I am re-writing her story. I decided a better understanding of why Mary Jo was in Denver and the ensuing events:
Mary Jo contracted Mycobacterium Avium Complex (MAC) in 2008. This bacterium is in the same family as leprosy and tuberculosis, only non-contagious. This bacterium caused bronchiectasis, pockets in her lungs. Those pockets made her very susceptible to infection.
She was all but over the 2-year protocol to eliminate the MAC when the Joplin tornado struck and back it came. This time her new pulmonologist and infectious disease specialist though she should have a 2nd opinion. I did some research and found that National Jewish Health in Denver was the #1 hospital for pulmonary issues.
Local doctors worked with National Jewish. Her 2nd bout with MAC took about two years. She had progressed from 2-3 visits a year to an annual visit. This year’s check-up was in January.
At her first appointment, January 19th, she had a stroke. Brain surgery to stop the bleeding resulted in removal of a malignant tumor. Malignant Mucosal Melanoma — 42 months after the original urethral melanoma diagnosis.
The stroke took her right side peripheral vision and made writing very difficult, but after few weeks of rehab in Colorado, she was ready to come home to start the cancer treatments: targeted radiation for two brain tumors and 2 immunotherapy drugs via infusion; One to ‘discourage’ further cancer cell growth and the other to ‘amp up’ the immune system to fight the cancer.
A 2nd MRI was done to start mapping the 2 known tumors and a third tumor was found. 4 radiation treatments were planned. The day after her 3rd treatment, she had 2 seizures. These took away her ability to read, write and speak more than a word or 2. Her mind was fine and she could answer yes/no questions. Her left arm was mildly (?) paralyzed.
Over the next few weeks, her left arm returned to normal, but she lost use of her right arm. Her right leg did not work normally. Last Thursday, the 8th, she had her 3rd infusion. That night, she was up 4 times and each time she was weaker to the point that it took me 20+ minutes to get her back in bed.
I knew my time of caring for her was over. I had her taken to ER. CT Scan and chest X-Ray revealed a new brain tumor and growth in the thoracic tumors.
She was admitted to the hospital and I began the research that brought her to The Solace House Hospice