Pamela Bonse Pam Bonse

First post: Jan 16, 2019 Latest post: Aug 17, 2019
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.

I would prefer to communicate through caring bridge instead of text.    But I also love getting snail mail cards at my home address.  1167 Monaco Terrace Apex, NC 27502. Thank you!


I began having  a gurgling tummy  over Christmas Break.   I thought nothing of it.

But then, around Monday  1/7 the gurgling  increased considerably.  Over the following days I was sure I had the flu because of increased flu symptoms.  I was feeling off.  

On Thursday 1/10 I went to Urgent Care, as my flu symptoms were ever-increasing.  Urgent Care told me to go to the Emergency Room  at Wake Hospital. 

I was told at Wake that my stomach could not drain its contents.   And that I had the most stretched, largest stomach that some there had ever seen.  Ow! 

The next step was for Wake  to drain my stomach,  but they were unable to fully drain its contents.   

At the same time as the draining, the Wake team of doctors took an endoscopy of my stomach, and found a large mass near the duodenum.   I was told I would have to wait up to a week for results as to whether or not the growth was cancerous.  How frustrating and scary! 

With the new information from the first procedure, I was told the doctors wanted to cut into me two separate times.  Once, a surgery to drain my stomach fully.  And another surgery, at another time to remove the growth from my stomach.  After considering the complications of being under the knife twice, I chose to  refuse the first surgery until both could be done simultaneously. 

This meant having a VERY uncomfortable tube inserted into my stomach via my nasal canal.   Yep.  I had a trunk like an elephant attached to my body.    The tube was inserted to continuously drain the contents of my stomach.  Unfortunately the drainage system has been working very poorly at times.   

I have been told that I am producing 2x as much drainage build up as most patients.   Meaning, a lot needs to be drained daily, as mucus and bile continue to be produced daily.   It's no longer food that is draining.  But it's necessary it's kept clear to prepare for surgery and to keep me comfortable with my stomach so bloated. 

I haven't eaten since I was admitted to Wake.  Its been five days already.  I won't be able to eat until after receiving results and having surgery.  And event then it will be slow going, starting with a bland or liquid diet. 

On Monday the 14th I was transferred in an Ambulance to Duke University.  I am so blessed to tell you that my new doctor- Dr. Zani- is one of our nations best duodenum surgeons around.  So transferring to Duke was a HUGE PRAISE! Also on the 14th my sister Cecile and neice Lindsay arrived to help keep me smiling and upbeat.   I am glad for the help!  It has been such a trying, uncomfortable, and scary time. 

And gosh I was glad for the distraction too because it was so hard waiting for results!  More visitors and cards helped hold me over while I waited and waited. 

On  Tuesday the 15th, a physician's assistant, Tina, came to my hospital room to deliver the news.  Pathology results for my stomach growth. 

Cancer. Deep breath.  Yes, it was Cancer. 

A date for surgery was given as well- Thursday 1/17 at noon.  (however I am told that it may be as late as friday)

And when the plans for removal were shared, there was a little more hope.   

-----Either Dr Zani will go and get it all out at once, removing the cancerous part of my stomach, and removing my gall bladder as well as an "innocent bystander" per Dr Zani's words.  Called a Gastroectomy  (which all would be pretty great)

-----Or...if the cancer has spread to the pancreas, then the surgery would be longer and more complicated, removing the cancerous part of stomach, gall bladder and the cancerous portion of pancreas.  Which usually is referred to as the Whipple procedure. 

Tomorrow is the 16th.   I will be preparing for surgery by meeting with the anesthesiologist.   And doing any other preparations or conversations to help me feel at ease. 

Then on the 17th will, Lord willing be surgery. 

Recovery may look a number of ways.   I could be up and walking with in a couple days...or more.  There could be more cancer- meaning more surgery, chemo, etc.  Or I could make a full recovery with all the cancer gone in one swoop.   I could be in the hospital 4-30 days following surgery.   Then when I get home, I will probably need help getting back in to normal because I will not be able to lift more than 5 lbs for 6 weeks. 

Please pray for the drainage tube.  Please send cards.  I love receiving cards, they make my day.