Update from Uncle Larry


We love the Tugboat Donald C (I think this is it)

Uncle Larry writes:”

0629 Thursday April 28, 2005

Hi Family,

Thank you all for your support. This makes me very humble to think of how much all of you care about me. I got home late last night and was to exhausted to write to my family. For planning purposes here is what is going to happen. I’m going back up to Boston today for pre-admission work.

I am probably going to live. I went to Boston thinking terminal cancer. I came home thinking I can live, that is a good day for me. This operation I am going to have is very serious but only 1% of the people having it die on the table. This doctor, Charles M. Vollmer, Jr. and his partner Dr. Mark P. Callery do 100 of these operations per year. The most in the region. They usually get patients sent in from regional hospital when the patient gets jaundice for no apparent reason. Pancreatic Cancer is usually found because of non-related tests that discover it. Pancreatic cancer has been called a “silent” disease because the tumor can grow for many years before it causes pressure, pain, or other signs of illness. Like me, everyone is saying that the fall from the Tug Donald C was a gift from God.

I can still not tell you that I have cancer. The two brushings on my “mass” came back inconclusive. Usually 10% will come back cancer. Another 10% no cancer. And the rest of this brushing test results are inconclusive. Mine was inconclusive. But it does not matter, the mass has to come out. It is causing a blockage of the common bile duct between the Gall Bladder, Pancreas, and the Ampulla of Vater. No need to waste time with a biopsy, the dam thing has to come out. The stint that was put in on Monday to open the Bile Duct is only temporary. It relieved my problem of jaundice only on a short term basis.

Dr. Charles M. Vollmer, Jr. will perform a “Whipple Procedure”(you can find it on the web)for Pancreatic Cancer. He believes my mass is cancer based on his experience only no definitive test. He thinks it is only 1 centimeter long and is on the outside of the duct. So it is very difficult to see on film or cat scan because of overlapping tissue and organs. He will use a scope before he starts the operation through my belly button to determine if it has spread. If it has spread, he will close me back up and we will not have the operation. But we don’t know based on pictures if it has spread to the surrounding areas or into the wall of the duct. Only surgery will tell us that. Once he gets it out the lab will determine how bad it is or maybe no cancer at all. But it has to come out. Along with the mass my Gall Bladder and 40% of the Pancreas will be removed. The total tissue coming out will be the size of your fist. I am an excellent candidate for surgery because of my past medical history and physical health. Thank God for all my work at the gym since 1998.

The operation will take place on Tuesday May 2, 2005. I report to the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center West Campus at 0600 for same day surgery clinic on the 5 floor of the west campus. I will be in the hospital 8 days on the fourth floor of the same building Uncle Mike was in. I will lose 15 lbs of weight. I will be recovering at home for 2 weeks after the hospital before I can work on getting my strength back. Total recovery will be in 3 months. Provided this thing has not spread I should be able to resume a normal work life, according to the Doctor. It is really small and I am hoping for no chemo after the operation. No determination on any of this can be made until the mass comes out and goes to the lab.

My best guess is that I could be back to work on Monday, July 4. It could be longer. You can look up this Whipple Procedure on the net. Everyone is required to keep a smile on their face and head up not down. We will use this simple thought to guide our actions “we look for adversity, in adversity we find opportunity”. This is boating season. My boat will be at Newport and I will recover on the boat entertaining you all.

Love Uncle Larry”

Whipple Procedure link

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2 Responses to Update from Uncle Larry

  1. joe roche says:

    O K shorty–
    Just to be sure—you can have my four (4) more years. At the regular rate, of course.
    The rosary beads are clicking!

  2. Sharon & Lee says:

    You are in our thoughts and prayers. I like your comment about being “required” to keep a smile on our faces…kinda sounds like an order! One we will be happy to obey. Lee sends his best from Iraq and will be by to say hi when he is on home leave in June. I know someone who had the Whipple procedure and she is doing awesome!All the best with our love!

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