Remember, when this all started, I stood on the piano bench and said to you…that whatever the outcome, it would be okay, because of my family and friends.
I have no regrets.
My life has been beautiful and complete because of all of you and because it all comes from God’s plan. I am fortunate to have had an over 30 year love affair with my wonderful Sweetheart. I’ve had the joy of two outstanding children, loving parents and siblings, so many caring nieces and nephews, the best in-laws could could ever expect, and countless sincere and thoughtful friends.
Who could ask for more?
Thank you God… I now know.
And to all of you, my special family and friends, I just wanted to say… Grieve, but do not be sad! And I want you to know that my old crooked smile is smiling down on you from heaven.
(P.S. I know I had a closed casket but don’t worry because…I LOOKED GREAT!)
Once again it’s good news and bad news… and we’ll start with the bad news. At 4:25 am Thursday morning on June 25th, 2009, the toughest member of our family lost her final battle.
Shortly after the March 5th update, the lymph nodes in Patty’s right lung and trachea area grew large enough to cause pneumonia among other problems. Chemotherapy was stopped so that the pneumonia could be treated and cured. During that recovery time, the tumors were spreading and increasing in size. Radiation of the upper lung was recommended along with chemotherapy by mouth. Two weeks later, after being fitted and drawn on for her radiation, she began her daily dose. 10 treatments (2 weeks) after radiation began, it was stopped because there was to much fluid build-up in her right lung. That Friday, the 12th her lung was manually drained in the Fairfield oncology office…hoping that once would be enough.
On Monday June 15th , her lung had refilled, she had become allergic to yet another pain medication, and she was exhausted. She was admitted to Bridgeport Hospital’s 7th floor for dehydration and back pain from coughing for two months. The wonderful doctors also wanted to do more tests to make sure their current treatment protocol was the best defense.
After over a week in the hospital and endless testing, doctors found that the conditions worsened. She had a blood infection, colitis, dehydration, and loss of appetite. After a bronchoscope and biopsy’s were taken, a small chest drain was implanted on Tuesday June 23rd. Patty had a very hard time coming back around after that procedure. On Wednesday morning, the daunting results were in from the bronchoscope. The cancer was floating in the fluid in her lungs and there were visible tumors down both bronchial’s and on the trachea. Her oncologist came in at 9 am on wednesday morning to share the “treatment ending” results.
There was nothing that could be done. Patty needed full health, months of radiation, and months of chemo…still leaving her a one percent chance of a come back. She knew it was her time and she was fully ready…so here comes the good news.
Throughout the longest day ever, family and friends were summoned. She shared the news and told us all that not only was there nothing left to do, but that she was going to pass very soon. She talked, laughed, prayed, and cried with everyone. She spoke final words of wisdom and love to many. She shared her wishes. In the final moments of the morning… after the three of us had all spent time with her, rested with her, and held her, she left us. The four of us shared the most heartbreaking but beautiful moment….filled with peace… filled with grace.
To all that supported my wife and our mother…we love and thank you. We will always remember how much you helped her and us with this journey. We hope too, that she made you take a deeper look at your journey. You can always reach us through glitter on life. She had some final notes for all of her Prayers, Cheerleaders & Posse members which are posted above, in her final send off!
Love & Hope,
Larry, Eric & Cara
For three years now, I have had this vision that I keep with me. I see myself in a dreary field with a paved road rising uphill and extending as far as the eye can see. It’s cold and rainy. This is my cancer journey. As I am pushed onto this path, my feet are heavy, my thoughts are many and my head is down. Then suddenly, as I go over the rise, there are my family, friends and so many people lining the road on both sides. They are smiling and waving and shouting “Lets Go Pat”. Instantly, my stamina swells and I pick up the pace. Along with it comes my old crooked smile and a boost in energy–knowing I can do this, and I am not alone on this long journey. I see each and every face. I see the happiness of the children, jumping up and down. I feel a new brightness and sunshine. I feel faith-filled and ready to take this path by storm with all of you joining in behind me. The road is long but there is no stopping to rest. Uphill, downhill, stumbling over the occasional rock in the road…together.
