Our lives are blessed. We have so many friends who are sending us messages of love and support. We know that many have asked for updates and we so appreciate you wanting to be aware of what is happening regarding Dan’s health. We have decided to create a Caring Bridge to give updates. Our two daughter-in-laws, Brittany Bickel and Laura Bickel, as well as my sister, Reva Schultz, will oversee this.
Dan began having pain in his left side over two months ago, which increasingly worsened. After multiple tests, he was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer. The cancer has spread to many organs, as well as to some bone and muscle. During testing it was also discovered he has a brain tumor, which they believe is a meningioma, which would be non-malignant. (There is a less than 5% chance that it is malignant). He has also been diagnosed with Protein C deficiency, a hereditary disease which causes blood clots (2 of his brothers also have this).
On April 12, Dan suddenly couldn’t breath and was taken by ambulance to the emergency room. There was a large blood clot in his right lung, and, later, one found in his leg. His heart suffered major stress due to the blood clot. The doctors hope his heart will eventually heal from the damage. He was put on Heparin to disrupt the blood clot and help it to be absorbed in the body.
Dan’s pain continued to increase due to either cancer in the muscle and/or a large sac of malignant fluid attached to the left lung. In addition to the clot in his right lung causing difficulty breathing, the fluid on the left lung increasingly worsened and caused his oxygen levels to drop dangerously low. So on Thursday (4/15) we decided, after much consultation, to go forward with having the surgery even though there was high risk for internal bleeding due to the heparin he was on for the blood clots and the other health concerns overall.
We were so incredibly thankful for those who joined us in prayer during this procedure and feel those prayers made a difference. The surgeon said the procedure went well and they have left a tube in his side so they can continue to drain fluid as it accumulates. We've seen his oxygen levels come back up; however, he is still very weak and has not yet been able to walk (as of 4/16).
The hope is that the blood clot can be absorbed, and Dan will regain enough strength to begin chemotherapy for the cancer as soon as possible. Even though they would normally do brain surgery to remove the tumor, that is the least vital issue now and, unless Dan begins having symptoms from that, they will not do anything at this point.
We have been stunned by how quickly life has changed. Dan, who has always been very active and healthy now has very serious health issues and very little strength. We know God heals here on earth or in heaven. We also know He gives us peace, comfort and hope and your prayers help us in that way also. We realize every day is a gift from God. We are rich because of your friendship.