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Jan 4, 2018
Welcome to our CaringBridge site.We have so appreciated using this site in the past to follow journeys of family and friends, that we decided we needed it now, too.
We have been so busy with hospital, naps and company that Mark has not taken the time to do "His Story". I hope to get it entered tonight or tomorrow.
Suffice it to say:
The scenario started with some mid back pain before going to bed with a little stuffy feeling in my stomach. Couple of tums and tylenol and off to sleep only to be awakened a few hours later with an increase in the mid back pain. Having dealt with patients calling me in the middle of the night with back pain a simple elimination of causes was in order. Couldn't be gall bladder because that pain is usually rt. scapula, rt shoulder and rt upper abdominal pain. Doesn't feel like a heart attack, no arm pain or numbness minimal chest pain. Kidney stones symptoms aren't even close. No problem, go back to sleep and it will go away. That didn't work, heat and ice made no difference and the chest pain was getting worse. Remembering most of my referred pain patterns from practice, there was one that kept popping up in my mind. Referred pain to the mid thoracic region along with epigastric pain was indicative of a dissecting aortic anuerism. A rare but serious condition was playing on my mind. Easy to play on my mind at 3 in the morning. Another hour or 2 of that pain was enough to convince me to rouse Barb and get her to take to to St. Joeseph's. After a friendly greeting and intro to the ER staff I met the attending physician who started with her examination. It didn't take her long to find the hot gall bladder, which led to the gall bladder diagnosis. Ultrasound didn't see any stones, but they thought it looked like sludge in the gall bladder. Blood work showed an extremely elevated pancreas enzymes and liver enzymes which can occur with gall bladder problems. A decision to wait until the enzyme level went down in the pancreas before removal of the gall bladder was made and I was admitted to the hospital. I was introduced to Dilaudid, morphine's big brother who was very nice and we have become quite good friends since. The next day blood levels went down and my gall bladder was removed.and a dye test was done to check the gall bladder duct function. That test showed a blockage in the pancreas which should be checked with a special endoscopic ultrasound in St. Cloud after discharge.
Symptoms were fine for a week after discharge and shortly before the test my stomach started to bother me with eating the main source of irritation.
Wed June 5th...test in St. Cloud. Took 3 times longer than normal. Two different procedures were needed. Inserted a metal stent in the common duct to try to open it up and spotted what was believed to be a cancerous tumor. Two others were thought to be benign, but those are the ones closing the duct. Samples were taken and I was sent home with an appointment to see the results 4 days later.
As a result of the procedures, things got stirred up in my pancreas and I started to develop acute pancreatitis which didn't take long to drag me back to the hospital.. Blood tests confirmed the pancreatitis and 2 days of rest settled things back down. Dr. Berg confirmed the biopsy results which we didn't want, but got, Cancer of the Pancreas. He explained there is only one treatment, the Whipple procedure. A long complex surgery with lots of complications, but with the possibility of life extension and possible cure. As of today Monday 10 June, that's all we know. We meet with the surgeon today in St. Cloud at 3 PM and go from there. Wish me good luck.