Karl Steinkamp

First post: Jul 21, 2022 Latest post: Jun 8, 2024
On May 31, Karl started experiencing mild abdominal discomfort which increased over time and sent him and Jacki to the ER in the early morning hours of June 6. Due to that day being a national holiday in Malaysia, no radiology was available and the ER doctor prescribed medication for gastritis and possible ulcer. Karl and Jacki traveled to the US on June 11 but the abdominal pain persisted and the medicine stopped working. He finally received stateside insurance, and although feeling better,  went to an urgent care facility on June 24. He was diagnosed with acute pancreatitis with a pancreatic tumor and liver lesions. 

The news turned our world upside down. On Tuesday we  had bought some furniture, on Wednesday a car, on Thursday we signed on a house, and on Friday he was diagnosed. It's still hard to comprehend. If you know Karl, you know how healthy he lives his life. There is no cancer in his family. We just moved across the globe and he was so excited about his new job.

Learning about a significant diagnosis in an urgency center without a primary care physician or follow-up is extremely difficult. We were supposed to receive phone calls for further labs and biopsies but didn't hear anything for several days. We finally secured an appointment for an endoscopic ultrasound and biopsy for July 7, and with the help of a new friend, a visit with an oncologist that same day. It seemed like an eternity to wait! We did the pre-op physical, Covid test, and tried to navigate a completely foreign medical system in a "new" country.

On July 7, Karl underwent the endoscopic ultrasound and biopsy and received confirmation of pancreatic cancer with metastasis to the liver. That same afternoon we had an appointment with a doctor at Minnesota Oncology who confirmed the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer stage IV. He suspects this is an aggressive cancer that started about 6-9 mo's ago and ordered a variety of labs which consisted of traveling to various specialist centers around the Twin Cities over the following 7 days.

On July 14,  we had planned to begin his first round of chemo only to find out that Mayo had received a referral for Karl's case. We delayed treatment for a week in hopes Mayo would schedule something but the following day we learned there were no appointments available until September.  We are disappointed and discouraged but will continue to pursue Mayo for the future. For now, we will travel to Minnesota Oncology for his first round of chemotherapy on Thursday, July 21. The plan is 3 weeks of chemo with one week off for 4 cycles until October when it'll be reevaluated.

You can help by praying. Pray that the tumors will respond to the chemotherapy and begin to die and die rapidly. Pray that the symptoms from chemo will be mild and that he can continue doing what he enjoys, working at school and being with friends and family. Pray for health, weight gain, and no infections. Pray that we can solve the issue of insomnia which has plagued him for weeks. Please pray for protection from spiritual attack and discouragement. Pray Mayo will take his case . And please pray for hope and that in some way, God will turn Karl's story into a miracle.

If you're someone who wants to help in practical ways, Kassy and Mikaela set up an Amazon list called "Survivor 54" in honor of their dad's favorite reality TV show and the season for his age. You can be on "Team Karl" and help with practical chemo needs by following this link - https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/3FT0WB3N8RJ6I?ref_=wl_share  (A drop down menu will allow you to see priority items.)

If you're someone who enjoys research, we are looking for a few people to gather data. The average age of pancreatic cancer diagnosis is 71 - a stage of life in which most people have retired. We are at a disadvantage in that regard. Only about 3% of people with stage IV pancreatic cancer survive to 5 years and we want to be on the right side of those numbers! We need help to find the best information to fight this battle. We've set up a Google folder (https://tinyurl.com/2p9ca7r4 ) with 7 different categories. You can be on "3% to 5" and help us gather information without overwhelming Karl's email inbox.

Thank you for joining us in this challenge. We need you now more than ever!