Vandana 'Vandi' Lal

First post: Apr 1, 2020 Latest post: May 10, 2020
My wife Vandana has a two part journey. 

Part 1: 
February 15, 2018 was the start - the day everything changed. She was diagnosed with Stage 2b breast cancer. While treatable it was a grueling 10 months for her. Sixteen rounds of chemo over 20 weeks, a Lumpectomy, and 6 weeks of radiation. In November of 2018 she successfully completed her treatment and given a clean bill of health. Life was supposed to get back to normal. It did for a while. 

Part 2:
In early January 2020 constant headaches appeared, impacting Vandana's ability to function. Multiple doctors visits could not uncover what it was or give her any relief. She went to the ER twice on February 5 and 7, but both times not shedding any light of the root cause. On February 12 while at her Neurologist's office to get the results of her MRI, she had what doctors said was a possible seizure. She was rushed to Reston Hospital, which began her current nightmare. 

Her MRI showed a 1 cm lesion at the back of her brain - the doctors said it was either a tumor, infection, stroke or cancer. Never in our wildest imagination would we thought it was cancer. One by one each scenario was crossed out, until Cancer was confirmed. 

On February 17 Vandana was transferred to Inova Fairfax, which is where she stayed for the next 30 days. In a cruel twist of fate her cancer was diagnosed almost 2 years to the day of her initial diagnosis. This time it was Leptomeningeal Carcinomatosis which is as scary as it sounds. Her cancer spread to the lining of her brain and also in her spinal fluid. Over the next 30 days she went from the outgoing, kind and loving person everyone knows to being overtaken by this disease. She underwent 10 sessions of whole brain radiation therapy and radiation of the spine. Radiation was supposed to shrink or alter the lesion in the brain, and allow her to function normally. It did not. 

Vandana was discharged on March 17, after 35 days of hospitalization. We chose to bring her home to do in-home care where she is surrounded by family 24/7, with visits from nurses and specialists. After one week at home we are seeing the cancer impacting her more and more each day.

Today we as a family made the decision to initiate Hospice Care for her. She will get much better care around the clock and will have access to medical professionals whose goal is to keep her comfortable and as pain free as possible. She will still remain at home with us during this time.