My support team showing their stuff

Al Lemieux

First post: Dec 9, 2019 Latest post: Jul 9, 2020
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My story began in the middle of June 2019 while Jo and I were  on a cross country road trip.  While in South Dakota as we started returning to the east coast I started feeling sickly. The next day in Nebraska I was worse and realized I was catching a good cold. We cancelled our next visit and pushed on to St. Louis for and overnight stop. Following that my bug had become fully enveloped. We cancelled all our planned visits and decided to road run it home. We made it home in 16 hours of steady driving and the bug was making me miserable. Jo ended up catching it a couple days later. My bug lasted for two weeks as did Jo's. Once the cold was gone I noticed I was getting significant abdominal pains. Thinking they were part of the virus I let them go. After a month of constant abdominal pain I saw my doctor and he thought I was suffering from acid reflux and prescribed meds for that. Additionally, as a precaution he ordered an abdominal ultra sound. Two weeks later that test came back negative and my doctor gave me an additional med for acid reflux and suggested a HIDA scan. One of those nuclear tests. This test showed my gallbladder was operating at reduced capacity. It took another month to see my doctor (the pain never going away) again when he convinced me instead of seeing a surgeon I should get yet another test. An EGD where they stick a tube down your throat. This came up negative again. At this point my doctor threw up his hands and asked me what I should do. Needless to say I lost respect for him at this point. I demanded a referral to a surgeon to talk my gallbladder situation. The surgeon was excellent. He was not concerned too much about the gallbladder. I was at 16% operation where the normal one is between 35-75%. He asked me to undergo a cat scan. That test identified a growth on my liver. Following a biopsy I was diagnosed as having a liver cancer. My surgeon stated he did not believe he or any other surgeons in our area had the requisite skills to operate on this tumor due to its close proximity to the heart, a lung, and important blood vessels. He suggested I get to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore one of the leading cancer centers on the planet.  The staff at JHH had me complete several tests including blood, cat scan, and MRI before showing up. With those tests I was able to be evaluated and a plan of action was established. It was explained to me that due to closeness of the tumor to vital organs surgery at this time would not remove all the cancerous cells. Our plan: Aggressive chemotherapy for three months in hopes of shrinking the tumor enough to allow successful surgery. 


That is the point we are at today.  On Tuesday Dec 10th I have my first appointment with an exceptional oncologist in Norfolk, Virginia. Hopefully, at this meeting we will schedule the treatments and get this ball rolling.


I have many, many caring and supporting individuals including family, friends, neighbors, and hobbyists. Thank you to each and every one of you, Jo and I love all of you. The one thing I beg for all of you supporting me is to leave my story off of social media and our hobby website. I'm not here for a pity party. I'm here hoping your good wishes, prayers, and encouragement will help me and Jo weather this storm. We know it's going to be tough and doing it alone is not an acceptable option.


Either Jo or I will keep this site updated on my progress as things occur.

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