BACKGROUND On March 13, 2023, Cathy had delicate surgery to remove a golf-ball size brain tumor from behind her right ear. Amazingly there were no residual neuro-deficits and life was looking up again after the previous month of clinical chaos, searching for answers to explain her extreme nausea and her eventual severe headaches and inexplicable falling. A few days after surgery, she was informed that she had glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer that has a 95% death sentence sometime during the first 18 months following diagnosis. This Website was established to update Cathy’s multitude of family and friends on a timely basis. This Website is named “Serabu” which is also the name of her mission village in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Updates are anticipated each Sunday unless otherwise needed. I, Tom Lewis – husband, soulmate, and best friend – will be the main writer of these updates. You are welcome to text me feedback and/or suggestions at 901.569.3939.
Sunday Update, April 16, 2023
CLINICAL UPDATE Following a 30-day post-operative recovery period, Cathy began chemotherapy and radiation therapy on Wednesday, April 12th. It was a rough day. First there was chemotherapy, disguised as a casual pill-taking event. Then there was the claustrophobic newness of wearing a heat shrink mask that is strapped tightly to a table for 15 minutes of target radiation treatment. By early afternoon, the combination of chemical toxins and slight brain swelling from radiation took its toll. Cathy was violated for several hours of forceful vomiting and extreme nausea. It was so violent that her surgery wound ruptured slightly, allowing blood to spray out and mix with her heaving discharge. Her suffering was rescued around 5 pm by a too-late prescription of a miracle nausea medicine that she is now taking an hour before her daily chemo-appetizer. She also began a low-dose steroid that is helping to reduce her brain swelling. Thursday and Friday were better and yesterday was so much better that Cathy served as a Eucharistic Minister during evening Mass. And the last two nights have finally included some pretty good sleep. In total, Cathy is taking nine medicines related to this disease, some early, some late, some with food, some without food, some once a day, some 12 times a day. We had to produce a daily medicine map to keep it all straight. On balance, our life feels pretty good today.
LIFE UPDATE During most of her surgery recovery time, we took a road-trip titled “Cathy’s Journey Home”. Driving nearly 5,000 miles from Athens PA to Corpus Christi TX, through 14 states, encompassing 15 stops, we prayed and hugged our way with 1,000+ of our closest family and friends. Cathy described her Journey with humor, as her funeral before she died. Speaking of humor, we laugh a lot, especially at bad jokes, like, what is the number one cause of dry skin – towels! Cathy’s Journey overflowed with love and compassion. Some people traveled to join the Journey from far-away places like Alaska, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania. Some traveled to participate at multiple stops. It was wonderful, inspiring, and hopeful. So many people around the world are praying for Cathy. Our Muslim friends in Africa are fasting as part of their prayers for Cathy. Two more stops remain for her journey: Epiphany Church, our home parish in Sayre PA on April 22nd and Serabu, for our 44th anniversary Mass on June 16th. Thanks, and God bless all our family and friends.