Dec 29, 2017 Latest post:
Jan 29, 2018
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.
As many of you reading this know, I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer on November 11, 2015. My cancer was very aggressive. I chose to pursue a more natural unconventional approach to my treatment. I chose NOT to have chemo therapy of any kind. In February of 2016, I went to Mexico to have my mastectomy surgery and stem cell therapy in the hopes of eradicating any other cancer cells in my body.
In June of 2016 my cancer returned. By September of 2016, I developed pain in my lower back and right hip and femur. Throughout the Fall, I continued to decline in my ability to walk and managing to get around. The day after Thanksgiving, 2016, I was admitted to the hospital no longer able to walk and in excruciating pain.
During my nearly 3 week stay at Longmont United Hospital (LUH) for a broken pelvis and cancer metastasis to my bones. I was unable to walk and care for myself in any way. The cancer ate more than 50%of my pelvis away, my tailbone was missing and it was on my spine in multiple place. It also invaded my ribs and sternum. During the early days of my stay at LUH, we finally met an oncologist who genuinely cared about us/me and my wishes. Dr. Fisher guided us-mostly Doug thru a plan to give me maximum pain relief and help me to be able to walk again. This included mega doses of radiation into my pelvic and hip region. It worked! It was during this time Dr. Fisher told us, I was the ideal candidate for a new medication, Ibrance,that just came out of clinical trials with FDA approval. It was developed specifically for my type of metastatic breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. However, I would need to wait to start it until I returned home. I needed to learn to walk again and to care for myself as well.
So, on December 8, 2016, I was taken by ambulance still not able to walk to Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital. I was allowed 21 days from insurance to learn how to walk again and to care for myself. On December 12, I developed an appendicitis. Off to the Medical Center of the Rockies I went again by ambulance. Good thing it was just on the other side of I- 25. I had a 3 day stay there and then back to the rehab hospital to continue to my physical and occupational therapies. On December 24, I was discharged to home for in home care and therapies. I could walk about 100 steps with the use of a walker. I was home for Christmas!! Prayers answered!
On Christmas Day I developed terrible pain in my legs? On the following day I returned to LUH to get my pain under control only to be told I had developed blood clots behind my knees in both of my legs. I stayed for 3 weeks before it was safe to send me home.
The day I returned home I started the Ibrance. I responded well to this treatment and over the course of 12 months, I experienced no new evidence in new tumors in my body to then a remarkable metastic change in the tumors (radiology speak for tumor shrinkage). I experienced most of the side effects of the Ibrance, but most were short lived. I was able to walk more and more each day throughout the winter and spring of 2017. For the first 60 days I received 3 hours of skilled nursing care a week, 3 hours of each physical and occupational therapies a week. My special friend, Karen Farris came over everyday and made me walk and do my exercises. I had to sleep in my electric chair for 5 months, as our bed caused my back and pelvis to scream in pain.
In May I was finally able to sleep in my own bed, care for myself and family and to navigate the stairs in the house safely by myself. By June I walked without aid of a walker or cane. I gardened, mowed lawn and tended to the yard all summer as the cancer continued to leave my body. In June I traveled alone to Chicago to meet my sister, Beth, for a conference at Franciscan University in Steubenville for The Power and Purpose Conference. I walked all weekend with out pain or assistance! July 8th our oldest son, Chris married Samantha, and I danced with him at his wedding! July into August we traveled to the Lake of the Ozarks to visit our dear friends, Bob and Missy. We were rejoicing in my recovery and how God was working in my life. Summer truly was a blessing to behold!
By mid September, out of the blue, sharp, excruciating pain returned to my hip and pelvis. Everyone was on high alert again thinkińg the cancer had returned. On October 4th, I has a pelvic, bilateral hips with femurs MRI's done. On October 5th we saw Dr. Fisher. He said he had really good news and some not so good news. First the good news...... the cancer was gone in my whole pelvic region and hips!!! Praised BE to God!! The bad news......the radiation treatments I received back in November have cause the the bones to die in the femural heads of both femurs. As bone dies it causes a lot of pain and the bone itself becomes fragile a could easily break at any point in time. I needed to have both hips replaced! Okay, I can do this, it's an easy surgery...right? Wrong!
I needed to see an orthopedic oncologist in Denver to see if it was even possible to have the surgery done. I was referred to one of the best in the country in this type of reconstruction and replacement of the hip. At first he said he couldn't do it because I didn't have any or enough bone to attach the parts to. The cancer damaged or ate away too much of my bones for him to successfully repair my joint. The cancer had completely eaten away my asatabulum cup part of my hip. There was no bone in there to anchor the new cup to. Fixing the femural head was the easy part. So we put out a prayer plea for bone to grow and show up on CT scan. It did! God once again came thru. The surgery is now on.
The pain increases everyday and my ability walk becomes more compromised each day. I feel the frailness of my bones. The ice and snow prevent me from getting out of the house, so does the cold.
This where we are today, December 27, 2017. I am scheduled for surgery on December 29th at 7:30 in the morning down at Anschutz UC Health Hospital in Denver to have my right hip reconstructed and replaced. The left will be done at a later time. I feel very good about my surgery and surgeon, Dr. Andrew Park. Please pray for me at my family in this difficult time.