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My brother Algird is an 18 year survivor of stage 4 malignant melanoma. On May 13, 2018, he posted on Facebook, "I am sick of being sick. Anyone have a home remedy for excoriating pain lasting 3 months or longer?" He had not been able to address or find the cause of his abdominal pain even though he sought medical attention. Little did we know that just a few days later, he would be in the hospital, jaundiced and dehydrated.
Al was transferred from Genesis East in Davenport, IA to OSF in Peoria, IL on May 20th, where the surgeon was able to insert a stent in his bile duct to remedy his jaundice and biopsy the mass that was blocking the duct and causing his jaundice in the first place. Shortly thereafter, he got the diagnosis: it was primary pancreatic cancer.
Al's surgeon, Dr. Stephen Marshall, was optimistic about the chance of eliminating his cancer surgically, as well as removing his gallbladder. Instead, during Al's surgery on June 25, Dr. Marshall found several nodules on Al's liver, which he then biopsied. They were metastatic growths of the pancreatic cancer. So Al was closed up and did not have his gallbladder or tumor on the pacreas removed. Doctor indicated that removing either the gallbladder or tumor could have led to complications, and did not want to expose Al to the additional risks.
Al's prognosis is 6 months without chemotherapy and up to 2 years with. He had a port inserted before he left OSF, to be used in his chemo treatment. On Tuesday, July 10, Al will be checking in with Dr. Marshall's associate to see if he's healed enough to begin chemo. He'd like to get started on Thursday, at the Illinois Cancer Center in Galesburg, IL.
Al's wife Joyce, who has been by his side his entire journey, brought him home on Friday, June 29. She's been caring for him at home since then. Al still has a lot of abdominal pain, as well as neuropathy that disabled him years ago, due to the treatment of his melanoma. He bears it without complaining, but he continues to report the pain as a 9 or 10 on a 10 point scale.
One distraction from the pain has been all the love, support, and visits that Al's friends and family have given him. Thanks for caring! It means so much to Al, Joyce, and all of his family. Please keep it up!