Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your prayers, support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.
Dear Family and Friends,
My name is Mary Brooks and I am beginning this CaringBridge on behalf of my dear sister, Laura Lea (Stewart) Smith. Her journey began back in the fall of 2016 when she began having an irritating cough. As the cough worsened she went to her family doctor to get care. Their initial diagnosis was allergies and post-nasal drip and she began taking prescribed antibiotics. After weeks of antibiotics and her condition not improving, she felt certain that her problem was not allergy related based on her past experiences with allergies and she expressed this concern to the doctor. But, the doctor still felt certain that it was allergy related so new and stronger antibiotics plus steroids were prescribed. The cough and symptoms continued to persist and worsen to such an extreme that it became increasingly difficult for her to talk and sleep. Laura pleaded that an x-ray be taken. They agreed and the x-ray seemed to indicate some form of pneumonia. A CT scan was then done and the results indicated something far more advanced than anything they thought and beyond their capacity to diagnose or treat. At that point she was referred to a pulmonologist who believed it was a type of interstitial lung disease. The doctor ordered a lung biopsy in order to determine the specific type. Laura was admitted to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Illinois on February 2, 2017, for the procedure. During her 9-1/2 day stay in the hospital they discovered that she did not have an interstitial lung disease, after all. Instead, she has cancer. Following further testing it was revealed that the cancer actually originated in the colon and metastasized in (spread to) her lungs. To make matters worse, she developed blood clots and pneumonia following the surgery. She received remarkable care and felt that God had led her to this hospital and group of doctors. Laura was sent home on Friday, February 10 under the care of her dear husband, Harry, and their two children, Seth and Eliana. The doctors allowed her release providing she continue oxygen at home and Harry would help administer shots twice a day to decrease the chances of blood clots developing.
Today, March 3, is Colon Cancer Awareness Day and I want everyone to know the brave story of my courageous sister and the fight she is beginning. This week, Laura met with her oncologist and they planned out the course of treatment to rid her of this terrible cancer. She will begin chemotherapy on Monday, March 6 with a four and a half hour chemo treatment. Laura will then go home with a pump that will continue the chemo for seventy-two hours. After that she will return to the cancer center and they will remove the pump and check on her condition. She will have blood drawn every week to check on her blood cell count. The expected next treatment would begin eleven days later and repeat the same course of chemo for seventy-two hours.
As many of you know Laura and her family have a strong faith in God. Through all these trials we believe that God is still the Great Physician, Supreme Comforter, Wise Counselor, Almighty God, and our Abba Father! We know that He is holding her in His hands. We do ask that you please pray for them and that God would give Laura the strength for each day. Pray that the side effects she will be enduring do not cause too much discomfort, and she finds relief from the terrible coughing that causes her to throw up multiple times daily. Pray for Harry that he finds the strength to care for Laura and balance being a self-employed engineer who has been without work for an extended period of time. Also, Laura's desire is to continue to home school Seth and Eliana. The twins are fourteen and this is a difficult time as they watch their mother go through this battle. We covet your prayers for Laura as she goes through this journey. We know that God is faithful and His promises are true!
In addition to your prayers, a GoFundMe account has been established to assist with her ongoing care. https://www.gofundme.com/laura-lea-smiths-medical-cost