I’ve had more than my share of exposure to the U.S. healthcare industry over the last several months. That and other dramatics that people call life explain my disappearance from these pages since February.
About two years after being diagnosed with carcinoid tumors, in what we later learned was an already very advanced stage, my father passed away this past April 1. Things began to more rapidly go downhill in mid-February, and with that, the family pulled out all the stops in support, including lengthy hospital visits.
This is a close relative of the cancer that Steve Jobs succumbed to. In his case, what is still commonly reported as “pancreatic cancer” and/or “liver cancer” would be more accurately described as carcinoid tumors in his pancreas, and his liver, and probably elsewhere within his abdomen. We all remember Jobs’ disturbingly gaunt look of extreme weight loss – I watched the same thing happen with my dad. It is a cruel disease.
To further complicate matters, exactly one year ago, and one year into my dad’s situation, I found myself calling 9-1-1 at 1 a.m. with severe abdominal pain. About 16 hours later, I awoke from a surgery to learn I had lost 14 inches of small intestine containing nine carcinoid tumors (I would later learn that I likely had these tumors for as long as ten years, and in my dad’s case, twenty), the biggest of which had caused a total obstruction.
Clinical Research Center at the National Institutes of Health