Mary Ann Nielsen

First post: Sep 26, 2022 Latest post: Nov 6, 2022
Hello friends. It's Kate, Mary Ann's daughter, who will be keeping up this site. In September of 2021, my mom, who we call Gram, told me that her routine mammogram showed a concerning spot they wanted to biopsy. Unfortunately, the spot turned out to be breast cancer. So after 13 years of courageously battling multiple myeloma, which is blood and plasma cancer, with relative success, Gram was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 80. We were all in shock. Her doctor told us that he saw the spot in June and had been watching it, but thought it was a myeloma spot. Because it seemed to be growing fast and behaving somewhat aggressively, the plan was to give her 12 weeks of chemo and a breast cancer drug. After six treatments, Gram was wiped out. She lacked the strength for daily living. So Dr. Lair made the decision to move straight to the lumpectomy and then radiate to get whatever was left. When we went for the ultrasound to pinpoint the location of the lump for the surgery, it was gone. Nowhere to be found. It was a miracle. After two months of awful treatment, Gram could start to regain her strength and have a beautiful Christmas, her favorite time of year.

Fast forward to August of 2022. After a wonderful summer filled with family time, lunches with the ladies, and bridge, Gram got Covid-19 for the first time. She got very sick and spent a solid two weeks with an intense cough. During this time, she began to experience extreme pain in her back. When we went to the doctor to determine the source of the pain, the X-ray showed multiple compression fractures, probably due in part to the weakening of her bones from myeloma but also all the coughing. There is not much you can do for compression fractures in the back, so we did ice, heat, and pain meds. Several weeks later, the pain was not subsiding as it should and was, at times, worse. So her doctor decided to do a PET scan, just to make sure we weren't dealing with any new spots of cancer. The scan showed that there actually was new cancer and a lot of it. A biopsy confirmed that her breast cancer has spread to her lungs, bones, lymph nodes, and liver. There is too much cancer for there to be any viable treatment at this stage of the game.

And so we begin at home hospice care. Anyone who knows my mom well knows that she loves being in her apartment, surrounded by beautiful pink things.  She will remain here, in the care of hospice, for as long as possible. Her days will be spent catching up with friends, snuggling in the many blankets cherished ladies have given her, and watching KCCI, QVC, and Hallmark. I will be with her every step of this journey and Tony and the boys and Robert and Michelle will do all that we can to fill her days with joy as we move into this beautiful season of fall. We hope you will join us in sending Gram love by sharing a comment here of a favorite memory you have with her or a sentiment you wish for her to see. These kind messages will brighten her day and her spirits. Thank you for all the people who we know have been praying for her. Your love and support are felt every day.

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