Dad’s Story: In early 2015 dad begin to get sick. His blood work indicated that something was wrong but doctors couldn’t put their finger on in. After several months of labs and monitoring him, they said it was his gallbladder. In late August, Dad went in and had his gallbladder removed. Two days later he was back in the ER with a ruptured esophagus. After undergoing emergency surgery to repair it, Dad spent thirteen days in the Intensive Care Unit. It was then that he lost thirty pounds. Dad was released and sent home. Four days later he was admitted back because he was unable to keep anything down. Doctors placed dad on a PICC line and diagnosed him with acute pancreatitis. They wanted to send him home and recheck in two weeks. Mom, Shawn and I decided it was time for another opinion so we had him moved from Greensboro to Baptist Hospital in Winston Salem. Dad was there for three days when they confirmed that he had Pancreatic Cancer. On October 20th, dad underwent major surgery to remove the tumor, however it was not successful. Instead doctors completed a bypass around the stomach and placed a feeding tube so that he could eat again. After recovering from surgery for two months and regaining some strength, dad began aggressive chemo therapy. Every other week Mom or I would drive about forty-five miles ONE WAY, spend all day at the hospital, take dad home on a chemo pump (which ran until Thursday) then drive him back to have it removed. After finishing a round of chemo he underwent radiation for twenty-eight days straight. Doctors at Baptist attempted the second Whipple on June 1, 2016. It was determined then that dads’ cancer was “inoperable” and that chemotherapy would be needed the rest of his life.
Once dad recovered from surgery he started treatment again. It was then that we ran into a lady named Joanna, who told us her story. She too had pancreatic cancer and was told that her tumor was inoperable as well. She told us about Johns Hopkins and how they had successfully removed her cancer. She gave us some contact names/numbers and that’s when our research for Johns Hopkins began. Dad made two separate trips up to Baltimore to meet oncology and the surgeons. He continued chemo until April 3rd 2017. The doctors in Baltimore were optimistic that they could remove the cancer, but dad had to be off chemo for thirty days. On May 1st, Mom and Dad drove up to Baltimore and Shawn and I flew up May 2nd to meet with Dr. Weiss and his team for dads’ pre-op appointment. On May 3rd, dad was in surgery for seven hours. Dr. Weiss came out and told us that the cancer had been SUCCESSFULLY removed. It was contained and NOT in his lymph nodes. Additional biopsies were sent to pathology, and those results would determine the treatment after recovery. Dad was released on May 17th after seeing oncology and Dr. Weiss for his post op appointment. They got clear margins all the way around the tumor and it was determined that no treatment was needed at this time.
Dad’s story doesn’t end here. At two am on Friday May 19th Mom called me – she had called 911 because Dad had spiked a 103 fever. He was being rushed to the local ER where they admitted him into ICU. He was dehydrated, had a severe infection, no kidney function and a temperature. Dad had sepsis shock and since he had just had surgery doctors decided it was best to contact the team in Baltimore. They arranged for dad to be flown back to Baltimore so that they could treat him. When mom and I got news that the helicopter was in route we left Greensboro immediately to try to meet him up there. When Dad arrived back at Johns Hopkins they immediately admitted him into the ICU and started working on him. He had sepsis infection due to abscesses in the liver. His bile ducts developed strictures, meaning bile wasn’t passing and was instead backing up into the liver causing pockets of infection. He was taken down for drains/stints to be placed into the liver/bile duct so that the infection could drain out. He will have four procedures to increase the size of the tube each time until they reach the desired gage tube that he will go home with. He will remain at Johns Hopkins until there are NO signs of bacteria in his blood.
Once he is released - Dad will still have to make multiple trips up to Johns Hopkins to check the drains. We are hopeful that after six months they’ll be removed. Thank you for following dad’s story. Thank you for all the prayers and positive words. I hope dads story inspires others to “NOT GIVE UP”, don’t accept NO as the answer and seek other opinions. With his persistence, Dad is CANCER FREE today!!
- jesse currie
- FRED BROWN
- Richard White
- Brian Smith
- Rebecca Kerley
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