Debby O'Connell

First post: Oct 16, 2019 Latest post: Jan 6, 2020
Hello to all of Debby's family and friends. As many of you are aware, Debby's health has declined in the past few months. We wanted to have one central place to update her wonderful network of family and friends as she continues her journey. Please be sure to subscribe to this CaringBridge site for updates as they come. We will try to keep things as up-to-date as we can, so please continue to check back for any new information. For now, here is a summary of her recent journey as well as where she is currently receiving care and some notes for those who may be interested in paying her a visit. 

In August, she developed diabetes and began treatment. As some are aware, she had a brief hospital stay this summer due to complications from the diabetes, but was released within a few days. Shortly thereafter, Debby received news that her cancer had spread to her brain. At the time of her cancer diagnosis, the plan was to return to oral chemo as well as completing two weeks of radiation treatment. Her care team had planned to see how she responded to this course of treatment and respond accordingly. Unfortunately, shortly after starting her new rounds of cancer treatment, she developed sepsis and was hospitalized in September for about two weeks. During her stay at the hospital, she was treated for the infection (which has since been cleared) and began working with physical and occupational therapy. She was then transferred to St. Mary's Rehabilitation Center on Maple Grove Drive (where she is now - see below for the address). 

The plan at that time was to continue to work with the staff at the rehabilitation center (physical, occupational, and speech therapy) until she was strong enough to return home and continue her cancer treatments. However, in the past couple of weeks, her condition has declined significantly. She is experiencing significant memory loss, weakness, fatigue, and is struggling with her therapy. The rehabilitation staff, her oncologist, and her primary care physician are working with the family to determine her next course of action. As of right now, an MRI has been scheduled to determine the cause of the shift, which will help us to better determine next steps. 

We certainly welcome any and all prayers. If you are able to pay Debby a visit or communicate with her, please be cognizant of her memory loss. Her care team has advised us to try to stick to happy long-term memories rather than trying to talk to her about her current situation or asking her to recall short-term memories. Short-term recall is very difficult and frustrating for her but past memories, especially happy ones, seem to brighten her day. 

If you wish to visit or send cards, she is at: 

SSM St. Mary's Rehab Center 
3401 Maple Grove Dr. Madison, WI 53719 Room #814

Please continue to check this site for updates. We will post them as we have them! And thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers! Team Debby certainly is strong and mighty!

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