Jan 12, 2021 Latest post:
11 hours ago
Welcome to Twila’s CaringBridge page. I’m using this site to keep family and friends updated in one place. She and I both appreciate your prayers and support very much!
Below is a summary of what led to her diagnosis and the events that immediately followed:
On 8/17/20 Mom had her regular physical. She’s had a CT scan of her lungs twice a year for the last six years to check the status of the histoplasmosis that still resides in her left lung. She had no symptoms of anything unusual, so it was a regular checkup as usual.
Her PCP noticed something was different on this scan v/s the scan in January 2020, and he referred her to a pulmonologist. We went to the pulmonologist appt on 8/26/20 and he told us that her mid-lobe in her right lung was collapsed, but he didn’t know why. (She had no symptoms of that.) He said it could be anything from excess mucous to cancer, and he didn’t speculate beyond that. He said she needed to have a bronchoscopy to determine the exact reason.
He scheduled her bronchoscopy for six days later on 9/1/20. When it was over and she was awake, he told us it was definitely lung cancer. He said he took 10 biopsies, but he “knows what cancer looks like, and this is it” and that it was non-operable due to its location and other factors (Emphysema, COPD, Histoplasmosis, etc.). He even went as far to say that while the biopsies would have to confirm, he was almost certain it was Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC) and told us it’s the most aggressive type of lung cancer and that he wanted to get her into an oncologist ASAP. (He was correct on all of the above).
Her first appointment with Dr. Penley (her oncologist) was on 09/10/20. He had the biopsy results and confirmed the SCLC diagnosis. He made it clear that this was a terminal diagnosis, regardless of how far it had spread. He speculated that her timeframe was roughly 3 - 18 months, but said that was based on averages and he wouldn’t know more until we knew if it had spread. He asked her then about her thoughts on chemo, being clear that it wouldn’t be a cure, and would only buy time. She joked that Tommy and I would “make” her try chemo, and Dr. Penley made it clear that it had to be her choice, because the chemo could kill her after the first round since it would weaken her immune system, so even a cold could kill her. And we’re in a pandemic that many people aren’t taking seriously for stupid political reasons, which makes it even harder to protect terminal cancer patients on chemo. So he said she couldn’t do chemo because Tommy and I want her to, because it wasn’t fair to us to feel guilty if it killed her faster than the cancer. Super grateful for his perspective on that. She still said she wanted to try chemo, and that it was her own choice.
They scheduled the PET scan and brain MRI (to determine spread) for 9/15/20 and the procedure to place her chemo port on 9/18/20. We didn’t get the scan results from Dr. Penley until 9/21/20. Results were that it had spread to her liver and bones, but not her brain. At that point his projected timeframe (based on averages) was 3-4 months with no treatment or 10-11 months with treatment. She started chemo a week later on 9/28/20.
It wasn’t until 9/21 (when we learned how much it had spread) that she even agreed to me sharing this info with family, much less anyone else. So if you’re just now finding out and catching up, I’m so sorry. I know there’s so many people who love her and would want to know and support her, and she’s just not having it. (Not a shock)
I think that mostly summarizes how we got to this point. I’ll post specific prayer requests as they come up, but thank you in advance for your prayers in general. Mom and I had a great conversation about Jesus otw home from the appointment when Dr. Penley first confirmed that this is terminal. She reaffirmed her faith in Jesus (not something she talks a lot about) and we talked about Heaven. Our conversation gave me a lot of peace, which is hard to find when your mom, and last remaining parent, has been diagnosed with a terminal illness.
When Dad died in 2006, every. single. time. I got in the car for at least a week, the song “I’ll Praise You in this Storm” by Casting Crowns was either on the radio or it came on next. It wasn’t even a new song, it had been released the previous year. If it hadn’t been such a clear message, it would’ve been funny. I genuinely believe Jesus was speaking to me through that song, and I have faith He will be with me through this. Doesn’t mean it wont’ suck, because it will. But thanks to Jesus, I have faith that I’ll see her again.
I’m sharing some verses below that give me peace, in case they help anyone else.
That’s all for now. Love you all ❤️
John 5:24 “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.”
1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 “Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.”
Revelation 21:4 “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes and death shall be no more, neither shall their be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”