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Deanna’s Story

Welcome to CaringBridge. We have created this site to keep our friends and family updated about Deanna's progress. Please read the latest in the journal, view the photo gallery, and drop us a line in the guestbook.As of Friday, December 12th, Deanna is still at Abbott Northwestern hospital in Minneapolis, staying on the Spinal floor, with her husband Neal close at hand. Several months ago (August of 2008), she started experiencing back pain. After an initial MRI, she was told she had a fracture in her vertebrae. For several months Deanna diligently wore a brace to heal the fracture. The past two weeks, the fracture, however, got worse.

On December 8th, Deanna had another MRI and at the doctor's request, a subsequent biopsy of the lower back. She was admitted to the hospital on December 10th because the biopsy had come back malignant. She was admitted by the Spinal doctor, but the Oncologist quickly became involved. It turns out, the bone in the vertebrae had weakened, and had fractured because of the cancer within the back. Running point on all the activity and follow-up testing was Dave Tetzlaff, Neal and Deanna's brother-in-law, who is a physician at Abbott. It has been a god-send to have Dave involved.

After a CT Scan, the news became worse, and that it was not only in the back, but had also gotten to the pelvis, with a couple spots on the lung. Because the form of cancer appeared to be estrogen based, the breast was still the likely culprit. This had not been verified. The doctors still needed to verify the source as the breast, so an ultrasound and biopsy of chest was proposed, and conducted on Thursday, December 11th. On the evening of the 11th, the Oncologist gave Deanna and Neal some positive news, that the lower back could and would be treated immediately with radiation. And Deanna would be feeling better in the back by Christmas. As of Friday, however, we still haven't heard back from Pathology on the biopsy of the breast.

Once the diagnosis is confirmed, discussions around next steps for the breast cancer will be discussed. The real difficult aspect for Deanna, is having to deal with two sources of cancer and pain: the lower back (immediate) and the breast (longer term depending on the stage it is in).

We will update the details here and in the journal as they become known. It is obviously a fluid situation, and changing by the day, if not the hour. Please check the journal as well, since Deanna will be updating that as her pain improves, and she begins her radiation treatments. Please keep Deanna, Neal and their two children, Linnea (12) and Annika (9) in your deepest prayers as they move through this trying time in their lives.
Thank you, Noel Thompson (Deanna's brother).

Latest Journal Update

Great Report from Fall Scans, tests

Dear Family and Friends:

Blessings to you all this fabulous fall day, a day that became even more fabulous for us as we met with the oncologist this morning to get the results from last weeks tests.  I'm so thankful to report that I continue to be in remission: my tumor marker numbers remain well below the magical number 38 at 18, and overall the PET scan looked really great.  My oncologist showed us the images and pointed out how there seems to be continued healing where the cancer lives in my back, which is great.  There was just one lymph node on my right side that was lit, which could signal cancer in a new place.  The oncologist compared it to the previous scan from last December where the lymph node was not very bright.  Toward the end of our conversation about the scan as we were talking about whether I'm experiencing pain on my right side (the cancer that started this whole journey was on the left side) I off-handedly mentioned that I'd been stung on my right hand by a bee last week and my hand had ballooned in response (see photo in the photo section if interested). Hearing about the sting, the oncologist exclaimed that the bee sting is the most likely cause of a lit-up lymph node on the right side.  So we were very glad we mentioned the bee sting!  We'll continue to monitor the lymph node but for right now, we're going with bee sting = reason for a shining lymph node.

We're so thankful for the these results, so thankful I'm feeling really well these days, so thankful for great medical care (all IVs and pokes last week and this morning for treatment were successful on their first try, which makes everything go so much more smoothly), and so thankful for the continued prayers, thoughts, concern and support from all of you.  Thanks for continuing to accompany us on this long journey.

Summer was filled with many memorable times with family and friends.  At the same time, summer also brought with it some more challenging times emotionally.  In August I think I finally figured out why I was having a harder time: I really hadn't thought I'd be alive to see Linnea graduate from high school, and in June, I was there for all of it, thanks be to God.  But high school graduation also meant moving into a phase where we don't have any experience with being a family dealing with cancer with college in the equation.  In August we met as a family with a therapist to help us think about this new phase, and spent some good time in discussion about various scenarios.  We're now a big month into our new life of having one family member in college, and so far, it's. so. fabulous.  We're so thankful she LOVES Luther College.  We certainly miss her, but are thrilled that Linnea's so happy.

At this time where we have so much gratitude for so many blessings, we continue to be mindful of the grief surrounding too many others, both close by and far away.  From those suffering from Ebola to family friends' 18 year old suffering from addiction, to those trying to live in the midst of war, to Brian in southern Minnesota struggling to live amid stage IV pancreatic cancer, we hold them all and many more in our daily prayers.

A blessed fall to you all.  Much love and gratitude, Deanna    

27 people hearted this



Allen Jorgenson
By Allen
So glad to hear this! Perhaps we will have opportunity to touch base next month.
Janet Karvonen-Montgomery
By Janet Karvonen
Giving thanks for your report and for your willingness to witness through it all. Happy Autumn!
Mike Elton
By Pat and Mike Elton
May your journey continue with good news. God bless you and your family.
Scott Gillespie
By Scott Gillespie on behalf of our family
Wonderful news, Deanna, but stay away from the bees from now on! You will continue to be in our prayers.
Gary Simpson
By Gary Simpson
So glad to hear this news! Prayerfully rejoicing for you and yours.
To hear your wonderful news puts us all in a mood of celebration. Happy for you and your family!!
Martha Wegner
By Martha Wegner
So so happy to hear the good news!

Keeping you and your family in my prayers.
Tiffany wortman
By tiffany wortman
Bees, glorious Bees!! So very happy to hear of your great news and so thankful for you. XX
Tom Melchior
By Tom Melchior
Great news! There was not a cloud in the sky in northern Michigan. And now the wonderful news from you, cloud free as well. A blessed day!
Judy Lindell
By Judy Lindell
We celebrate with you on your good news from your test results!! We're excited for Llinnea entering college and we have two grand daughters looking at colleges now. Where have the years gone?? Every day is truly a gift!! You and your family continue to be in our thoughts and prayers.
Healthy Hugs,
Judy and Pete