My sister was named after my father, his formal name was Ivan Glen Grover. Gigi was a shortened version of Glenda Gale Grover.
My sister was a homebody. Except for a very short period out of high school she lived in the same house where she was born and raised. Mom and Gigi made a home together after my dad passed in 1982.
I am not sure at times what the roles were in that home. Sometimes I think it was Mom caring for Gigi and at times Gigi was caring for Mom. Especially later in life Gigi fell into the role of primary caregiver when Mom began showing signs of dementia. I really believe it was a symbiotic relationship throughout both their lives.
As each of us live our lives we create a legacy. A legacy doesn't just incorporate a few achievements. A legacy can include lessons learned and taught. My sister left several personal memories for each person that knew her but I want to speak to an unintended legacy.
Gigi was not one to visit doctors. Maybe there were personal reasons but there was also one overriding financial reason, most of her life she did not have or afford health insurance. This is not a political statement, this is about lessons from her life.
Access to and going to the doctor and having yourself checked is a matter of life and death.
The 5-year survival rate for women with uterine cancer is 82%. The 10-year survival rate is 79%. If the cancer is diagnosed and it is still only in the area it started, called local, the 5-year survival rate is about 95%. If the cancer has spread regionally, the 5-year survival rate is about 68%. www.cancer.net/cancer-types/uterine-cancer/statistics
Gigi was not diagnosed early. She was diagnosed in July 2016 and gone in March 2017. Maybe she could have been one of those 95%, maybe not. No one could possibly know for sure. But, for sure we know early diagnosis helps.
A lot of medical exams may be embarrassing and are not pleasant but watching my sister die from this disease was not pleasant either.
Ladies, get those annual exams. Men, don't forget you need to be prodded and poked too.
Rest in peace Gigi
You will be missed by many