Jeff Benning | CaringBridge

Jeff Benning

First post: 10/21/2016 Latest post: 5/30/2017
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Beginning in mid summer, I had some mild to intermediate discomfort in my abdomen area.  Being young (relatively) and healthy, I of course ignored it for a couple of months until the discomfort turned into some pain, and it began to affect my diet.  My first trip to a doctors office was on Saturday September 17, 2016.  It was a Saturday and I went to the urgent care at my regular clinic.  I think I was particularly uncomfortable that day and on a trip to the bank, dry cleaners, and a haircut, I decided to drop in and get checked out.  I was there for around 3 hours and after blood and urine tests, a quick check of the prostate, and an X-ray, we determined that I was constipated and had a gut full of poop.  I was told to work on that with over the counter remedies and if that didn't work, to come back in a couple of weeks.  Well, it didn't work.  I contacted my primary care doctor after those two weeks, and set up a CT scan for Friday October 7, 2016.  The scan was scheduled at 3:30 in the afternoon, I got home around 5:00 and took a nap.  I was quite surprised when my doctor called me at home at 9:00 pm (never a good sign) to discuss the results.  In the CT scan, they found a 2.5 cm mass on my pancreas and that's when this journey began.  


With the help of several people, I got connected to the U of M cancer center.  I had an endoscopic ultrasound on Wednesday 10/12/16 for a look inside and a biopsy.  Preliminary results of that pathology work came back on Friday 10/14/16 (that one week since the CT scan seemed like a year) which confirmed that the cancer had moved out of my pancreas and into my small intestine and abdomen wall.  Because it has moved out of my pancreas, I am at a stage 4, and surgery is not an option.  Not good, but at least we know what we are dealing with now.  I met with my oncologist and his team for the first time on Monday 10/17/16 learned more about my specific situation and treatment options, and made the decision to start chemotherapy ASAP, and got the first round scheduled for Tuesday 10/25/16.  I have a procedure on Friday 10/21/16 to get a port installed in my chest where the drugs will be administered, and blood can be drawn more efficiently.


I have lost 25-30 pounds over the past several months (like I had that much weight to lose) and haven't been sleeping regularly.  My digestive system hasn't been working well, and my appetite hasn't been normal.  In this week before chemo starts I am focused on stopping/reversing the weight loss and getting on a regular sleep pattern and I have some pharmaceutical help in making sure that happens.  So far so good - I have actually gained a pound back so far this week, and slept for over 8 hours last night.  


That's what we know for right now, more info to follow when we have it

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