Jul 25, 2019 Latest post:
May 13, 2020
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.
So let's start from the beginning in case you haven't heard the full story. After we came back from our family trip to Thailand/Cambodia in June, I wasn't feeling quite right. Some intestinal discomfort and generally not feeling quite normal. I also noticed when I was at the gym and saw that I lost 10 pounds. The discomfort carried on for a month and Pam noticed a mass near my liver and arranged for an ultrasound test to see what was going on. The ultrasound found a mass but we needed more data. Pam quickly arranged for a CT scan later that morning. The CT scan indicated it was indeed a mass on the left lobe of my liver. We then immediately arranged for a biopsy of the mass later that afternoon. So everything happened all in one day (way to go Pam!). The following week we got the confirmation from pathology that I had a rare form of liver cancer, specifically bile duct cancer. The cancer cells are cholangiocarcinoma. It's a rare form of liver cancer and evidently there are only 8000 cases in the US.
That diagnosis has led to series of other tests. The PET scan test showed that for the most part it originated in the liver but there was a small spot in my lower lung that is unclear if it spread or is unrelated to this situation. We are going to undergo another biopsy to see what this nodule is all about. We have engaged an Oncology team at UCSF here in San Francisco to help with our treatment plans -- we are grateful that we are in a city where there is a strong research medical facility that has some of the top doctors treating liver diseases. It also helps to have Pam activating her network of other doctors to provide additional perspectives, referrals or validations of treatments.
After the latest consultations with our UCSF doctors, we have a plan of attack. After getting the lung biopsy done and an MRI for the surgeon, we will be embarking on a series of chemo therapy treatments. The start date for the first treatment will be Tuesday, July 30th. The series will be four consecutive 21-day "cycles" --- two weeks of infusions (one day per week) followed by one "off" week. That is one cycle. We will do four consecutive cycles for a total of 12 weeks. I am planning to continue working through this treatment plan (the doctors think I should be able to manage the treatment and work with some adjustment) and they say that during the "off" week I should be able to do anything, including travel. For those wondering why I chose to continue working --- as this situation emerged I found that going to work provided a level of normalcy to my life and also allowed me a chance to think about something else. I see it as a positive coping mechanism for the time being and I'm planning to continue working to help me manage through this long journey. (I want to send a big "thank you" to my co-workers at Wells Fargo who are supporting me as I work through this treatment regiment.)
My family has been wonderful supporters even as they are coping with this new reality. Pam has been an amazing source of strength and knowledge. It would have been so much harder without her support and love. Our girls have been so supportive and we’re talking to them daily. We are planning to have the two girls come home once we have our schedules more finalized.
We’ll be providing more updates on this site so please come back regularly. And feel free to share this link with others as appropriate. I’m not hiding behind this disease and I’m not going to let it define me. It certainly has changed things, but I’m staying positive and optimistic about the future. Send me your prayers and good thoughts.