So now for the update on my progress. In January, my restaging tests showed my colon and liver to be “clear”. There are 3 very small nodules that appear in my right lung and another 1 cm nodule that is located under my trachea. I am still receiving bi-weekly chemo therapy treament and will continue on this same “cocktail” until the side effects become too unbearable. Some of you may know that although this treatment does not usually cause hair loss, a few weeks ago my hair did fall out, and I am now sporting a new look! My neuropathy (numbness) in my hands and feet has increased and ummmmmm, geez whiz, I forgot what I was going to say, oops…. oh, right…that’s it…chemo brain has begun to creep in! These are just a few of the examples of the increasing side effects. But…I continue to look great and feel good! I guess it’s true when you all say I’m amazing! I appreciate being reminded!
On March 13th and March 16th I will once again undergo restaging tests. By the end of the month I should have the results and my doctor and I will decide what’s next.
With your support we have covered many miles and have made such progress. Thanks for contiuning to keep me pushing forward to find the next road to good health. Your prayers and kindness lift me up and keep me going. Thank you.
Well, there is good and bad in everything and as my oncologist says, you always present with a mixed bag! Months ago I described to you my latest challenge of cancer in a bad spot called the porta hepatis. After weeks of treatment, the cancer amazingly disappeared in that area. A tumor in my liver significantly reduced in size and the 3 spots on my lung are gone. Halleluiah! So that s the good.
Now for the bad .while I was going through that treatment, cancer popped up in a new area. I have two lesions in the lymph nodes on my trachea and a few very small spots on my trachea. This gets complicated because it showed up while the other areas were responding to the chemo I was undergoing. Therefore, since it seemed to be resistant, we had to change my cocktail of meds again and go back into full speed ahead treatment. These last rounds have affected my white blood count and my platelets considerably, so it became necessary for me to have shots to boost those counts several times a week. I can honestly say that I think those shots are more difficult to deal with than the chemo treatments! But the most important thing is they did their job and kept me able to get through all my treatments.
On Tuesday, September 2, I will have a PET Scan, which shows where the cancer cells are active and partying. On Wednesday, September 3, I will have a CAT Scan which shows images of your organs and where the visible tumors hang out before, during and after the party! I will also have chemo on Wednesday so it should be a great day! The results of these tests, as always, take a few days to come back.
Once again, we are hoping for the best. It has already been 2 years and 5 months since my diagnosis. In that time I have been blessed with the miracle of healing more than a few times and for that I am grateful. Again, I am asking for your prayers as I go through the days ahead.
I will be in touch soon after the results to let you know what s happening. Until then, enjoy the last days of summer!
MARCH 31, 2008
Definitely a “red letter day” for me! It was two years ago this very day that I received my diagnosis of Stage IV colon cancer. For me, this is a day of celebration because I am still going strong! Thanks to your prayers and loving support I have been able to keep ahead of this difficult disease. During those first days my situation was very bleak at best. The prognosis–not good and the word was no chance of liver surgery–ever. Well, that was the prognosis but as you know, that wasn’t God’s plan!
As I write this update I need to tell you that I am still in chemo therapy treatment because I have 3 small lesions on my right lung and new activity in my liver. Unfortunately, one of the new lesions in the liver is located in a difficult to reach location. Therefore, once again, I am told only chemo, or as a last resort, radiation will resolve this new cancer spot. It is located in what is known as the porta hepatis. The best way to describe this spot is to think of it as a doorway into the liver. The biliary ducts and major arteries run through this opening and this part of the liver rests on the diaphragm which is constantly moving, therefore making surgery too life threatening.
