Jeff Knowlton

First post: Jan 23, 2019 Latest post: Sep 13, 2020
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As some of you know, I grew increasingly ill over the past two months of last year, with unexplained fevers and weight loss of about 30 pounds. An ultrasound revealed issues with my liver and bile ducts, showing that my bile ducts were blocked. But the doctors couldn't figure out the root cause, despite a CT scan, MRI scan and what seemed like hundreds of vials of blood for testing. No hepatitis. No gallstones. No pain. No tumors. No infections. Over the New Years Holiday, it grew much worse, so surgery was scheduled to clear the bile ducts. The surgeon put in a stent, and I immediately felt better. It cured the problem entirely. I was gaining weight, I started training again running hard intervals, and I had a lot more energy. I felt great!

But the doctor also noticed a small mass near the outlet of the bile duct, so small that it was not picked up on the two imaging scans. Further testing revealed that it's a tumor. I have peri-ampullary cancer, with the tumor on the external wall of the pancreas. I didn't even know I had an ampullary!

The tumor itself did not cause the weight loss or fevers, and would have gone unnoticed if it had not blocked the bile duct, so in a way, I feel lucky to have been sick and jaundiced for two months. 

The good news is that the tumor can be removed. The bad news is that it's in a location in the gut where it's very, very, very difficult to operate, because it's near the confluence of several arteries and organs. It's called a Whipple Procedure. If there are no complications, I will be in the hospital for 8-9 days, then at home recovering for about 2-3 months to regain my strength, as my GI system recovers from being "re-plumbed". My family will be here to support me during the recovery, as will my new friends from St. Gabriel's church. I feel blessed to have such great support!

Once the tumor is removed, it will be analyzed and a plan for chemo will be developed.

I ask for your prayers. And as time permits, I'd appreciate some photos of you and your families. They really help cheer me up!

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