Kerry Hamlen Care for Kerry Hamlen

Kerry has endured 20 years of living with Lupus, Sjogren’s Disease and Thyroid Burnout and had a rough summer of 2022 with a lot of pain, migraines, difficulty sleeping, and other symptoms that she fights every day.

In June 2022 Kerry finally got COVID, which didn’t seem too bad at the time, but ended up with a hospital stay in August to kind of get everything “reset” after everything had combined and caused some lung and other issues.

During her hospital stay the staff also attended to a sore lymph node under her left arm, for which she was scheduled for an ultrasound but with the first available appointment being November 2022 due to the scheduling of the local Health System.  The Hospital Doctor had stated he had seen lumps like this in post-covid patients, so we weren’t terribly worried.  However, the biopsy came back as Breast cancer.

Kerry and Jim met with Dr Kuo, a well-known oncologist here in the Charlotte area, who is a Christian and a sweet man who delivers news truthfully but with such care.  He stated that a PET Scan would be the next step, and that those results could potentially stage the Cancer at Stage 4 if it showed further spread.  Kerry said “Well, that will determine my fate then”…and he responded, well, if we all believe what we say we do, God is the really determiner of our days; the test will just give us more information.

Later the PET Scan revealed the Breast Cancer had spread to both sides of the underarm, with a small nodule in the lungs, but no organs were affected

Shortly thereafter Kerry spent a few more days in the hospital to treat a small pulmonary embolism.

After having an outpatient procedure to have a Port installed, Chemo began with a smaller startup treatment at the Cancer in Huntersville.   Kerry tolerated it well, but a few days afterwards came down with the stomach flu and had to be treated for dehydration (several rounds of receiving fluids through the port) and given more time to recover before having another chemo.

Kerry’s second chemo was on October 3rd.  Shortly after she settled in and they administered the actual chemo, she experienced a sudden and life-threatening allergic (anaphylactic) reaction to it which escalated to the point that, in addition to the chemo nurses, an extensive array of medics were called to the area, and Dr. Kuo as well, and this team worked diligently to reverse the effects and she was eventually taken by ambulance around the corner of the building into the hospital ER where she stabilized and underwent some testing before she was able to go home at 7:30 that evening, over seven hours after the reaction.

A few Kerry was admitted to the Hospital again for pain management and was feeling better after about a 5 day stay.  They did send Kerry home with Oxygen to be used as needed, if she feels winded, but especially to keep her O2 at good levels during sleep.

Kerry’s third chemo was done on the 17th, in a special hospital-like facility in downtown Charlotte, where reactions can be better handled – and avoided.  The solvent in the mixture was changed, and Kerry had a successful, non-eventful infusion, albeit taking about 6 hours, as they would infuse a little at a time, as tolerated.

The fourth Chemo was October 25th, and the same mixture was done but this time back at the local center, where, to everyone’s relief, it again went well, with no adverse reaction.

So far, the aftereffects of chemo have been exhaustion, lack of appetite (but not overly nauseous) and Kerry’s hair is starting to thin out, which they had warned her would happen within a few weeks of starting treatment.

Before having a treatment, Kerry meets with Dr Kuo to discuss the plan and progress and “check in”.

PRAYER REQUESTS:

The first prayer request that came to Kerry’s mind is for her children, Nick (22), a Senior at Messiah University in Pennsylvania, and Natalie (20), who is a Junior, also at Messiah.  She wants to see them finish their semester well, and that things remain on an “even keel” for the kids and their family for a long time to come.  The kids were just home last week (Oct.17-21) which was nice, although a good deal of potential quality time together was eaten up by Mom not feeling quite up to par.

Jim needs our prayers as well…he mostly works from home but has a stressful job, and is weaving those work demands into caring for Kerry, the dog, the house, and of course, being a Dad.

Kerry has been back and forth so much between home and the hospital, home and chemo, home and doctors appointments, and tests – it should be slowing down now and she would like prayers that it does - it has been a real physical challenge to manage this– and, to be honest, mentally as well, as you can imagine…which brings us to the next request…

Prayer is so needed for the obvious mental and spiritual challenges that this brings…she at times is strong, a Warrior, and so brave, (the feisty Kerry that we all love) but at times just also feels so incredibly weak and helpless and just so worn down from the fight that she has been up against for years now having a new- and weighty -component added.   Many times she just aches all over.  It is for these dark times that having prayer warriors out there will keep her going.  Pray that she would trust in the Lord and have peace in Her Spirit…we all need this, but this assurance and mindset is especially crucial to her wellbeing in this trial.  The Lord gifts us with His presence and promises but sometimes it’s hard to embrace it when you are in the midst of a raw human struggle such as this…none of us are exempt from those hard questions we ask of God.  Pray that family and friends will encourage her in a way that brings comfort.

Thank you for being a part of this Caring Bridge for our Dear Kerry.  We will continue to add to this page with any updates that occur.  As much as Kerry would like to chat with everyone, and send texts, it has just become increasingly difficult at the moment to keep up with everyone and get the rest she needs.

Cards are greatly appreciated! 

Mailing address is

7425 Quilbray Drive

Huntersville, NC  28078

 

Any questions can be referred to Hilary Zee at hilarycansickzee@gmail.com (mailto:hilarycansickzee@gmail.com) or 610-331-9921.

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