Siegel, Helen Mae 1
- Born: Jan 3, 1960
- Died: Nov 13, 1990 at age 30
- Buried: Fairview Heights, St. Clair, Illinois, USA
I remember when Jim Siegel called to tell us that Helen had died on November 13, 1990.
I can still see the beautiful 18-year old girl who put her arms around me and said: “Hi, Aunt Mildred. Remember me? I’m Helen,” at a reception at Moose Hall. She introduced me to her fiancé Kenny Thouvenot & said she was looking forward to getting married as soon as she graduated from High School. I can still see her when she brought her new baby daughter to Celie’s house. A few years later she brought her daughter, who was about three years old, to Celie’s house. She liked my painting of the deer by the mountain stream and I gave it to her.
In March of 1988 she discovered she had inflammatory breast cancer, the kind that is not encapsulated. She took chemotherapy and radiation treatments for about a year and then had a mastectomy. The doctors said there was n trace of cancer left about March of 1989. Her hair started to come back. On September 19, 1989 she was bowling and fell and broke her left knee cap. She was in the hospital for a week. They pinned and wired the knee cap and she had to be in a brace for three months.
In March of 1990 the cancer came back. It showed up in fluid behind the lungs (between the plura & the rib cage). It wasn’t a tumor, just a cell. They talked about a bone marrow transplant so they went to Duke University at Durham for consultation. They said they needed something sizeable to treat & nothing was sizeable. She had her first chemo on May 8, 1990, and didn’t get sick at all. But on May 17, 1990 she started coughing and her white blood cell count went down to 1000. They put her in the hospital and found she had pneumonia. They gave her intravenous antibiotics & her cell count started to come up.
Then the radiation and chemotherapy treatments were started again. About October 23, 1990 they said they couldn’t do any more for her. They put her on morphine and oxygen. She didn’t want to go to the hospital, so her own big family and her husband’s big family took turns staying with her in the daytime, and her husband was with her at night. They gave her three months to live, but she lasted for only three weeks. On the last Sunday she was alive, she wanted to come “home” one more time. Celie said she could barely walk but she made it. Two days later she died. She was thirty years old and her daughter is nine years old and her two boys are five and two. Celie helped pick out a grave site and a casket and a bluish gray dress with a lace collar, which they bought at Famous. They wanted something with a high neck to cover the scars from her operations. Celie said: “After all those treatments & operations”.
Ruth and her husband & Jerome (single) are home from Seattle, Washington, for the funeral.
Mildred Haas-Fellin -November, 1990
Helen married Kenneth Thouvenot.