HOUSTON — A Houston-area family is dealing with a devastating diagnosis. Their mother has cancer and tested positive for coronavirus. Now, the family has been forced to say their final goodbyes virtually.
“It was just really hard to not be able to hold her hand," said Jennifer Walsh, who is married to an employee at one of KHOU's sister stations.
Her mother, Victoria Walsh, just turned 70.
“She’s full of life, she’s one of those people that liked to dance," Jennifer said.
Victoria is a mother of three and grandmother of nine. Her family says she's a fighter and a breast cancer survivor. Her daughter says when her mom’s cancer came back about a month ago, they dropped her at M.D. Anderson, not realizing it might be the last time they could say goodbye in person.
"When we dropped Victoria off we had no chance to say goodbye to her, it was pretty traumatic," said Charles Walsh, Victoria's husband of more than 50 years. “I took Vickie to her senior prom and we’ve just been together ever since."
Walsh eventually tested positive for COVID-19. Her family doesn't know how she came into contact with the virus.
“Within hours, we got a call saying we got to intubate her and that was probably the most traumatic thing we’ve gone through because we had minutes via Facetime to say goodbye," Jennifer said.
But Victoria is a fighter, and she was able to bounce back. Her family wanted her to spend her final days at home.
“We were ready to just take care of her and for her to be surrounded by her family," Jennifer said.
But then, she took another turn.
“This morning, we had to say goodbye again and you know, it’s just ... how many goodbyes can you say via Facetime?" Jennifer said.
Now, watching her final moments on a 24-hour Facetime stream. Her family is wondering what they can do to keep others from a similar fate.
“I would say to wear masks,” Charles said.
“Be careful and even if it doesn’t affect you, and your immune system is good, the domino effect of how it can affect people like us and take away life so soon is real," Jennifer said.
At last check, Victoria is still fighting. Her family is up around the clock, making sure someone is virtually by her side.
KHOU 11 News reached out to MD Anderson and received the following statement:
"The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center is committed to providing the highest level of cancer care to our patients. We continue to take extensive precautions during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the safety of our patients and our employees. We know this is a difficult time for cancer patients and their families, and we are working tirelessly to create a safe environment for cancer care."