Update on Cathy's Journey

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16469140_1480716251.3143_funddescription7-13-17  UPDATE:  The results are in from Monday's scans and not are what we prayed for.   We met with Dr Gribbin Tuesday and found out the third line of chemo didn't help as the cancer continues to progress.   Continuing chemo would cause more harm than good at this point.  It will shorten her quality and quantity of life so it doesn't make sense to continue.  She's tried three different types.   That last type of chemo, Taxol,  came with horrible side affects so I'm so glad he agreed to do the scans before making her go through that next round.

SCLC is a monster and I pray for any person, family member or caregiver that has to experience this hell on earth.  I've never felt so helpless.  

Lack's arranged for Hospice as we were leaving Dr. Gribbon's office someone from Hospice met us at Cath's within hours.  This doesn't mean she is going to tip over and die tomorrow; I think most people think that because that's when people finally take advantage of what their facilities have to offer.  If you get better while on hospice, you can opt back out and or if the option to try a clinical trial or immunotherapy type of treatment is available, a person can opt out of hospice and go back to how it was before.

Right now this is the best option for her.  Hospice actually has more freedom to help control her pain... because they don't have to stay within any limits or avoid any meds that might conflict with chemotherapy.  

That being said, Cath has been put through hell  the past seven months.  There's just no other way to describe it.  This specific cancer is a beast.  

We have a big event coming up this month and are asking for very specific prayers.  Praying Cath's pain is controlled and that she is well enough to enjoy a family  getaway at a cottage we rented.  Also hoping and praying we can get her out to Sleeping Bear Dunes and other scenic outlooks over Lake Michigan and throughout the Leelanau Peninsula.  Finally, that she's feeling well enough to attend my niece's wedding.  

Please join us in praying for these specific things.   Thanks so much, your love, support and friendships mean everything to us and have helped us through.

Shelly


Original, posted  Thanksgiving 2016  The news I received a few days ago has shaken my world to the core.  Not only do I have a challenging battle ahead of myself, my sister Shelly is out of commission for 6 months because she had  surgery last week.  We own our own business which means we're both without income right now.  Lastly, our mom was recently diagnosed with cancer and she just started her radiation this week.   

I saw three different doctors over the course of three weeks who diagnosed me with a severe kidney infection and acute bronchitis.  Obviously they missed something.

I took matters into my own hands and drove myself to Urgent Care.  Several hours later, was transported by Ambulance to Lack's Cancer Center.  At that point, I knew my back was broken and that they had found a large mass on my lungs.

The staff at Lack's spent Thanksgiving Day trying to get my pain under control.  The next day was a nightmare ; 6-7 hours of MRI's, CT scans, biopies and procedures.  After several days in the hospital, I was diagnosed with Stage IV Lung Cancer which has also spread to my bones.  I have a baseball sized tumor in my lungs, several on my spine and in tumors in my skull. 

The cancer that invaded my spine caused three parts of it to literally crumble.  Basically it sucked the life out of it, leaving the bone riddled with holes then the bones ruptured and collapse down onto the spine below.  

My back is broken at T11, T12 & L2.  As you can imagine, these fractures are causing intense pain and putting me at risk of becoming paralyzed.

There's a procedure they are hoping I can do which will alleviate the pain, build that space back up and remove the fear of paralyzation.  I go in for an MRI early Sunday morning to see if I'm a candidate for doing the procedure called vertebroplasty.  They have to be careful that there are no shards of bone that could be forced through my spinal cord which could again cause paralysis.

Vertebroplasty is an outpatient procedure for stabilizing compression fractures in the spine. Bone cement is injected into back bones (vertebrae) that have cracked or broken, often because of osteoporosis. The cement hardens, stabilizing the fractures and supporting your spine. - mayo clinic

PLEASE PRAY specifically that I am able to have Verebroplasty, that the procedure is successful so that I don't become paralyzed.

From there, I have to go through daily radiation and followed by chemo.  PLEASE PRAY that the chemo / radiation shrink away the 8.6 cm tumor in my lungs.  The prognosis isn't the greatest if this doesn't happen but we're praying I can defy the odds by kicking cancer's butt! 

I'm young and have so much to live for.  I want to teach my granddaughter Mya how to sew.  I want to teach my sister how to make the mincemeat cookies and I want to dip my toes into the Ocean in Florida one more time.

Money donated to my Go Fund will be used to cover the extensive medical bills required for the treatment of my cancer.  I've already spent a week in the hospital, had endless amounts of tests and my chemo and radiation will be daily starting next week for an undetermined amount of time.  

I have never asked for money or help in my life.  I could use the funds as soon as possible but medical bills will continue to roll in for months.

Your generosity, prayers and support mean more than words can express.  I don't know what I'd do without the love and support of family, friends, neighbors, customers and people we've met through our painting adventure.

I've got an incredible team of doctors, nurses and caregivers taking care of me and appreciate each and every one of you.

Thank you in advance for your generosity and prayers,

Sincerely,

Cathy Blood

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Organizer and beneficiary

Shelly Andrade 
Organizer
Byron Center, MI
Cathy Blood-Rietsma 
Beneficiary
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