Nov 24, 2019 Latest post:
Jul 11, 2020
Hi Loved Ones! Welcome to Cheryl's CaringBridge website. This is Shawn, her daughter, creating the page. I've been trying to keep up with texts today, however as you all know, my mom has a LOT of friends and people who love her, so we're going to use this page to keep you all updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement.
In mid-October of this year, Mom fell and hurt her ribs. A couple of weeks later, she started feeling short of breath, which worsened. A chest x-ray revealed a nodule in her right lung and fluid around the lung. A CT scan confirmed this. The shortness of breath continued to worsen, so she had a thoracentesis to drain the fluid from around her lung and to run tests on that fluid to figure out what was causing it to be there in the first place. I've included details below, some gory, so you can stop at the warning line if you want! Within six days, she had to have another one of these barbaric procedures due to more fluid accumulation and being out of breath with a racing heart rate.
Yesterday, November 21, it was confirmed that Mom has stage IV A non-small cell lung cancer. There is a mass approximately the size of a lemon in her upper right lung. It has spread outside lung. It’s inoperable. With no treatment, she has a prognosis of weeks to months to live. Monday, she will have a PET-CT scan to find out if/where it has spread. Tuesday, she will meet with the oncologist (cancer doctor) and discuss treatment options based on the tests. She will also have an MRI of the brain to see if the cancer has spread to it. She has a consultation for a cardiothoracic surgeon to see if she can undergo a procedure called a pleurodesis, which would be a more permanent fix to stop the fluid from re-accumulating and help her breathing be more comfortable.
As we look back over the past couple of years, we know that Mom had a non-productive cough that really wasn’t clearing up with inhalers or antibiotics. Her energy was low. She’d lost weight. And the big, big sign: HIVES. She had hives on her hands intermittently for years. This was the exact same thing that happened in the years before her colon cancer was discovered in 2000. Lesson—if you have hives without a known reason, GET CHECKED. Push your doctor.
Mom is of course in great spirits, joking and laughing. She is sad but hopeful. She said she isn’t scared but when she does die, she wants to make sure she can still see those she loves, watch the ocean, and listen to good music.
That’s what we know so far. Please, check this private page for updates. It is open only to registered users that we invite. There is no wrong thing to say or do, so don’t worry about that.
Mom loves you all and is grateful to have you in her life, whether in the past, present, or both. I am so incredibly grateful to have her for my mom and to have David, my amazing stepdad, to care for her and love her. She couldn’t be in better hands.
Be well and love each other.
P.S. It is not necessary to donate to caring bridge to view the site.
GORY DETAILS BELOW THIS POINT
-Thoracentesis. It's awful. She was awake and sitting up while the doctor injected lidocaine (local anesthesia) between two ribs in her back all the way through the muscle, connective tissue (picture a rack of ribs). Then he inserted a catheter into the lung lining and let it drain for many, many minutes. There should just be a small amount of fluid in the pleural lining, to make it friction-free. Yesterday, he drained approximately 2 liters like a big bottle of Coke. The first time, the process was more painful, and he drained just a little less than this. So within six days, it filled back up.