Ron Hamm Ron Hamm's Journey

First post: Sep 7, 2022 Latest post: Jan 6, 2023
Hi Family and Friends,

I am setting up this Caring Bridge site to keep everyone updated on Ron’s journey with cancer. A lot of you know this information and some of you may be hearing it for the first time. In March, Ron had kidney stones and when he got the surgery on those, they found a mass on his pancreas. They did a biopsy on March 17, and they said it was negative for cancer. However, the mass had to come out so they scheduled the Whipple procedure at St. Joe’s in Phoenix on April 20 (no charge for the humor-Ron). The mass was much bigger than they originally thought and the surgery took 9+ hours. That night they said they didn’t see any cancer.

The Whipple surgery is pretty massive and they took out half of Ron’s pancreas, part of his small intestine, part of his bile duct and some lymph nodes and then they reattached everything. Ron was in the hospital for about 2 weeks recovering. About a week after the surgery, they did tell us they had an updated pathology report. On April 26, Ron was diagnosed with stage 3b ampullary cancer. The ampulla of Vater is a small opening that enters into the first portion of the small intestine, known as the duodenum. The ampulla of Vater is the spot where the pancreatic and bile ducts release their secretions into the intestines. The cancer spread to the pancreas, small intestine, part of the bile duct, some nerves and some lymph nodes. It is pretty rare to have cancer start here but it’s better than pancreatic cancer.  

The oncology team at St. Joe’s suggested Ron does 6 months of chemo every two weeks and radiation after that. His chemo regimen is called Folfirinox, and he takes three chemotherapy drugs through a port. It is a 3-day process and every other Monday, he has two chemo drugs – irinotecan (“I run to the can”) and oxaliplatin – at the cancer center, and he comes home with a “bag” that injects the third chemo into his port for 47 hours. On Wednesdays, he goes in for the disconnect. Ron started his chemo journey June 27 and has made it through this grueling regimen for a little over two months – 1/3 of the way – so far.

Needless to say, the chemo is beginning to take its toll on Ron and the side effects are brutal although the oncologist has been great about trying to head off any nausea, diarrhea, etc. with additional medicines.

I started this site (finally) to keep everyone posted so people can read as much or as little as they prefer, but we wanted to let people know how Ron is doing because he is just way too tired to respond to everyone or let people know how he is. Of course Ron wishes he could talk to everyone! 

I will post updates here.

Thank you all for the prayers, kind words and good thoughts.


Kate & Ron and Mia, Liam & Sarah