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May 29, 2016 Latest post:
Oct 5, 2016
Welcome to our CaringBridge site. We've created it to keep friends and family updated. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement during this time when it matters most. Sandy was diagnosed with Stage IV non-small cell lung cancer in early December 2015. She has been doing everything she can to battle this awful disease, including staying mentally strong and positive. With the support, love, and prayers of friends, family and even strangers, Sandy has remained hopeful and positive. Her doctors have been straightforward yet supportive of Sandy's desire to keep fighting. This fortitude for positivity and hope has never been challenged as greatly as it has been over the past few days. To treat the several tumors in Sandy's brain, she underwent cyber knife treatment (high doses of radiation from several angles specifically targeting each tumor) a couple of weeks ago. As there can be swelling of the brain, amongst other side-effects, following cyber knife to the brain, Sandy had an MRI of her brain on Friday (5/27/16). Since the cyber knife, Sandy has fallen twice, has had headaches, forgets what she is saying mid-sentence (which is somewhat normal for me but not for Sandy!), and feels somewhat weakened and unsteady. She sometimes walks with a cane but it depends on the day. When the radiologist called me in to look at Sandy's MRI on Friday, I knew it wasn't going to be good news. He told me and Sandy that, while she did not have swelling in the brain, there was evidence that she had suffered up to a dozen small strokes within the past 7-10 days and we needed to go directly to the ER. Of course, both of the doctors who have been treating Sandy's cancer were going out of town. We went to Naples Community Hospital and they admitted her and began to run several tests. I had to fly back to Michigan on Saturday, but our sister Lorri, and Sandy's son, Kevin, were there to consult with the neuro-physician at the hospital. He confirmed that Sandy had multiple infarcts (strokes) but they have not yet determined what is causing them. Her heart checked out ok, her carotid artery did as well. They believe Sandy is in danger of having seizures so anti seizure meds are being added to her growing pharmaceutical repertoire. She is being released from the hospital today after the neuro physician sees her and will have a follow-up appointment with the PA at her oncologist's office on Tuesday. Sandy is in a lot of pain, as her lung cancer has metastasized to her brain, lymph nodes, pancreas, lining of the intestines and T2 vertebrae, amongst other spots that are popping up. She is continuing immunotherapy (Opdivo) and is considering radiation of the tumor in her pancreas, though she has been told the side effects would likely be rough. Hospice has been offered to her as an option but she is not ready to give up on further treatments, so no Hospice at this point. Someone does need to be with her nearly 24/7 and I am thankful to have been able to spend the past week with her. She is remaining so strong and hopeful throughout all of this and is so very thankful for all of the love, support and prayers from so many people. Continued support, prayers and positive thoughts are greatly appreciated by Sandy and our family. Her condition and treatment will be updated on this website. Don't take a day, hour or minute for granted. Treat yourself and others well. Live, laugh, love and God Bless! Julie