Regarding Julie

December 7 2016 at 1:09 AM
Erica (Julie's daughter)  (no login)

I was unsure if I should post here, but know that many remember my mom from when she would frequent the board in the early years of her DCM diagnosis. I was relieved to see that she made a post as recently as October, and am glad she was still popping in. I am so sorry to let you know that Julie has passed away.

Mom had been having some occasional back pain since June, and it reached unbearable levels in November. Her family practice doctor did some xrays on Friday, Nov 18th and told her it was referred pain due to being constipated, and had her start laxatives. By late Monday, she could barely move due to the excruciating pain to her back, and I took her the ER early Tuesday morning and she was admitted with a UTI and CHF exacerbation. Wednesday morning, the doctors told her that her CAT scans showed "hazy spots" on her spine and one on her lung, and they believed it was cancer. Further scans showed there were lytic lesions-- areas where cancer cells had begun attacking the bone, causing literal holes in it, to both her vertebra and pelvic bones, resulting in actual small fractures. A week later, on Tuesday Nov 29th they performed a biopsy of her pelvic bones, and we received the results Saturday December 3rd that it was lung cancer which had metastasized. Because of her stage 4 kidney disease, they could not do CAT scans with contrast nor perform an MRI because of her ICD implant, thus no way to determine where any tumors or masses were. We met with the oncologist for the first time on Sunday morning, and he explained that it was too far gone to cure. She could try chemo, but it would further damage her kidneys, may not work at all, and only perhaps buy her 6-9 months more time. Time spent feeling sick, nauseous, and tired. Mom opted for hospice care.

We were able to sign the paperwork for hospice that afternoon, and had cardiology turn off her defibrillator (not allowed when on hospice-- pacemakers are okay) and she was moved to an inpatient hospice facility for crisis intervention-- the plan being to get her pain under control, and then move her to a long-term care facility for the duration of her illness. She arrived at the hospice facility at approximately 530pm. I received the call at 107am that she had passed. It was sudden and so very unexpected. We are still in shock and things still seem surreal. We are all reeling from the past 2 weeks events. After all she had been through over the years with her heart, kidneys, and diabetes-- cancer snuck up on her.

Upon receiving the diagnosis, all Jim and I wanted was for her to be comfortable and pain free, and she is now both of these things. My older brother, whom we hadn't seen in 15 years (2 years prior to mom's DCM diagnosis), had come to visit for the day on November 11th, through a fluke series of events that placed him in Texas and within driving distance. All part of God's plan...

I am thankful to all of you-- you gave mom a place to share her worries, joys, and stresses, and to help others with knowledge and information. Please know that this place was so special to her. A special thanks and big tight squeeze to Cliff-- she adored you! I promise to "keep on keeping on" :)

For those who would like to read all the details of what occurred (I realize most will not), I had begun a journal on CaringBridge, expecting it to be months and months worth of posts and updates. Instead, it consists of only 5 entries, although they are long and detailed.

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