Mitch Smith

First post: Sep 28, 2016 Latest post: Dec 15, 2016
Mitch visited Emergency at Milwaukie Providence in May where they discovered an abscess in his large intestine that had become infected.  They suspected diverticulitis was the cause, put a tube in to drain the area, expected the site to heal itself and for the drain to be in for only a few weeks.  Labs came back a couple days later that the infection was a pretty nasty one and not treatable by oral antibiotics so he had a PICC line put in to receive IV antibiotics for about a month.  The drain tube still had to remain in as the site was still draining quite a bit.  Fast forward to mid-July and it was still draining.  He was referred to a doctor at The Oregon Clinic who specializes in colorectal issues.  They confirmed the cause of the original abscess was diverticulitis and that the site was not going to heal itself and would require surgery.  

In June, while Mitch was dealing with all this, our son Tyler was involved in a serious ATV accident and was life-flighted to OHSU from the coast.  He had a brain injury, small laceration on his liver, facial fractures, an injury to his carotid artery, a broken arm and was in the hospital for a month between OHSU Trauma and Providence Acute Rehabilitation Center.  Miraculously, the brain issue has resolved itself along with the liver laceration.  His arm has healed (after surgery and some plates and screws).  The main outstanding issue is the injury to his artery which has not gotten worse - they are just monitoring it and he has to take a blood thinner for the time being.  He really has made an amazing recovery, and went back to work 10 weeks after the accident.

Mitch had surgery to repair the area in his large intestine on Friday, August 12th.  The plan was to remove the damaged section of his colon.  This was done without problem but they also discovered the abscess had managed to "swallow" two loops of his small intestine and his appendix, so they had to also remove the 2 portions of the small intestine and the appendix.  It is no wonder he had not been feeling good with all of that going on.  The surgeon said the procedure went well and recovery time could be 6-8 weeks.  He also called it a "major case" and said he only sees a couple of cases like this per year.  

Some of you know that Mitch had melanoma removed from his back in April of 2015.  At that time they also removed some lymph nodes from under each of his arms and all was clear.  Each of his checkups over the past year had also been clear.  Just before the abdominal surgery in August, his right armpit became very swollen and painful.  An ultrasound showed his lymph nodes were swollen so he was sent for a needle biopsy.  We learned right after his abdominal surgery that there was melanoma present in his lymph nodes.  They did a CT scan at the time and felt it was localized in the lymph nodes under the right arm.

Five weeks after the abdominal surgery on September 15th, Mitch had surgery to remove all lymph nodes under his right arm.  The surgeon said the nodes were very involved and it was an extremely difficult dissection.  Unfortunately, they were not able to remove all the affected nodes.  The surgeon referred to this as a Stage 4 melanoma.  We are now waiting for the pathology to come back and then the treatment recommendation from the oncologist.  

Mitch and our family have had a rough few months and all good thoughts, prayers, mojo and whatever you have to give are appreciated.  We are so thankful for all the support of our family, friends and our work families - everyone has been incredible.   A big shout out to our kids Rikki, Tyler and Brent who have obviously had a lot to deal with as well.  

I didn't get it together to do a Caring Bridge site for Tyler and trying to update everyone was a little overwhelming so will be using this for updates.


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