Tom Kelly

First post: Dec 24, 2020 Latest post: Jan 31, 2021
December 22, 2020

Dear family and friends,

Thank you so much for checking in on Tom, and for all your kind messages and offers to help. He is loved by so many that it has been difficult to return every message we’ve received, but please know that we read every single text and email and they have brought us all great comfort. We’re hoping that this space can serve as an encapsulated community where we can give updates about Tom, and where people can reach out to us.

Here’s what we know so far. After inguinal hernia surgery on December 10th, Tom was coughing, had pain throughout his body, and had difficulty breathing. Kathy reached out to the on-call surgeon who recommended that he go to the ER at Riverbend Hospital in Springfield. This was a tough action to take in some ways, because it was 11pm, because we’re in a pandemic, and because none of us would be allowed to go in the ER with him. But of course, we went. Chest x-rays and testing revealed extensive pneumonia. He was admitted to the ICU early in the morning of December 13, and put on strong antibiotics and a high concentration of oxygen. Then, we learned that the chest x-rays and CT scans also revealed several large masses in his lungs. These tumors were also causing, and continue to cause, extensive fluid buildup (around his right lung in particular) which his team of doctors is draining.

Based on what the doctors saw, they braced us for late-stage cancer. Today, over a week later, test results confirmed melanoma cancer in his lungs. The next step is an MRI to ensure it has not metastasized to his brain followed by an additional test to determine if he is a candidate for treatment. This test takes two weeks to get results. 

He’ll remain in the hospital until they can get the fluid buildup under control, hopefully soon. Once that happens, he can come home.

This is devastating news to us all, and is made particularly complicated by Covid restrictions around visiting and travel, but we are determined to be there for Tom in every way possible. We hope this space can offer a way for you to be there for him, too. We will update when we have more information that Tom is comfortable sharing, and you can be sure that he will see all your messages and feel your love and support.

Thank you again for being here for him. He’s given us all so much, we know that everyone just wants the chance to let him know how much they care about him in return.    

Much love,

Kathy, Susan, and Ryan