Welcome to our CaringBridge website. My mom, Caroline, has been overwhelmed with all of the love and support she has received since her diagnosis of cancer. We've created this site to help keep everyone updated on her progress and to allow everyone a place to leave her messages of love, hope, prayer, and support.
Visit often to read the latest journal entries, visit the photo gallery, and write us a note in our guestbook.
I'll post my Mom's story as best I can, and maybe once her page has been made she will edit it and add information that I might forget or leave out. As she looks back her story really started awhile ago, little signs she didn't quite pay attention to or notice all that much, things that seemed "different" about the way her body was working or the way she was feeling but nothing that really stood out to her. She had some shoulder pain, she was using her inhaler more often, she got tired more easily, etc. But at the end of June she started noticing that she felt like she was choking when she ate, that the food got stuck on the way down, in her chest. Then her lower back started hurting, a lot! She went to the Dr on Friday July 1st for her back pain and trouble swallowing, but they gave her a shot for pain and sent her home, but she was soon in awful pain again. Sunday she went to the ER (I think in my entire life my Mom has only gone to the ER maybe two times, so I knew she had to be really hurting), her biggest complaint being the horrible back pain but also the trouble swallowing, her heart racing, and nausea. The Dr's there did a chest xray, EKG, lab work, but everything looked ok. They told her that they would set up a stress test for later on, just to be sure, but that they felt like she had injured her back. It took morphine to finally take the pain away in the ER and they sent her home with Percocet. It did little to relieve her pain, and the nausea kept her from using it. Tuesday she was so miserable that she called my stepdad home early from work to go to the Dr yet again. They did another xray and this time the Dr saw something abnormal on it. They were sent straight to the hospital where they did a cat scan. It was this scan that showed multiple masses in her trunk, one of which was directly behind her heart, pushing it to the side, was pressing against her vena cava, a large vein that carries blood from the heart, causing a clot in that vein, and was pushing against her esophagus causing the swallowing problems. This largest mass is 14cm x 7cm x 7cm, so no wonder it was causing so many problems inside her body!!
She was admitted to the hospital right away, and while they tried to assure my Mom and Dad that it might not be cancer, the fact that she was admitted to the oncology floor and was seen the very next morning by the same oncologist who had treated her brother and sister for cancer left us with little hope that it wasn't. But my Mom was so strong, she was in pain and poked and prodded, but she remained the calm in the storm that she has always been in our lives. And I was so glad that she had her wonderful husband Gary there with her through it all, it's been a very scary time for everyone, but he was so strong as well and was with her the entire hospital stay (except when she sent him home, and even then he didn't want to go and would sneak back early). On Wednesday they did a cat scan and biopsy together. We were all worried that it would be painful for her, but they gave her good drugs and she woke up after it was all done, she said she didn't feel a thing. After that the wait was on, with many prayers already in motion for her quick and full recovery. Mom was already being inundated with visitors and phone calls of those wanting to see how she was doing and to let her know that she was on their minds and in their prayers. It just goes to show you what a wonderful person my Mom is. The oncologist told us what he thought we might be facing and how long we could expect to wait for a definitive answer to the biopsy. They felt like a definitive answer probably wouldn't come until Friday, and that felt like a million years away, but malignant or not would probably come Thursday. He felt like we were probably dealing with a Lymphoma due to the number of masses that she had, but we were hoping that if it had to be cancer that it would be Hodgkins, like my Uncle had, because that has a very high cure rate. Thursday the oncologist called and told my Mom that it was not Hodgkins but an aggressive form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, she would start chemo the next day (Friday). It was devastating news to us all, cancer can evoke such strong emotions in us, but we had to keep clinging to the belief that she would beat this. Friday morning the oncologist came to talk to us, the specific type of cancer she has is Stage III Diffuse Large B Cell Lymphoma. It's actually the most common type of Lymphoma and will be treated with chemo, once every 3 weeks times 6 total treatments. The odds are in her favor to beat this, and so we just ask for for everyone who loves and knows her to continue to give her their prayers, support, and love!