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Edith Reily

 

Medford, NJ; susanpalkon@verizon.net (daughter)

1936 / Class of '05 / Type: IgG Lambda light chain / Huge plasmacytoma measuring 13cm x 8cm, bone involvement, hypercalcemic / Died 7-15-2005

(By her daughter.)

Edith was diagnosed with MM at the age of 68. She was born and raised in Delaware county Pennsylvania a suburb of Philadelphia. Edith had no allergies and aside from a few fights with pneumonia she was never sick. Edith worked as a bookkeeping supervisor until she had her daughter and became a stay at home mom. After I was a little older Mom and Dad started a candy company that was their life's passion. No known exposure to any power plants etc.

Mom first starting experiencing symptoms in May of 2004 with gout in her foot. The doctor prescribed meds (not sure what) and it went away. In Oct. 2004 she had back pain, felt weak and had a painful lump in her chest. The doctor told her the lump was a lypuma and the chest pain was castrocondritis (form of arthritis) told her to take Aleve.

Nov 2004 went back to same physician with the same complaints this time the lump was bigger and her pain worse. The physician referred her to a rheumatologist for the castrocondritis and said the lump was a lypuma.

Dec. 2004 rheumatologist did not know what the lump on her chest was but ordered an x-ray and ct scan of her back. The images revealed a break down in vertebrae and rheumatologist wanted to do procedure to "lift" the vertebrae apart. Not sure what he wanted to do but it was not a vertebreplasty. Still no diagnosis as this time and no one willing to address the lump on chest that continued to get bigger.

Jan 2005, as the lump grew, the back pain worsened, mom developed a UTI (urinary tract infection) I talked her into going to another family doc. This doc (angel) took one look at her ordered an urgent ct scan of the chest and antibiotics for UTI. Scans revealed a large mass in the anterior chest wall measuring 13cm x 8cm that had destroyed part of her sternum. We were then sent urgently to a Thoracic surgeon as it was thought she had a sarcoma. Surgeon performed biopsy under general anes. that revealed MM.

Feb 2005 oncologist took a bone marrow sample which revealed 45% plasma cells. IgG 3600. Stage 4 MM. chemo treatment of DVD every month for 4 mos.- (Doxil, Vincristine & Dexamethasone). Percocet for pain first half of month which did nothing, then switched to Oxycontin. CT scan of back revealed 5 lesions on spine.

Mar 2005 admitted to hosp for severe constipation and back pain (22 days no BM) once the bowls got moving a kyphoplasty was done to t5 and t6 of spine as they were 95% collapsed. Although this surgery helped some of the back pain it did not take care of all of it. Mom then went to rehab for 6 weeks as she was not walking and had developed huge stage 2 bedsores.

May 2005 last DVD treatment as mass on chest was not getting any smaller only moving to different areas of chest and severe peeling of the hands and some mouth sores developed. WBC & RBC were low and she was anemic. Mom was still in rehab loosing weight not getting any stronger but taking on alot of fluid. I called a cardiologist that I knew as I thought Mom might be developing some type of heart failure. She was then admitted to a hospital in Phila. to drain fluid (24 lbs). Basically the mass in the chest was so large it was putting a strain on the lungs and thus the heart failure like symptoms. Yet, Mom was still willing to try any and all forms of conventional or unconventional therapy in order to go into remission and get a possible transplant. It was very hard for her to get out of bed, her strength was plummeting.

As the primary caregiver I brought Mom back to her home for one month and cared for her with the help of my loving husband, mom's sister Marian & some Homecare aids. She was angry but still wanted to fight the MM a disease she knew had no cure.

June 15, 2005 mom admitted to Univ of Pa hosp for hypoxia. Very scary. At this time she was on 4 liters of O2 barely saturating her blood at 90%. Acting "drunk", goofy and unable to get out of bed. Emergent radiation was finally done on the huge tumor that sat on her chest wall and after about 4 days of radiation treatment the tumor shrank about 2/3's and mom started to appear better. Still with worsening back pain, low WBC, RBC & hypercalcemic. It was suspected that she might have a pulmonary embulism but could not determine due to the tumor in chest. Another chemo agent administered Velcade, mom remained in this hospital for about 3 weeks and was transferred to rehab to regain strength (yeah right) & still get radiation daily. We do not know if what effect Velcade offered. With all twists and turns in her case she never gave up fighting even in the end, when she knew the time was near. Her strength and will to live was amazing, a true example to follow.

Then on Friday, July 15, 2005, mom passed in her sleep. My mom was as strong as an ox physically and mentally and having to watch a loved one in excrutiating pain is the hardest thing. Mom lived 5 months since diagnosis, spending the last 3 mos confined to bed or a wheelchair due to the pain. My only consolation is she is at peace with my father and the Lord. It is strange but about a week prior to her passing I felt the comfort of angels and a beautiful peace overcame me as I received the message of "the time is near but everything will be ok". I offer my deepest sympathy to those who are battling or have lost the battle to this awful disease.

 

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