May 23, 2021 Latest post:
Jul 10, 2021
Hi friends and family, Marlene has had a sudden, unexpected, rapid medical development beginning in late April, so we have started this page to keep everyone updated and have a place for friends and family to leave well wishes positive messages of support. We are saddened beyond belief by her recent medical developments. Feel free to leave any messages to Marlene in comments or the "Well Wishes" section and we will read them to her. See the Updates section below for the most recent updates.
.................................. After experiencing progressive loss of appetite, difficulty eating, and growing weakness/difficulty walking throughout April, Marlene was admitted to Inova Fairfax hospital for testing and rehydration in late April. While she was severely dehydrated and had some concerning blood test results, she was still unable to eat or drink much. Tests (CT, MRI, bone marrow biopsy) indicated a diagnosis of Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS), a type of blood cancer, as well as likely malignancy (suspected to be Lymphoma). Unfortunately, the abnormal lymph nodes that were viewed in the MRI were not accessible for biopsy, so it has not been possible to confirm the diagnosis of Lymphoma yet, but it is consistent with her symptoms and other test results.
Doctors began utilizing a feeding tube to provide nutrition, which hugely improved her condition. Unfortunately, as her ability to cough and swallowing function remained very weak, and she experienced significant reflux, she developed aspiration pneumonia. Continued reflux and secretions from pneumonia, as well as other complications and weakness, have led to breathing difficulties, low and fluctuating oxygen levels, repeated emergency breathing incidents, and a return of pneumonia even after antibiotics.
As all possible treatments have been administered for her condition and she has continued to decline, and further complications and incidents are expected to become more frequent (coupled with significant discomfort), per her wishes and the recommendations of her treating physicians she has been transitioned to hospice care within Inova Fairfax Hospital so that her comfort can be the focus of her treatment. It is expected that she will move to a hospice care facility within the next week for stabilization, then hopefully to home with continued care. If she is able to stabilize and regain strength, the hope is that she would be able to move on to rehab. We'll continue to post updates here as anything changes.
We are all devastated and shocked by the sudden and rapid decline of Marlene's condition over the past month. It was not at all what was anticipated or expected in any way when Amy brought her to the emergency room four weeks ago on the advice of her doctor. She has been very strong in trying to fight this and continue to communicate with everyone as best she can throughout the process. Her speaking ability has been very much affected, so she apologizes for not being able to speak to everyone by phone (and she has not been able to text), but she wants everyone to know how much she appreciates your well wishes and positive messages of support and strength. Feel free to leave messages here on Caringbridge in the comments or "Well Wishes" section, and we will make sure she receives them!