Paul Lopez's Cancer Battle
Paul Anthony Lopez lost his battle with colon cancer Sunday, July 30, 2017 at 8:45am.
For information on services or to share a memory with Paul's family visit www.davisgreenlawnfh.com.
Paul Lopez was diagnosed with colorectal cancer on his 59th birthday, 12/23/16. He underwent surgery on January 2, 2017 to resect as much tumor as possible. The surgery confirmed Paul had stage 4 colorectal cancer metastases to his liver, lung and lymph nodes. (And later discovered 4 brain tumors and one tumor in his left hip.) The tumors were too large and too many to resect. So instead he was given an ileostomy to allow him to start eating again. Paul spent 15 days in St. Luke's before coming home only to turn around and be admitted 3 days later to Houston Methodist Sugar Land to discover he had cancerous brain tumors. Paul was lucky to find an outstanding oncologist and radiation oncologist within Methodist Sugar Land. He was released within 2 days and began his journey of various procedures and a treatment plan to wage war with cancer. Paul and Bonnie made the decision they did not want to know how long the doctors predicted for him. So, the battle began.
He had Gama Knife radiation on the brain tumors, a port placed for chemo treatment, 4 more visits to the ER in which one visit found a tumor pressing on his T12 vertebrae causing great pain in his lower back, 2 ER visits ended up in more hospital stays, brain CT scans, brain MRI's, other CT scans and MRI's of his chest, abdomen and pelvis, 2 full body nuclear bone scans, 10 radiation treatments on the tumor at his T12 vertebrae and 6 chemo treatments.
This ride has been an emotional whirlwind that anyone familiar with someone having cancer can attest. When Paul was diagnosed in December he weighed 145 lbs. His lowest weight so far was 99 lbs. He was dangerously close to having a feeding tube placed in his side to keep his body from deteriorating any further. With the aid of 6 to 8 imodium tablets per day, Paul has been able to keep more nutrition within his body and we are happy to report he is at a whopping 113 lbs. Last week we received awesome news that his brain is cancer free and his overall tumor markers have dropped more than 50% from the original tumor marker reading. So, for the first-time Paul, Bonnie and myself finally see there is a glorious light at the end of the tunnel. He does still have a remaining 1 millimeter in size brain tumor but it is stable for now. Paul will undergo brain MRI's every 3 months to monitor the tumor.
We are asking for donations to assist of course with all the various expenses that come with battling such a horrific disease and insurance doesn't cover. Paul only recently started eating full meals at least once a day. He continues to rely on Boost or Ensure 4 times a day for his primary nutrition. Takes iron, zinc, magnesium and imodium daily besides other prescribed medication. He has chemo treatments every other week. Daily maintenance of his ileostomy bag (which by the way is named Charlie). So anytime Paul leaves the house his Charlie supply bag goes with him. Gargles 2 to 3 times daily to keep mucositis to a minimum. One hospitalization was for a severe attack of mucositis after starting chemo treatments. There was a GoFundMe account originally set up and raised $3,215. Paul and Bonnie sincerely thank all whom donated to the account, but it was recently closed.
Paul and Bonnie along with my husband, Joe Rice and myself Laura (Henneke) Rice have been long time friends since high school. In fact, we are god parents for each other’s children. I have been by Paul and Bonnie's side for every procedure and treatment since he was discharged from St. Luke's and will be posting updates on Paul's continued progress.
All funds received are directly deposited into their bank account and will be applied to the outstanding hospital bills they were required to start paying in March.
Check back in from time to time to keep up on Paul's progress battling cancer.
The morning of 07/18th Tuesday, the infusion center called as we were walking out the door to chemo to let us know chemo was delayed due to not having insurance approval for the new chemo drugs. That evening Paul became ill and started fever again.
Called the doctor early AM on Wed 07/19th. They were told to have blood drawn in the morning and Paul would be worked in around 2pm. Paul and Bonnie were not prepared for what the doctor had to finally tell them. The tumors on his liver had taken over. Chemo, his only treatment option, was no longer an option. There was nothing else that could be done. The doctor stated Paul had 2 weeks to 2 months.
All immediate family and coworkers were notified. Hospice was set up immediately. But Paul took a turn for the worst Thursday 07/27th around 10pm. Family was notified. Family gathered for his last 3 days 24/7 to shower him with love and support as well as share wonderful memories.
