Rosie's 4 year Cancer Battle

$4,254 of $10k goal

Raised by 61 people in 24 days
Vanessa Marie  SAN DIEGO, CA

Heaven gained the most beautiful angel on January 20, 2017. Rosemary Gastelum Flores was the prime example of strength, passion for life, and devotion to her family and friends. You fought relentlessly in your battle with cancer until your last breath, with dignity and grace...a true inspiration and a warrior in every way. Thank you for opening your heart, showing us what it is to love, what it is to appreciate life and for gifting us with yours. You were always helping others rekindle relationships and brining people closer together. As I sit here writting this I think...you're still doing it, just now from up above. You started a legacy and that legacy of yours will carry on forever. Work hard, be kind and stay humble. We will remember you always mom and we know you will always be with us and no longer in pain or suffering. Your battle has come to an end, may you rest in peace. 

Since I couldn't come to terms with what and how I wanted to share my mom Rosie's story I decided to just write whatever came to mind and what I truly felt deep in my heart. 

Growing up, I always thought of hospitals as having a certain mystique that was impenetrable to the outside world. White-coated figures paraded through long hallways and entered doorways marked “restricted access," behind which I imagined miracles happened.

About 5 years ago mom was first diagnosed with breast cancer. After undergoing chemo, radiation and the double mastectomy we had high hopes for a recovery and for her to continue her life with her loving family. 

After her two years in recovery she began to get side effects due to the amount of Chemo and radiation. As time went by more and more side effects appeared the doctors were unsure what they were dealing with.Until one day they did and she was diagnosed with MDS.(Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS) are a group of diverse bone marrow disorders in which the bone marrow does not produce enough healthy blood cells. MDS is often referred to as a “bone marrow failure disorder”.)

I was wracked with guilt and anger. Why didn’t I figure out that her symptoms indicated cancer? Why didn’t I try to convince her doctors to look harder? Why didn’t I know that medicine was so fallible?

Then we finally receive some good news. Her team of amazing doctors were able to find a 100% match and by gosh was that the best news we have ever heard!It was an indescribable feeling of pure joy and relief. WE had a fighting chance again to overcome and beat this! In fact we knew she would and she knew she would. After the bone marrow transplant she became the miracle patient because all odds were against her and she was doing amazing. Months went by and more side effects started to appear and then it got to a point where she was admitted to the hospital for further evaluation. After trying out different methods and medications her symptoms became worse and worse and then the day came that no one EVER wants to face. The doctors set a meeting and with great sadness in their voice they said she had days or weeks to live, the cancer she once had was so aggressive it turned into Leukemia which then started to spread drastically. All we could feel was anxiety, fear, anger and lost.

Once my mom processed the news she put us all to work and started to make lists of who to contact, what she wanted to give to who of her belongings, what type of flowers she wanted at her funeral, basically arranged everything while lying in a hospital bed knowing she was going to die. The word death to her then became peace. She embraced it and told us to not be scared because she wasn't scared and was happy to no longer be in pain. All we wanted was to find some way we could keep her longer but in reality why let someone continue their life when their in so much pain. She never showed her pain until the very end. All she showed was courage, kindness, love and a sense of comfort.

I struggled to find the right balance between advocating for my mother and also being in complete denial. Actually, it was my mother who really took the bull by the horns at this point and told the doctors what needed to be done and listened to them and accepted what needed to be done, not matter how many pokes and pinches she stayed strong. She even remembered every medication given to her which was A LOT and what it was for. 

Reflecting back on the experience, I have some lessons for other young women whose lives are changed forever by their mother’s cancer diagnosis:

Become an empowered advocate. Represent her and share her story with others so she can feel the support and love. The support and love is what keeps them going, It’s the MOST important thing you can ever do whether you are there physically, a phone call and even supporting through social media. Share old memories and even make new ones. Embrace them and never go without telling them you love them.

Be there for her, even if it’s painful to see or hear.Your presence alone will always make them feel better. Let her vent her feelings even if involves the word death and listen. Always listen.

Do your research and really try to understand what she’s going through and especially understanding "doctor language" VERY IMPORTANT! The faculty
 is there to help so any questions you have,ask them.

Be sure to always be alert of your own health and get checked.

Take care of yourself. It’s easy to forget yourself in a stressful time like this. Remember that you won’t be of any help to anyone if you are ill, and your mother will be even more worried if you become unwell. Get enough sleep, I know easier said than done but your head has to be in the game so you can consume any new updates or in general how she is really feeling and really cherish those final moments because once they are gone there is nothing you can do to get it back. I even took videos of her telling her loved ones she will always be there for them, I highly suggest that. Rely on your family and friends for support. Everyone grieves differently but it's important to vent.

