Patsy McNamara

First post: Oct 24, 2022 Latest post: Dec 16, 2022
This leg of Patsy's journey ended peacefully on December 13, 2022.  She was surrounded by family and left us for the next leg of her journey peacefully that evening.  A link to her obituary can be found in the journal and a copy of the livestream of her funeral can be found here:

Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.

Patsy has lung cancer which has now spread to the lining of her left lung.  After considering her options, Patsy has decided, at the age of 87, not to pursue treatment to fight the cancer.  

How did we get here?

On Easter Sunday, 2021, Patsy took a fall in her apartment at St Mary's Woods in Richmond, VA.  When Susan, her daughter, arrived for the Easter Sunday event and Patsy was not there to greet her, and did not answer the phone, Susan became concerned.  Since access to the building was still limited due to COVID, Susan asked the staff to check Patsy's apartment, and that is when they found her.  Because she could not remember what happened to cause the fall, Patsy was taken to St Mary's Hospital ER, and eventually admitted to the hospital.  The doctors and her family wanted to ensure there were no serious injuries from the fall (there were none).  They also ran a number of scans and tests to determine if there was any medical issue that caused the fall (no apparent medical cause was identified).

One of those scans, showed a suspicious spot in Patsy's lung.  A closer look suggested it could be a cancerous tumor in her left lung.  The spot was right next to the arch of her aorta.  Due to the location, the doctors were unable to get a sample of the tissue to determine exactly what it was.  After consulting with a surgeon, it was determined to assume the spot was cancer, and pursue treatment with radiation. That treatment was completed during the summer of 2021, and Patsy came thru it with flying colors. During a routine follow up appointment in May of 2022, her team noted fluid accumulating around the left lung in a regular CT scan of her chest.  The fluid was drained in late May, and testing showed cancer cells in the fluid, consistent with cancer of the pleural lining of the left lung.

Since radiation was not an option, Patsy and her family consulted with an oncologist to assess treatment options.  Further genetic analysis of the fluid drained from her lung did identify a targeted drug therapy that offered some promise.  However, the drug's potential side effects could aggravate other medical issues that Patsy is dealing with, and after consulting with family, friends, and her care team, Patsy decided not to pursue treatment.

Over the summer, Patsy's family and her care team monitored her for signs of progression in the cancer.  Patsy had a great summer, and there were very few signs until late August/early September.  At that time, Patsy and her family noted she was moving slower, and taking shallow, rapid breaths when she was walking.  Patsy saw her primary doctor, who sent her to have the fluid drained from around the left lung for a second time.  This seemed to help for a week or two.  However, in early October, Patsy took another fall in her apartment and went to the ER again to make sure there were no serious injuries (once again, thankfully, there were none).  At a follow up appointment with her primary doctor, he determined that the cancer is progressing more rapidly now.

The current estimate is that Patsy has 2 to 3 months to live.  Her doctor has ordered hospice care, and she requires round-the-clock monitoring. 

The good news is, Patsy is comfortable, and is not having any pain at this point.  She is surrounded by friends, family, and loving caregivers in a supportive community.  Patsy is happy, and content that she has lived a full and fulfilling life.  Those who know Patsy, cannot help but to agree.

Patsy and her family will do their best to update this page as her journey continues.  We welcome your thoughts and prayers!

Thank you.