Jan 31, 2018 Latest post:
May 17, 2018
In November 2017, Justin started experiencing pain in his midsection, especially after he ate. He was itchy, and he had a few other symptoms that made us think he might have hepatitis. Blood tests came back negative for Hep, but indicated high liver enzymes. He repeated the test a few weeks later when symptoms worsened and the enzymes were significantly higher, triggering a battery of tests--ultrasounds, CTs, endoscopies, brushings, biopsies, and blood tests.
The CT showed a blockage in the bile duct, so we headed to California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco where a gastroenterologist placed stents that allowed Justin's bile to drain. That made him a lot more comfortable as we began to try to figure out the cause of the blockage. The two likeliest causes were a tumor or inflammation from an auto-immune disorder.
After months of testing with several inconclusive results and many sleepless nights, in January 2018 he was diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma--bile duct cancer.
We are currently reviewing treatment options. He'll either need a resection (to have the tumor and surrounding tissue removed) or a liver transplant. Very few medical centers perform liver transplants when cholangiocarcinoma is involved. If a liver transplant is approved, he'll begin a strict protocol of radiation and chemotherapy until a transplant can be scheduled. At this point, a liver transplant gives Justin the best chance of a full recovery. It often takes longer than a year to be matched with an organ donor.