I made the move despite experiencing digestive symptoms since late November. As I started at Newport, the symptoms kept getting worse. I became jaundiced, and I had more and more frequent bouts with back and stomach pain.
In our wildest dreams, none of us would have predicted what lay ahead. On February 7, after my second surgical procedure in three weeks, I received the news that I have Stage 3 (possibly Stage 4) pancreatic cancer.
I quickly learned that pancreatic cancer is a killer and is notoriously difficult to overcome. This was an extremely trying time for Susan and me, since she was still in Sacramento, and I was in Seattle.
The weekend of February 9-11, we gathered our whole immediate family (Susan, two sons Spencer and Nathaniel, and daughter Lauren and her family) to talk about the sobering realities of pancreatic cancer – but also to weep and pray with one another.
Shortly thereafter I became connected with one of the foremost experts in pancreatic cancer in the world, Dr. Vince Picozzi at Virginia Mason Medical Center. He agreed to be my doctor. We were overjoyed!
Dr. Picozzi explained that the tumor was mainly growing out of the head of my pancreas, but it was not only in my lymph nodes but also attached to my biliary duct and nerves running to my back and abdomen. In addition, it may have metastasized to my liver. Thus, the tumor, in its current condition, is inoperable. Dr. Picozzi is attacking the tumor with chemotherapy in hopes that we can shrink it back to the point that it might become operable. Unfortunately there are no guarantees in any of this.
As I write this, I have just completed my first month-long battery of chemo. The chemo has hit my body very hard, causing fevers, extreme fatigue, digestive problems, and – as of the last two days – loss of my hair. (I let Spencer and Nathaniel shave my head, and that is the photo you see.)
Susan and Nathaniel had to scrap our plans for him to finish the school year in Sacramento. He is with us and is getting ready to begin a difficult transition to a new school, 2/3 of the way through his sophomore year.
Financially this is a bit of a perfect storm for us. We have lost Susan's income, which we depend on to pay a portion of our bills. And now we have additional bills in the form of medical bills. So, income has dropped dramatically, and costs have risen. Not a good situation.
Your GoFundMe donations would enable us to pay our medical bills and provide for Susan to spend a period of 3-6 months not working so she can (a) process this cancer diagnosis emotionally and (b) tend to her husband as he fights for his life and to her kids as they walk through this crisis.
There are still a great number of unknowns (what treatment will look like down the road, what to do with our house in Sacramento, how soon Susan will need to start working, etc.). The financial needs addressed by this GoFundMe are ongoing and far reaching.
Looking for other ways to support us? We are receiving a tremendous amount of support from the people at Newport Covenant Church, as well as from friends and family across the country – and outside the country. We would be grateful if you would follow our story on our CaringBridge page: www.caringbridge.org/public/davidbeck, send us your encouragement, and pray for us.
This situation hit us like a car t-boning us in an intersection. It was a total shock, and in many ways we are still catching up. With chemo incapacitating me large chunks out of every week, I am not able to be much help to Susan. We trust God and are not afraid – yet we feel the urgency of this situation every day. Thank you for supporting our family!
- kristin nasman
Organizer and beneficiary
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