Review: After repeated hospitalizations for pleural effusion (fluid around the lungs), Anne’s doctors have agreed to a chemo break.  This will give her body a much needed rest and give her a chance to enjoy the holidays as much as possible.

November 28

Despite not receiving chemo for over a month, the chemo and its side effects still linger in Anne’s body.  Ray noticed Anne was having trouble breathing again and took her to the local hospital for a chest x-ray.  The next day, her doctor saw the results, called, and asked soon she could come to their hospital to be admitted.  That evening, they removed one and a half liters of fluid from one side.  The next day, they did the second lung, followed by a CT scan to ensure they got it all.

hospital staff push wheelchair and oxygen through hall

The doctor walks with Anne to her CT scan as two nurses tend to her and her oxygen.


woman in hospital gown and wheelchair shows wounds on her back

As Anne waits for her CT scan, her back shows the bandages covering the incisions from the most recent removal of fluid from her lungs.


Anne was on oxygen while in the hospital.  Throughout her stay, the nurses would try to take her off of it.  While I was there, her oxygen dropped to 84.  Determined to stay off of the oxygen, Anne focused on her breathing to stay in the acceptable range (92 is as low as they like it).

cancer patient in hospital bed surrounded by nurses

Anne’s nurses care for her throughout the day, making sure her oxygen level stays up.

That evening a doctor came to discuss a more long term solution so Anne is not admitted every two weeks.  A tube (pleural drain) will be placed in one lung sac to be drained at home as needed.  The doctor explained there needs to be some fluid in the sac so they don’t accidentally puncture the lung.  They would need to wait at least a couple of days for the fluid to build back up.  She could stay at the hospital, but Anne did not want to risk missing her next appointment at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.  Delaying the procedure would also allow all of Anne’s doctors to discuss and coordinate.

woman in hospital bed and man listen to doctor

Ray and Anne listen to the doctor explain the procedure, side effects, and concerns of a pleural drain.


pleural drain for pleural effusion, aspira

The doctor brought a pleural drain to show Anne and Ray.

There was a lot of waiting at the hospital that day which gave us time to catch up.  She had a good Thanksgiving but less and less often she is going on her beloved “mom dates” and having visitors.  She feels like a burden as her illness is impacting others to include Ray’s co-workers.  She is having a hard time asking for help because she knows others are busy with their own lives.  Ray told her, “You took care of the house while I was gone,” referring to his time in the Navy, “now it is my turn.”  She replied, “It’s not the same.”

The mental toll of cancer, in ways, is harder than the physical effects.  Sadly, it is not discussed often.  The mind is a powerful component of health and healing.  There is no magic pill to make you optimistic, hopeful, or change your view on your situation.  You have to find your own setbacks and develop your own strategies to overcome them.  You have to hold yourself accountable to your perspective, outlook, and attitude.  You must believe with all the depths of your soul you will win this fight.  Even with all the love, support, and encouragement of those around her, this is one part of the fight Anne has to face alone.

Follow Anne’s Journey

Anne’s Story: In Memorandum

Review: Anne passed away due to complications from uterine leiomyosarcoma (LMS). June 8, 2019 Anne’s memorial was held at the church she grew up in.  The small church quickly filled with friends and family of all ages from all the country.  Boy Scout and Navy uniforms...

Anne’s Story: See You on the Other Side

Review: Anne’s chemotherapy is no longer working. Her doctors will throw everything at the cancer: chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and radiation, hoping the full assault will have an impact.  The reality of the brutal, aggressive nature of leiomyosarcoma cannot be...

Anne’s Story: Hail Mary

  Hail Mary Review: Anne completed three rounds of her newest chemo regiment and had a regularly scheduled CT scan to see if it was working.  It was not. April 2019 Days after learning the devastating news, Anne and Ray went to the local chemo clinic to learn the...

Sparkson Photography

Jennifer Jones of Sparkson Photography is a documentary style family photographer specializing in family, newborn, and school portraits. Serving Kitsap County, WA and surrounding area.

Contact me to book a session.