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Sharon Burke Monett
7/30/2016 Latest post:
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.
From Sharon: I love my family and friends, my church, photography, and Vol football (GBO!). My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus' name.
Timeline of Sharon's illness:
October 2015 Sharon was diagnosed with a large melanoma tumor in her abdomen. Surgery was delayed because a PET scan was scheduled but then delayed for insurance reasons.
November 18, 2015 Sharon went for her PET scan and a large mass was found in the right frontal lobe of her brain and she was sent to the ER immediately for further testing to determine whether it was a tumor, a bleed, or both. By the end of the day, it was found to be a large, bleeding tumor that had to be removed asap. She was scheduled for surgery the next day.
November 19, 2015 Dr. Boyer removed a melanoma tumor of about four square inches from Sharon's brain.
November 19-December 12, 2015 Sharon remained at UTMC in recovery, mostly in Neuro ICU, and eventually in a regular room on the stroke and brain injury floor of the hospital. Friends and family visited daily and showered her with love and prayers during this difficult time.
December 12, 2015 Sharon came to live with her sister and mom at her mom's house in Knoxville.
December ??, 2015 Sharon began radiation treatments with Dr. Dill on her brain to wipe out any remaining cancer cells.
December 21, 2015 Sharon finished her last radiation treatment, just before Christmas.
January 6, 2016 Sharon had her first office visit with Dr. Panella, her medical oncologist, to find out his treatment plan to attack the melanoma in the rest of her body. In addition to the tumor in her abdomen, the PET scan had revealed additional tumors in her spleen and liver.
January 8, 2016 A routine CT scan revealed that Sharon had three blood clots--one quite large--in her lungs and was told to go to the ER right away to be admitted to UTMC. She was kept for several days, though she never had any symptoms except EXTREME crankiness. She was put on blood thinners and released on January 11 or 12.
January 14, 2016 Sharon had her first "chemo" treatment. She was actually receiving immunotherapy using drugs that were hoped to kick her immune system into fighting the cancer off on its own.
January 14-March 17, 2016 She received these treatments once every three weeks for three months. The treatments took three hours each and were not unpleasant like chemo. She had to sit still while the drugs were dripped in via IV, but they didn't cause some of the awful side effects of traditional chemo. She had already lost her hair to the radiation (she'd had Sean shave it off before that happened). The treatments caused some nausea, a little diarrhea, a few headaches, and a lot of this very itchy reaction all over her body, but that was about it.
April 4, 2016 She had another CT and PET scan to see whether the treatments were working.
April 7, 2016 We met with Dr. Panella, who told us that the treatments were not working and that, at that point, there was nothing more that could be done to treat Sharon's condition and she had only months to live. He said that he didn't know how many months, it could be as few as two or as many as six or even more, but that with melanoma, it tends to go pretty fast. He said that Sharon has a particular strain of melanoma that is impossible (at this point) to treat. He suggested starting hospice care right away and sent us home.
July 30, 2016 I (Kathy) am writing this, thankful to still have Sharon with us. I wasn't sure, back in April, that she would still be here by now. She is doing pretty well, though is definitely declining. I hope that she can live to see the first Vols football game of the season, but either way, it's all good.