Tammy Harbaugh TamHarbaugh

First post: Jun 16, 2021 Latest post: Jun 24, 2023
Here’s how my story begins ... Side note, not responsible for excessive sleepiness while reading this post.

A year ago July 3, 2020, I was rushed to ER with severe pain in abdomen along with high fever and nausea. After four additional trips  throughout the year to the ER and three different hospital stays lasting for a week or longer, I was diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma (cancer of the bile duct) on June 8th, 2021.

During hospital stays and before the final diagnosis, Drs. were somewhat confused as results from other tests included finding stones in gall bladder, becoming septic (twice), blood clots on my liver, blood clots in pancreatic duct, finding multiple stomach ulcers and a liver abscess. Multiple scans were performed including: MRIs, ultra sounds, CT scans, numerous endoscopy procedures (adding stent to open up clogged duct) and even a colonoscopy. Needless to say, the Drs. were all scratching their heads for a while with my case.

They found no cause of all the issues until May 2021 visit. A four-inch mass on right lobe of liver. Drs. state the mass grew from November 2020 to May 2021 as it did not show on any of the earlier scans. The mass is obstructing the main portal vein and duct to right lobe of liver. This is where they believe the cancer started, in the bile duct. 

The good news is … Drs. state my left lobe is at 43% of total liver capacity. My understanding is the mass has shut down the right lobe from working, so left lobe is already starting to regenerate! The not so good news is they also saw a few enlarged lymph nodes by the portal vein and are requesting a PET scan. Bottom line is if cancer has spread to lymph nodes, the plan is to proceed with chemo first to shrink cancer. If lymph nodes are clear, the plan is to proceed with surgery first. And that’s where we are today … awaiting results from PET scan.

 So relieved and feel blessed the good Lord above is watching over me and has guided the wonderful doctors to this point.  My heart is full of love knowing all of you are praying and providing me with wonderful thoughts, prayers and words of encouragement. While I can’t control what happens next, I can control the way I handle it.  There is ALWAYS something to be thankful for.

 P.S. A HUGE shout out and thank you to my husband, Mike and my sister, Tracy. They both continue to play a major role in my journey to date. Mike is always by my side providing the support and helping to put every little thing in perspective. Tracy knows me better than I know myself and has redefined bravery by conquering breast cancer. My hope is to follow in her footsteps.  I LOVE YOU BOTH to the moon and back!!

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