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Lauren’s Story

Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We've created it to keep friends and family updated about Lauren Patrice Kunklier. Visit us often and leave messages of encouragement for Lauren. Thank you for caring about Lauren and her journey.

Lauren wasn't feeling well in the Spring 2011. She went to the doctor because she had pain in her right side and back pain. We thought it was her gallbladder. The doctor ordered an ultrasound. He thought she had bad posture and needed physical therapy. We never heard back about the ultrasound so we figured "no news is good news". In August 2011, Lauren still had the same pain and just had a feeling something was really wrong. She seemed to get full really fast and couldn't eat a lot. She lost around 40 pounds. She called the doctor, but he was on vacation. She saw a different doctor at a different location. He read the ultrasound report and was alarmed immediately. He ordered a CT scan. He also referred her to a gastroenterologist. The CT scan said that she had a "huge" mass on her liver. The gastroenterologist referred her to the Cleveland Clinic. We chose to take Lauren to The University of Michigan Hospitals because our daughter, Kristen, and her husband, Bruce are Anesthesia residents there and they know a wonderful liver specialist. Lauren saw the specialist and he ordered an MRI, liver biopsy, and PET scan. Lauren was diagnosed on Aug. 29, 2011 with Cholangiocarcinoma (bile duct cancer). She also has tumors in her liver. The largest tumor is the size of a cantelope. The only cure for this cancer is resection (cutting out the cancer). Hers is not resectable at this time. She is in a clinical study at U of M where she receives three different chemo drugs. Most would get Gemzar and Cisplatin for this cancer. Lauren is getting those along with 5-FU. She gets the 5-FU in a pump she wears for 48 hrs. She has had two rounds of chemo so far and is doing pretty well. We go to Michigan and stay with Kristen and Bruce the night before. She goes for chemo the next day. We are at the hospital for around 8-10 hrs. Blood test, doctor visit and chemo. We stay overnight again and go home the next day. Her pump is diconnected the next day at home. Lauren is very tired for a few days and sleeps a lot. We seem to have gotten her nausea medicine under control. She is on pain meds, but is still in pain some of the time. She will have an MRI in Nov. to see if tumors are shrinking. Hopefully they will and she can have surgery. We hope to have Lauren with us for a long time.