Paul Anthony Lopez peacefully passed 07/30/17 at 8:45am with his wife, Bonnie, brother, Joe and best friend/like a brother, Aven at his bedside with all other family nearby. Paul will truly be missed, loved and never forgotten forever.
For information on services or to share a memory with Paul's family visit www.davisgreenlawnfh.com.
05/14 for severe abdominal pain which turned out to be a blood clot in his stomach area which made his intestines, colon and gallbladder swell. And they found out he has gallstones as well. Yippee, something normal..lol. Released and put on blood thinners and a round of antibiotics.
05/19 for 103° fever with some back pain. Doctor had blood and urine cultures ran to ensure any type of bacteria was not overlooked from earlier in the week. Also ran an abdominal and pelvic MRI due to increased back pain and leg tremor while hospitalized. Discovered tumor on T8 and set up for 10 days of radiation. Discharged with a different short term antibiotic and radiation schedule.
Within days of being discharged, health insurance called to ask questions about most recent hospital visit. The following week received a denial of charges because he could have just been observed in ER for 2 to 3 days and not admitted. Are you kidding me!!!! So I am working with the doctors office at this time on appealing their denial of claim. We will be very careful speaking with the insurance company from now on.
06/24 for severe left buttock and left leg pain. Paul was already on Morphine 15 mg immediate relief for what they call break through pain every 3 to 4 hours, but it began only lasting about 2 hours. Also what they call tumor fever was becoming a daily occurrence and as high as 104°, but would drop quickly after taking 2 extra strength Tylenol and using wet rags.
They tried a couple of things and finally settled on Morphine 30 mg slow release twice a day with the Morphine 15 mg in between for pain as needed. We also switched from extra strength Tylenol to Advil for fever, pain and swelling reduction. Ran another pelvic MRI and found progression in his S1 of his sacrum causing the pain. Discharged with 5 more days of radiation, new morphine rx and an antibiotic just in case his fevers are more than just from tumors and radiation. This time his radiation oncologist only prescribed 5 days of radiation at a higher level since he just finished 10 days of radiation on his T8.
Also the doctors want him to try some home physical therapy. Home physical therapy begins next week for his legs. The build up of the morphine and possibly the cancer has made his legs very weak recently. Hopefully we will be able to ween him off the slow release morphine after the holiday if the radiation on his S1 was successful and his legs will regain their strength.
Paul was able to have his 7th and 8th chemo sessions in between hospital visits and radiation sessions. We also squeezed in a visit with his surgeon discussing reversing his ostomy bag (Charlie). Reversal is a no go until he is finished with chemo. Medical staff get a kick out of naming his ostomy bag Charlie.
Radiation destroys bone marrow each time he has a session. Everyone please keep your fingers and toes crossed for no more radiation sessions for a long time. He already had a 10 daily sessions for his T12 prior to his T8 and S1 daily sessions. Joe, his twin brother has already been approached in case Paul may need a bone marrow transplant at any future date.
For the good news......Paul was up to 117 lbs, dropped to 109 lbs and is back up to 114 lbs! His tumor markers have dropped remarkably and we are so excited every time they draw blood for his CEA test! A Carcino-Embryonic Antigen test reflects the antigen levels for cancer cells. At diagnosis 12/23rd Paul's was at 1,596. As of 06/23rd his CEA number is 157.5! A decrease of 1,438.5! Normal CEA for someone without cancer is 0 to 3.
Since diagnosed in December Paul has been able to have a normal life, a little bit, by going out to eat 3 or 4 times, going to work a couple times on a Saturday when able for a few hours (besides what he does by phone and email from home), a concert (compliments of his boss) and visits with family and friends.
Today is Bonnie's last work day. She retired early to be a full time caretaker for Paul. Because things can change within hours sometimes, it just became too much to do both. But this makes it easier to take him to his work on his good days. His boss (the company owner) has been awesome working around Paul's illness. Paul and Bonnie are so extremely grateful for his kindness during this time.
Will update in about another 30 days or sooner. Please keep Paul and his family in your thoughts and prayers. All positive energy helps! Attached is a photo of Paul and Bonnie when Paul rang the bell after his 10th T8 radation session.
Have a Safe and Happy July 4th Everyone!
I am so Sorry to hear this and Have had you in my prayers and thoughts continuously. I know he will surely be missed and was well loved by all.
Yeah Hallelujah!!! You go! I will try to send some $$ to you once I get paid because I know every little bit helps. Love Ya
I am so keeping you in my prayers and thoughts, keep strong