Justin Peterson

Justin started having stomach pain about a month ago and saw his doctor. They thought it was a muscle strain from work and suggested he lay low for a couple of days. This was not helping so he went back into the doctor and they did an X-ray and sent him home to manage what they thought was constipation. After three days nothing was helping so Sarah thought it was his gallbladder, a bowel obstruction, or something else because she didn’t think constipation should be causing this pain. The doctor sent him to the ER on Monday (5/18/2020) questioning a bowel obstruction. Sarah couldn’t go with him because of COVID restrictions. They did an ultra sound and found something abnormal. A CT scan found lesions on his liver and lab results revealed elevated liver enzymes. 

The doctors told Justin he probably has cancer, but needs further testing. He was admitted. He started to run a fever so they began to draw labs every six hours. Because of his lab results and the indication that he was going into liver failure, both GI and Oncology teams were brought onto the case. A later CT scan found nodules in the base of his lung and a few minor nodules in his lymph nodes. 

Justin had a biopsy and was given the option to wait until the results were back or to  start chemo as soon as possible because they know the cancer is progressive and in the liver. He chose to start chemo as soon as possible. 

Unfortunately the biopsy results did not come back as they had hoped. 

His diagnosis is Cholangiocarcinoma (BileDuct) which has spread to the liver. 

This type of cancer spreads quickly and it is not curable, but just managed. He is a strong person and will fight. 

This family is truly blessed with such a wonderful support system to help them along the way.  

This is a confusing situation because he is young and in good health and has no family history. The labs he had drawn for an annual physical 2 months ago were completely normal. It's so hard to understand why this happened so quick. He was in perfectly good health. Because of these contributing factors, Justin’s oncologist has referred him to Mayo for a second opinion.

Sarah and Justin rely heavily on their faith and feel this is the only way to get through this. Please, keep them in your daily prayers and spread the word that they are asking for prayers. 

This is also going to be an extremely difficult time for their children - Ella (14) is going to be a freshman at O’Gorman, Jaxon (8) is going to be a 3rd grader at St. Mary and Molly (6) will be a 1st grader, also at St Mary. 

Justin is only 41. He is the math and social studies teacher for the 6th - 8th grades at Axtell Middle School in the Sioux Falls Public School system. He also works part time at FedEx,which he will no longer be able to do. Sarah will be taking time off from work to help navigate her family forward through this tragedy.
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Organizer and beneficiary

Maggie Oliver 
Sioux Falls, SD
Sarah Peterson 
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