Sarah Gutknecht

First post: Apr 5, 2016 Latest post: Aug 29, 2017
I have always been open to new and exciting adventures, but little did I know what was in store for me during the final days of March 2016. Epigastric pain over the previous month (which I thought was stress-related) led to a visit to the emergency department. Numerous CT scans, two biopsies, one ERCP, and one PET scan later I have learned I have metastatic adenocarcinoma of the pancreas, a.k.a. pancreatic cancer. As many of you are aware, the outlook is not as optimistic as one would hope. I write this on the eve of my first chemotherapy treatment, FOLFIRINOX, a combination of four medications. It is the most toxic regimen, but also can lead to the best outcome. I had a permanent catheter placed, a PORT-A-CATH that will allow easy access for blood draws and medication administration. Unfortunately, due to the fact that I will be immunocompromised (susceptible to infections) from my chemotherapy treatment, it would be unwise to care for children, so I must step away from my clinical work at Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare and Shriners Hospitals for Children-Twin Cities Unit. I am hopeful I may continue to work through research, teaching, and writing. I have been feeling well, I'm doing my best to stay nourished, and I have been exercising daily. I started acupuncture treatment as an adjunct to my chemotherapy in hopes to minimize side effects, particularly peripheral neuropathy (numbness in the hands/feet). Although I am devastated by this diagnosis, I am also grateful that I have such great family, friends, and colleagues. I work for an amazing, supportive organization. I have lived a charmed life. My niece Hannah said, “Aunt Sarah has killed it with everything she has done.” So with that spirit I will move forward, one day at a time, on my newest and most exciting adventure yet. Thanks for your support.

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