Regan Nowacki

First post: Mar 31, 2018 Latest post: Apr 20, 2018

Regan's cancer journey began in March 2016.  We had just recently moved to the Seattle area and Regan had been at her new job for about 5 moinths. At that time she was feeling fine, but her eyes started turning yellow.  We had no idea what that was, but when her skin started turning an orangish tone we suspected jaundice.  She also started to itch, really bad, she said it always felt like her skin was crawling and the more she scratched, the more it itched.  We decided it was definitely time to see a doctor so we took a trip to the quick care.  Regan was with the doctor for 5 minutes, then came out and said we need to go to the ER.  In the ER at Good Samaritan hospital they did some scans and blood work and then gave us the bad news, Regan had liver cancer (cholangiocarcinoma).  Regan was obviously devastated, but I refused to believe it.  

After finding out the bad news, we were referred to several different doctors, an Oncologist (Dr. Martin), and a surgeon that specializes in the liver (Dr. Brown).  They decided to schedule surgery for Regan about 2 weeks from the date we found out about the cancer.  I knew this was going to be a long, hard process, but I was looking forward to Regan getting better and back to her normal self.  The surgery was long, about 8 hours and I was a wreck the whole time. Finally at around 8 pm, Dr. Brown came out and told me the surgery was a success, but he had to cut a portion of Regan's liver off and had to restructure her bile ducts and some of her anatomy.  After she recovered a little, I got to see her, but only for a little bit, she was very much out of it and the nurses and doctors told me I should go home and rest.  The next day I spent the entire day with her, she was awake and talking and we watched tv together.  The following day after that when I came in, the room was filled with nurses and doctors and they told me Regan was getting moved to the Intensive Care unit.  Her lungs were filling up with fluids and they needed to intubate her ASAP.  I got kicked out while they did that, but when I came back in and saw all the tubes she was hooked up to I was very sad.  Regan was basically in a coma for 1 week and I was very happy when I came in that day and they said they were going to remove the tubes.  After that she was well on her way to recovering, there were some hiccups along the way, but she did good and eventually got strong enough to start chemo and radiation.  Those 2 things took a lot out of her, but when she was done, she got an all clear and we were soooo happy.  Regan is very strong, way stronger than I could ever be, she went through a lot and suffered a lot of pain and discomfort, but the cancer was gone.

In late 2016, Regan was able to go back to work and our lives were back to normal. Unfortunately it didn't last long.   Regan started to feel sick and it was happening more and more often.  Over the summer, she had a procedure done in Seattle that confirmed her cancer was back.  Even though I knew surgery was out of the question, I still believed she would beat this, and still to this day haven't given up hope.  After the discovery she agreed to re-start chemo, but every time she had a session she ended up in the hospital, the chemo was taking too much of a toll on her body, we also found out the cancer had spread to her lungs, but it was a very tiny amount.  In Feb. 2018 she got an abscess in her liver that put her in the hospital for 2 weeks.  At that time the plan was for her to get better, start eating more, and get her strength back so she could resume chemo, but a scaled back version.  At home, Regan started to eat more and more everyday, but still wasn't gaining any weight and she started to get weaker.  We were told that the ascites was taking a lot of the good stuff she was getting from the food, and what the ascites wasn't taking, the cancer was.  After all Regan had been through, the hospital trips, the pain, and with her becoming weaker and weaker, she decided to go on hospice care at home.  She told me: "I don't want you to think I'm giving up, I'm just tired", which I understand, she's been poked so many times her veins don't really work anymore for IV's and going up and down the stairs to go to a doctors appointment was getting harder and harder and taking so much out of her.  Hospice care is where we're at now, no more hospital trips, and no more doctors visits, for the most part, but Regan still wants to go see Dr. Martin as often as she still can.  

This has been a long, sad, tough journey for all of us, but Regan is still fighting.