Some of you may know that recently I spent 8 days in the hospital due to side effects of my current protocol of chemo therapy. I am well now though, and have been able to continue my treatments with a minor change in the infusion methods. (On treatment week I am once again sporting a portable pump that administers the medication continuously over a 48-hour period.) I fondly refer to my pump as “Hank the Crank”!!
The next few weeks are a crucial time for me. When I complete this current round of chemo in mid-April, I will then be ready for more testing to determine if the treatments are working. Your prayers have given me peace, comfort and the strength to go forward to each new stepping stone on this path. I would be grateful for your continued prayers and powerful good thoughts to help me and my family through the days ahead.
Live each day!
The idea for this pin came to me when I was about to have serious surgery on my liver in December of 2006. I wanted my family members to be easily spotted when they were at the hospital during and after my surgery. So my nephew, Collin and his favorite gal, Erica, created this pin for me.
I handed out the pins to my family “posse” just before the surgery. Then when we all arrived at the hospital that morning, the nurses, doctors and others responsible for my care requested buttons. Fortunately, I had plenty on hand to share with everyone. Later as the days passed I distributed these pins to every hospital technican and caretaker who was involved with my care.
Since that time I have given more pins out to so many wonderful people who are supporting me each day with love, prayers, kind words and good deeds.
Thank you, God, for “Patty’s Posse”!
My recent CAT and PET scans show that things are good. My liver shows some active cancer cells but no nodules, lesions or tumors. My surgical oncologist says he would classify my liver as showing “no evidence of disease”. They did discover a very small 4mm nodule on my lung which may or may not be cancer. There were also cancer cells in fluid in my abdomen. We are taking no chances and are treating my whole body (systemically) to be sure we are tracking down all those runaway cancer cells that had time to travel while I was off chemo and recovering from surgery.
At the time of my surgery an hepatic pump was implanted into my abdomen for the purpose of dispensing chemo therapy directly to my liver. At this point we have not yet used that pump because of the concern of toxicity if we were to use both systemic and direct liver chemo at the same time. It was suggested that I have the hepatic pump removed—and once removed it could not be put back in again. Since this was a difficult decision which my doctors were debating, I opted to make a return visit to Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. My doctor there was able to settle the debate, and we are working out the plan to use the pump. Thank the Lord! I am still waiting to see what the protocol will be. I believe the chemo is usually dispensed over a period of 5 months. Using both of these methods is the newest procedure regularly used at Sloan. I am confident this is my best chance to keep up a strong fight against this disease.
For those of you who have not seen me since the winter monthsyou’ll be glad to know I have finally gained back some much needed body weight. In fact it seems I am gaining the pounds at a rate of two per week! No small accomplishment for me since I have always been a slightly built person who never gained weight easily! Another few weeks of this and you’ll being saying, “Oh My Goodness.is that Fat Pat Loux?!!”
I am finding I have more side effects from the chemo protocol I am currently receiving. Issues with neuropathy, blisters and splits on the hands and feet. An acne rash on my face that is a real show stopper! Endless energy some days that keep me from resting for 24 to 48 hours at a time which is then followed by a two day crash and burn! But the best news is that all of these side effects are proof that the chemo is doing its job. So I am gladly dealing with them knowing I am fighting back. There is a popular saying in the infusion center”I have cancer but cancer does not have me.” Keeping a positive attitude is my best defense. I cannot tell you enough how grateful my family and I are to all of you who are lifting me up and keeping me strong with your continued support and prayers. I have experienced a miracle and it’s because of your faith, prayers and love. Thank you, God!
A quick family note—our daughter,Cara, graduated on Mother’s Day from Springfield College and is ready to launch her career in Athletic Training. With the difficulty of the past year we are so proud of her and the fact that she was able to keep up her studies and graduate on time, when our family was dealing with such crisis.
