a hard time dealing with the loss of the most special and wonderful Grandma. I read your story and it moved me. Made me remember how much my mom meant to us all and how much I need to continue her fight against Lung Cancer (she was not a smoker either and four months prior to her Stage IV diagnosis with two brain mets she had a complete physical and was pronounced in excellent health). Many thoughts and prayers to your family.