Spouse and Caregiver
by Donna Jensen
We are early on in our struggle to beat the dreaded pancreatic cancer.
The beginning of February this year my husband of 34 years turned yellow as we put it. Living in a rural area we went to our local hospital who gave us the news. Sorry there is nothing I can do for you, you need to get to a city for treatment. Right in the middle of Covid so bed space was limited.
We drove to the nearest larger city where they put in a bile stent. We hounded the cancer treatment center and got an appt. within the next week. Time is of the essence or so we thought.
2 days after the stent placement after returning to our small town he wasn't feeling well. No symptoms that were listed on the discharge paper to watch for. He became incoherent and when I took his blood pressure it would not register. Off to the hospital. He was flown out of here to a large city with sepsis. In flight he coded. Me and one of our kids hopped in the car and headed out after the flight nurse called and said he may not make it through the night.
We arrived at the hospital at 2:00 AM to find him on life support. The original stent used was not the correct one and was not placed correctly. This was replaced with a proper stent. 10 days in the hospital and a prescription for IV antibiotics for 6 weeks was ordered. So much for getting into the cancer center early on.
Finally got a CT scan and blood work done. In the 2 months we spent with the Sepsis the tumor had grown 2cm. Luckily the cancer had not spread and was operable.
At present we are on the second course of Chemo. prior to surgery. Still maintaining hope and faith.
Due to the pancreatic cancer he has turned diabetic. Our family doctor really does not understand how to treat this. Was not diabetic prior to the tumor. The oncologist really does not deal with this issue. Can't get in to see an endocrinologist for a couple months. In the meantime his weight has dropped 20lbs. in 3 months. How to add weight if you can not eat carbs. Question of the day.
He has been lucky as no nausea or diarrhea with the chemo. Only real side effect is stomach pain for 3 days after treatment. We do have some family that helps where they can, but mostly we are fighting this on our own.
I really don't think anyone who has never been through this has a clue of the emotional and physical exhaustion it causes. On days where his blood sugar is below 300 I am happy. On days where he has not lost weight I am happy. On other days it is so hard to cover up my disappointment. In my heart I know he is doing all he can to eat and be active but I also know that if he loses too much weight they won't operate and that is a death sentence. Met with dietician which was requested by surgery staff and that was such a waste of time. Seems like no one really has any positive suggestions.
I know we still have a long road ahead but we will do our best to fight this. Thanks for listening.
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