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Patricia is an amazing woman! A wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, and friend to many. During the past year (likely more), Pat has been experiencing increased fatigue and shortness of breath that she attributed to aging (77). Those symptoms recently escalated to pain in her right shoulder and just below her rib cage. In-mid December her primary doctor referred her for a CT scan and pulmonary test (to rule out cancer). Pat's pain continued to escalate during the holidays but she concealed it from visiting family members (and me) until it became intolerable. I took her to Kaiser Emergency Room on New Year's Day. After three days of inpatient testing, Pat was diagnosed with stage 4 mucinous adenocarcinoma. The greatest involvement is in the liver with a grapefruit sized tumor. This was particularly shocking news because she has always enjoyed good health and was not aware of cancer in her family. Pat's cancer has metastasized (liver and bones) and is considered incurable. The source of cancer is still unknown. Her only treatment option at this time is palliative (keeping her comfortable and pain free).
Pat is undergoing more testing to identify the primary source of her cancer. On January 11th she had a full body PET scan. She will undergo more tests on January 16th. These are needed for an accurate prognosis and to determine a treatment plan. When pressed for a “best guess” prognosis, her oncologist said, “less than a year." We have also requested a second opinion from UCSD's Moore Cancer Center in San Diego. Pat is doing okay although she does tire easily.
For now, we will continue to focus on comforting our family and close friends as best we can. Pat sends her love to all.