Feb 21, 2019 Latest post:
Apr 28, 2019
Kathy just turned 65, enjoys living in her small mountain community, and loves to spend time with her five grandchildren, two in Denver and three in Olympia, Washington. At this time in her life, she and and her husband Joe need help from caring friends and family in order to get her well. She has pancreatic cancer, a very aggressive disease. She has been very healthy but suddenly found out she had the cancer on January 20 almost by accident. Michelle came over and was surprised by how yellow Kathy’s eyes and skin were (caused by the tumor blocking her bile duct). Trips to urgent care, the emergency room, the hospital, and tests gave her the diagnosis, which was confirmed by biopsies two days later. Since then it has been a whirlwind of visits to her team of doctors and specialists and more tests.
She will be having a Whipple surgery on February 21, which will remove the tumor, up to half her pancreas, gall bladder, a foot of intestine, adjacent lymph nodes, and probably part of her stomach. The surgery will necessitate rebuilding the “plumbing” connections in her gut. Six months of chemo will follow as soon as she is able to tolerate it (probably a couple of months). The disease requires this radical surgery and chemo but hopefully will get rid of the cancer and give her many good years to live. Several factors improve her prognosis, including the small size of tumor, the location of the tumor at the head of the pancreas (which revealed the disease earlier and improves her recovery), her relatively young age and prior good health, and very good, experienced doctors. But most of all she has a very positive and can-do attitude, which will greatly help her chances of beating the disease.
She will be in the hospital a minimum of eight days and have an extensive recovery to get functional and regain strength. Joe’s full-time job is to be her primary caregiver, but besides prayer there will be many tasks that could be done by friends and family that would greatly assist Kathy anid Joe in her care and give her the best chance to get well. We hope the CaringBridge app will provide the means for volunteers to easily find out about Kathy’s status and progress and how they can help. Kathy and Joe will be very grateful for help with the many little things needed, as well as bigger things.