A mother of five with stage IV lung cancer and her daughter walked to the top of the highest mountain in the America & # 39; s.
Isabella de la Houssaye, 55, was diagnosed in January 2018 – a shock given that she had never smoked, never drunk, and lived an incredibly active lifestyle.
Since then, she has removed several items from her bucket list, including completing 50 marathons in 50 states and racing at the Ironman World Championships.
Now she is determined to go on one last adventure with all her children, especially to push them to the limit and to teach them about & # 39; joy and suffering & # 39 ;.
In an exclusive interview with The New York Times, De la Houssaye and her 22-year-old daughter, Bella Crane, explained how they walked to the top of Mount Aconcagua in January, the highest mountain in both the southern and western hemisphere.
In January of this year, Isabella de la Houssaye, 55 – who has stage IV lung cancer – and her daughter Bella Crane, walked to the top of Mount Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Himalayas. Pictured: de la Houssaye, left, and Crane, right, at the top
De la Houssaye (left, and with her daughter Bella, right) was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer in January 2018. It was a shock to the mother of five who never drank or smoked
De la Houssaye told The Times that she and her husband, David Crane, an investor in the energy sector, raised all their children for outdoor enthusiasts as they are.
It is how Cason, David, Bella, Oliver and Christopher – mentioned from the oldest to the youngest – achieved successes such as hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail and solo rowing across the Atlantic.
According to PEOPLE, de la Houssaye first began to experience symptoms, mainly chest pain, in the fall of 2017, but assumed that the pain was from a walking injury.
By the time she was examined in January 2018, she was told that she had stage IV lung cancer
& # 39; I had a good tumor, seven centimeters, in my lungs. My entire sacrum (the pelvis) was cancer, & de la Houssaye told the magazine. & # 39; I had six tumors in my brain, I had them in my breastbone, I had them in my pelvis. It was a huge wake-up call. & # 39;
Lung cancer occurs when cells in the lungs begin to grow uncontrollably and displace normal cells.
It is the leading cause of cancer death in the US for both men and women, and claims more lives than combined breast, colon, prostate, and ovarian cancers.
The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 228,000 cases will be diagnosed in 2019 and that more than 142,000 deaths will occur.
The symptoms usually do not occur until the cancer is advanced and include a cough that will not go away, cough up blood, chest pain and bone pain.
According to the American Cancer Society, the five-year survival rate for stage IV lung cancer is five percent.
The mother of five underwent chemotherapy to reduce tumors and relieve some of her pain, and credits her & # 39; clean living & # 39; lifestyle for her long survival. On the photo: de la Houssaye, left, with her son, Cason
De la Houssaye (left and right) has performed differently since his diagnosis, including completing 50 marathons in 50 states and racing in the Ironman World Championships. She decided that she wanted a final adventure with each of her children
She underwent chemotherapy to reduce tumors and relieve some of her pain, and credits her & # 39; clean living & # 39; lifestyle for her long survival.
De la Houssaye told The Times that when she regained some strength, she wanted to experience at least one last adventure with each of her children, who are between 16 and 25 years old.
She and Oliver walked more than 500 miles in April 2018 along the Camino de Santiago, a Catholic pilgrimage route in Spain.
In June 2018, she and Cason had a marathon in Alaska. Then, in September, she and David participated in an Ironman triathlon in South Korea.
Finally, in January this year, de la Houssaye and Bella – along with two guides, another mother-daughter couple and two Times staff – set out for Aconcagua.
Climbing the mountain takes about two weeks and climbers do not have to use axes, pins and ropes.
However, temperatures can drop as low as -40F (-40C), requiring warm equipment, and only about 30 to 40 percent of climbers ever reach the peak.
Moreover, the cancer and treatments of the la Houssaye made it difficult to breathe in the thin air and it was weakened by chemotherapy treatments.
& # 39; I feel that I went from my parents' house to my husband's house to have children, and just as I think I'm going to get free, I get this diagnosis & # 39 ;, she told The Times .
The climb to the top of Mount Aconcagua takes about two weeks and requires fighting temperatures up to -40F. Depicted: de la Houssaye, on the right, with her husband, David Crane
Despite some setbacks, de la Houssaye and Bella reach the peak, which is raised to almost 22,300 feet. Depicted: de la Houssaye fighting in a race with two of her sons
There were several challenges on the mountain: de la Houssaye struggled to eat because of nausea, she was worried about falling because her bones became brittle and she was more susceptible to the freezing cold.
In the base camp, which rests around 14,000 feet, she decided that she would no longer climb mountains.
& # 39; I don't think I can do this anymore, & # 39; she said. & # 39; I am going to take it at a time every day, but I have no illusion that I will reach the top. & # 39;
But before the groups left the camp, everyone underwent a check-up and the lung function of the Houssaye & # 39; prima & # 39; stated, The Times reported.
During the last part it was sometimes de la Houssaye that pushed Bella and sometimes it was the other way around.
When they reached the top, the mother-daughter couple hugged each other as the tears fell down the cheeks of the Houssaye.
& # 39; The mountains always have a way to make me cry & # 39 ;, she told The Times.
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