On February 16, Carter went to Urgent Care because of stomach pains. Bloodwork and and x-rays were taken and he was sent home with the diagnosis of intestinal flu. About a month later on March 21, he was having regular stomach pains that literally took his breath away. He went back into Urgent Care. Once again bloodwork, x-rays and this time an added CAT scan was given that revealed so much more. Carter called me and told me that he needed me to come and pick him up and take him to the ST. Cloud Hospital. He didn't want to give me any additional information until I got there. When I walked into the room where he was waiting, he looked me in the eye with tears running down his face and voice quivering he said six words that will forever change our lives. "They think that I have cancer." We called some amazing friends to take the boys for the night and I drove him to the St. Cloud hospital where he was admitted and a biopsy was ordered for the next day. We could not process how something like this could possibly be true. Carter is a 44 year old healthy man. We met with two different doctors that night that explained to us that masses were found in his abdominal area, in his duodenum (first part of the small intestine immediately beyond the stomach) on his liver and in a webbing surrounding his intestines. How in the world that the cancer could be in so many different places without any signs at all. A biopsy was ordered to find out what form of cancer that is was. It was the worst night of our lives. We didn't sleep at all. We had no idea how to deal with what was happening. He was discharged the following afternoon. The stomach pains were gone and we had to wait until the early part of the next week for the biopsy results to come back. We shared the news that we knew so far with family and a few friends. Carter's mom, Gail, and his sister, Tena, booked flights right away so come and be with us for help and support. We chose to hold off telling the boys until after we had better processed everything.
On March 27, we met with our oncologist and the worst was confirmed. Carter had stage 4 terminal cancer. At the time, it was decided that he had duodenum cancer which is a very rare and aggressive cancer. Hearing out loud what we so badly feared was heartbreaking. A PET scan and MRI were ordered for later in the week to get a better look at the cancer and to reveal if it had spread to any other parts of his body that the CAT scan did not show. We met with a child specialist who spoke with us and gave us some ideas on how to break the news and explain everything to our three precious boys. On March 29, Carter had a PET scan and MRI done. We were phoned when the doctor got the results from the PET scan. The scan revealed that it was colon cancer and that the mass that was found in the duodenum was benign. They told us that this was good news. Colon cancer is a much more common type of cancer. It is still stage 4 terminal cancer, but they have many more options for treatment if Carter did not respond well with one of them. We are going to take this as out first miracle. The prayers that everyone had been saying for us were working.
April 4, Carter had surgery and a chemo port was put in his chest where he will receive his chemo infusions. Everything went very well. On April 6, we had a follow up appointment with our oncologist. He had been in touch with an oncologists at The Mayo Clinic and they have set up a plan. Carter will do his first day of chemo at the Coborn Cancer Center of St. Cloud, he goes home on a chemo pump for 46 hours. This is repeated every two weeks. He will do 4-6 cycles of this and then news scans will be done to see how effective the chemo has been. We will then go to The Mayo Clinic and meet with an oncologist there to see on how to proceed.
We cannot express how amazing and supportive that everyone has been to our family ever since we have began this journey. We could never thank our family and friends enough for the love that they have shown. I am simply blown away at compassion that I have received from work. Melrose Middle School is the most amazing place to work. My principal and co-workers have been unbelievable. We ask everyone to please continue to pray for us. We really believe in the power of prayer and what it can do. We know that we have a very long bumpy road ahead of us, but we know we know we can do this with all of your love and support. We are determined to fight like hell and to try and be as positive as we can be. We will continue post here to keep everyone up to date on our journey.