Longtime readers may recall this blog had a facelift last February and the first post on the new site was entitled “The Value of Pathology“, written by Paula Takacs, a sarcoma survivor and founder of a The Paula Takacs Foundation for Sarcoma Research. At the time of her post last February, Paula wrote: “Ask a cancer patient who his or her doctor is, and they will invariably mention their oncologist. Some will throw in their surgeon, others might give a mention to their radiation oncologist. However, one name that is often overlooked, but incredibly critical to the entire cancer journey is the pathologist. This is where the journey begins and from where the road map will be based.”
Her foundation has raised over $350,000 to support sarcoma research. Paula worked tirelessly to seek out the best physicians, surgeons and oncologists to treat her, traveling to the most renown cancer centers in the country to provide research dollars for basic and clinical research.
Paula lost her battle with sarcoma on Sunday, April 13. Her funeral was last Saturday. I came to know much more about Paula since I wrote about meeting her last year — this wonderful mother, wife, daughter, neighbor and friend. She had beaten the odds of living more than 5 years with her disease, the primary tumor a 22 pound abdominal/pelvic liposarcoma discovered after the birth of her son that she wrote and talked about extensively. But she knew she was only being treated and a permanent cure was not available to her. Despite this, her mood was always positive and upbeat and she was going to fight. Our children played basketball together and her husband coached the team. They were always positive and upbeat and Paula was battling her disease with everything she had enduring multiple surgeries and cycles of radiation and chemotherapy treatments, away from home, where the treatments were available. The family lived their lives in 3-month blocks between CT scans and Paula and her family did it with grace.
After deciding to stop any further treatments, Paula told her husband and together they told their 9 year old son.
Paula said “I want people to think of me as a person who never gave up” and “someone who lived with a purpose and strove to make a difference in this world.”