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Health

Cancer Treatment? Forget it! 90 year old takes epic road trip instead

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Meet Norma:

90 was looking like a bad year for Miss Norma. First, her husband, the love of her life, passed away and then she was diagnosed with uterine cancer. When the doctor delivered her the bad news, and then started listing off the various treatment options, she basically said, screw it!  She was going to pursue her lifelong dream of traveling across the United States instead.

She’s known only as MissNorma by her facebook account (like every wild woman knows, remaining a little bit mysterious is important), and she is showing us all that sometimes alternative medicine, and a heavy dose of achieving one’s life dreams, can be a potent treatment.

Grab a seat in the RV, it’s adventure time:

So instead of scheduling chemo treatment, Miss Norma mapped out a road-trip itinerary: Disney World and Mt. Rushmore of course made the cut. She called up her son and his wife to join in on the fun and packed an extra bag for her poodle Ringo. She hightailed it out of Northern Michigan six months ago with her trusty gang and hasn’t looked back since, covering ground in a hot air balloon, winnebago and boat.

Stir up the arnold palmers (that’s a lemonade with iced tea for all of you young folk out there) and hop strap yourself in next to Ringo, it’s time to go on an adventure!

But before we get carried away, it’s important to know that Miss Norma’s style of treatment is nowhere near the norm. Around the world, an estimated 12.7 million people get diagnosed with cancer each year. For many people, the discovery comes too late--around 30-40% of cancers could be prevented had they been detected earlier. Receiving treatment can be a painful process, 

There are dozens of alternative treatments for terminal diseases like cancer. The National Cancer Institute breaks cancer treatments down into four categories:

  • Standard: treatments prescribed by a health official such as chemotherapy.
  • Complementary: used along with standard treatment. Acupuncture in addition to chemotherapy is an example.  
  • Alternative: not standard medical treatment, no anticancer drugs. Special diets are common.
  • Integrative: a combination of all three

Safe to say that Miss Norma has picked number three: alternative treatment, and why not? When you’re 90 you can basically do whatever you want. But Miss Norma’s decision carries an important, if cliched, message (sometimes cliches are the deepest truths):seize the day.  Many of us delay what we want to do with our lives. We blame our age, finances, work situation,family or whatever for our inability to travel and explore.

Miss Norma is a symbol to us all that not even the most daunting obstacles can stand in your way if you’re determined: 

To try all the desserts on the menu

Who knew???? Key lime pie!!!!!!!!

Posted by Driving Miss Norma on Thursday, January 7, 2016

… and all the drinks on the beer list too!

Miss Norma tasted hard cider (6 kinds) for the first time today! Can you guess what she likes better, cider or beer? What would you like to drink with her? #eldercare #nonursinghome

Posted by Driving Miss Norma on Saturday, October 3, 2015

Going to Disney World

The tickets kicked off the day appropriately! Mine was Minnie!

Posted by Driving Miss Norma on Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Getting her first pedicure with her son 

Going for a new look 

Snuggling with a stuffed animal

Norma has been wanting to see a real bear the entire trip. The Sleepytime bear will have to do today!

Posted by Driving Miss Norma on Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Blowing things up and going wild! 

Blowing up things! Now that's FUN!

Posted by Driving Miss Norma on Monday, August 31, 2015

Fulfilling a life-long dream (Miss Norma ALWAYS wanted to ride in a hot air balloon)

This is Glenn! He lifted her in and out of the basket! Norma was laughing so hard she couldn't breathe! #bekindtooneanother

Posted by Driving Miss Norma on Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Knowing that many, many people love, care and will support her as she goes after her dreams

Apparently some loving hands reached this box. It made it to Miss Norma!

Posted by Driving Miss Norma on Monday, November 23, 2015

Cracking up! Timmy doesn't hold back when he is pushing his Mama. Bumpy ride in this old town today!

Posted by Driving Miss Norma on Saturday, November 21, 2015


Life can throw some difficult and painful curveballs. Miss Norma shows that reclaiming your dreams and reaffirming that you are a living, breathing human being can always be accomplished. But sometimes it helps to be in the back of a winnebago or soaring high in a hot air balloon.