In the fall of the year 2000, I became very ill and was hospitalized. After many tests, it was determined that I had a blockage in the main bile duct just below the pancreas thus giving me pancreatitis with a backup of both pancreatic and liver discharges. A surgical team stood ready to go, but the blockage cleared giving great relief. The physician sent me home to rest for ten days after which surgery to remove the gall bladder would be performed. That surgery went well but the surgeon discovered that I was in early stages of cirrhosis of the liver. He was convinced that I was an alcoholic. I understand his perspective but as a total abstainer there had to be another cause. I was referred to a liver specialist who saw me periodically over the next couple years. My liver tests were stable so he released me with the instructions that I have certain blood tests periodically under the care of my primary care physician. Until now all seemed to be fine.
On May 30th Karen and I flew to Arizona to help our daughter and family move into their new home in Sahuarita, AZ. We had a good first week with them and then I started to get sick. After a visit to Urgent Care, it looked like it was a urinary infection so I was started on antibiotics. However, by the time we came home on July 13th I was feeling very sick and saw my primary care doctor on Friday, June 15th. Blood tests revealed severely elevated liver numbers. Since then, there have been multiple blood tests, an Ultrasound and a MRI. This all culminated in a consultation with two liver specialists at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN on Friday June 29th, where we were informed that I have Hepatocellular Carcinoma. There are small tumors spread throughout about 50% of the liver. Evidently, this cancer is one of the leading causes of death for individuals with cirrhosis. The doctors were great in their kind and gentle care of us but made it clear that that any treatments have only the possibility of extending life not curing the problem. We are now scheduled to meet with an oncology physician on July 12th.
As you can imagine this is all very emotional for our family. Karen and I have continual tearful conversations. Our family is in shock.
We know it is all in the Lord’s hands, and if it is His will, He is even able to heal. At the clinic office I reread Psalm 139 where our number of days are not determined by man but by God.
Please pray for Karen and me as we have tough conversations about the future. Please pray that Karen and our family (2 daughters: Krista, husband David Masterson & children: Ian (13), Will (11), & Linnea (10) living in Sahuarita, AZ and Kari and husband Eric Berglund & children: Emma (14 in August) & Ethan (10) living in Hugo, MN). I don’t know what was more difficult: telling my girls or then knowing they had to tell their children and husbands. Lots of tears! We are so thankful for such a loving, caring family who walks closely with the Lord.
Please pray also that I will invest the time left wisely into serving my Savior and loving my family. I would welcome any phone calls, texts, and/or email. We pray for God’s healing miraculous touch if it is in His plan and for His clear direction as to decisions that will have to be made when meeting with the Oncologist. We are so thankful that we chose to follow our primary care doctor when he left our former clinic to go to the Mayo Health System Clinic in Cannon Falls. He is so caring and has been proactive in changing the oncology appointment from July 24th to the 12th and hopes it can be even more soon.