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Caring for Kristy
8/12/2016 Latest post:
FROM STAGE II TO METASTATIC BREAST CANCER
In September of 2014 Kristy was diagnosed with Stage II Breast Cancer, it had metastasized to lymph nodes so the first coarse of action was chemo. While undergoing treatments that at first were working it was discovered that her cancer was stronger than the chemo so a mastectomy was ordered. She had her left breast removed in January, 2015. They removed a large nasty mass and several small ones then she began radiation treatment . When she rang the bell that ended all her treatments some weeks later, we felt we were on the road to a complete recovery.
The fear of cancer has always been with Kristy. We knew it was in her DNA as both her parents passed away in 2004 a few months apart from lung cancer (Dad) and Melanoma (Mom). So we aired on the side of caution in terms of getting yearly mammograms and check-ups. She began to have ocular migraines and severe pain in her arm. After several check ups the first diagnosis on her arm was perhaps due to her surgery so she went through physical therapy, when that wasn't really working out, she was told she had arthritis, perhaps bone spurs so she was going to have surgery on her arm to get some relief. For the ocular migraines she was told it was just something she has and they threw some pills at her.
June 3rd she had an MRI on her brain and (as she jokingly puts it in her phone call to me} "So the results came back on my head, and there's nothing there."
Shortly afterwards she had a visit to her Dr. for a regular physical. They did an extra on her and noticed some abnormalities so they scheduled a CT Scan. When that came back it too show something concerning. They sent the scans to her oncologist (Dr. Corso) and scheduled an MRI. This showed a mass on her lung which lead to biopsy.
On a Tues. 5:00 in the afternoon, July 12 we were given some pretty heavy news. Her breast cancer had returned, only this time it was now categorized as Metastatic breast cancer. In other words, it had spread to her liver, pancreas, both lungs and pelvic bone. She was given 2 maybe 3 years survival rate and told the breast cancer was not curable put potentially treatable, however Dr. Corso was not optimistic about much.
After a long night of absorbing all of this we came out on the other side and decided to fight it with every thing we had. We begin looking at clinical trails. An appointment was scheduled with MDA but they could not see her until Oct. 3 which we felt was too long a wait without treatment. So we went to Duke and that wasn't very successful. Except the Dr. there suggested Kristy get another scan of her brain, neck, spine and arm.
In the meantime our friend Carmen introduced us to David. David is in his 40's and has a rare esphogil cancer and was given a 6 mth survival diagnosis. He was considering North Western for treatment but a nurse practitioner friend of his told him about the Block Center in Chicago, IL. We spoke with David for over an hour one evening and decided this sounded like a place we needed to check out. Kristy called the Block Center and they set us up with an appt. for Aug. 10th.
August 8th Kristy was given the news that the cancer had moved to her brain. We were devastated, scared, angry all of those things you feel. So again we had to absorb all of this and return to this fight mode.
After a positive visit to the Block Center we are confident this is where we need to be. Their level of care and attention to us during our visit is something we were not used to from our experiences elsewhere. They shined a little light at the end of a dark tunnel.
The first thing the oncologist at Block said was for her to take care of her head first, then they will seek treatment options in the form of chemo. Kristy is currently undergoing radiation at Spartanburg Regional. She is getting Full Brain Radiation Therapy (FBRT) everyday for 10 treatments. Today, Aug. 17 is her 3rd treatment.
In October Kristy will lose her job due to the company moving their operations to North Carolina. We were given this bit of news Thursday before we were told her cancer had returned. However, we will get through it. We rushed to the courthouse the following week, got married on July 17th and drew up a will. In other words we took care of the legalities we will be faced with down the road.
Today is our one month anniversary as a legally married couple but we have been together for 15 years. We have 2 beautiful cats, Sissy & Biscuit and have a wonderful group of family and friends encouraging and supporting us every step of the way.
So this is the story for now as we are hopeful the story will go on for years and decades to come.
After a hard fight Kristy lost her battle with Cancer on 9/26/2016. Cancer claimed another life much too young.