SOoooo Happy Together!! June 19th 2012

Arron Foulkrod

First post: Nov 28, 2011 Latest post: Jun 21, 2012
Welcome to Arron's CaringBridge website. We've created it to keep friends and family updated during Arron's journey through surgery and recovery. Get started by reading the introduction to our website, My Story.

Visit often to read the latest journal entries, visit the photo gallery, and write us a note in our guestbook.

On Thursday Sept 15, 2011 Arron woke up at 5am with upper abdominal pain. He went to work anyway but the pain continued to worsen. A co-worker drove him to an Urgent Care Clinic where they told him it was likely a gall bladder attack. He was instructed to go home, rest & avoid fatty foods. By the next morning his pain had worsened & he went back to the Urgent Care. At that point the MD became concerned that the cause of his pain might be pancreatitis (infection/inflammation of the pancreas). The MD sent Arron to the hospital ER to have an abdominal ultrasound. The Ultrasound was not able to visualize his pancreas, but it did show a normal gall bladder without any presence of gall stones. The ER doctor told Arron that his pain was probably due to GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease/heartburn) and sent him home with instructions to take maalox/mylanta and a script for protonix (a medication to control acid production in the stomach).
Arron continued to have constant pain Friday afternoon & overnight despite following the recommendations of the ER doctor. He was unable to tolerate even bland foods or clear liquids without a severe increase in pain. Still, he had no fever, nausea or vomiting--just unrelenting & worsening pain. 
Finally, Saturday evening he agreed to go back to the hospital ER. After waiting 4 hours, he was literally writhing in agony on the hospital waiting room floor. They gave him some IV pain meds & decided to do an abdominal CT scan. The scan showed no evidence of pancreatitis... but it DID reveal that Arron was missing the body & tail of his pancreas. Only the head of the pancreas was visible. An MRI was then done & they discovered the presence of a growth on the head of his pancreas. At that point, Arron was admitted to the hospital for further testing & pain management.
On Tues Sept 20th, Arron had an internal ultrasound (done through a scope inserted down the throat into the stomach) & a needle biopsy was taken of the pancreatic mass. The sample showed some dead cells & the biopsy results were deemed inconclusive but suspicious for cancer. Surgery was strongly recommended. With his pain under control, he was discharged from the hospital on Fri Sept 23rd. 
Arron followed up with a local endocrinologist & then sought a 2nd opinion from the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville FL. His appointment was set for October 14th. Arron ended up staying with a local Jacksonville SDA pastor until testing was completed & he was able to drive home on October 22nd. 
Again, surgery was recommended to remove the pancreatic mass. This procedure is very complicated & risky (see the link for Whipple Procedure under the "Resources" section) and will leave Arron without a pancreas & insulin dependent for the rest of his life. The good news is that Mayo clinic has extensive experience doing this procedure with good outcomes for their patients. Arron is also a candidate for the laproscopic surgery (which is a less invasive procedure involving several small incisions instead of 1 large incision). This would mean less blood loss during surgery & quicker recovery after surgery. Arron's surgery is now set for December 7th, 2011.
Please keep Arron in your prayers. This has been a very difficult time for him & his family with a lot of adjustments both mentally & physically. He continues to grow in faith and appreciates the support & love of those who have reached out to him throughout this experience.

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