Thursday, April 21, 2011

“I’m Sorry” and Update

First of all, let me say I'm sorry I haven't blogged in 10 days. It's been craziness around our home lately. Here's an update:

On Wednesday, April 13th, I went to meet with the surgeon who is supposed to remove the mass on my pancreas.*

*Back Story: On Christmas Eve and Day I was feeling yucky. It started with a headache and progressed to stomach pain, especially in my lower right abdomen. Eventually it moved into my right leg. I was so uncomfortable the entire day. I was crying it was so bad. I suffered through the day and attempted to go to bed. I guess I finally got so tired that I fell asleep. Around 1am I woke up in agonizing pain. I went to the bathroom and threw up. I tried to lay down again but I was in so much pain I told Lee I needed to go to the hospital. Of course it had started snowing that night and we had a few inches of snow on the ground, so we had to call an ambulance. They got there quickly and got me to the ER pretty fast since it was the middle of the night and there were no cars on the road.

While I was there, they did a few tests (urine, blood, etc) as well as a CT scan to rule out appendicitis. It turned out that I had an enlarged right ovary (indicative of ovarian cysts) as well as a spot around my pancreas. I didn't have appendicitis. So I followed up with my regular doctor who did blood work and figured out I have hypothyroidism as well as a slightly enlarged liver. These are things that medicine, diet, and exercise can help. She referred me to a radiologist who ran an MRI. The mass was still present and was bigger than the previous scan. Then I went to an upper GI doctor who did a battery of tests and ruled out anything related to my GI tract. Next I had an endoscopy done that basically was a stepping stone to getting an endoscopic ultrasound and fine needle biopsy done. Well that confirmed that I did have a mass and it needed to be removed.

So, on Wednesday I went to the surgeon thinking he would tell me of this really simple procedure to remove the mass and all would be well and over. That's not how it went. He said that my CEA levels were elevated which means the mass is precancerous, which means that if we don't remove the mass, there is a 30% chance of getting pancreatic cancer down the road. For those of you who don't know, pancreatic is one of (if not the) worst cancers to get. The prognosis is usually pretty bleak with most people dying within 5 years of diagnosis. So that was pretty scary. Then he said, "I'll also have to remove part of your pancreas as well as your spleen." Apparently you can't remove just the mass or just the mass and part of the pancreas. The spleen is connected with lymph nodes to the pancreas so it has to come out.

So I am having the 5 hour surgery on May 12th and will be in the hospital 2-5 days and have a 2-4 week recovery. Not as simple as I thought. Also, there are long term health risks to not having part of your pancreas (diabetes) and a spleen (blood issues, blood clot issues, and pneumonia) so I will have to monitor myself pretty well for sickness and diabetes symptoms as well as get immunizations regularly. It's a lot more than I thought it would be, but I am thankful that at least we found the mass and are getting it out. God is definitely watching over me. If I didn't have those ovarian cysts, we would not have known about the mass until it started causing trouble and/or was cancer (by then it could have been fatal).

I know it is all in God's hands and that He has a plan for everything we go through. To Him be all the glory.

I appreciate prayers as this is pretty overwhelming. I am a little anxious about the actual procedure, but more about the recovery. I have had a ton of surgeries in my life but I still get a little nervous beforehand. I also covet prayers for me to let go of control as I will have to have lots of help again and that is sometimes a real struggle for me. Thanks!