Marie Pennel Our Journey with Marie

First post: Jul 17, 2018 Latest post: Jun 4, 2019
Dear friends and family,

This site has been started to keep you all informed on Marie and her cancer journey.  In doing so, we ask that you respect the privacy of the family and not contact them directly but check here instead for updates. Your love, prayers and support is deeply appreciated by all of the family.

Marie came to stay with us in late May for the summer.  When she arrived here, she was not feeling well, but this was not new for her and she seemed “ok.”  Nothing new or different from how she had been feeling in Arizona for a while.  But we noticed her appetite was off and she was beginning to lose weight.  Nothing tasted right to her which was really unusual.  She had other changes also, that later made sense. 

On July 1st, she was experiencing sharp pain in her back. On July 3rd, she was seen by a local doctor here who stated something was wrong and he wanted to admit her.  By this this time she was turning jaundiced. The team at Sanford Bemidji was amazing.  A BIG thank you to RN Vicky at the Walk In Clinic for her expert advise and Dr. Christopher, both were so awesome, along with the rest of the team who jumped into action. She was sent to the hospital for IV fluids  and a CT scan in the radiology department. 

The CT scan showed a mass or a stone they thought was by her liver.    She needed a ERCP which is a scope to check her liver. The surgeon who could have done this here, was not available until Monday due to the holiday. The doctor in Bemidji was able to get her admitted to the hospital in Fargo, which is about two hours from here.

Due to the July 4th holiday, she was not able to have this procedure done until Thursday, July 5th.  Keith and I were able to be with her. Since it took a while for her to wake up after the procedure, the Surgeon spoke with us. The news he gave us was not good. What was seen on the scan was not a mass on her liver but rather, a  tumor on her pancreas, obstructing her liver.

Marie has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  It was confirmed with a biopsy. This is one of the worst types of cancer and there is no cure for it.  They have given her six months to a year. Symptoms don’t present until the cancer is more advanced unfortunately! The tumor obstructing her liver was causing her pain and her jaundice. They were able to open up her liver with a stent and get the bile flowing again.

This of course was devastating news.  I helped Keith contact immediate family and the closest of friends. It was hard to tell the boys.  This is never easy to hear, and especially over the phone. Kevin and Khris were able to come up the next day which of course blessed Marie beyond words.

The options presented for treatment to Marie and  the family were limited. There is a very invasive surgical procedure which does not offer a cure and Marie has decided against. Chemotherapy is not effective with pancreatic cancer.  The current focus is keeping her comfortable and letting her enjoy her days. She is active as much as possible, her pain is mostly controlled with oral medication, and she has mostly good days and some bad days.

She will be returning home to her place in Arizona in a few weeks. This is what she wants to do while she can. Kevin will be caring for her along with the help of family and friends.  We are planning a family trip in a few weeks and we will all take it one day at a time!

 All of us are thankful to our supervisors and managers at work who have been gracious and kind with time off and allowing us to do what we need to do to tend to Marie. We again deeply appreciate your prayers for her and are thankful for good days right now. 

I will keep this site updated with any changes or updates.

Much love,
Sissie-Marie’s daughter in law

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