Kerry’s final journey began in late April. She had been healthy and strong, working out with a personal trainer twice a week and using her treadmill daily since December, when she and Mom (Lois) arrived in San Diego. She joyfully received both of her COVID-19 vaccines and was counting down the two-week waiting period so she could safely fly back to South Dakota, to spend the summer and fall in Vermillion. Kerry became ill with a cough and dizzy spells and couldn’t get better on her own. She was admitted to the ER in Encinitas, where she and Mom live, and began extensive testing. She was on oxygen, had extremely low blood pressure, and passed out when she sat up or stood. The doctors' focus seemed to center around her heart, but they were unable to reach a diagnosis. Kerry spent the entire month of May in the hospital before finally being released to a skilled nursing facility in San Diego. Things started to improved for her over the two weeks she was there. We visited her daily, maneuvering around the strict COVID safely restrictions and bringing her Starbucks lattes, pastries and lunches. Soon she was able to sit up, get out of a chair or bed, and take a few steps on her own. We could envision her return to Volney Lane. On the evening of June 13, while taking a few steps on her own, Kerry lost her balance, fell, and hit the back of her head. As a precaution, she was taken to nearby Scripps Mercy Hospital. X-rays revealed something suspicious on the frontal lobe of her brain, above her right eye, and she was admitted. In subsequent tests, no growths were found on her other organs, so a brain biopsy was required. A tumor was discovered, so the surgeon removed as much of it as possible and sent tissue samples for testing. On June 18, Kerry heard the the devastating words: “glioblastoma tumor,” “terminal, “hospice.” The world stopped revolving for all of us. In the following 23 days -- yes, 23 days, Kerry & Mom met with doctors, oncologists, palliative doctors, hospice coordinators and chaplains to discuss options. Kerry made the brave decision to build up her strength again through hospice care, instead of losing additional strength through the side effects of radiation and chemotherapy. A nasal feeding tube was inserted to provide temporary nutrients while Kerry worked to become strong enough to safely swallow again. There as a trip from hospital to nursing home, to condo, to ER, to condo, to ER to condo and the final trip to the ER. Through it all, Kerry demonstrated her deep strength and faith, as well as her sense of humor. Mom at her side, sought the best possible care for Kerry. Both of them deserve a gold medal for perseverance!
You can find several photos in the gallery, and we'll be adding more. Mom would welcome your prayers and words of encouragement here on Caring Bridge or at 326 Volney Lane, Encinitas, CA 92024. The "Share" tab above can be used to share this site with others who may be interested. Thank you.