Elena Milaneschi Matthews Elena Matthews

First post: Feb 21, 2019 Latest post: Nov 11, 2019
Welcome to Elena's CaringBridge website, set up to make information about her available in one place, and for family and friends to stay updated and in touch.

Elena was diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma (liver/bile duct cancer) on 1 September 2016, a rare disease for which there is no proven treatment and that typically carries a prognosis of 8-12 months. With the support, guidance, and care of her wonderful cancer team at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the boundless support and love of friends and family around the country and world, and not a little of her own special blend of grit, energy, and determination, Elena blew past all the statistical and prognostic expectations -- even, as her surgeon Dr. Calvo commented, ranging far ahead of the ability of current treatments to keep up with her.

We have savored every extra minute of this time together — time we never dreamed we’d be granted, time she graciously shared with us.

Elena entered hospice on 10 February 2019 and will remain at home with her family -- husband Max, daughter Francesca (and her partner Daria), and son Max.

We could fill pages and pages with names of people to whom and for whom we wish to express our everlasting thanks for their expert care, deep compassion, and their limitless comfort, guidance, patience, and time during the over 25 hospitalizations since Day One of this marathon. We specifically wish to thank Elena's oncologist Dr. Michael S. Lee; her surgeon (and friend) Dr. Ben Calvo and his stellar team of Dr. Sanders; nurse practitioners Julie and Teresa, nurse navigator Delma, and 7th Floor Neurosciences nursing staff Kimberly, Ashley, Heather, Larry, Ben, Josh, Kayla, Duke, Cathy, Chris, Wee, Tim, Dora, Jorge, Rhonda, LaRadiah, Trudy, Myrna, Michaela, Jacqui, April...forgive me if I overlooked anyone!); specialists Dr. Bream (VIR), Dr. Baron (Endoscopy); Dr. Jones (Radiation Oncology) and her team; and the Infectious Diseases team of Dr. Sciaudone and Dr. Gay -- and so many others whose names and faces we don't even know.

Special thanks to our network of friends and family who have sustained us with daily doses of love, delivered in so many forms and by so many different means. We truly could not have done it without all of you.

You are all a part of Elena's story. This is everyone's journal -- and we encourage you to share your stories about her, how you know her, what you know and remember, and what you want others to know and remember about her.

Finally, please know how deeply we appreciate and welcome your support, love, and encouragement. But because we are short on time, energy, and "bandwidth", we humbly ask that instead of emailing, calling, or texting her or the family, you use this space (WELL WISHES tab) to leave your thoughts, memories, prayers and positive juju for her to take in when she can.