Journal entry by Jane Hawkins

Yesterday afternoon Vonda met with her oncologist. This morning she had an appointment with her gastroenterologistgastroenterologist. The current upshot is on the pessimistic side. However, tomorrow she will get an outpatient procedure that could improve her outlook.

I'm going to give details but I want to stop a moment and say this: When you see words like "treatment" please don't let it spark long term hopes for Vonda. She's got stage 4 pancreatic cancer. It has infested other organs. (But NOT her brain! Clean MRI on Monday!) Even if treatment is possible, our very best reasonable hope is still less than a year.

Vonda's oncologist described three levels of chemotherapy of varying intensity. Don't ask me chemical names -- will have that later but not right now. The most intense regime might give her a year but it sometimes not well tolerated. One step down is usually easier on a person and might mean about six months. The mildest doesn't usually do much for life span but can increase comfort.

Problem is, Vonda's liver function right now is poor. So poor that chemo might take her faster than the cancer.

Vonda's gasgastroenterologist said today that replacement of a stent installed several weeks ago could improve liver function. He will do that replacement Thursday morning, tomorrow. The stent is intended to help fluids from the gall bladder get out to the bowels, and he thinks the current one could be clogged.

If this works and her liver numbers get better, I think she will try the medium-level chemo. We might know by Friday.

An aside: All her docs know she has a book she wants to finish. Even the doc she hadn't seen before!
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