Update on Cheryl Leighton

On October, an urgent call to prayer was sent to the denominational email list for Cheryl Leighton, wife of Joe Leighton, pastor of Salem Chapel UB in Junction City, Ohio. On September 4 she went into the hospital, experiencing some problems, and cancer was discovered. She has been hospitalized ever since, and her condition was extremely critical.

On October 9, Joe Leighton sent this report about his wife’s condition:

Cheryl went to have a mass removed from an ovary on September 4. It was supposed to be an outpatient procedure. What the doctor found instead were enlarged lymph nodes behind the ovary, and those he removed. Cheryl has been diagnosed with mantel cell lymphoma, a rare form of cancer. It responds well to treatment and can be brought into remission, but presently there is no cure. This cancer has released a chemical that causes a disorder known as FSGS, which severely messes with the kidneys’ filtration process and ability to function.

Cheryl’s kidney function fell to 25%. As a result, her weight ballooned from 135 pounds to 240 pounds. Complications from dialysis led to internal bleeding, and she came within minutes of dying on September 25. She suffered respiratory failure and her bowels also quit. Two liters of blood were drained from her chest cavity and she was given 6 units to replace what was lost.

In the last five days there has been remarkable improvement. She is fully awake from the sedation. Dialysis has removed 85 pounds of fluid and her bowels have regained function and her kidneys are working at about 50%. She had a trach put in, but has been removed from the ventilator and is breathing on her own now. Tomorrow (October 11) she is scheduled to have a blood clot removed from her left lung. Our hope is that within the next few days she will be released from ICU and be returned to The James for her second round of chemotherapy (which she seems to be tolerating well). After that a couple weeks of therapy and then I get to bring her home, where she will continue chemotherapy on an outpatient basis as we try to get her into remission.

There is a lot of research in this area, and if we can get her into a good remission of 2-3 years, it is possible that a cure may be found. If not, and the cancer returns, it is possible to get her back into remission and extend her time while research continues. Or, perhaps the Lord will extend mercy and bring a miracle.

To be honest, it has been a most difficult time, but the Lord has really sustained us and many people have supported us. I cannot say enough good things about our wonderful congregation at Salem Chapel. Those folks have been incredible and awesome. And Cheryl has remained positive and kept her sense of humor and is determined to fight this disease and overcome the complications it has thrown her. And so again, please accept my thanks for making our situation known, and for the wonderful and uplifting response it has solicited.

The Leightons can be reached at this address:

Joe and Cheryl Leighton
3850 Tschopp Road NE
Lancaster, OH 43130

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