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4/17/2016 Latest post:
This website is to keep friends and family updated on Dan Loeffler's treatment for metastatic colon cancer. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. It means a lot to hear from you all here and in texts/emails/etc.
NOTE: a lot of folks apparently can't view the first post (which outlines the medical history and issues) easily, so I will re-post it here:
Beginning in April 2016, Dan started suffering from cramping and pain in his belly that went un- or misdiagnosed. He spent Easter Sunday in the ER at OU Medical Center, as well as the next Friday night and Saturday (April 1st and 2nd). The doctors he saw never had any convincing explanation or diagnosis, and he was simply sent home with laxatives.
At a second follow-up visit with a family medicine doctor at OU Physicians on April 7th, she saw that Dan had fluid in his abdomen ("ascites") and behind his right lung ("pleural effusion"). Thankfully, she recognized that this was serious and strange, and ordered immediate drainage and tests of the fluid at St. Anthony's in Oklahoma City.
On Monday morning, April 11th, Dan and Allison went in to St. Anthony's because the pain had still not subsided. He was immediately admitted and stayed there the entire week, undergoing a barrage of various tests.
Finally, on Friday afternoon, April 15, a colonoscopy revealed "a circumferential mass that was partially obstructive and suggestive of a malignant tumor based on endoscopic characters [that] was visualized around the hepatic flexure." Basically, this is a tumor in the colon, directly under the liver, that was largely blocking his colon. The pathology reports and the oncologist later confirmed that the mass is cancerous, and that it is possible that the malignancy may have spread beyond the colon.
So the good news is that the mystery is solved: after countless hours with various doctors in the ER and at two hospitals, we finally know what has been causing his pain. The bad news is, it is cancer -- specifically, a tumor in a certain section of the colon which has allowed the tumor to grow to a large size without ever really showing symptoms until this past month.
At his gastroenterologist's and others' recommendation, Dan was referred to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. He has been in contact with a specialist there since Saturday, April 16, and Dan and Allison are headed to Houston ASAP.
We are thankful to the doctors at St. Anthony's who made the diagnosis. We were told that the diagnosis was challenging because this was apparently an unusual presentation of symptoms and lab results, particularly for a 38-year old man who was otherwise healthy, had a limited family history of cancer, and no other obvious risk factors. The whole staff at St. Anthony's were also kind, gracious, and professional -- they have a good team there, and a good spirit, and we appreciate all of their help.
We are anxious to begin treatment at MD Anderson and very thankful for the opportunity for Dan to be seen there.