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12/9/2016 Latest post:
Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.
This past August, Mom went on her dream cruise -- Alaska! She went with her good friends, and she had a blast. When she got home, we got to hear about hiking on a glacier, small fishing towns, and sled dogs. Mom was actually the only one in her group who volunteered to stand on the back of the sled to "drive" the sled dogs. In October, Mike and Bethany's newest daughter joined the world, Mathilde. Mom was excitedly planning a trip to see her when she casually mentioned some stomach pain to me. She visited the doctor, and they began scheduling her for tests as they were sure it was an ulcer. Over the next 3 weeks, her pain increased significantly. She had to postpone her trip to see Tilly. The doctor ruled out ulcer and began giving her medication for colitis. This did nothing. Finally some imaging was done, and the doctor referred her to a gastrointestinal specialist in Nashville. She had an esophageal ultrasound for more thorough imaging.
I was sitting in a coworker's office when Mom called. "They said I have cancer." They found a tumor on her pancreas. This was on the 18th of November. By the 22nd, we had an appointment set up with the leading pancreatic cancer specialist in the country at Mayo here in Phoenix. Debbie, Shirley, Becky, and Tom all helped Mom get things in order to come to Arizona. Mike and Bethany and David and I are extremely grateful to them. Mom's beloved Dexter is with another friend whom we consider family-Thank you Tom and Elizabeth.
Mom arrived in Phoenix on Sunday, November 27th. She seemed confused and was having trouble focusing. By that night, we were in Mayo's Emergency Room. Her calcium level was very high. She spent her first 4 days here at Mayo. The internal medicine doctor was amazing. She, along with the oncology team, contacted palliative medicine right away to help get Mom's pain under control. The doctors there had not yet received all of Mom's records from Tennessee. They went ahead and ran a full abdominal and chest CT scan. The next day we learned that the cancer was not just in the pancreas. It has already begun to spread into her liver and several lymph nodes. By Thursday, Mom was much more herself, and we were able to bring her home.
Tomorrow is her first official oncology appointment. We will learn then what options she has. Mike is here. He and David and I will be going with her.
Mom means so much to so many. Your prayers and words of encouragement mean a great deal. Mom is the strongest person I know. She is facing this head on with determination, humor, and more than a few swear words!