By Lori Gluckman Winterfeldt as told to Cathy Pipcho
Lori Gluckman Winterfeldt was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in the early 1990s at age 24. She has now been a survivor for over 28 years. Lori was treated with mantle radiotherapy and ABVD chemotherapy. She was diagnosed with hypothyroidism about two years post-treatment. She was later diagnosed with breast cancer, received a pacemaker, a mechanical heart valve, and had a mitral valve repair, all while in her 40s.
Lori contracted the Covid 19 virus (CV19) in 2021. Her initial symptoms included a low-grade fever and some chest tightness with breathing. She was transported and admitted to the hospital after calling 911 on day three of symptoms.
A CT scan and her presenting symptoms were highly suggestive of CV19, but Lori tested negative twice. Remarkably, Lori, hospitalized on oxygen, was able to advocate for herself while keeping in touch with her survivorship doctor and cardiologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). As she got weaker and developed gastrointestinal symptoms as well as difficulty breathing, Lori requested a rescue inhaler. The nursing staff denied her request.
Nevertheless, Lori’s fortitude was not diminished. She told her husband and parents that she was adamant about not being put on a ventilator. She had a DNR order drawn up. With her condition quickly deteriorating, her medical team insisted a vent was her only option. At this point Lori knew she wanted palliative/hospice care, thinking back to a recent experience that her mother-in-law had. Lori was given morphine and prednisone, no vent, and does not remember much of that week. Her husband and family were allowed to visit and slowly Lori improved. Also, a third CV19 test came back positive. Once her home was prepared with a hospital bed, commode, and oxygen, she was transported home for hospice care. Ultimately, she had no nursing care at home per her and her husband’s wishes.
To this day, Lori is reducing her oxygen intake and prednisone while getting stronger! Lori’s story is so much more than what I have written. Throughout her entire ordeal, she was her own best advocate. She knows her history, her body, and what is best for her. She was given enough strength to fight for what she instinctively knew she needed and wanted.
This rendition doesn’t portray the amazing sequence of events that Lori will provide in the future. She is anxious to help each one of us, giving rise to the fact she is a founding member of Hodgkin’s International. We gathered to brainstorm in her home and shortly after HI came to fruition!
Please note: the thoughts and opinions expressed within the content are solely the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the the opinions and beliefs of Hodgkin’s International.