Catharine King Catharine King

First post: Jan 6, 2022 Latest post: Jul 8, 2023
Welcome to Cat’s CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. Cat’s story is written below.
We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting!🙏❤️🙏

If you’d like to contribute to the King Family Meal Train, here’s an updated link:



“Hey. So, I have a question.”

It was my sister Cat calling me during the last week of September 2021.

“What’s up?”, I responded.

“I think I might be having a heart attack. I’m having nausea and chest pain and that’s what webMD/Google said.”

“Tell me more.”

And that conversation started this journey.

As we chatted I learned Cat had been feeling like something was off/just not right for a while. She’d been having upper abdominal pain, nausea, decreased appetite, and now had back pain that was waking her up at night.

“You need to go in and have labs and testing done”, I directed. After further discussion she ended up at Cedars-Sinai emergency room, and was admitted for pancreatitis.

She was cared for by Dr. Simon Lo, who is one of the BEST GI doctors, and is the Director of the Pancreatic and Billiary Diseases Program & Gastrointestinal Endoscopy at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. The initial working diagnosis was the pancreatitis was caused by a newly started rheumatoid arthritis (RA) medicine called leflunomide. To Dr. Lo’s credit, his gut told him something just didn’t seem right & he requested Cat schedule a follow up visit with repeat endoscopy in 6 weeks.

Due to “scheduling issues”, Cat’s follow up appointment/endoscopy was done on 12/6/21. The following day, because of the CARES act, the pathology results were posted to her Cedars-Sinai “My C-S link”. I was the first to see them - prior to her physicians. I spoke with Cat, and received permission to message Dr. Lo. He called me on 12/8/21. We discussed next steps and he recommended/referred Cat to Dr. Nissen (surgeon) and Dr. Osipov (hematologist/oncologist). Cat called, and then I called/repeatedly messaged the team to get appointments scheduled as quickly as possible.

Luckily, thanks to Dr. Osipov, Cat’s case was able to be reviewed on 12/17/21 - the last Pancreatic Cancer Multidisciplinary conference of the year. She had multiple labs, CT scan, MRI, PET scan done prior to the conference. Cat attended in person, accompanied by her awesome friend Liz (Matt was out of town for work). Matt, Matt’s parents, & I all attended virtually.

Multidisciplinary experts in pancreatic cancer (from medical oncology, surgery, radiation oncology, GI, supportive care medicine, pathology, radiology,) reviewed Cat’s case and determined the cancer was stage 1A resectable. Cat additionally met with a dietician, genetics counselor, and social worker.

Due to the confirmed presence of cancerous cells and the risk of leaving cancerous cells within the pancreas being significant without surgery, the overall recommendation was to proceed with surgical resection, followed by 6 months of aggressive chemotherapy.

So here we are. Whipple procedure successfully completed by Dr. Nissen and team on 1/6/22 using laparoscopic/robotic technique. Specimen fully resected (head of pancreas containing a 1x2cm
tumor, gall bladder, duodenum, part of stomach) with clear margins and no obvious lymph node involvement or spread.
Best case scenario for an otherwise absolutely crappy cancer diagnosis.

Cat is expected to be in the hospital for the next 5-7 days. Pathologists will fully review the specimen and run genetic testing. Next steps/chemotherapy will be based on pathology results.

We’ll post updates here re: Cat’s progress. Additionally Matt’s cousin Sophie set up a link to help with meals:

Please leave well wishes and continue to send positive energy, thoughts, prayers, good juju, and lots of love Cat’s way! ❤️🙏

My sister is one of the toughest, strong-willed, courageous, kind, caring, feisty, and resilient people ever - and will fight this cancer with every ounce of her being.

Thank you in advance for your love and continued support‼️ ❤️🙏❤️

Christina 💕


Pathology update from surgical specimen resected on 1/6/22: invasive pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, moderately differentiated (3.3cm) with metastatic lymph node involvement in 6/46 lymph nodes, clear margins of at least 1.5cm. Despite these findings increasing diagnosis to “stage 3”, treatment plan remains the same: rest & heal for the next 6 weeks, then aggressive chemotherapy for 6 months.
Cat’s successfully overcome the first mile of this marathon - successfully & with flying colors!
Please continue to surround her with love, support, and positive energy - it means the world to her & to us all!


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