Al Watson Al's Next Big Adventure

First post: Jul 4, 2020 Latest post: Jun 3, 2021
Hi everyone- Claudia here.  Here's what we’ve been doing. Al has been losing weight and not having much energy.  At the end of May, he mentioned he was having some right abdominal and back pain.  Similar to the symptoms his brother Bill had before he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  On June 1st, we went to his primary care doctor who ordered an abdominal ultrasound.  There was a lesion on his pancreas.  A CT and biopsy confirmed a positive diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.  

We researched where to get the best pancreatic cancer care.  It was between Mayo and University of Wisconsin’s (UW) Carbone Cancer Center.  Al preferred UW.  So UW it is.  UW is the only comprehensive cancer center in Wisconsin and is well known for it’s research and treatment of breast cancer.  What we learned is that UW also has a comprehensive Pancreatic Care Center.  We met with the Pancreatic Care Team (the team) which consists of an oncologist, surgeon, nutritionist, and our nurse navigator.  We will also meet with a geneticist.  The new theory is that pancreatic cancer could be genetic. More on that during a later posting.   

The tumor is around the artery that supplies blood to the intestines, the superior mesenteric artery (SMA) for all my fellow medical nerds. So, surgery isn’t an option.  The plan is to start with 4 rounds of chemo, then more scans to identify if the cancer has decided to shrink, stay the same, or grow.  Then we’ll decide the next steps.  

Interestingly, Al will go into the chemo unit for the first few hours of chemo, then he’ll come home with a pump, so he can be at home during the remaining 48 hours of chemo infusion.   

He was supposed to start chemo on July 2nd, but he didn’t pass his test. His lab test, that is. He’s too jaundice because so he has a blocked bile duct and will need a stent placed.  So today he had an endoscopic stent placement (ERCP).  So not sure exactly when he’ll start chemo.

At this point, we are doing pretty well emotionally.  Physically, Al is super tired, has limited energy, and some abdominal/back pain/discomfort, which is easily managed with ibuprofen.  The oncologist thinks he will have more energy after chemo starts. 

I’m sure there will be times when Al and I are exhausted, so we’ve asked Ern Saunders to help us update the Caring Bridge site.  Although he said he’d do anything for us, he drew the line at skydiving.  Fortunately, that’s not on Al’s bucket list.  But I highly suspect if Al wanted to do that, Ern would be right beside him.  

That’s where we are at this point.  We will keep everyone update via Caring Bridge so everyone can be up to date on Al’s next big adventure. 

Please share this site address with others who might want to know.  We’ve tried to send invitations to as many people as possible, but I’m sure we’ve missed a few.

Just in case you don't already know this, 2020 bites.  It's been rough for everyone, but has hit our family especially hard.  

Stay tuned

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