Erica Fournier

First post: Jun 28, 2016 Latest post: Oct 11, 2016
Welcome to our CaringBridge site. We've created it to keep friends and family updated. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement during this time when it matters most.

Mom was diagnosed with lung cancer in January 2016.  A persistent cough brought her to the doctor 2 days before Christmas 2015. She was immediately sent to the hospital to have 1100 milliliters of fluid drained from her lungs, and a battery of tests. Nothing was going to stop her from visiting family in Charlotte for the holiday, so as soon as the Dr. said she was finished (nearly 7 hours later) she hopped in the car (already packed), to drive almost 4 hours to Charlotte!  That’s a testament to the astonishing strength Mom has shown throughout this scary ordeal.  We were so happy to have her in town and had a lovely visit :)

After Christmas, many tests and hospital visits ensued. From second and third opinions, the consensus was that she had Mesothelioma, an asbestos related lung cancer.  This is a very rare cancer with fewer than 20,000 US cases per year. We still have no idea when or where she would’ve gotten this, as she never smoked or worked with asbestos, and we may never know.  The cancer is in the lining of her lungs, with tumors in the mediastinum (central compartment of the thoracic cavity), and her abdomen. After a couple of unnecessary procedures and doctors who had no business dealing with this type of rare cancer, she began chemotherapy, which was the one thing all the doctors agreed on.  The chemo was rough and made her feel miserable for 4 days after, and fatigued the rest of the time.   

Determined to find the best doctor, knowledgeable in this particular cancer, Mom became proactive and diligently researched the disease and found patient advocates who directed her to Dr. David Sugarbaker and his team, in Houston Texas. Dr. Sugarbaker is renowned as the best mesothelioma doctor in the US, if not the world. In April mom went to the Baylor Lung Institute to see Dr. Sugarbaker to determine if she was a candidate for surgery.  After another battery of tests, it was determined that she was a candidate!  This was great news, as there were no other viable alternatives, aside from chemo (radiation had been ruled out because there was too large an area of cancer), and the previous doctors had said surgery was not an option.  Mom’s surgery is scheduled for Thursday, June 30th at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center (6720 Bertner Ave., Houston,TX 77030).  She will fly down on Monday, the 27th with tests and scans on the 28th.  Her son, Josh, will be with her during this time. They’ll remove her left lung, the lining, and all visible tumors (called “cytoreduction”).  At the end of the surgery, they’ll do a warm chemo bath (HIPEC) on her tumors.  The surgeon continuously circulates a heated, sterile chemotherapy solution throughout the peritoneal cavity for up to 90 minutes. The HIPEC procedure is designed to attempt to kill any remaining cancer cells that cannot be seen. The solution is then removed and the incision closed.  There is substantial clinical evidence that HIPEC is an effective treatment for patients with Pleural and Peritoneal mesothelioma.   Read more:

After the surgery, Mom will remain in the hospital for 3 weeks, with extended stay to follow for another week. I (Jessamy), will travel down to TX to take care of her once released from St Luke’s. She’ll have some follow up visits the week after she’s released and hopefully be strong enough to travel back to Dataw Island, SC within a week or so. As news comes about after her surgery, we’ll update the CaringBridge journal and if you subscribe you’ll be notified as things develop.  There is also a CB app you can download to your phone. Please keep Mom in your prayers as she undergoes this surgery. Pray for her strength as well as the Doctor’s steady hand, pray the cancer has not spread to her other lung or anywhere else and pray for a swift recovery.

Thank you for your love and continued support. Mom is so lucky to have you all!

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