as told by her husband, Walter
In 2002 Cherryl was
diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). This has caused right
sided hemiparesis (slight paralysis). This has gradually worsened
and due to loss of strength and balance Cherryl now uses a
Cherryl worked for 10 years for a home medical supplier until
May 2004. At that time she was experiencing a gradual increase in
memory lapses that affected her ability to remember how to do her
work. This would last for a few minutes or even hours at a time.
By July 2004 she was experiencing increasingly bad
headaches(similar to a migraine). We were not able to control it
once and wound up in the ER. This prompted a call to Cherryl’s
Neurologist who ordered another MRI to determine if there was a
new active MS lesion (spot) in the brain. With that done in the
middle of August,she saw the neurologist on Tuesday August 31 and
he said it did not look like an MS lesion as it was larger than
that and he wanted her to see a Neuro-surgeon on Thursday
At that visit Cherryl was advised that the MRI showed a tumor
lying just left of the center of the brain about 1 ˝ inches below
the crest of the skull. We were able to see the radiographs and
saw there a tumor about the size of a large apricot. The surgeon
recommended immediate surgery to be scheduled as early as possible
the next week.
The following Tuesday Cherryl was admitted to Yakima Regional
Hospital. Surgery lasted about four or five hours. The surgeon
came out to advise the family that it was a single lymphoma that
was mostly removed but not completely. This is done to not disturb
the surrounding healthy brain tissue and since lymphomas are
usually treated non-surgically anyway.
Cherryl spent a few days in ICU and then a few more on the
regular surgical floor. From there she was ‘discharged’ to
inpatient rehabilitation for nearly two weeks so she could relearn
to walk with balance and the use of the cane.
Next came chemotherapy; six treatments every two weeks and
ending just before Christmas 2004. After the first of the year
there was 5 weeks of radiation administered every week day.
Finally there were two more rounds of chemotherapy.
Since then we have had a chance to have Cherryl’s mental
function evaluated. Short term memory is impaired. She repeats
herself multiple times in a short span of time (just minutes)
although a great deal less often now than before. Certain
misnaming of objects occurs. Numbers, date and times are difficult
for her to correctly say or write. Some letters of the alphabet
she is sporadically unable to produce without help. All these
symptoms are very frustrating.
More recently Cherryl had her annual gynecological exam at
which time she advised the doctor some recent lower right side
abdominal pain. An ultrasound showed what appeared to be a rather
large cystic ovary. So surgery was scheduled at Yakima Valley
Memorial Hospital for Tuesday May 30, 2006 to remove both ovaries
(hysterectomy having been previously done in early 2003).
The surgery was going to be approximately 1 hour, after which
the surgeon would come out to advise the family how it had gone.
The surgeon did not appear for about 2 hours, twenty minutes. He
called me (Walter) to a private room to explain that he had never
seen anything quite like what Cherryl presented. It was a lymphoma
that had infiltrated the right ovary. The tumor is roughly the
size of a small flattened grapefruit. Again, surgery is not the
treatment of choice and due to the heavy bleeding it presented the
surgery was longer than anticipated in order to control the
Cherryl was transferred from surgery to ICU where she received
two units of red blood cells overnight. The next afternoon,
Wednesday the 31st she was transferred to the surgical floor where
she stayed until Friday afternoon.
One week later, we called the surgeon’s office to let them know
that Cherryl was experiencing edema (swelling in the feet and
legs). Her abdomen was swollen to about 3 or 4 times bigger than
her normal looking lower belly. There was considerable bruising
across the belly and even down the outside of her thighs. The
doctor’s office called back and said to take her to the hospital
The ER was able to determine that there was no internal
bleeding but that her red cell count was half what it should be.
In consulting with the surgeon and the oncologist that will soon
be starting chemotherapy again, it was determined to keep her
overnight to infuse two more red cell units.
Cherryl is scheduled for a PET/CT scan on June 21 and will see
her oncologist on June 26.
She has been married to Walter since 2003. She has 3 children
and 4 grandchildren.