Lyn's Struggle with Lymphoma
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Lyn's Struggle with Lymphoma
Photo of Ken, Joy and Lyn in September 1999
while on a picnic in Dartmoor, England.

Lyn Edwards, Joy's mother has always been an energetic, bright and cheerful Christian woman.  Over the past fifty years Lyn has actively worked in her local Baptist churches  at Bristol, Cullompton, and in village churches.  She has served faithfully in Sunday School,  in Sunshine Hour Women's group, and in nursing home Christian ministries. She especially loved playing both traditional hymns and contemporary chorus on the piano both at home and at church.  Her home was a refuge for many a weary traveler and her table entertained guests from all over the world, including pastors, missionaries, Bible translators,  and denominational speakers and leaders.  In the twinkling of an eye she served her visitors with a hot cup of tea- always done with  a warm, caring heart.  

In December 1998, a swollen lymph gland in her neck was believed to be only a local infection from a minor cold at that time.  But after the Christmas holidays, a hard tumor grew rapidly in her neck and up the side of her face until she couldn't even open one eye.  She was immediately placed on CHOP chemotherapy and a biopsy of other lymph glands in her neck revealed that she had a high grade B-cell non-Hodgkins lymphoma.  Body scans also revealed other smaller tumors in lymph nodes all over her body.  

The initial response to the CHOP treatment was extraordinary.  In only a few weeks the tumor in her neck receded and disappeared completely.  She continued for eight months  through August with a CHOP treatment every four weeks.  Other than hair loss, she had very few adverse reactions to these treatments and her joyful spirit and compassionate nature were unflagging.  Although CHOP effectively eliminated the large tumor in her neck it didn't stop the other smaller, slower growing sites in her other lymph nodes.  One of these began causing her intense discomfort and pain in September.  

In October and November 1999,  her medical team prescribed progressively stronger chemotherapy treatments named EPIC (the P standing for platinum). Unlike the CHOP therapy, the EPIC treatments  themselves were very taxing upon her strength.  In November after the second EPIC treatment, she had to be hospitalized for intestinal disorders and acute dehydration, which her doctor believes may have been a reaction to the EPIC treatment instead of a simple intestinal infection.  It took her a couple weeks to recover before she was released from hospital.  

When she returned home in early December, her Baptist church family and neighbors were most supportive, bringing meals to their home and helping in every practical way possible.   David's mother in Texas (Aurea Borgan) helped Joy and Hope secure airline tickets for the Christmas holidays.  Lyn was still on her feet, although somewhat slower,  but as bright and cheerful as ever.

The day Joy arrived from Spain and Hope arrived from Louisiana, Lyn greeted them almost as normal.  But that first night of their stay Lyn took a turn for the worse and the next was taken by ambulance to the hospital for pneumonia.  Joy's father Ken (79) also was bedridden with bronchitis that same night.  This began a week long vigil with Joy traveling in each day to the hospital in Exeter and Hope helping her grandfather at home.

On Wednesday December 22, in spite of her setback with pneumonia, her medical team decided to go ahead and take a biopsy of the tumor that had been causing the most discomfortin the abdominal area, in the hope that it might  reveal a low grade lymphoma which could respond to additional treatments.  Sadly it confirmed the doctor's suspicion that it was more high grade lymphoma, leading to the solemn report that there was no further treatment they could give her.

On Christmas Eve, at the request of the family, the ambulance took Lyn home to be with her family for Christmas.  Ken & Lyn, Joy, Hope, Ruth and Columbus, (Joy's sister and her husband) and their two children were all there to celebrate the birth of Christ  together.

A bed was set up in the living room.  Lyn's stomach had swollen considerably and caused her intense pain, which had to be relieved with morphine every few hours.  Additionally her legs had swollen to the point that she could no longer walk, because of the pain.  The problem in her legs-- they say-- was indirectly caused by the blockage of the tumors in her stomach, which prevented the normal drainage of fluids from her legs.  

On Christmas Day, she was able to sit up in a wheel chair and enjoyed exchanging gifts with her family.   Each day had its ups and downs through the Christmas holidays.

Her medical team in England had exhausted all possible treatments to control the lymphoma and could only treat the symptoms.  On New Year's Eve and New Year's Day 2000 Lyn stopped eating and by Sunday she  could no longer swallow the liquid morphine to counter the pain.  Her family assembled around her on Sunday evening January 2nd.  Paul arrived to be with her and she gave a radiant smile as she recognized him, although by then she could not speak.  Her doctor eased her pain with injections and told the family that he doubted that in her frail condition she would last the night.  But with her family gathered around her on an overnight vigil she slept peacefully until Monday morning January 3rd.

At around 8:30am January 3rd, Lyn Edwards left us to be with her Lord Jesus Christ.  Although we were sad, we know there was great rejoicing in Heaven as she arrived.