90-Year-Old Goes For Road Trip Over Cancer Treatment

By Paul Duncan, next avenue, 03/11/2016

A 90-year-old Michigan woman who was diagnosed with cancer last year has decided to take an epic road trip across the country rather than undergo treatment.

In the last six months, the woman — identified only as Norma on her Facebook page called Driving Miss Norma  — has seen some of the most famous landmarks in the U.S. and fulfilled one of her dreams by taking a ride in a hot air balloon.

Norma Hot Air Balloon

Norma gets a lift inside the balloon. Credit Miss Norma/Facebook

Norma, who is traveling in a motor home with her son Tim, daughter-in-law Ramie and their pet poodle Ringo, told The Huffington Post: “People shouldn’t be afraid to travel. No matter your age.”

What She Told Her Doctor

In August 2015, two days after her husband died, Norma was diagnosed with uterine cancer and was asked by a doctor about how she would like to proceed with her treatment. She replied: “I’m 90 years old, I’m hitting the road.”

Her doctor’s response? According to the family, he said: “As doctors we see what cancer treatment looks like every day. ICU, nursing homes, awful side effects and honestly, there is no guarantee she will survive the initial surgery to remove the mass. You are doing exactly what I would want to do in this situation. Have a fantastic trip!”

Norma Beach

Norma enjoying a Florida beach. Credit Miss Norma/Facebook

Speaking to The Huffington Post, Norma’s daughter-in-law Ramie said they had no plans to stop traveling. “We have no idea where or when it will end,” she said. “We are living in the present moment.”

“Everyone has different ideas about how they want the end of their life to work,” she told ABC News. “As a planet, we need to have this conversation,”

Norma’s Facebook page has so far garnered more than 190,000 “likes.”

Read the rest of Paul Duncan’s story on Norma at nextavenue.org.