WESTFIELD, NJ – A Westfield teacher waits in the hospital for the results of a lung biopsy and tests, and friends are raising money to pay their rent and bills.
Teacher Lisa Barretta, who survived cervical cancer years ago, was hospitalized late last week due to pain originally diagnosed as lung cancer, but now it could be an abscess, a friend said.
“She was hospitalized for a while to hopefully get her pain under control,” wrote friend Mary Wickens in her first update on GoFundMe on Thursday. “She will need all the help she can get when she can go home. Not being able to finish the year with her class is emotionally devastated.”
Wickens added, “Because treatment started quickly, she unexpectedly had to take a leave of absence from class, which includes no pay … I created this fund so she could focus on her health and treatment without worrying about rent and Having to provide food. ” or medical bills. ”
Wickens said she had been friends with Barretta for more than 20 years, and Barretta was a beloved aunt, godmother, and teacher.
On Saturday, Wickens shared disturbing news: “The biopsy was illegible for some reason, and they couldn’t get an MRI either… It’s the weekend and it’s a holiday so I don’t know when a surgeon can come. “
But on Tuesday, Wickens announced a promising update.
“Lisa’s out of surgery and she has all the crowd,” she wrote. “The surgeon said it doesn’t seem like cancer, more like an abscess; like super horrible pneumonia, but they are going to biopsy it and the results could be about a week. The surgeon also said that type of abscess (if that is is often misdiagnosed as cancer and sees it 5-10 times a year. This is hopeful, miraculous news! Please be confident that it does! “
On Wednesday the news went up. Wickens said doctors were sure Wickens had been misdiagnosed but would still need care. She may be able to go home on Friday if her lung function improves, Wickens said.
“The thoracic surgeon and the oncologist both confirmed today that Lisa was misdiagnosed!” She wrote. “Based on her x-rays, symptoms, and blood tests, all of which suggested cancer of the lungs; that’s what we were originally told. However, during her stay in Overlook, a pulmonologist suggested that there might be a large abscess in her lungs that from a severe case of pneumonia. “
Barretta has taught at Tamaques Elementary and, more recently, Lincoln School.
A story in TAPInto this week said she was worried about looking after her dogs.
The GoFundMe had raised $ 22,000 of the $ 25,000 by Wednesday morning.
Wickens said the donations enabled her to pay the teacher’s rent and bills for June.
GoFundMe and updates are here.
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