On Friday, April 15, 2016 Keefe was in a lot of pain in his upper right quadrant and we went to the ER at Sharp Hospital. At the time, he had been jaundice for several weeks, but didn't know what from. After several tests, on Saturday morning, we learned from Dr. Politoske that he had an irregular 3.5 cm mass at the confluence of the right and left hepatic ducts, and they wanted to perform an ERCP immediately to insert two stints to unblock the passage and help relieve the pain he was having. Unfortunately, they were only successful in inserting one stint on the right, but it has definitely relieved the pain, and the jaundice is getting better. During the procedure they did brushings of the tumour, but told us the result would likely be negative for malignancy, which it was. After the procedure Dr. Weinman, the Radiologist, told me he was 98% certain it was malignant, and that he would not recommend a needle biopsy or any further tests. He recommended we get a referral to an Oncologist for palliative treatment.
Specifically, he has intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma, commonly known as bile duct cancer. It is a very rare type of cancer, but he is a very rare type of gentleman! Until we meet with the oncologist, we will not know much more about staging or treatment options.
As of today (4-23-16), after a visit yesterday with his primary care doctor, we now have a referral and should be able to make an oncology appointment on Monday. Since the insertion of the stint, Keefe had almost immediate pain relief, and was discharged from the hospital last Sunday, 4/17. He has felt pretty good all week, and will go back to work on Monday while we await the next step.
I asked him if I could set this up to help keep friends and loved ones informed. I think it may be therapeutic for me as well. As you might imagine, Keefe is joking his way through this. I believe there is a new level of tenderness between us. We've never really sweated the small stuff too much, but small has suddenly gotten much smaller. I hope to keep this updated when there is any new information to share. Whatever your faith, we appreciate all your prayers and good thoughts.