It all started this fall with a persistent cough that would not go away after multiple doctor visits and tests Alice was diagnosed with lung cancer and was started on chemo. Alice felt the chemo was working because the cough had improved however on Feb 17 Alice was feeling too weak to receive her chemo treatment and the oncologist recommended she post pone until the following week.
However the plan changed, Theresa brought Alice to the saint cloud hospital due to a worsening cough and difficulty breathing. After many tests Alice was told she had a mass enveloping her trachea (airway). A radiologist oncologist was asked to join the team and informed Alice that the original thought of having lung cancer was probably incorrect and it was most likely thyroid cancer that had spread to the lung. Unfortunately, he also informed her that meant that while receiving chemo this mass had continued to grow. His original recommendation was for her to receive at least 10 radiation treatments to shrink the size of the mass. Due to the risk of the mass growing before the radiation takes effect and potential swelling caused by the radiation he feared her airway could be closed off completely. To ensure that she had an open airway he recommended a tracheostomy (incision in neck with tube placed to maintain an open airway) prior to receiving treatment. Alice agreed to the recommendations and had surgery on 2/25.
The plan was to hopefully start radiation on 2/27 and then potentially transfer to a facility to increase Alice's strength prior to going home. Surgery went well however the closest facility willing to accept Alice with a new trach was Monticello Swing Bed. Since they do not like to change radiation sites once started the radiation was not going to be initiated until transferred to Monticello. As the week went on Alice has been requiring more trach cares and feeling weaker so Monticello was not comfortable admitting her to place with less monitoring. So instead of discharging 3/3 to Monticello as was hoped in the beginning of the week Alice will be staying in the hospital through the weekend. Today (3/2) Alice also had surgery to insert a feeding tube to ensure adequate nutrition since eating has also been difficult.
Plans are still unclear as to initiation of radiation and discharge to Monticello. The doctors are worried about the delay of receiving radiation and might recommend Alice start next week in St Cloud but unfortunately that means when she does go to Monticello she will have to be transported via care cab to St Cloud and now the number of recommended radiation treatments is 15-20. Chemo is on hold for now.
Please pray for Alice to give her strength physically and mentally during this difficult time.