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7/5/2017 Latest post:
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Hi everyone I haven't had much time to devote to this page yet so I'm sorry for the terse writing but I thought it best to just get it out there.
I thought it might be useful to revisit Patty's battle with cancer. Back in June of 2011 patty was diagnosed with stage 3A breast cancer and underwent a mastectomy that September. She went through chemo following her recovery from the surgery, which was followed up by radiation treatments in May of 2012. She then underwent a series of reconstructive surgeries throughout 2012 and 2013 (while we were displaced from our house due to a fire over 4th of July weekend of 2012). We moved back into our house in 2014 and Patty was experiencing a lot of back pain. In January of 2015 we learned that the back pain was due to a collapsed vertebrae as a result of cancer. So the cancer had become Stage 4 and metastasized to her bones, and other organs. She underwent back surgery which was successful in alleviating her back pain, and by summer of 2015 she was on a light chemo course that seemed to be doing pretty well. She was feeling very good from that summer into December of 2015. About that time we found that the chemo was not as effective anymore (as is the case with these treatments, they work for a while, then you need to move to a different treatment). She rode out that treatment as far as she could till the markers indicated it was time to move onto a new treatment. That happened somewhere around June or July of 2016. The new treatment unfortunately caused the loss of hair again. This is when many people became aware that Patty's cancer had returned, as up to that point she had held it pretty close, with less than a handful of people outside of family with any knowledge of it. Around the same time, we discovered that the cancer had metastasized to the lining of her brain, requiring a course of whole brain radiation. To reduce the swelling around her brain she was put on a course of steroids. This may have had the unintended effect of igniting a case of diabetes, which landed us in the ER in August last year. A silver lining of the nausea though was that she lost a lot of weight and within a couple months, the diabetes issue was no longer a problem. From last fall till now, her weight loss continued and she became weaker. However we were always hopeful that new treatments would continue to keep the cancer progression in check. That brings us up to a couple weeks ago. The week following Father's Day, Patty started becoming very unsteady on her feet and falling. In addition she had become very weak and was coughing a lot. We had a routine body CAT scan, and brain MRI performed on 22nd of June, and went in for her scheduled chemo treatment on the 23rd. The doctor had just gotten a verbal report on the scans as we arrived, and it showed that the cancer had moved to the inside of her brain. Radiation was not going to help this time, and the doctor said it was time to move into a hospice state of care. In addition, the CAT scan showed a large amount of fluid in her lungs and we were sent to the ER to have it drained. After spending a night and most of the next day at the hospital we were released to home care Saturday 24th. By the 27th we were set up with the equipment necessary to care for Patty at home by Gilchrist Hospice. We have a great team of nurses and aids coming in every so often to advise and help us. In addition we have a tremendous support system from our St. John's church family, and friends from around the neighborhood.
We do not really know how much longer Patty will be with us, but the doctor said it is in terms of "weeks, not months". We are constantly amazed at the love, friendship, and support that you all have shown to us. I will try to keep you up to date through journaling on this website. Words of comfort and encouragement are greatly appreciated and I will read them to Patty as they come in. Personally, I would appreciate any remembrances and/or photographs you may have of Patty that you could send to this website. They are a comfort to me, the boys, and her friends as they help us to remember to celebrate her life.