This is my beautiful mother, Vickie Mouzakitis, pictured here at my wedding in June of 2009. A vibrant, loving, and caring social worker in the public education system who never turned down a favor or a helping hand. My mother had always struggled with GERD since her early 20's and often used over the counter products to help combat it. In January of 2015, however, her stomach discomfort and pain continued to worsen.
After seeing several Doctors and being dismissed again for GERD and Hpylori, she was treated and sent home. However, she continued to suffer until mid-march of that year when she finally could no longer handle the pain or keep food down. Several tests and an endoscopy later, it was revealed that she had a tumor growing in the lining of her stomach. She was sent for a PET scan and a laparoscopy, where it was determined the cancer cells had taken over her abdominal fluid. Chemotherapy would be the only option, and it would be palliative care. Meaning her cancer was stage 4 upon diagnosis. My beautiful, brave mother fought hard and for 3.5 years battled this monster tried every drug on the market and every clinical phase that was available.
On July 19, 2018, just two months after her 65th birthday and the day my nephew would turn two years old, she peacefully passed away at home. My mom had symptoms for a few short weeks, to be honest, but in reality, she did not wake up with stage four cancer on that march morning. I urge those who have stomach issues or who have taken over the counter Proton pump inhibitors to be followed closely by a doctor. My mom thought she had a bad case of stomach flu. We miss her so much, and we think about her every day! I hope this story helps someone else. May her memory forever live on.