Our son, Eric, is finding success in his field of live and recorded sound engineering and is traveling the world with a terrific and talented all female Led Zeppelin tribute band called Lez Zeppelin. They recently released their first CD that was recorded in the famous Electric Lady Studios in NYC where the original Led Zeppelin and many other popular artists (Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie, Peter Frampton, Carly Simon, Dave Matthews) were recorded. And best of all, the legendary producer/engineer, Eddie Kramer, did the recording and mixing assisted by “Head Tech” Eric Loux! In the music recording world this was an opportunity of a lifetime for Eric.
So, my family is also receiving many blessings. You can see our joy in the photos that are attached.
I wish I could talk to each and everyone of you to thank you, but for now these updates must do. My wonderful nephews have set up a blog site for me that will have all of these updates posted and soon it will be a place you will be able to check into whenever you think of me, to find out how things are going. It’s not ready yet since I am still learning how to use it!!!! But I will send the web address to you as soon as it is up and running.
My best to all.
Arrive at Bridgeport Hospital with Patty’s Posse
My surgery took just under 7 hours. Everything went well and Dr. Pearlstone, surgical oncologist, was pleased with the procedure. My gall bladder was easily removed. There were two enlarged lymph nodes removed near the portal artery, one of which was still active, so I will most likely require additional chemo through my original porta cath.
In my liver, three lesions were removed, two surgically and one using the ablation method. I have quite an incision that ”v’s” down my abdomen starting just under my breastbone. The titanium port was inserted into my lower abdomen — looks a lot like a baseball protruding from my appendix area. Everything has been stretched to the max!
December 23, 2006
Out of ICU Finally Feeling Cozy in My Own Room
December 24, 2006 Christmas Eve untitled3
I think the word about me and my “posse” was no longer a secret when it came time to assign me my room. Fortunately, I had a double suite to myself — WE NEEDED IT ON CHRISTMAS EVE because my whole family showed up to spend time together with Larry and me.
It took 10 days in the hospital to get my medications balanced, me feeling well enough and all the doctors to finally agree on my care so that I could go home on Friday, December 29th.
Although things are progressing well, I am having a few setbacks, primarily with my incisions healing and the amount of drainage from the wounds. I have a visiting nurse that comes in to see me each day to observe and change the dressings, particularly on one of the wounds that is open (no stitching) and is in the long process of healing itself. My doctor’s two major orders at this point are to rest and eat, eat, eat, with proper nutrition being paramount. REST and NUTRITION are my two allies right now. I am extremely exhausted from all that I have been going through but I manage to get up and move around a good amount each day. When they said “major serious surgery”, they were not fooling!!!
Once I recover my strength, I will begin receiving chemo directly to the liver–which was our goal. Without seeing the official pathological/surgical reports, this is all that I have to share with you at this time. As always, your cards, wishes and most of all prayers are keeping me moving through each day. I believe I am one of the luckiest people alive!
God Bless You.
Well I am writing today to tell you that our prayers are being heard and answered! All the plans have been finalized for my surgery–liver resection to remove the 5 tumors–which hopefully will leave my liver with “no evidence of disease”. That doesn’t mean the cancer will be gone because microscopic cells may still remain and are hard to detect. More chemo will follow. Only this time they will be placing a titanium “reservoir” of sorts into my abdomen with a catheter directly to my liver that will dispense the chemo to the liver only and not to the rest of my body. This will allow the meds to work directly on the liver, using higher doses of chemo. Since it will not circulate throughout my entire body, the side effects will be fewer and hopefully less difficult to manage. I will also have my gall bladder removed since it is fed blood through the same portal artery that my liver is and as a result it would be destroyed by the upcoming chemo. I am told this is a very serious surgery. It will take 6 to 7 hours. I will be in ICU for a bit afterwards. The hospital stay is expected to be 10 days. Then I will come home to recover for a few weeks.
