Sunday, November 22, 2009

What Next???

Welcome to our home away from home...Maine
Medical Center. It's said that bad things come in
threes but it seems that we must be up to four or five by now.
Most important right now is Mom. This is her fourth day in the Special Care Unit at MMC. She was admitted to MMC 2 weeks ago (Nov. 9)with e-coli which she got from eating ground beef she had purchased at Shaw's. The e-coli made her very very sick and has affected her kidneys, heart and lungs. Today she looks a little better and we are hoping that she will regain her strength and be able to move back to a regular hospital room soon. She is still critical so we hope everyone will continue to keep her in their prayers.
On my way home from the hospital last night, I got a message on my cell phone that Kristen was being treated at another MMC branch, Brighton Medical Center, with what has turned out to be a broken ankle. Immediate turn around of car...back to MMC. Kristen fractured her tibia and can not bear any weight so she is in a wheelchair. Tomorrow I have to take her to an orthopedist to have her leg cast. Thankfully, Joanne was in town because of Mom's condition, so she was able to come to the hospital, take a look at the x-rays, and help us transfer Kristen home. I now really appreciate having a sister who is a physical therapist.
As if all this were not enough, on Thursday night when I got back from the ICU, there was a message from my cousin, Kathy, that our aunt, Barbara Smith, was in UCONN medical Center in Farmington, CT. Growing up in Connecticut, we were very close with Aunt Barbara and Uncle Ed (Dad's brother) and hearing this news is very sad. Needless to say, we are all praying for Aunt Barb, Uncle Ed and family as well.
And finally, to add just a bit more stress, the results of our genetic testing for the BRCA 2 gene came back this week. BRCA 1 and 2 are the genes that are know to cause an increased risk for ovarian and breast cancer. Mom, who has breast cancer, tested positive for a BRCA 2 mutation in October so Andi, Nancy, Joanne and I had to be tested. It took 2 weeks to get the results and the wait was mind-numbing. It is an autosomal dominant gene so there was a 50% chance that Mom's children would be positive. And that is exactly how we came out...two of us are BRCA positive and carry the mutation and two are not. My sisters who are BRCA positive will now have to make some difficult medical decisions of their own...not really the news they needed this week. this point our family is due for some good luck. In the meantime, we all appreciate how supportive everyone has been...from Mom's neighbors to our colleagues at work to the staff at Kristen's group home...thanks to all. We still hope to salvage a Thanksgiving dinner out of all this...although even that has needed to change. Nancy had invited everyone for Thanksgiving but her house has stairs and Kristen needs a wheelchair so it looks as if Hank and I will have whoever is left in one piece to dinner here. Everyone will bring something and we'll keep it simple but family traditions live on. Rob, Tomomi, Taka and Toshi will be here for Thanksgiving so that will add some much-needed fun to the day. And if we can round up a few other healthy people to share the turkey with us, we'll be all set!

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”


  1. Hi All-
    Thanks, Cheryl, for updating everyone-it seems we would have had more time to update the blog since we've been camped out for 2 weeks in the waiting room at MMC-next to the computer-but...we all just sit there. Cheryl, ever the professional SpEd. teacher, understands confidentiality--but I will reveal I am one of the Brca 2 positive sisters. Now, at least we have a possible answer for where my cancer came from. I hope Auntie Marion, Doris and their girls will consider getting the genetic counseling we did. Marion and Doris also have a 50% chance of being positive, which would affect their kids (both girls and boys). This gene obviously came over with the Boocock's from England---wish they'd left it on the boat!! Love to all, prayers for Uncle Eddie, Aunt Barb and family, and Happy Thanksgiving!
    P.S. I was also tested for genetic mutations from Daddy's side of the family--nothing showed up from the Smith/Shannahan side. Apparently Grammy and Grampa had good genes!

  2. I also joined Nancy's Mutant Gene Club. Get gentic testing Boococks. My next step: pull out my ovaries and tubes! I will then have exams at a high risk breast clinic and alternating 6 month breast mamograms and MRIs. I may also take a drug known to lower the risk of breast cancer. Now my kids are getting tested so they can take precautions now if positive. Love to all and Happy Thanksgiving.

  3. I'm really sorry to hear that more carry this gene, but am thankful that you've learned early enough and can take preventive measures.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!! This certainly has been a rough year. We went to Maureen's house today for dinner. Dad made the decision that it was not a good idea to take Mom out today and he was as cheerful as he could be, but it wasn't the same without Mom. Me, Mike and Austin stopped by and visited her on the way home and we will all be bringing her "leftovers" tomorrow. We think she will like that! Ed and Laura return from France on Saturday.

    I hope Aunt Alice is doing well.....

    Again, Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!

    Love, Kathy

  4. It's been a really rough time for us all. Nothing like Maine Med for the holidays !
    We had fun tonight at a last minute Mexican dinner with Andi and Dave at La Carreta!
    Great hearing from you on here Kathy, wishing well for your Mom.
    Love, Joannne