My mom was a great example of doing everything right! She was always very conscientious of what she ate, and exercised most days of the week, walking, Curves, bowling, golfing and dancing. She loved to read and do jigsaw puzzles and crossword puzzles. She volunteered at her church and for meals on wheels. She married her high school sweetheart, John, in 1958 and had three children and six grandchildren. My mom and dad loved to travel, taking about 4-5 vacations each year. Dad retired at 55, so they had many years to enjoy traveling, children, grandkids, and everything they wanted to do. She had five sisters and one brother whom she loved dearly. Mom lost her sister Sandra to cancer just 14 months earlier. No one would have ever thought that only a short time later, she would become sick with such a rare disease. Mom was a very strong Christian in her Lutheran faith and we know she is with the Lord. We all miss her and love her so much, but as someone else said "it is not the years in your life, but the life in your years". She is survived by her husband John, three children, Debbie, Tami and Danny, six grandchildren, Jenni, Melissa, Brandon, Travis, Lucas, and Anthony, her sisters and brother, and sister-in-laws and brother-in- laws, many nieces, nephews, and many friends. Here is her story:
In 2006, my mom experienced shortness of breath while walking. In early 2007, she saw a Pulmonary doctor who said her lungs were fine, but diagnosed her with congestive heart failure. In May 2007 she had a heart catherization at Gunderson Lutheran Hospital in LaCrosse, WI. They determined that they could treat the heart failure with medication. In July 2007, she and my dad along with a group travelled to Germany for two weeks. She did okay, but was short of breath a lot. In August 2007, my husband and I travelled with both my parents to Colorado. On the way home, she had a stroke in Lincoln, NE. We spent the next 4 days in the hospital there. The doctor in Lincoln is the first doctor that mentioned Amyloidosis to us. They did a biopsy of the stomach tissue and that came back negative. They tapped fluid from her lungs which made it much easier for her to breath.
We came back home to LaCrosse, WI. And in September she had surgery on one lung to keep it from filling up with fluid. At that time, they also did a heart biopsy. They told us it was negative for Amyloidosis. Mom's hematologist at Gunderson Lutheran Hospital in LaCrosse, sent that to Mayo Clinic in Rochester MN for a second opinion. Mayo confirmed she had cardiac Amyloidosis. Shortly after that they also diagnosed her with Multiple Myeloma -stage 2. On November 1, 2007 she had another surgery on the other lung to prevent the fluid buildup. Right after that, they started the treatment of Melphalin and Prednisone. She had two months of that regimen. She seemed to tolerate it fairly well, but she was very very weak. She had a lot of fluid in her belly, legs and feet. She developed Cellulitis which was treated with an antibiotic. She could still walk (with help getting up and down) but was very weak.
On January 4, 2008, she was admitted into Gunderson Lutheran Hospital. They told my dad that she was dying and had maybe a week to live. She entered into Hospice Care and we took her home. By the end of January 2008 we thought she seemed to be a little bit better physically, at least not getting worse.
On January 31, 2008 we took her back into Gunderson Lutheran to see her hematologist to ask about starting treatments again. He said she could do that, but it would be very hard on her and the end result was probably going to be the same. She came back home and we took care of her, keeping her comfortable. My sister and brother and I all took turns helping my dad who was the primary care giver. She was never in much pain, and passed away with all of us by her side on 3-8-08.