Paul Hess Paul Hess Updates

First post: Oct 12, 2021 Latest post: Sep 6, 2022
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Dad or Paul as you may know him was recently diagnosed with Neuroendocrine Tumors. The symptoms he was experiencing started around late December 2020 early January 2021. He told his doctor about swelling he was having in his feet. From there his doctor ran many tests for his heart and originally suspected blockage. Dad was referred to Genesis Health System in the Quad Cities area for a cardiology consult and other testing. By the end of April the Cardiologist could not find anything wrong with his heart that would be making him so tired, short of breath and cause swelling of feet and legs. Dad was also referred to a pulmonologist to see if there was any other cause for the shortness of breath. The final test that was recommended was an MRI of his heart. The heart MRI was to be done in Iowa City. 

After the heart MRI was completed we went in for Dad's consult with Dr. Kasula- the cardiologist from Genesis. He gave us the news that we never expected to hear. There were lesions found on the liver and other areas that are called Neuroendocrine Tumors (NET). This was very shocking to Dad, Mom and I as we suspected all along it was something else. Dr. Kasula told us that the tumors are very slow growing which gave us hope. He referred Dad to the oncologist at Genesis who referred Dad to Iowa City because they are world known for treating NETs. NETs are very rare and often diagnosed by mistake-as in Dad's case.  NETs, begin in neuroendocrine cells, which are spread throughout your body. There are many different kinds of neuroendocrine tumors with many different kinds of symptoms, depending on where the tumor is. For Dad the tumors and the hormones they release are causing flushing, fatigue, swelling in his legs and the damage to his heart valves. 

Getting in to Iowa took longer than we had hoped but Dad has started seeing his team of experts this past week and a plan is starting to develop. October 4th he went to Iowa City for labs and a PET scan. Unfortunately there were issues with the prep for the PET and that needed to be rescheduled for later in the week. On October 6th Dad was seen by Dr. Bashir at Iowa City-he is a cardiac surgeon. Dr. Bashir indicated that Dad needs to have two valves replaced and he recommended having the valve replacement surgery before treating the NETs. Dr. Bashir believes that any cancer treatment will not be as effective if the valves in Dad's heart are not replaced. 

Dad has a surgery date of 11/04/2021 penciled in for now. We meet with the Oncologist at Iowa City on 10/12/2021 to see if the Oncology team agrees with this date. Pray that the surgery can be done on that day-as it is the earliest possible date. While some treatment for the NETs can start before the surgery his heart is the most urgent matter at this point in time. 

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