In a recent twist of events, my mom is residing at St. Mary’s hospital
while they run a variety of tests to determine what is wrong with her
Mom suggested that I post updates to this website so her family and friends can stay appraised of her condition.
On Thursday afternoon (May 26), Mom made a doctor’s appointment because
she was experiencing blood in her urine. After running some
tests, they determined it was kidney stones (which she’s had at least
once before). However, when they ran the tests (doppler
ultrasound) to diagnose the kidney stones, they found that there are
other problems and they admited her to St. Mary’s Hospital for further
On Friday night, they ran a contrast catscan and identified a blockage in her pancreatic duct. See here for a diagram of the pancreas.
Also, here’s one site (of many) that describes the function of the pancreas.
This afternoon (Saturday the 28), doctors did a cool-sounding procedure
(to me, but I’m odd like that) called endoscopic retrograde
cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) where they ran a tube down mom’s
throat, through her stomach, and to the doudenem. Here’s a nice website describing that procedure.
Unfortunately, the endoscopic tools were not able to clear the mass
that was blocking the tube leading out of the pancreas. As a
result, we’re now waiting until tomorrow when doctors will try a
At this time, Mom says she feels just fine (besides having been in the
hospital for the last couple days, being on a liquid diet, and having
an IV). Her potassium levels are very low (probably as a result
of her pancreas not being able to secrete its enzymes, and I think she
has slight jaundice. Her bloodwork has shown abnormalities (which
is why they found all this in the first place), her gallbladder is
enlarged with possible gallstones and her liver apparently has fatty
deposits. It’s quite likely that these are related symptoms, but
the doctors still have some work to do to find out what is wrong.
Tomorrow, the plan is for doctors to use a needle to come at the
pancreas from the side. I’m not sure which procedure this is, but
the word from the doctor was that they were hoping that using this
technique that they’ll be able to clear the blockage, insert a stint
into the currently blocked pancreatic duct, and get a biopsy of the
I think it’ll probably be a few days then until we hear back about the
results of that test (being Memorial Day on Monday). Doctors has
ideas about additional tests to run on Tuesday, but I don’t have any
details on that yet.
That’s a rough description of the situation over the last couple
days. Maretta came home from college last weekend, so all four of
us kids are home, and between us and Dad and Terry, we’re keeping Mom
well-occupied. I plan to update this site as we know more.
All the best,