Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.
Family and Friends, First of all, we begin by thanking you all for the overwhelming support from all of our family, friends, and community. It is an understatement to say we cannot begin to express our gratitude for the cards, notes, visits, gifts, care, support and prayers over the last few weeks. It would be impossible to even attempt to list each and every person and group who have so graciously contributed in many ways. It would be equally difficult to express how appreciative we are to those special individuals who have gone so far above and beyond. So, to all who have called, texted, emailed, prepared meals, mowed the lawn, tended to the garden, helped with household chores, visited the hospitals, brought get well packages, helped with medical care, extended financial support or accommodations, and all other assistance. . . with utmost sincerity, we thank you and love you all. From the whole family . . . we truly feel blessed to have each of you in our lives. We will attempt to update this page as possible when we have any new information. Also, we do understand that very little information was released as we first learned of Dianne’s condition. This was simply because we knew so very little for several days, which turned into weeks, as we anxiously waited for a diagnosis. In an attempt to curtail misinformation, we only made news available as the facts were given to us, rather than information based on preliminary results. With a diagnosis now official, we will attempt to catch everyone up on the events of last few weeks.
As many of you are aware, Dianne – along with two of her sisters – have been providing around the clock care for her father, Lank, who will be 97 years old in September. On July 28th while taking caring of her father, Dianne began to experience increasingly extreme shortness of breath. Being treated for severe allergies over the last 1-2 years, she scheduled a doctor’s appointment at which time a chest x-ray was recommended and scheduled with a radiologist in Hickory for the following week. On August 1st, a CT scan was performed and shockingly, a mediastinal mass was discovered. The radiologist recommended immediate transfer to a major medical facility and Dianne was transported to the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center emergency room with her condition abruptly deteriorating in transit and while waiting in the ER. She was eventually admitted to the ICU unit in the cancer center around 2:00 AM on August 2nd. On call doctors determined the shortness of breath was caused by a pleural effusion – a buildup of fluid in the area between the lungs and chest cavity – likely attributed to the, at the time, undiagnosed mass. On August 2nd, a thoracentesis was performed on each lung, removing almost three liters of fluid. Over the next days, while waiting for preliminary results from cytology, several procedures were performed in an attempt to obtain larger samples of the mass including a bronchoscopy and eventually surgery to obtain a full biopsy. An undetermined amount of additional fluid which had begun to reoccur was also removed as part of the surgery. Dianne’s immediate condition began to improve while continuing to wait on pathology and she was released from Wake Forest Baptist to return home on August 13th with a follow up scheduled the following Friday, August 25th with the head of the oncology team.
Over the next two to three days, Dianne’s breathing began to deteriorate once again and she was taken to the emergency room at Watauga Medical Center on August 17th where she was quickly transported by ambulance back to the emergency room at Wake Forest Baptist. Dianne was readmitted to the cancer center around 4:00 AM on August 18th. In an attempt to improve breathing capacity, a third thoracentesis was performed on August 19th, removing additional fluid from one side of just less than one liter. On Wednesday, August 23rd, Dianne was diagnosed with Thymoma, stage 4B, an extremely rare form of cancer. The mass is, as of now, inoperable due to its growth around the aorta artery, vessels, and proximity to, or possible invasion of, the heart. A plan was immediately implemented for the most robust regimen of chemotherapy which includes a four-day treatment cycle every three weeks with a primary goal of reducing the size of the mass which is estimated at 2¼” x 3”. The first treatments were performed August 25th -28th. On August 31st Dianne was released from Baptist to return home.
On September 1st a fever was detected nearing the cautionary range which continued until September 2nd. Dianne was again taken to the emergency room at Watauga Medical Center and admitted once again (this the first time at Watauga) with a suspected infection and dangerously low white blood cell count. Antibiotics were administered as were several units of blood over two days, to which Dianne responded well. Dianne was discharged on September 5th and is, as of this writing, resting at home. We will continue to update this page as possible with any new information we have. Thank you again for all the support our family has been blessed with. We appreciate your continued prayers.
– The James Family
Please feel free to share this page with others who request an update on Dianne. Please also be aware that due to an extremely low immunity during certain phases of chemotherapy, doctors have ordered limited visitation at this time. We greatly appreciate your support, visits and well wishes and Delmar will come out and speak as much as possible. However, please do not be alarmed if someone is unable to answer the door at certain times. Please also feel free to leave a note at the door anytime and thank you for understanding and respecting limited visitation as Dianne works hard to recover after each treatment. A sign will be on the driveway door when Dianne is unable to accept visitors or is resting. Calling or texting ahead is always welcomed. Thank You!