Rich Rivera

First post: Jan 9, 2022 Latest post: 16 hours ago
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Here is Rich’s story:

Earlier in the year Rich was losing weight, intentionally at first but then the pounds kept coming off.  He also had some stomach discomfort.  He went into his primary doctor in October for his annual physical.  They called him after the blood test results came back and told him he had diabetes and a hernia.  He had been on the watch list for diabetes for years so the diagnosi explained the weight loss and upset stomach so no further testing was done.  He started taking insulin and fairly quickly got his blood sugar levels under control.  On December 28th, he became jaundiced so the doctor instructed him to go to the ER, where they took blood and did a CT scan of his abdomen.  When they came in to tell us that the scans showed a mass on the head of his pancreas and it looks like cancer, we were in disbelief.  The mass was compressing the bile duct and that's what caused the jaundice.  They admitted him to the hospital to see if there was a doctor that could do the biopsy the next day.  The GI doc came in from vacation to do the biopsy and placed a stent in Rich's bile duct so the bilirubin could drain and alleviate the jaundice.  
On January 4, 2022, the doctor called and the biopsy confirmed that it was pancreatic cancer. Adenocarcinoma in the head of the pancreas. Good news was that it didn’t look like it has spread to other organs.  I posted the awful news on Facebook and friends and family from near and far jumped in to help with recommendations, success stories and support. 💜 The common thread was to go to UC Health as they have a lot of experience with pancreatic cancer.  So that is where we went on January 11th.  It was an all-day appointment where Rich had extensive tests and scans and met with a team of multidisciplinary medical professionals to come up with a treatment plan for him.  They staged it as Borderline Resectable. The doctors predicted that he would have 2-4 months of chemo and then whipple surgery followed by more chemo. We felt fortunate that the tumor compressed his bile duct, giving him jaundice, and a sign that something was wrong before it had metastasized. Apparently, and unfortunately, there aren’t many symptoms so most of the time it is not caught until it has spread.

We are touched to our cores with the outpouring of love, support, prayers and offers to help.  Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Every call, text and visit has meant the world to us. 💜🙏💜

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