By Stephanie Mork, Open Arms Photojournalism Intern
2016 was a difficult year for Judy and her husband Larry. In April, Larry lost his job. A month or two later, Judy began to notice some chest pain and difficulty breathing. She went into the doctor, and they found that her left lung was totally collapsed and full of fluid.
“It was a total surprise,” said Judy. “I had no clue, because I had no physical pain. When they drained the fluid at the hospital, they came back and said it was cancer.” The cancer had started in her ovaries, spread to the stomach, and was working its way into her lungs. In June, Judy was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer.
At the hospital, their social worker told them about Open Arms and helped get them set up. Soon Judy and Larry were receiving delicious meals each week, as well as nausea care packs full of easy-on-the-stomach items for Judy to eat during chemo. Despite not having much of an appetite, Judy noted, “The packs were great for what I needed them for.”
and Larry enjoy the hearty entrees in each delivery, particularly the lasagna or anything with corn. “I had lost so much weight at the beginning but I feel like I am eating more than I ever have before!” said Judy. “I feel good and I feel stronger since I finished chemo.”
Larry’s job loss proved to have a silver lining. “We feel there was some divine intervention because Larry has been able to be my main caretaker since I have been diagnosed,” Judy explained.
Larry has been able to support Judy round the clock, and their two kids have been able to visit. With the upcoming holidays, Open Arms has helped their family to feel less stress about having to put food on the table.
“Everyone we have interacted with at Open Arms has been encouraging and kind,” said Judy. “It’s very reassuring to know that the meals are coming, and we feel very blessed to have Open Arms.”
By donating to Open Arms this holiday season, you can support neighbors like Judy and Larry through their most difficult times.
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