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Mom had a heart attack on August 17, 2017. It definitely was not the present she was expecting since it was her 90th birthday. The damage was minor and it was in the lower part of the heart, which, according to the doctors, if someone is going to have a heart attack, that's the better place to have it. Mom had a 104 degree temperature in the ER and was also diagnosed with pneumonia.
As many of you know, Mom was diagnosed with having an esophegeal cricoid tumor 14 years ago. The tumor was resected at that time and we were told it was a slow growing tumor and Mom would need yearly checkups to keep an eye it. Over the last couple of years, Mom's swallowing seems to have become more challenging for her which has led to her losing a tremendous amount of weight; when admitted to the hospital she was 84 pounds. Her yearly checkup at the University of Pennsylvania was scheduled for September and we had arranged for her to have a new swallow study performed and perhaps more therapy to help.
While Mom was in the hospital for the heart attack, the doctors were very concerned about her weight and how frail she was aside from the heart attack. The doctor did a CAT Scan of the tumor and it is surprisingly larger than we expected. We then asked for a swallow study to be done while she was in the hospital and learned that 99% of what Mom consumes is either regurgitated or aspirated into her lungs, hence the weight loss and malnourishment. The doctor recommended a feeding tube to not only nourish Mom but to make sure her medications were definitely being consumed properly. Mom wasn't thrilled, but consented, in the hopes that at some point she may be able to eat again. After visiting with the tumor specialist at the U of P 2 weeks after Mom was discharged, he agreed that she should have nothing by mouth for now. She needs to focus on gaining some weight, getting stronger and recovering the heart attack. There is really nothing more he can do for the tumor with Mom in her current condition and he doesn't know if there is anything he will be able to do once she is fully recovered.
Mom was pretty depressed after hearing the news. She said she would stick things out with the feeding tube until Christmas and then re-evaluate if she will continue. Needless to say, we were upset to hear her contemplate continuing or not continue with the peg tube feedings; we are hoping for a change of heart as time, therapy, prayers and love heals and strengthens her body.