In June 2018, shortly after becoming a grandfather, Steve was diagnosed with Pseudomyxoma peritonei (PMP), a rare cancer that starts in the appendix.
When Steve was in college, he was admitted to the hospital for an inflamed appendix, but the appendix was never removed. Fast forward to May, 2018, Steve started having pain in his appendix area and began having tests done to identify the cause. After two CT scans and a biopsy, the doctors identified two masses in his abdomen that were a cause for concern. The report given was that at some point his appendix either burst or began leaking fluid into his abdomen. This eventually metastasized into two tumors.
From the Pseudomyxoma Survivor webpage,"Pseudomyxoma peritonei is pronounced ‘sue-doh-mix-oh-muh pary-ih-ton-nee-i’ and is often abbreviated to PMP. In most cases, it starts in the appendix; more rarely, it can start in other parts of the body such as the bowel, an ovary or the bladder. It affects around two people per million each year of all ages, both men and women. A tumor develops in the appendix from a polyp which is a small growth on the inner lining of your appendix. At this early stage, the tumor is rarely discovered as it doesn’t cause any symptoms. Left untreated, the tumor grows and eventually bursts through the wall of the appendix into your abdominal cavity where more tumors then develop. These tumors then secrete a jelly-like substance called mucin which accumulates in your abdominal cavity. It is this build up of mucin that causes symptoms, the abdomen swells leading to the characteristic ‘jelly belly’ and vital organs are compressed."
There are still many unknowns regarding treatment, length of recovery, and the severity of this condition. They will drive to Phoenix, AZ where Steve will be evaluated by a doctor who specializes in treating PMP at the Mayo Clinic on August 13. Surgery is tentatively scheduled for August 15th. From what we understand, Steve may be in recovering for approximately 4 weeks at the Clinic, then returning home to continue healing.