After almost 5 years of fighting, and multiple rounds of chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation, my mother lost her battle with cancer on January 20, 2017. I think about her every day. I miss her terribly, and wish she were there to walk me down the aisle at my wedding and to receive her daily phone call just to hear about my day, to be the loving, classy caring wife to my dad, brothers, grandchildren and to be one of the most loyal friends you could have.

If you knew Rosie she was a true giver, an inspiration to many. I didn’t realize how many lives she impacted positively until she passed. She left and imprint in everyone’s hearts and we were so fortunate to have had her in our lives.

So I ask this of you to help her fulfill her wishes by meeting her goal by sharing her story and or making a donation. The proceeds will be going towards outstanding bills and her biggest wish of all to help others in need, St. Jude, KidsvCancer and to research facilities to help find a cure. 

https://www.gofundme.com/rosies-cancer-battle-a-warrior

As promised we want to thank all the nurses at UCSD Thorton Hospital, Jacobs Center 6th floor for the amazing hospitality My mom loved you all and was very greatful for all the hard work and TLC. 

Let's all please embrace my mom's courage and carry on her legacy as she would yours. Donate blood and save a life. 

Mom, you are no longer in pain and don’t have to fight anymore and I know you are watching over us. Until we meet again. We Love you. 


To our Mom: Please  gift us all with a happy and joyful marriage, pregnancy,motherhood/parenthood. Please stand by me when I get married and have my children. Our children will always carry a piece of your heart and we hope they are like you, one in a million.Please watch over waffles and gift her with the strength and courage you left us with. Please stand by and protect Fern, Lisa,the Franken family, Carlos and your grandkids who miss and adore you.

To my Wife:Please help dad (Ruben) survive this heartache and comfort him with peace. He's completely lost without you, we all are. Your love story continues, please give him the strenght he needs to continue being a loving father and grandfather.

Please help us see happiness again and guide us to a path that leads us to you when our time comes to say good bye. We love you forever and always and always and forever. XOXO

Let's all please embrace my mom's courage and carry on her legacy as she would yours. Donate blood and save a life.

 Thank you. 

#TeamRosie Your love and class will live with us forever.
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 441 shares on Facebook
Update 9
Posted by Van Marie
3 days ago
   Share
Growing up, I always thought of hospitals as having a certain mystique that was impenetrable to the outside world. White-coated figures paraded through long hallways and entered doorways marked “restricted access," behind which I imagined miracles happened.

My mom was first diagnosed with breast cancer after all the chemo, radiation and the double mastectomy we had high hopes for a recovery and for her to continue her life with her loving family.

After her two years in recovery she began to get side effects due to the amount Chemo and radiation. As time went by more and more side effects appeared that not even the doctors knew what they were dealing with.Until one day they did and she was diagnosed with MDS.(Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS) are a group of diverse bone marrow disorders in which the bone marrow does not produce enough healthy blood cells. MDS is often referred to as a “bone marrow failure disorder”.)

I was wracked with guilt and anger. Why didn’t I figure out that her symptoms indicated cancer? Why didn’t I try to convince her doctors to look harder? Why didn’t I know that medicine was so fallible?

Then we finally receive some good news. Her team of doctors were able to find a 100% match and by gosh was that the best news we have ever heard. It was an indescribable feeling of pure joy. We had a chance to overcome and beat this! In fact we knew she would and she knew she would. After the transplant she became the miracle patient because all odds were against her and she was doing amazing. Months went by and more side effects started to appear and then it got to a point where she was admitted into the hospital for further evaluation. After trying out different methods and medications her symptoms became worse and worse and then the day came that no one EVER wants to face. The doctors set a meeting and with great sadness in their voice they said she had days or weeks to live, the cancer she once had was so aggressive it turned into Leukemia which then started to spread drastically. All I could feel was anxiety, fear, anger and lost.

Once my mom processed the news she put us all to work and started to make lists of who to contact, what she wanted to give to who of her belongings, what type of flowers she wanted at her funeral, basically arranged everything while lying in a hospital bed knowing she was going to die. The word death to her then became peace. She embraced it and told us to not be scared because she wasn't scared and was happy to no longer be in pain. All we wanted was to find some way we could keep her longer but in reality why let someone continue their life when their in so much pain. She never showed her pain until the very end.

I struggled to find the right balance between advocating for my mother and also being in complete denial. Actually, it was my mother who really took the bull by the horns at this point and told the doctors what needed to be done and listened to them and accepted what needed to be done or not done. She even remembered every medication given to her which was A LOT and what it was for. If there was a nurse who wasn’t familiar with how to care for her she would tell them in her soft kind voice and thank them always.

