Robert Brownell

First post: Jun 26, 2022 Latest post: Sep 22, 2022
Robert has been living with and receiving treatment for bladder cancer for many years .  Recently, that cancer became more aggressive. Scans revealed that not only had the bladder cancer invaded the bladder wall, but that there was also a second primary cancer. He has both bladder cancer and stage 4 pancreatic cancer that has already metastasized (spread) to his liver.  In April he began a chemotherapy regimen designed to help minimize the progression of these cancers.

Chemotherapy has had some side effects, but Rob says, "Overall, I feel better than I thought I would." No nausea or vomiting! But sometimes he gets hiccups that won't stop and of course the chemo is affecting his white blood cells, red blood cells, and all sorts of other lab values. 

He has been hospitalized a couple times for weakness and to keep a close eye on him. Right now his Penn Medicine team is making sure his kidneys are staying as healthy as possible during treatment.  

June 2022

Update July 2022: 
To prevent kidney failure (due to his bladder tumor blocking urine from flowing freely into his bladder), Robert had percutaneous nephrostomy tubes (PCNs) inserted into both kidneys. These tubes drain to the outside, keeping the kidneys from being overly stressed. Maybe this is also helping stabilize his blood pressure, which has been very erratic.  He is also suffering from some intermittent left-side weakness (left hand and foot) which may be due to having one carotid artery fully blocked. The other one was 75% blocked and a surgeon opened that one, saying that just one open  carotid artery would be enough to supply the brain with blood. The fully blocked artery would be dangerous to work on.... it might set clots free that would lodge in the brain. No one is really sure what is causing the intermittent weakness. It mimics stroke symptoms, but is not like a classic stroke. The symptoms come and go and CT scans show no real damage. This is a complicated case... with Robert seeing cardiologists and neurologists along with his oncologist.