My name is Jasmine Ozmun. I am a 41 year old Wife and Mother to 4 Beautiful Children, Daughter, Granddaughter, Niece, Cousin & Friend. I have Stage 4 Renal Cell Carcinoma (Kidney Cancer). This is my story….
In Spring 2018 I was living my best life. I enjoyed our crazy schedule of running kids between hockey, synchro, volleyball, basketball and baseball. My husband and I were happily coming up on our 15 year wedding anniversary. I live in a wonderful, supportive community and have incredible friends from near and far that I love to get together with, share our lives and laugh with. I am blessed to live close to my mom and extended family, grandmother, uncles, aunts and cousins who we love to spend time with. I enjoyed volunteering, community events and working out and was continuously pushed to challenge myself. Life was beautiful!
I started to notice my hip and groin area would hurt from time to time. Being that I was working out a lot and had started running I figured I had likely pulled something so I just gave it time. Throughout the summer it would hurt on and off with no rhyme or reason. By fall because it had not gone away I started to see a physical therapist. When that didn’t change and it continued to get worse I eventually went to my doctor. She started with an ultrasound and X-ray and thought she saw something in the X-ray. That lead to a CT, bone scan and MRI. By October they figured they had their devastating answer but it wasn’t until February of 2019 that all my worst fears were confirmed through a biopsy. My fracturing hip was caused by a tumour as I had kidney cancer that had already metastasized to my bones. My heart shattered. I began to slip into depression and I didn’t know if the tears would ever stop. The thought of my children losing me and me missing out on their lives was and continues to be the hardest part of this all. Unfortunately my hip was causing major amounts of pain as it fractured and it seemed the only answer was a hip replacement which I had done in April of 2019. There were very specific in telling me that this surgery would in no way heal me and was purely for comfort. Recovery was worse than I thought and it took a while to get my mobility back on track. I started on Immunotherapy in the meantime with a lot of hope. Although they were always careful to tell me I could not be cured, immunotherapy offered comfortable extended life and few side effects. It was ideal and during the of summer 2019 I was feeling okay and had some hope. However by fall my pain had started to increase. In the end of September I broke my collar bone opening a drawer, leading to scans and the realization that tumours were continuing to grow throughout my bones and my ribs….lots of them. The immunotherapy was failing me. I ended up in the hospital for a week as they tried to get my pain from my collar bone under control and form a new plan of action.
It was around this time that my cousin, Jennifer, approached the Shine On Foundation and asked if I would be interested in her filling out an application. I agreed and she went forward with it. I received a call from Blair soon after and had a wonderful conversation. He understood so much about our situation and all the emotions involved. In the end he offered us a trip for not just myself, my husband and children but also for my mother to join us. My mother actually retired and moved to town to take care of me and my family when I was diagnosed. We would be totally lost without her to help us through the day to day that I can no longer do and are so thankful that they recognized that she definitely deserved this blessing as well. We started dreaming and planning and the kids were beyond excited!
During all this they had started me on new pills to try to buy me more time. I unfortunately ended up dangerously sick and in the hospital for over two weeks and those meds were stopped immediately. With all this going on my doctor of course could not grant me permission to travel and our plans were put on hold as I got my strength back. When I was released from the hospital I was started on yet another pill option to hopefully slow the cancer. I reacted okay and my doctor agreed to let me go on a trip. So, without much hesitation and so excited, we booked two full weeks in Huatulco, Mexico.
Our trip was so far beyond wonderful. We enjoyed everyday relaxing and enjoying time with the kids. We were also blessed enough to have friends and family join us on our trip. It was amazing!!! I can’t begin to say how amazed and how blessed I feel for being chosen to receive such a beautiful gift…the gift of time with my kids, of relaxing this tired body and enjoying the soothing heat, of time to sit and laugh with friends and family and time to let the kids forget for a moment that something is wrong with their mom. We made so many memories and I have so many moments that will stay in my mind and in my heart forever. For those two weeks I was happy, I was relaxed and I didn’t obsess about this horrible disease. I felt the power of the ocean, the heat of the sun and the freedom of my toes in the sand. I don’t know how to begin to adequately say thank you. What an amazing organization!
Since coming home we unfortunately found out that these meds are not working as well and my cancer is quickly progressing and spreading. We will try something new. I won’t stop fighting. My family and this life are worth fighting for. Two weeks away with my beautiful family helped remind me what I am fighting for. It’s easy to get caught up in day to day and in pain and sickness. This trip was so much more to me than a vacation….it was a reminder of all that I am, all that my life is and all that is important to me. I will hold onto those moments, those beautiful memories and I will use them to make me stronger. I will use this strength to take on this beast. I can’t speak for my children, husband and my mom but I know by their smiles, laughs and stories from our trip that they made memories that will forever remain in their hearts. We are so eternally grateful to Blair and all those who help out the Shine On Foundation. You are truly handing out blessings and miracles, giving people strength and hope when it’s so desperately needed.
If you wish to know more about my fight and my story please know that you are more than welcome to follow me at https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/jasmineozmun