Thank you for visiting Luz's site. As of Friday, June 21, 2019, Luz has been in home hospice care. Her saga began in 2002 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. This was treated that year with chemotherapy and radiation and remained in remission for 13 years. But in 2015 it reappeared as a tumor on her lung lining. For four years her oncologist, Dr. John Wallmark, was able to keep the cancer controlled well enough that Luz was able to continue her busy life of craft and art projects, church activities, and all-around caregiving to friends and family. In 2018 she endured a marathon surgery to treat an aggressive tumor in her jaw (see below), but rebounded in time for a trip out west to visit Nick in California and family and friends in Oregon and Washington State. When we returned home it became clear that she would need more aggressive chemotherapy, which did appear to slow the cancer's progress, but took its toll on her health. A scan in March showed that cancer had reached her brain. Radiation therapy followed, which seemed to reduce the cancer, but she still grew weaker and weaker until on Memorial Day she landed in the ER unable to move her legs at all. Over the next three weeks she bounced from the hospital to rehab and back to the hospital again, while doctors tried to determine the cause of her symptoms. After a spinal tap and other tests the doctors concluded that Luz has what is called carcinomatous meningitis. This is the inflammation of tissues lining the brain and spinal cord caused by cancer cells that have invaded the spinal fluid. Mercifully, Luz has thus far been spared the headaches that often go with this condition. She is weak and fatigued, but generally comfortable. There are no realistic treatment options, however.
We thank everyone for their love and support thus far. So many people have been reaching out to us. Please read the updates below. We will post more as the situation changes.
Here is an earlier post from 2018 describing her surgery for ameloblastoma:
Thank you for visiting Luz’s site. She is scheduled for surgery on Tuesday, February 6 at the University of Maryland Hospital in Baltimore. It’s a major procedure to address ameloblastoma of her right jaw. Ameloblastoma is a rare but aggressive non-cancerous tumor that can cause serious problems if left unchecked.
Luz was diagnosed in 2015, but it wasn’t until late this past summer that it became clear that surgery would be necessary. Coincidentally, 2015 was also the year that Luz’s breast cancer (treated successfully in 2002) recurred. This has been a complicating factor, to put it mildly, but thanks to treatment by Dr. John Wallmark and Luz’s other doctors, the cancer is now in remission.
Tuesday’s procedure will last about 8 hours, and will be performed by Dr. Robert Oord and Dr. Joshua Lubek. It will involve removing a large portion of Luz’s right jaw, including five teeth, and rebuilding it using bone from her hip. As radical as this sounds, it is necessary to prevent recurrence of the tumor. After the surgery, Luz will remain in the hospital for at least a week and a half, so the doctors can monitor the progress of the bone graft. Full recovery may take up to six months, but we are optimistic she will regain normal use of her jaw and facial muscles to grace the world with her radiant smile.
We will do our best to post updates as regularly as we can so you can follow Luz’s progress. Please leave a comment and sign the guestbook. Luz will love to hear from you. Your support means so much!