Jessika Macken Ritchie Morgan 3/19/1978-2/12/2011 My friend, my patient and sweet sister-in-law..... Our journey together
In March 2010 Jessika was diagnosed with Cervical Cancer with lymph node involvement.
4/2010-7/2010 Chemo and Radiation
8/2010-10/2010 Life is Normal. Jess took a part time job, spent the summer with her
children, went to the beach, etc. 8/2010 one area suspicious on PET scan
9/2010 area concluded as inflammation by MRI/CT scan 10/15/10 Jess begins having nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain 10/2010-12/13/2010 in and out of hospital, had numerous ct scans, xrays, mri, etc. Jess only spent about 10 days home during these months of severe sickness.
11/16-12/13/2010 admitted for malnutrition at our local hospital(where I work) Jessika had numerous X-rays, ct scans, MRI^s, endoscopies, exploratory laparoscopy, colonoscopy, feeding tube placed, gastric emptying studies, etc.
Only diagnosed as malnourished (feeding tube placed), IBS, failure to thrive, narcotic dependency. Her back pain began during this time and was later confirmed as being from spinal mets.
12/24/10 This is the weekend she began staying with me so that I could care for her. During this time I had to wean her from her pain medicines since nothing could be found wrong to require them and nobody would continue to prescribe them considering all of her test were normal. Jess also had the feeding tube to care for and all of her medicines were administered through the tube. Jess began living with me because I am a nurse and she needed assistance with her care. We felt that her care was too much for my brother to handle while working and taking care of their children. Jess was too sick to be left alone all day.
1/14/10 I created a group on facebook to keep Jessika^s friends up to date on how she was doing in my care since Jess was not up to answering her phone.
1/19/2010 Jess had an endoscopy (2nd one). It was abnormal and showed narrowing of her esophagus from something pushing in from the outside.
1/20/2010 Jess had her second follow up PET scan (1st one in Aug.) and we also saw a kidney doctor for the severe right flank/back pain she dealt with for over a month.
Jess had fallen that night at my house and so I had to call EMS and she ended up in the ER (where I work). While I was there, I was given the horrifying, unexpected news. Being alone with Jess, I could not tell her at that time. I told her she was being admitted for the fluid she had around her left lung and told her I was crying because I had gotten into a fight with my boyfriend. I called my parents, they met me in Hickory and around midnight we drove to Huntersville to tell Spence (my brother, her husband in person)...this was the day our lives completely changed. Results: terminal metastatic cervical cancer...spine, liver, etc., discharged home to Hospice less than one week after getting the news.... I went to Huntersville with Jess to continue providing what was now called comfort care. In shock, I went from keeping Jess on a very strict morphine weaning schedule because nothing was found to be wrong to giving her anything she needed to be comfortable. As a nurse, this has been one of the hardest things I have had to try to accept. After spending less than two weeks home (after being gone more than three months) with her children, husband, family, and friends, Jess went home to be with the Lord February 12, 2011 just one month shy of her 33rd birthday.
I know God^s plan was set the day Jessika came into this world and I am thankful she is resting in peace now. I pray that I will be able to get passed my frustration, anger and sadness that I am carrying right now. I pray that this story will change lives and promote more research on cervical cancer as well as encourage women to get their annual exams.
Thank you for reading, Stacy