Aug 22, 2021 Latest post:
Nov 23, 2022
Hello Family and Friends! We are hoping to use this CaringBridge site as a way to easily share information and updates regarding mom’s journey!
As everyone by now has heard, she was diagnosed with acinar cell carcinoma on 8/13- a very rare type of cancer found in the pancreas. We are incredibly fortunate to have found it when we did. She had an episode of abdominal pain last year and after a CT scan, a small “cyst” was found that they planned to monitor. The abdominal pain resided in a few days- and there were no other lab or imaging findings to explain her pain. One week before she was due for her annual surveillance scan, she had another episode of abdominal pain, similar to the year prior. After the CT scan showed that the “cyst” had grown, she had an endoscopic ultrasound that day, which ultimately showed it was not a cyst but a tumor. The doctors are still not convinced the abdominal pain is explained or connected to the tumor as it is very small. While it is not the news we were hoping to hear, we remain incredibly optimistic that from what we know so far, it is very small, encapsulated, and not encroaching on any nearby structures.
As this cancer is very rare, there aren’t great large studies to understand it. Additionally, almost all the information we have are on very large tumors that have spread already- so please take the googling with a grain of salt.
We are very fortunate she has access to excellent medical care through Mayo, including working with the head of oncology and the head of pancreatic surgery, who have all been very helpful. We, and the medical team, have an optimistic tone.
The overall plan will consist of two week cycles of two drug chemo starting at the end of august. The goal is to shrink/maintain the tumor preoperatively and kill any small cells that otherwise may exist. Prior to this she will have further scans to finish staging. Following chemo, she will have a Whipple procedure to resect the tumor and part of the pancreas.
The road will surely be filled with ups and downs, but we are so thankful to have you all in our lives. My mom has mentioned numerous times how thankful she is for everyone’s messages. Though she may not respond to every one, know that they bring such joy and smiles to her days- keep ‘em coming!
A lot of people have asked how to help. Besides the loving messages, we will be working on setting up a meal train, especially for a few periods these first two months when there will be days full of appointments and scans and getting used to chemo.
We’ll keep people updated with further posts with more details!