Eric Speirs

First post: Feb 12, 2020 Latest post: Oct 15, 2020
Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.

On Thursday, January 30, 2020 Eric and Cathy showed up on time for Eric's surgery to remove his faulty gall bladder.  All went fine in pre-op and Eric was rolled into the OR.  90 minutes later, Dr. Andrew Aldridge, who has become our angel, visited Cathy in the waiting area to let her know that he had not removed Eric's gall bladder and that Eric has cancer.  Our world tipped over...Eric has had a clean colonoscopy, endoscopy, and bladder scan this year; his PSA is normal, he's worked hard to drop weight and get in shape; his diabetes has been in control for years now with a low A1C.  Cancer was not on our radar at all. 

Dr. Aldridge sent samples of the tumors he had found on Eric's liver and the lining of his abdomen to be biopsied during surgery.  The pathology revealed that these tumors were not the hosts.  The search for the host tumor began on the following Monday with a CAT scan that revealed an approximately 3 X 5 centimeter tumor in the tail of Eric's pancreas.  It also revealed 10 more lesions in the liver and several spots on the lining of the abdomen.  Dr. Aldridge arranged for us to meet with Dr. Mathern, a Flagstaff based oncologist, the next morning, when he walked over to Dr. Mathern's office following a day of surgery to talk personally with Dr. Mathern asking him to squeeze Eric in the following morning.   You see, Eric's company answered the phones for these doctors for nearly 20 years (or more).  He took good care of them, so now they're doing the same for him. (Although, we would not be surprised if they did this sort of thing for all their patients.) Dr. Mathern's Office Manager greeted us at the appointment, providing her cell phone number if we needed anything.  We feel so blessed being in a community that cares!  

Dr. Mathern is also wonderful.  He explained the information available on the preliminary CAT scan report and laid out treatment options for Eric, recommending a very aggressive treatment to attack this very aggressive cancer.  Dr. Mathern also recommended we consult with the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, so we will see a pancreatic oncology specialist on February 18.  Our call with Mayo indicated they would recommend the same treatment Dr. Mathern has ordered and also confirmed what Dr. Mathern had told us - that they may have other treatments that could be helpful down the road.  It will be good to have a relationship with them now.  So, Eric's port is in, he'll have a PET scan in a couple days, and chemo starts on Wednesday, February 12.  It's a 3-day regimen, but only one day is an in-office infusion.  The other two days are done with a portable pump at home.  He will receive this treatment every 2 weeks. This treatment is effective in 60-70% of those who use it and it should add years to his life.   The side effects are manageable...he may be tired.  Perhaps the worst is that he will lose his hair!  HA!!  Eric wonders if maybe he actually will grow hair instead!  

Eric and Cathy believe in the power of prayer and are working together to create a place of love and healing for Eric.  We have a strong and supportive church family (Episcopal Church of the Epiphany in Flagstaff) and a wide network of friends here to support us.   Eric's children, Adalynn and Sean, live in Flagstaff too and are strong and supportive kids who love their dad and Cathy.  Eric's and Cathy's families are at the ready when we need them.  We have much to be grateful for, including the love and support we anticipate receiving through this site.  

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.  

Eric and Cathy

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