Reflecting back on the experience, I have some lessons for other young women whose lives are changed forever by their mother’s cancer diagnosis:

Become an empowered advocate. Represent her and share her story with others so she can feel the support and love. The support and love is what keeps them going, It’s the MOST important thing you can ever do whether you are there physically, a phone call and even supporting through social media.
Be there for her, even if it’s painful to see or hear your presence alone will always make them feel better.
Do your research and really try to understand what she’s going through and especially understanding doctor language VERY IMPORTANT!
Take care of yourself. It’s easy to forget yourself in a stressful time like this. Remember that you won’t be of any help to anyone if you are ill, and your mother will be even more worried if you become unwell. Get enough sleep, I know easier said than done but your head has to be in the game so you can consume any new updates or in general how she is really feeling and really cherish those final moments because once they are gone there is nothing you can do to get it back. I even took videos of her telling her loved ones she will always be there for them, I highly suggest that.
After almost 5 years of fighting, and multiple rounds of chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation, my mother lost her battle with cancer on January 20, 2017. I think about her every day. I miss her terribly, and wish she were there to walk me down the aisle at my wedding and to receive her daily phone call just to hear about my day, to be the loving, classy caring wife to my dad, brothers and grandchildren.

If you knew Rosie she was a true giver and an inspiration to many. I didn’t realize how many lives she impacted positively until she passed. She left and imprint in everyone’s hearts and we were so fortunate to have had her.

So I ask this of you to help her fulfill her wishes by meeting her goal by sharing her story and or making a donation. The proceeds will be going towards outstanding medical bills and her biggest wish of all to help others in need, St. Jude, KidsvCancer and to research facilities to help find a cure.

https://www.gofundme.com/rosies-cancer-battle-a-warrior

Mom, you are no longer in pain and don’t have to fight anymore and I know you are watching over us. Until we meet again.

We Love you.

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Update 8
Posted by Van Marie
3 days ago
   Share
A Love story will live a lifetime " It's not what you have, but what you Give, and who you share it with "
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Update 7
Posted by Van Marie
4 days ago
   Share
One of the many things I have learned about my mom is her persistence. Let's gift her with the 10k goal and let know her know she has mastered her final mission.

My parents song will forever be in our hearts and so will their last kiss.

"You Needed Me"

I cried a tear, you wiped it dry
I was confused, you cleared my mind
I sold my soul, you bought it back for me
And held me up and gave me dignity
Somehow you needed me

You gave me strength to stand alone again
To face the world out on my own again
You put me high upon a pedestal
So high that I could almost see eternity
You needed me, you needed me

And I can't believe it's you I can't believe it's true
I needed you and you were there
And I'll never leave, why should I leave, I'd be a fool
'Cause I finally found someone who really cares

You held my hand when it was cold
When I was lost, you took me home
You gave me hope when I was at the end
And turned my lies back into truth again
You even called me friend

You gave me strength to stand alone again
To face the world out on my own again
You put me high upon a pedestal
So high that I could almost see eternity
You needed me, you needed me
You needed me, you needed me
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Update 6
Posted by Van Marie
5 days ago
   Share
We ask our dear family and friends to share this among your peers for we made a promise to Rosie that we will meet her goal. Rosie made an impact on so many lives and she was always a giver, so I ask to please continue to share this so our dear Rosie's promise will be fulfilled.

Mom…

I wish I could get

That one last hug again

I wish with you, I could

Talk away my pain

I wish I could meet you

If only for a little while

Just thinking about hearing

Your voice, makes me smile

I miss you
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 441 shares on Facebook
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$4,254 of $10k goal

Raised by 61 people in 24 days
Created January 27, 2017
SC
$25
Sarah Christianson
5 hours ago
$300
Ashley Lunn
7 hours ago

Rosemary was such a shining light! She will be missed. Reuben, your KW family is here for you.

JV
$250
J Armando Valencia
9 hours ago

My deepest sympathies on the loss of Rosa Maria. Vanessa, could you please call me. 619-980-0111

PL
$40
Parke Lupo
1 day ago
SB
$30
Sam Barnes
1 day ago
KD
$50
Kira Deffner
3 days ago
1
1
AL
$54
Allison Leeds
3 days ago
1
1
CJ
$50
Cindy Johnson
3 days ago
1
1

With love from Tracy, Cindy, Alex, Andrew & Heather Johnson

MG
$30
Mike Gunn
3 days ago
1
1
VL
$200
Vince Li
3 days ago
1
1
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