This is a guest post from one of my oldest friends, whose mom just launched an all-out battle with cancer. Read all, then join us in the call to action.
So Kathy, my mom, is 65 years young and recently retired from more than 30 plus years as a public health nurse. She has three adult boys, two beautiful daughters-in-law and three adorable grandchildren 6, 5, 3. She is one of the kindest, most giving people I have ever met. I am not biased at all as I have heard this a thousand times over many years. Faith is very important to her, and she is very close to God. She goes on mission trips to Chimbote, Peru, to help out the local parish and help the sick and needy. Her retirement will be spent with her husband, Arch, traveling the states in their RV. Although like any loving grandmother, more than a few weeks away from her grandchildren is the limit.
Four weeks ago Mom and Dad were in Canada camping with relatives. My mother noticed that she was a little out of breath. Later that week on the way home she was having some upper back pain behind her left scapula. She decided to go in for a checkup as the breathing was getting worse when they arrived home. Her family doctor took an x-ray and saw that her left lung was filled with fluid. They decided to do a ct scan to rule everything else out. Well, unfortunately the CT scan found a mass of something in her left lung. Could have been anything at this point. Assume the worst and pray for the best as we all do. A couple of days later she had a pet scan–basically to see if it looked like a tumor. That is when the first shoe dropped. The results were that she had a large hot spot in her left lung, clavicle, spine and probably lymph nodes; this led to a biopsy of the easiest hot spot in the clavicle. For breathing relief they tapped her lung to remove the fluid (which was tested as well) while waiting on biopsy results.
The second shoe dropped when the results came back from the bone biopsy and the fluid confirming Adenocarcinoma, which means that not only does she have a bad lung tumor, but it has also spread to her bones in multiple areas. Therefore she has Stage Four cancer, which is the last and obviously worst stage to have. She also had a brain MRI and they found a small lesion in her brain. This type of cancer cannot be cured or go into remission according to the doctors. Chemo and radiation may slow down tumor growth, but they will never go away. Also she was never a smoker, which makes this diagnosis even harder to understand.
So Mom is going to fight this stuff with all of her energy and spirit, using whatever means necessary to beat this stuff. She is obviously praying a lot, as we all are.
She is also doing healing touch to help her be in the right frame of mind for what is to come. This Thursday she will have her first treatment on her brain lesion called gamma knife. She calls it star wars stuff. After that she will begin a long stent of chemo and have many other procedures to decide about.
She has a 25% chance of living 5 years. Which as she says, there is no reason I can’t be in the 25% club! I agree, if there is anyone set up to be in that group it is my mom. The median rate of this type of cancer is 8 months, meaning 50% of people diagnosed with stage 4 Adenocarcinoma die around 8 months post diagnosis.
We know and pray that she will indeed be one of the 25 percenters! Thank you all for the prayers. Please hug your loved ones a little bit tighter tonight.
And now, your call to action.
On Sunday, I’m running the Chicago Marathon, and I am running in her honor. Let’s join our prayers to support Kathy and her family. (And if you are so inclined, we’d also be so grateful for funds for her to use toward care that may not be covered by health care.)