My Nightmare Journey with Pancreatic Cancer up to 9-27-20:
In the spring of 2020, I believe it was April, I started to notice an upper abdominal pain that would come and go so I decided to set up an appointment for a physical with my doctor. That appointment was pushed back to May due to my doctor being on vacation. May came and went add I received another phone call from my doctor's office stating that we would have to push back another appointment to mid-June since my doctor wasn't seeing patients in the office due to COVID.
Mid June came along and by then I had lost a significant amount of weight and the pain had increased dramatically to the point where I was curled up a lot of my days and nights suffering major pain. I finally was able to get an appointment with my doctor for a physical. After informing the doctor of my intense pain he did his assessment and decided to order a CT scan. A couple of days later my doctor called and told me that they had found a shadow on my pancreas about the size of a golf ball which is border line stage 2/stage 3 pancreatic cancer!
At that time, I really went into shock where I just couldn't believe this was happening to me. The more I talked to my doctor the more it sank in and I realized that I was in for the biggest challenge of my life.
I then underwent an endoscopy with biopsy which was positive for cancer. A treatment plan was put into place. I knew I would have to fight it with everything I had and that I was going to need lots of help!
On a Tuesday in mid-July a port for the chemo treatments was put under my skin (just below my right clavicle) so that I wouldn't need a new IV done each time I had an infusion. My first infusion took 6 hours and boy was I sick after and still having severe pain in my back. After one of my infusions they pushed a drug in my to increase by white blood cells. If you can imagine having a drug run thru all of your veins in your entire body you can imagine how much pain I was in.
Within this journey I have been in the ER four times: 1st time was dehydration. 2nd time was for a pulmonary embolism/a pulmonary infraction which is the same as a heart attack, but on the lung. Another time for a drug interaction, that time I stayed for 3 days and 2 nights.
Kathy and I made a trip to the Mayo hoping to find a surgeon to remove my tumor, but they say there was too many nerves running thru it that they wouldn't touch it. They referred us to a surgeon with the University of Minnesota who agreed to do the whipple surgery.
My plan of action is to complete 6 infusions, then wait 12 weeks for the chemo to get out of my system, then I will have whipple surgery, I will stay 2 weeks in the hospital, 10 more weeks recovering at home just to start 6 more rounds of chemo.
Even though I drink water constantly I still get dehydrated easily. My wife has become an encyclopedia of information on pancreatic cancer. She is always trying to make it easier for me to eat, drink and hopefully stay out of the hospital.
I cannot imagine trying to get thru this without the loving support of my wife, Kathy. She is my nurse, my coach, my dietitian and family team leader.
I want to thank everyone who has sent me get well cards, post cards, moral boosting doodles, texts and even inspiration posters.