Joey Martin Feek of the husband/wife country duo Joey + Rory has passed away at the age of 40.
Joey was diagnosed with stage 4 cervical cancer. in 2014, and underwent a radical hysterectomy at that time. In early 2015, doctors told her that her cancer had returned. A 9 cm (3-1/2 inch) tumor was found in her sigmoid colon and the cells in the tumor were the same as the original cancer.
She began chemotherapy and radiation therapy and was scheduled to begin another round of chemotherapy when a CT scan showed “two quarter-sized tumors in the same area they had been blasting daily with chemo and radiation.” Several other spots were also seen throughout her abdomen.
In October Joey and Rory made the difficult decision to stop her treatment. This comes after the singer learned that the treatments she has been undergoing had not stopped the growth of the cancer.
As husband Rory says:
“So we did what you do when the medicine isn’t working, and the doctors are at a loss…and when the ‘statistics” say you can do more chemo, but it will only buy you a little time…
We came home. Not to die. But to live.”
And live she did. Her daily activities were celebrated in a blog created by Rory, The Life I Live. Through the blog, her cancer fight drew a devoted following that reached far beyond her usual country music fans. In December Joey learned that she and Rory had been nominated for a Grammy for their version of “If I Needed You.”
On Feb. 12, the couple released their final album, “Hymns That Are Important To Us,” recorded last summer in Nashville.
Joey passed away yesterday afternoon, surrounded by loved ones:
“My wife’s greatest dream came true today. She is in Heaven.
The cancer is gone, the pain has ceased and all her tears are dry.”
Joey is survived by her almost 2-yr-old daughter Indiana, and two older step-daughters, Heidi and Hopie, from Rory’s previous marriage.
In a non-pregnant woman, the cervix is between 2 and 3 cm long and is cylindrical in shape. The lower end of the cervix, called the extocervix, bulges through the front wall of the vagina.
The portion of the cervix between the uterus and the vagina, referred to as the endocervix, is lined with a mucous membrane which contains numerous glands that produce mucus. The extocervix is covered with a scale-like squamous epithelium similar to that of the vagina.
Pap test: A procedure to collect cells from the surface of the cervix and vagina. A piece of cotton, a brush, or a small wooden stick is used to gently scrape cells from the cervix and vagina. The cells are viewed under a microscope to find out if they are abnormal. This procedure is also called a Pap smear.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) test: A laboratory test used to check DNA or RNA for certain types of HPV infection. Cells are collected from the cervix and DNA or RNA from the cells is checked to find out if an infection is caused by a type of HPV that is linked to cervical cancer.
In stage III, cancer has spread to the lower third of the vagina, and/or onto the pelvic wall, and/or has caused kidney problems.
In stage IV, cancer has spread beyond the pelvis, or can be seen in the lining of the bladder and/or rectum, or has spread to other parts of the body.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved two HPV vaccines: Gardasil® for the prevention of cervical, anal, vulvar and vaginal cancer and and Cervarix® for the prevention of cervical cancer and precancerous cervical lesions caused by HPV infection. The vaccines are given through a series of three injections over a 6-month period.
These vaccines are proven to be effective only if given before infection with HPV, so it is recommended that they be given before an individual is sexually active. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends: