Many Glacier area with Mt. Wilbur in the distance, Glacier National Park, Montana
I wanted to give you another update about Mr. Jim! He is building up his strength and continues his remarkable recovery from cancer surgery. We are hugely relieved that part of the journey is now behind us!
I will confess now that things did not look good initially. Our surgeon almost closed Mr. Jim back up when he saw the amount of lymph nodes around the cancer lesions. But he decided to forge ahead because he had enough margins around all of the blood vessels in the area. And he already knew that we wanted him to proceed to save Mr. Jim, if he possibly could. In all, our surgeon removed 80 lymph nodes – a record for this very experienced doctor. And our surgeon advised me that a lot of chemotherapy and radiation would be necessary later.
So while all of you prayed, the pathology tests were being run. I had pretty much put the tests out of my mind, quite frankly. And I doubt that Jim was giving them much thought either, since he was (understandably) preoccupied. So when our surgeon, along with a half dozen of his medical team, came into the hospital room one evening, we thought that the pathology news would be anticlimactic.
The team could not suppress their smiles. It turned out that the news was a surprise and positive. Of the 80 lymph nodes removed, only seven were positive for cancer and they were all in the immediate vicinity of the pancreas lesion. And, the type of pancreatic cancer is not the deadliest form (as suspected). It is a very rare form, and the one with the best prognosis because it has the least propensity to spread. It is so rare that our surgeon had never seen it before during his entire career.
We greatly suspect that our collective prayers made a difference! And we are experiencing a huge amount of gratitude right now for all the folks who have rallied on our behalf. Thank you!!!
We met with our surgeon this past Monday and discussed where we go from here. Mr. Jim’s staples were also removed - 23 in all. The feeding tube (unused since getting out of the hospital) in his abdomen will be removed next Monday. A couple of rounds of radiation and chemotherapy will commence in about four weeks. Consultation appointments with the chemo doctor (a new one, since we dismissed the first one) and the radiologist are already set. Mr. Jim’s health will continue to be monitored for a minimum of five years. On a regular basis, he will get scans and his blood tested for the CA 19-9 tumor marker. We will remain vigilant!
Needless to say, we are so grateful for our surgeon and his team. We can’t say enough positive things about them. Hands down, our surgeon is the best doctor we have ever encountered. Not only is he skilled with technical knowledge, but he also has unbelievably great people skills. He is our hero! Undoubtedly, the world would be a much better place if there were more men like him in it.