The surgery will take place next Thursday, December 21, at 10:30 am in Bridgeport Hospital. What a wonderful Christmas present for my family! That date also happens to be my brother, Bill’s, birthday (I guess my birthday gift to him this year will be a few new gray hairs!!). I hope you will all continue to keep me and my family in your thoughts and prayers. As I have so often said, it is you who have placed me in God’s hands with your thoughts and prayers. THEY ARE WORKING!!! Thinking back 8 months and 16 chemo treatments ago, the doctors said surgery would not be possible because of the extent of the involvement of the liver tumors. Tumors as large as 3cm that are now 12mm and still shrinking. My health aside from the side effects is still great. So now, with all of you as my “posse of angels”, we will storm that operating room ready to experience the rest of this miracle.
Positive thoughts and lots of glitter on this one!!! I am so grateful. Merry Christmas and God Bless each of you.
The very good news I have to report is that on Thursday, July 27th, I will have another CAT Scan. On Thursday, August 3rd, I will have a second PET Scan, and most importantly, I will go to Memorial Sloan-Kettering on Monday, August 7th, for my second opinion. I was very fortunate to be scheduled for an appointment at Sloan within days after all of these tests. Another angel working with me on this journey!
Overall, I am feeling pretty well although I find I tire easily. I seem to be sleeping more because of it. The doctors told me it’s ok to exercise so I have begun walking and have gone back to yoga. I’m slow and a little out of balance at times, but I am able to exercise and that’s a good thing.
So that’s the news for now. I so appreciate all of your prayers and support. It is what fuels my energy! I hope that my next update will include more good news. Thank you for keeping me and my family in your prayers.
p.s. If anyone catches sight of my white blood cells or platelets, please tell them vacation time is over!!!!!!!!!!!
Today is Wednesday, June 14th (Happy Flag Day!!!), and I will be receiving treatment #4 today. I can’t believe two months have already passed since this new journey began! With your prayers and support I am moving through these days with peace and confidence. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
Since I last emailed, I have had a PET Scan which fortunately confirmed what we already know. There was no evidence of additional activity in any new areas. Thank goodness!
The chemo treatments have caused my white blood counts to fluctuate, and I have had to have daily injections during those ”down” times to boost the count. After a week or so of injections my count usually goes back up. During those days, though, I need to protect myself from being exposed to infection–which puts limits on being with people, especially crowds.
Overall, things are going well. I tire more quickly, but that is easily remedied by napping–something that was just a fantasy to me in the past! I am experiencing some of the side effects of the chemo, but I am finding ways to cope with those. Learning to live with the unpredictability of each day is another story! I am still working on that–not an easy thing for a person who likes to be in control. Thank you again for your continued prayers and support. I am so grateful!
Enjoy the sunshine!
Just a quick update…
I will see my surgeon on Friday morning at 11:15am and I have an appointment with an oncologist on Tuesday.
So far I am continuing to move through this process quickly, and I am extremely grateful for that.
My strength is in your prayers. Keep them coming!
First of all, keep all the prayers and positive thoughts coming my way.
I wanted to send out this email to keep you up to date on the happenings with my health situation. On Monday I had a CAT scan and the preliminary results are showing a few different things going on. With no definitive answers they are telling me I have a tumor in my colon, a pelvic mass and multiple “well defined” lesions of the liver. We have no conclusive information at this point, so tomorrow (Wednesday) morning (8:30am), I will have a colonoscopy which should include a biopsy of the mass in my colon. We will not know much more info tomorrow since tissue samples will have to go pathology. So there will be more waiting.
All of this has evolved very quickly and none of it seems to make much sense. Honestly, my doctors are all puzzled at how this is unfolding.
My family and I are moving through this hour by hour and I hope that you too will just try to be patient. I appreciate all of your thoughts, prayers and concern. I wish this was all better news but you know me, I deal better with the facts….I like to be in control!!!
I will continue to keep you updated as often as possible by email. Please share this info with those you know who might not have email. Marie can only answer 4 phone lines at any given point….and she will be leaving any day now to have the baby!!! So please be gentle with her!!
Again, thank you for all your prayers for me. Also, please pray for my family.