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2/17/2017 Latest post:
Welcome to Kathy Chapman's CaringBridge website. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.
**Our parents are overwhelmed at this time so please no phone calls**. We'll let you know when things get better.
Bob and Kathy have asked Jennifer and Julie (their daughters) to set up a Caring Bridge site to keep all of their family and friends informed during this very difficult time.
Shortly after Christmas our mom started having serious back pain. She tried to deal with it but it kept getting worse. She had a general wellness visit scheduled for February 8 so that visit was timely. She went into the doctor and the doctor ordered some blood tests. Our mom also had a cough for a couple weeks which she thought was just a cold so the doctor ordered a chest x-ray and an MRI. In addition she started having gout issues so she was really limiting her diet to not have another outbreak which is very painful as well. She was losing weight but we all thought it was the change in her diet due to the gout.
At 3:45 am on Thursday morning, February 9, my parents received a phone call that the doctor had reviewed her blood test results and to get to the emergency room immediately. Her calcium and potassium levels were extremely high and that puts her at an immediate risk for heart issues. Terrified they packed a back and drove 20 minutes from Lac du Flambeau to Minocqua. She was immediately admitted to the hospital and put on medicine to get those critical levels down.
During the day on Thursday my mom was delivered devastating news that will forever change our lives...she was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer that has spread to her cervix, uterus, lungs and bones. The cancer is incurable. My mom called us and informed us of this news. Here we are 5 hours away and trying to deal with this devastating blow. Jennifer and I immediately packed our bags and headed up to the hospital on Friday morning.
We spent 4 days with our parents at the hospital talking with several doctors, social workers and chaplains. We joked with our mom that we received more communion in the last 4 days than we probably have in the last 4 years. My parents have deep faith and always urge us to go to church but at least our mom got a good chuckle during this difficult time.
Even almost a week later we are still waiting for the final biopsy report as several oncologists are reviewing her case to determine what the primary cancer is in order to start treatment. They have discussed chemotherapy and radiation. She should be meeting with the oncologist in just a couple days to get treatment going. My mom was hoping to get out of the hospital today (February 15) but as of last night one of her levels was off again so she was on a 6 hour IV drip to get it back to normal.
Jennifer and I have forced my mom to be strong. She has lost just under 65 pounds in the past 5 months. While we were in the hospital, the first day she wouldn't get out of bed or eat. We begged her to eat to get her strength to go home. Finally she decided it was best for her to be strong not only for herself but for us too. She knows her body needs to be in great shape to start treatment. I was helping her with her menu one day and she ordered skim milk. I said mom are you crazy...start eating as many calories as you can...so we switched to 2%. My dad told her think of it as a bear going into hibernation - you need to eat as much as you can now to bulk up because once you start chemo you may not want to eat.
The other thing that has been difficult is the amount of pain my mom is in. She is so afraid to take pain meds because she thinks they won't work when she really needs them later on. It took a few days but she finally agreed to better pain management. And she knows when her pain is under management she can eat better, sleep better and get out of bed. On Monday she was up and cleaning up her hospital room because she was going stir crazy. That's a GREAT sign. While in the hospital her pain was at an 8-10 out of 10, never below until Monday when it was a 6. I'm not still sure if that 6 was a true 6 or if she was just saying that to not have to take more pain medication. Either way most important is pain management and eating.
We hope to get her home soon where my dad will take care of her. She will be in her own home, eating her own food and just be in her own space. That should help a lot.
We ask for a million prayers from all of you. Jennifer and I will continue to make updates as necessary. We will share your thoughts and well wishes with them as their internet at home isn't very good....too many tall trees!
Many of you have asked what you can do to help my mom out. Here are a couple options: 1. Send cards - if you have a Girl Scout, Cub Scout, church group, etc., sending cards would be a great surprise and sure to brighten her day. Even if it is just from your family, any card will do. 2. Walmart/Subway - these are really the only options when living up north. They go to Walmart for pretty much everything and the only place you can buy a gift card that is even close to them is Walmart.
Address: Kathy Chapman 3638 Pokekgama Lake Trail Lac du Flambeau, WI 54538
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