Welcome to our CaringBridge campsite. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support, words of hope and encouragement and most of all, your prayers! Thank you for visiting.
Last year in June, Joe underwent emergency neck surgery to relieve a disk that was pressing against his spinal cord resulting from years of commercial truck driving. After the neck fusion he started noticing a pain in his upper stomach, rib/back area. They chalked it up to arthritis that was also found in the area and the healing of the first surgery. He was able to return to work for a short period of time until November when he had his second surgery--a lumbar fusion on his lower back on 3 vertebrae to help with the numbness and pain in his legs, often caused by years of truck driving.
Even after the second successful surgery, the pain in his stomach/rib area seemed to continue to get worse. After numerous trips to the ER, trying to find a cause and alleviate the pain, his family doctor ordered a CT scan in December. This test detected a mass in the pancreas and a biopsy was ordered in Evansville. On December 21st , he was diagnosed with inoperable Stage III Pancreatic Cancer. The mass is too close to the 2 main arteries which is what deems it inoperable. The good news is there is no evidence of it spreading to other organs or lymph nodes at this time. He is currently looking at treatment options, including clinical trials.
For those who know Joe, he knows no stranger, loves the outdoors, and is used to being active, having fun, working outdoors and taking care of things around the house. Joe has a very positive attitude and also wants to share the awareness of this awful disease with others.
Pancreatic cancer is often difficult to diagnose. This is because there are no specific, cost-effective screening tests that can easily and reliably find early-stage pancreatic cancer in people who have no symptoms. This means it is often not found until later stages when the cancer can no longer be removed with surgery and has spread from the pancreas to other parts of the body
Joe is unable to return to work at this time and having been off work ½ of 2017 and with the expense of tests, medications, doctor appointments, and a new deductible for 2018 to meet—it has been difficult to keep ahead of his bills.
Do your research--Do not ignore symptoms or suspicions pains you might be feeling. Please get screened early and regularly. Demand more tests from your doctors when you know something isn’t right with your body.
We would like to thank everyone for the outpouring of love and support from friends and family. Thank you for the cards, gifts, and donations that have been sent to the house and through the online site. Thank you for reaching out to offer prayers, support and offers to help with day to day needs they may arise. You all are amazing and together we can get through this!
We have also started a GoFundMe Page to help cover some of the medical costs. Even though Joe has insurance for now, the out of pocket expenses are staggering. -- https://www.gofundme.com/jmjourney
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