Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Farewell, Landleigh Nelson. I (and others in the Diabetes Community) Will Miss You.

Over the weekend, I learned that Landileigh Lee (nee James) Nelson died on Tuesday, January 10, 2023. As many of her friends knew, in recent years, Landileigh (or as those closest to her called her "Landi") had been dealing with a number of health issues. She faced seemingly one health issue after another, including dialysis which began at one point. And yet she handled it all incredibly gracefully and with her typical sense of humor, which was one reason I was proud to call Landileigh my friend.

In 2017, Landi posted that she had gotten a new haircut on Facebook. I thought it was a nice photo of her, and this is how I wish to remember her.



This was Landi's H.S. graduation photo taken in 1978, two years after my own T1D diagnosis.


Apparently, back in December 2022, she had gone to the ER with severe abdominal pain which she thought was her pancreatitis (one of the different health issues she'd been dealing with recently) flaring up, but it turned out that she had some type of leakage in one of her intestines. On December 18, she had surgery to repair that, and she had part of her intestine removed (FYI, my mother lived with autoimmune ulcerative colitis or "UC" and had her entire large intestine removed; only she was spared from wearing an ostomy bag with a multi-part surgery called J-Pouch surgery, which means intestinal issues are not necessarily fatal). But her husband Chuck told friends (Landileigh also remained very close with her daughter Holly) that she had healed from that surgery, but she'd apparently developed an infection caused by the gut leaking, and it appears the doctors were never able to get that infection under control. Her husband simply said something like "her body was unable to continue on its own". The night before her passing, her loved ones had seen her condition deteriorate, and her prognosis was not good, so they were expecting the worst to happen, and she apparently passed away peacefully around around 3:00 AM on Tuesday, January 10, 2023. 

The only published obituary (if you can call it that; not much was said about her other than the date of passing) I could find was at the following link https://obituaries.neptune-society.com/obituaries/walnut-creek-ca/landileigh-nelson-11103754

I can't speculate on the exact chain of events or even what her actual cause of death was officially (it doesn't matter, although I should note that the family was very careful to acknowledge that her passing was NOT diabetes-related, probably because she wanted them to), but like many others in the diabetes community, I am feeling a great sense of loss since I learned of Landileigh's recent passing. Just as I have responded when other friends in the diabetes community have passed (for example, I'm thinking of Kitty Castellini's passing which I wrote about in 2016, see my post at https://blog.sstrumello.com/2016/06/a-tribute-to-my-dear-friend-kitty.html), I feel it is appropriate to commemorate my friendship with Landileigh and her life with this blog post.

Landileigh and I shared a few things in common. For example, when I first met her, we talked about how I had lived in San Francisco throughout the early 1990's, and we knew many of the same local hangouts. We also joked about our most common bond, which was autoimmune Type 1 diabetes. Only someone who lives with the same thing (for as long as the two of us had) can share that commonality as well.

I essentially wrote the following on her Facebook page, but I think it summarizes what I want to remember about my relationship with Landileigh:

"I still look back fondly at the bond you and I had initially formed in Las Vegas at the Diabetes UnConference where we dined together at the Hash House a Go Go (and the laughter we both shared over your brief visit to the Planet Hollywood Casino days earlier), and then meeting up with you again in Indianapolis and going to the Indianapolis Indians minor league baseball game. Since we were among the few who were not drinking at the game, we just laughed together throughout the game and the others around us wondered what the heck we were doing! I know the last few years were incredibly tough, but you handled it with incredible grace. I will miss you, my friend."

I think that about sums up my sense of loss over Landi's passing. Farewell, my friend. Rest in peace. I will miss you!


Kerri. said...

Beautiful tribute, Scott. Thank you for writing this.

StephenS said...

Thanks for sharing. Landileigh was a wonderful soul.

FatCatAnna said...

Thank you for this Scott!

Susan said...

Lovely, Scott. Thank you for your words on Landi. She will be missed indeed.

Mike Hoskins said...

Thank you for sharing these words, Scott. Landi will be missed, for sure.