Welcome to Joy's CaringBridge site. It has been created to keep friends and family updated about her, a Mom, our sister, our daughter, our aunt, our MiMi and our friend. An otherwise healthy young :) woman, Joy began having a backache ~6 months ago.
She attributed it to a double shift of heavy lifting at work, saw her primary Dr. and he treated her for muscle strain. She took pain meds, put on heat and cold patches and suffered with terrible pain for months. Even after two trips to the ER at PMMC, xrays, CAT scans. MRIs and visits with a chiropractor and an orthopedic doctor she got progressively worse. May 15th she spent the night with her daughter. The next afternoon she lost all feeling in her legs and collapsed. Joy was medevaced to Phila. Hahnemann Univ. Hosp. and underwent a 3 hour surgery during which a neurosurgeon removed a very irregular tumor the size of a softball from her spine. It had eaten into the bone on her spine and was pushing against her spinal cord causing the severe back pain and eventual paralysis as well as pain around and through her rib cage. Most fearful was her having no feeling from her waist down for two days. There were also two tumors in her left lung. She was at Hahnemann Hosp. for a week to recover from the surgery and wait for the biopsy reports to determine the plan of treatment. She was fitted with a 'clam shell' brace to support her spinal column while the bone regrows. She will need to wear this for 6 months. We had her transferred to Fox Chase Cancer Center. There she underwent tests to search out cancer in any other areas and those doctors confirmed that she had stage 4 lung cancer. One tumor in her lung is 8cm. She received 10 treatments of radiation to the area of her back where the tumor was removed. Steroids and various other drugs kept her comfortable. They also began physical therapy to begin to get her walking again. After spending a week at FCCC she was transferred over to Jeannes Rehap Hospital adjcent to FCCC. Joy continued to recover and get stronger during her week stay there. The therapists put her through intense 3 hours of therapy daily. After more scans and MRIs and all the progress she made with her therapy, Joy came home to her daughter Jenn's home to be cared for by Jenn and her family until she is able to be walking on her own. She has a visiting nurse and physical therapist come to the house. She was scheduled to start chemotherapy a week after coming home but a complication with pnemonia sent her back into the hosp. for a few days. Her 1st chemo treatment took place at the Fox Chase Affiliate Center at Pottstown Mem. Med. Ctr. on July 11th. and she will be going in tomorrow for her second one. She will then have a week off and the second round will begin the following week. The plan is to have her continue this three-week-set six times with MRIs taken each 6 weeks to see if the tumors are shrinking or if the drugs need to be tweaked. She will get further radiation treatments as well.Thank all of you for every prayer you offered for Joy. God does hear and answer. She feels blessed by all your good thoughts and wishes. As anyone who knows her, it takes a lot to bring Joy down. She has struggled and overcome adversity and addiction that most of us would never have been able to face. Now she faces her toughest challenge. But we know with the help of Jesus, her Lord and Savior, she will work through this.We will update this journal with information as we get it as well as her progress. Be sure to view the photo gallery, and drop us a line in the guestbook.