When Tricia Somers found out that she had epithelioid hemangioendothelioma from a CT scan that revealed spots on her liver and , a very rare vascular cancer, she had an urgent question to her oncology nurse, Tricia Seaman:
“Can you raise my son if I die? If the cancer takes me, can you take my son?”
The two women formed a life changing bond from only knowing each other for few weeks. They both met at the Community General Hospital in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania:
“I remember when she came into the room, it was just an overwhelming feeling I had over me. It’s really hard to understand – it was just a warmth,” Somers said. “I felt calm, I felt at peace, I felt like this woman is going to be the one who’s going to take care of me.”
Somers is a single mom, and immediately thought about her 8-year-old son, Wesley, questioning who could possibly take care of him if the time comes. Somers parents passed away, her only sibling and Wesley’s father (who was not a big presence in his life) lived out of state.
“I felt very sorry for her because I could see her situation was quite serious and also it had to be completely overwhelming knowing you had a little boy and you were in the hospital,” Seaman said.
Seaman and her husband was already thinking about adopting a child and had been approved to become foster parents last fall. This seemed to be fate.
“We need to try to help this woman,” Seaman recalled her husband Dan saying. “We just need to follow whatever it is God wants us to do here.”
Somers and Wesley visited the family at Easter, and then again on Mother’s Day. In May, she began receiving chemotherapy and was having a tough time: She was disoriented, dehydrated and her legs were so swollen she could hardly walk. Doctors told her she couldn’t go home by herself any more, so she asked the Seamans to take in her son right then. The Seamans invited both of them to move in with them.
The two families have been living together ever since. Doctors told Somers she had as little as a few weeks left to live, but surrounded by the warmth and care of the Seamans, she’s gotten stronger.
“She’s just being loved by a family and she’s a part of a family, and that makes a huge difference,” Seaman said.
“Ultimately, this family has saved my life because I was told in May that I may have a month, and I’m still here,” Somers added.
The Seamans have made arrangements to become Wesley’s legal guardians when Somers dies.
“My son is well aware that when I pass on, he is welcome to stay here. And he knows that Dan and Tricia will be his guardians. They’ve explained to him that they’ll never be mommy and daddy, but they’re sure going to try to be close,” Somers said.
“They’ve answered my prayers. It’s wonderful, it’s absolutely wonderful.”
H/T Today News