There are those amongst us that no matter what’s going on in their lives , will see something positive to uplift and move them forward. My EXTRAordinary woman of the week, Nancy Mura, is such a person. When life gave her lemons she made sweet lemonade. Nancy is not just a survivor, she THRIVES. She is the author of a magnificent children’s book “Willie Whistle” – A Name for Puppy.
Read her story and I dare you not to be inspired.
EXTRAordinary woman of the week Nancy Mura
I was born and raised in Rochester, New York.
My mother raised my sister and me. She was a wonderful dedicated person who worked long hours to provide for us. She died in 2000 at the age of ninety one years old. I dearly miss her and enjoyed the last years we spent together.
She had a very difficult life, but she never let that interfere with her love for both my sister and me. Laughter was always in our daily lives. There was always food on the table and the doors to our home were open to friends and family.
Included in our family were several furry friends, which included three dogs and two cats. They brought much joy into our lives with their unconditional love and funny escapades.
There are so many wonderful memories that I have of my family. We spent so many happy days together and I will always cherish that love we had for each other.
All the encouragement, loving support from my husband, mother and sister over the years gave me the strength to meet all the challenges that would occur in my life.
In May of 1986 when my husband had quadruple bypass surgery I quit my job to stay home and take care of him. Then the following January, 1987 my sister was told that her cancer had returned and it was terminal.
In February of 1987 a lump appeared on the left side of my face. A biopsy was performed and the results showed that I had a parotid tumor and should be surgical removed.
Little did I know that this was just the beginning of a continuing re-occurrences of the tumors from 1992 thru 1996 and extensive surgeries performed on the left side of my face which would include dis-figuration.
After the last surgery in 1996 the result showed the tumors were malignant. The diagnosis was carcinoma/explemorphic adenoma.
Radical radiation was performed twice a day to the area over an eight week period. This eventually caused me to have some loss of hearing in the left ear and loss of the saliva gland. Cataract surgery was performed on the left eye and a gold weight inserted in the left eye area so the eyelid could close.
Between 1998 and 1999 reconstruction surgery was performed on my face to make me look presentable.
From 1987 through 2000 I lost my whole family, which included my husband, mother and sister.
In 2002 after a CT scan was performed and the results showed the tumors had returned and were now living in my lungs and called carcinoma explemorphic adenoma a lung cancer which showed fifty nodules in both lungs.
Chemotherapy was performed without success. In February 2003, I made arrangements to go to the Mayo clinic in Rochester Minnesota for a second opinion. The oncologist assigned to me reviewed my case and said that chemotherapy would not be effective on this particular tumor. He recommended that the medication Gleevec be taken.
Up until 2007 I was on the Gleevec medication. After a CT scan was performed in 2007 it showed that the tumors had grown and my oncologist recommended I take another drug called Sutent which I have been taking for the last two years with success.
I have been told many times by my doctors that my disease is very rare, due to the parotid tumors metastasizing to my lungs; they do not know of any others cases like mine.
In 2007 my story was included in Preferred Care Gold, (now called MVP) Health Care Literary collection.
I have been retired since 2003. I am a volunteer for the Red Cross and was involved with “The Kids Are Us” program, which involved the use of puppets. The puppets were a learning tool for students within the elementary schools through out the Rochester, NY area. The puppets that were involved in this program had different disabilities; Cerebral Palsy, Blindness, Learning disability and Down syndrome. Unfortunately, due to lack of funding this program has been discontinued. But, I am still involved with the Red Cross blood drive.
I am now an author. While I was going through chemotherapy in 2003, to keep my mind occupied, and for therapeutic value, I decided to write a story. It would be fictional and something I hoped that children, adults and seniors would enjoy. It involved animals who have different personalities. So I wrote this story about a puppy named “Willie Whistle” who is abandoned at a shelter which is owned by a white Persian cat named Marta May Paws. It tells of the many different friends he meets who live at the shelter and how they help to raise him, and of all his adventures throughout his growing up years. People who have read the story have laughed at all the lovable characters, and enjoyed reading it.
The Willie Whistle series of books volume one and two are now available on nancymura.blogspot.com. Also, anyone can read Nancy’ story on this site. Mindy Schwartz who is my project manager can also be contacted by e-mail [email protected] for purchase of my books.
Right now I am in the process of co-writing a couple of children’s books. Along with Taryn Simpson who is an award-winning novelist, ghostwriter and screenwriter. The two books we are writing are called the Table and Chair and Rosie and Baby.
People have asked me over the years if I have been angry about what has happened to me. I look at them and say, sure there are times that I feel down, but then I think of so many other people who have worst diseases then I have. There are those who are disabled, can’t see, walk or talk. I have never said “why me.” I am very fortunate to be here. I think of life as an adventure. Who knows what is over the next mountain. One should enjoy life, be happy. Be thankful for the family and wonderful friends that are part of your life and always pay forward in helping others. Do not look backwards, and have great faith in God.
Nancy, thanks for sharing your inspirational life experiences. – Adalia
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