I spoke with Dr. Brady today. He is the pathologist who did the autopsy on Penny. I asked him to identify the proximate cause of her death, that is, we knew she had cancer, and esophogeal erosion, asthma, diabetes, and she could easily have had a blood clot or other problem, and I wanted to know which it had been.
He seldom sees advanced cancer, and was actually horrified by the extent of the disease. It had, in a short few months, invaded her entire abdominal cavity, and was insinuated into every one of her internal organs. That includes, as well as some we had known about in the liver, apparently more recent intrusions into her heart and lungs, kidneys, esophagus, bowels, stomach, spleen, everything. It was working through her abdominal wall, which is where the biopsy was taken.
The CT scan showed us that the cancer was extensive, but it only revealed the places where the tumor material had 'lumped up'. It was pervasive in thin threads and sheets. Her body tried to fight it by creating fluid pockets to isolate it from the other tissues, and these became infected in places.
She had been coughing the day before and slept poorly Wednesday night ... Dr. Brady found evidence of a beginning pneumonia, but there wasn't evidence that had been the cause. He didn't find a clot or other problem.
The formal report will be provided sometime late this week or early next week, but it was the cancer that did it.