Valeries Pancreatic Journey

My name is Valerie Wietzke, but I was born Valerie Jean Brask on February 14, 1960 to Carl and Lorraine Brask. I grew up in Golden Valley, MN with my loving parents, 5 older sisters and 1 younger brother. I had a great childhood growing up in a family of nine. The highlight of every summer was a family trip traveling to areas of the United States in our family station wagon (always pulling a trailer!) I also have wonderful memories with childhood friends; some of those friendships have lasted over 40 years! I married Mark Wietzke in a beautiful ceremony on August 5, 1995, and became the stepmother of 5 year old Zac. A little over a year later, on November 6, 1996. I gave birth to David Carl of the happiest days of my life! I have always loved to travel and over the past 22 years Mark and I have taken a number of trips to warm destinations during the cold Minnesota winters. We went to the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Mexico, Las Vegas, Hawaii and Florida numerous times. In August 2001 my siblings, Mom, Aunt and myself took a 2 week family heritage trip to Norway and Sweden to visit many cousins – some we had met before when they came to Minnesota, others we met for the first time. It was a wonderful experience with very special memories. My Scandinavian heritage has always been important to me, which made that trip extra special. Here at home in my spare time in the winter I crochet prayer shawls for my church, read and avoid the cold as much as possible! Once the snow is gone and the soil is warm, I love watching my perennials pop through the soil and display their beauty and fragrance. Even though working in my gardens takes up most of my free time in the spring and summer, I really enjoy it. I even love to weed, which many people don’t understand, but it's very therapeutic for me!
My Cancer Story: Up until March of 2017 I was very healthy...normal weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, etc. In March 2017, I developed a back ache that interrupted my sleep and work. I had an abdominal ultrasound in April 2017 that didn’t show anything abnormal. The pain continued and I was sent to a gastroenterologist for further testing. Between April 2017 and July 2017 the GI doctor administered 5 tests that all came back ‘normal’. The pain continued, so I needed to look in a different direction. I had gynecological surgeries in the past few years and I wondered if my back pain could possibly be from adhesions related to those surgeries. My gynecologist agreed it could be a possibility. She did a laparoscopy in August and found an adhesion, which she took care of. Finally I thought my prayers had been answered. Unfortunately, two weeks after surgery my back pain was still present. My gynecologist ordered another CT scan, hoping to find the cause of my back pain. (The first CT scan that appeared normal was done in June at a different facility). The second CT scan was done on September 13. Later that same day I received a call informing me that I had a soft tissue mass pushing against my pancreas. On September 20th I had an endoscopic ultrasound to retrieve a biopsy of the soft tissue mass. During that biopsy procedure the doctor also discovered a tumor in my pancreas which he also biopsied. On September 22nd I received the dreaded call confirming that I have pancreatic cancer. (It was very disappointing to also learn that the CT scan that was done on June 2nd showed the soft tissue mass, but it was missed by the technician at that facility.) Once I received the diagnosis I was able to focus on a plan. First I met with the oncologist at HCMC who referred me to Mayo Clinic in Rochester. I also decided to meet with a homeopathic doctor. He did some testing and gave me recommendations for supplements as well as treatment options from other homeopathic providers. From October 27-November 1st I was at Mayo in Rochester (2 hours from my home) for blood tests, another CT scan and consultations with a few doctors and nurses regarding a treatment plan. On November 9th I received my 1st chemo kicked my butt. Everything that could go wrong did. I had no appetite, extreme fatigue, mouth sores, hair loss, and diarrhea complicated by a nasty bug called c-diff. I became severely dehydrated. The night before Thanksgiving I developed a fever and our local hospital here in Minneapolis sent me to Methodist Hospital in Rochester (part of the Mayo system). I spent about a week there (November 23-29) receiving IV fluids, antibiotics, and a multitude of other things to help me feel better. When I got to the hospital I didn’t have any neutrophils, which are the part of the white blood cells that protect against infection...I had no defense against infection! By the time I left the hospital my neutrophils were still at the low end, but at least I had some. I also had my fluids replenished and the C-diff on its way to clearing up. I am currently on short term disability from work. The chronic diarrhea has not resolved and Mayo will not administer another treatment until the diarrhea is under control. In the mean time I am continuing treatments with my homeopathic doctor in an attempt to keep my body as healthy as possible while I fight this nasty cancer. We are finding that our medical bills are adding up quickly and we are in need of money to help our dwindling savings account. Any funds that are raised through this site will be used for uncovered medical expenses for my cancer treatments in Rochester, medications, travel expenses, and the cost of homeopathic care. I have been truly blessed for all of my wonderful family and friends. My fight against cancer is not a fight that I will be facing alone but rather with all of you by my side. Any help that you can give me will be greatly appreciated and will help me battle the most important hurdle of my life. If you are able to donate to my fight, please leave me your address so that I can send you a thank you card. If you cannot donate, prayers and thoughts are also encouraged and appreciated. God’s ways are certainly mysterious and I don’t know why He placed these obstacles in front of me but I am ready to face them. “She believed she could,so she did”. Thank youand God bless you, Valerie


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David Carl Wietzke 
Minneapolis, MN
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