Right out of the gate doctors told Laura it was far to advanced to consider any kind of surgical options. So the fight began with radiation everyday, and chemo once a week. She did 25 rounds of external radiation, 3 rounds of internal radiation and 4 rounds of chemo. The radiation treatments, although effective, can be very damaging not only to the cancer cells but other healthy parts of the body as well. In Laura's case it caused damage and inflammation to her small intestines. This made her really sick, it was extremely painful to eat and she was barely able to keep food down. Within a month she had lost 30 pounds and ended up in the hospital.
After a battery of tests to find the cause of these symptoms, she was finally diagnosed with radiation enteritis and it was decided that she needed to go on Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN). This meant that she would need to be hooked up to and get all her nutrition through an IV. She stayed 2 months in the hospital before home TPN could be arranged and she could receive it at home. This was exciting! We were getting Laura back, at home in her own space, in her own bed. Things were looking up, the home TPN seemed to be doing the trick and she was improving.
Six weeks after returning home Laura had a relapse and all the symptoms returned. It was once again extremely painful for her to eat anything, let along keep anything down. We felt like we were back at square one. Doctors agreed surgery is not the best or safest route to take at this point in time, so they agreed to a treatment called hyperbaric oxygen therapy. It requires Laura to lay in a pressurized chamber a few hours a day while 100% oxygen is pumped in. The goal is to heal the tissue damaged by the radiation so she can try and get back to a normal diet. We don't have a chamber in Manitoba so the closest one for Laura to get to would be in Edmonton.
Laura has not worked since last year in September. Her parents will have to take a leave from work to be able to accompany their daughter while she continues her battle. This has been and will be a huge financial strain on their whole family. They will need to find accommodations that have enough space and are equipped to hold all the TPN equipment and supplies Laura is still using everyday.
She will be leaving September 6, 2016 to start her extensive treatment that will last six weeks. Taking leave from work, and having major travel expenses for the whole of the family, along with six weeks of accommodation will come at quite the cost. This is when we ask her friends, family, coworkers, strangers to help Laura get to Edmonton for the treatment that could help turn her life around, and give her a chance at feeling well again. If you didn't know how to help, but always wanted to, here's your chance. Thank you for your support and well wishes!
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