Marsha Harrison

First post: Mar 31, 2019 Latest post: Feb 28, 2023
Hi Family and Friends,

Just wanted to let you know what is happening in my life.
I started writing this on Thursday, March 26 while sitting in my hospital room, awaiting a procedure to be done and results from tests already completed. Please know that I am in good spirits, and actually a little bored.

A couple weeks ago I was experiencing a sudden onset of abdominal pain. In contemplating whether to go to Urgent Care or my doctor's office, I had the insight to call my PCP and I got right in. Dr. Langerak (filling in for Dr. Elizabeth Brouwer that day) sent me for an ultrasound of the abdomen and blood work. Both showed some concerns, so even though the pain had disappeared by that evening, we scheduled an MRCP (abdominal MRI) for April 4 with instructions to go directly to the ER if the pain returned. I subsequently felt fine until this last Saturday (March 23) when the same pain came back.

Fast forward ahead and here I am at St Mary’s in my private room waiting, always waiting as seems to be the case at most hospitals these days. On the plus side, I have a private room and the sun is shining, and I am in no discomfort. I know you are saying "Marsha, enough already, we want some details". At this point not much to say. What is known is I have gall bladder stones and they will be removed later today. Also I have a spot on my pancreas that the doctors are exploring.

Love to All,

March 30
Sisters Talk about the Early Diagnosis

Today Marsha spent almost two hours on the phone with her sisters: Susie, Lisa and me (Nancy).

Individually and in four different geographical locations, we were coming to terms with the fact that, although the gall stones were successfully eradicated, the pathology report did indicate pancreatic cancer.

Marsha’s optimistic tone today was exactly what it was on Tuesday when we got the news. On that day, I remember asking her how she was doing. She replied, “I feel calm and in good hands. God has been preparing me for something for awhile now, and now I know God will help me (us) get through this."

She reassured us that this journey has been and will be filled with unexpected blessings. Already, we know that the cancer was found early. It's in a good spot in the pancreas for removal via a not-too-complicated surgery. It turns out that the emergency gall stone pain prompted testing that allowed the relatively early discovery of the cancer tumor.
Left unseen and without symptoms of it's own, pancreatic cancer often becomes too advanced to treat effectively. Who would have guessed that we’d be celebrating gall stones?! It's actually quite the miracle, since Marsha's gall bladder was removed years ago!

Marsha shared more good news this morning. She met with her incredibly wholistic oncology team at St. Mary's Lacks Center yesterday to prepare for a port insert this week followed by surgery on April 9. Some are the same skilled and compassionate professionals who helped her successfully beat breast cancer in 2008. Another unanticipated blessing!

Today’s conversation was simply about sisters caring for each other. I know I can speak for Susan and Lisa when I say that we will be “shoulder to shoulder” with Marsha as she undergoes surgery and (likely) chemotherapy. Not surprising, I realize she is already setting a tone that is truly ‘Marsha’. In her own words, “It’s not just about me. It’s about how God works.”

Here’s to a week of preparations: rest, fresh air, good nutrition and gratitude ....♥️