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Season’s Greetings from Our Home to Yours,
We hope this has been a good year for all of our friends and family. It has been an eventful year for us in many ways.
We have visited with our younger son Matt and his daughter Lorelei three times this year, and we will be with them again the week before Christmas. Ken has been able to visit with us more, also. Lorelei had a midwinter break from kindergarten in February, and we flew to their home near Seattle to visit them. Matt and Lorelei flew into Savannah in July and again at Thanksgiving.
In July, Lorelei wanted to see the hospital where she was born and the house where she first lived near Atlanta. We went to the Georgia Aquarium the next day, and Lorelei was so excited. You grandparents know what a thrill it is to see the joy in a child’s eyes. One of Irma’s knees collapsed at the World of Coke that day and the next day on the way to Clarksville, Tennessee. She went to an urgent medical place and a hospital ER in Clarksville. She was told to see her physician when she returned home, because they found nothing wrong.
Ethan’s brother Dan, wife Anne, and twins Sarah and Dylan joined us in Clarksville. A highlight of this trip was a visit to the Smiths (Ethan’s mother’s side of the family). We went to the farm where the Smith grandparents lived. Cousin Kerry and his wife live there now. Kerry let everyone drive his big enclosed cab tractor. Dylan, Sarah, Lorelei, and Anne were all thrilled because they had never done that. Then Kerry got a smaller tractor and wagon with hay for everyone to ride to the creek to fish. Lorelei caught three fish, and she was elated. The next day we met Ethan’s cousin from his father’s side of the family Alicia and her husband Doug. We went to Cumberland City and saw the home where Lorelei’s Dougherty great, great grandparents lived and the bank where they worked.
Irma did as she was told and went to our internist when we returned home. It took two visits with Dr. Orly and one with his PA for him to diagnose Irma with gastroparesis, the failure of the stomach to empty properly. Dr. Orly wanted to look at it, and he sent Irma to get a CT scan. His office called the morning of the appointment to go over the scan and said not to wait, but to come on in. The radiologist’s report said there was a tumor on the pancreas with metastases on her spleen, liver and left lung. The short version is Dr. Orly sent Irma to an oncologist in Waycross who had been with the Mayo Clinic until Mayo Jacksonville ended its affiliation with the Waycross hospital. Dr. Sri said a liver biopsy would be faster and less invasive than the EUS a gastroenterologist in Savannah scheduled. On September 8, the liver biopsy confirmed inoperable Stage IV pancreatic cancer. “Pray to God,” said Dr. Sri. Irma has chosen the most aggressive chemotherapy for her PC. It takes six to eight hours every other week to administer four chemo drugs. During the in between weeks there is lab work and an appointment with Dr. Sri. The chemo will take four to six months. After the fifth chemo, Irma’s tumor markers were down, and she knows that is a good sign. Many people are praying for Irma, and she hopes you will also pray for her and all of her caregivers.
Dr. Sri advised Irma not to fly while she is on chemo, because her resistance is low. Ken, Matt, Dan, Anne, Sarah and Dylan all have plane tickets to come here the week before Christmas, and we are looking for a grand time together.