Health Update – Pancreatic Atrophy

Today I had an initial meeting with Palliative Care Team of the Nova Scotia Health Authority. I will have more so say on that in a future post once I have time to digest all the new information I got today.

During today’s meeting I learned that my pancreas is shriveled and appears to be in a state of atrophy. “During digestion, your pancreas makes pancreatic juices called enzymes. These enzymes break down sugars, fats, and starches. Your pancreas also helps your digestive system by making hormones. These are chemical messengers that travel through your blood.” In the image to the right, the yellow organ is the pancreas. Mine doesn’t look like that right now and it is not providing the enzymes I need to adequately digest the food I’m consuming. In fact, it sounds live pancreatic atrophy is not reversible but there is an alternative.

Just before starting to write this post, I had a shower. When I got out I stepped on the scales. My weight today is 54.3 kg (119.7 lbs.). Then I headed into the bathroom to pull up my brand new Old Navy Boys XL boxer shorts. There’s not much in my underwear drawer that will stay up on its own anymore. On the upside, the price of boys clothing is about half of adult sizes with a pretty good selection. I would have preferred Under Armor but I’ve already cleaned out everything they had in Boys XL. That is not trending in the right direction and clearly a cause for concern.

The good news is that there is no cancer in my pancreas. The better news is that I can take a pill before eating which will provide the enzymes I need to break down sugars, fats, and starches such that my digestive track can absorb food better.

I expect to start on these enzymes by the weekend. It just depends on the turn-around time at my pharmacy which has been excellent to this point so I don’t expect any delays.

I see this as very good news. Here’s hoping I can start packing on the weight again. With luck, here’s hoping I can fill out the saggy skin that hangs off my chest. It would be nice to look human again! Perhaps I’ll be able to start light workouts soon to rebuild some muscle on my arms. I have my fingers crossed.

So this is only a short post but I’m pretty exciting to learn I may be able to turn my weight loss around. I needed to share this with you, my loyal support pillars. I continue to be motivated to keep up the battle having you in my corner and God holding my hand to give me the courage I need to move forward.

Peace, Love, and Laughter

13 Replies to “Health Update – Pancreatic Atrophy”

  1. With every piece of bad news comes good stuff, you’re in my prayer list and thing of you often.

    One picture I have of you is on your boat, you looked relaxed and happy, inspires me to stay strong..

  2. Phil my friend you continue to inspire us mere mortals. You should change your name to Superman because that’s what you are. I am so honored to be one of your many friends. You rock!

    1. Superman eh? I don’t know about that but in place of a cape, I’ll wrap myself in the afghan made for my by my friend Joanne. Sort of related, the word “palliative” originates with a verb meaning “to cloak.”

      Peace, Love, and Laughter

  3. ” I am having more good days than bad ”


    Also I had no idea the gall bladder, was INSIDE the liver… 🙂

  4. Not sure how your digestion track handles fats, but bacon and fried eggs and toast or bagels slathered with butter might add
    Those desired, and needed, pounds. You are an inspiration to us mere mortals who plod along not realizing fully what you are going through. Keep the chin up, the hopes high, love in your heart and a laugh in your voice.
    And keep us all up-to-date. Writing about your “adventures “ is therapy for YOU and for us.
    Fond best wishes

    1. We are long overdue to have dinner together. I’m still running as a guy holding a cup-half-full and my plan is to continue to be on that side of the formula as long as I can.

      Love you guys, Phil

  5. Great news Phil you are so inspirational I can only hope that I have half of your courage and positivity when I need it…..thinking of you always although I don’t comment often ….I am cheering you on forever! Xoxo keep on keeping on!

    1. So nice to hear from you. I’d love to make a visit to your place in CB if you’re up for company so I’d have a chance to hang out with Al. Surprisingly, I still feel pretty good overall although I have moments when I need to rest. And it sucks being as week as I am right now.

      Peace, Love, and Laughter

  6. Hey Phil – after our deck party including the chance to meet some of the people so important in your life (which I thoroughly enjoyed), I headed to Winnipeg, with a bit of trepidation, for my nephew’s wedding (cancelled and rescheduled 5 times!). The wedding was delightful despite the 41 degree temperature at the sunny outdoor ceremony (no adjustment for humidity which was high and unusual for the area). The instant transformation of guests and the bridal party from wedding attire to shorts, comfortable tops and flip flops once the formal pictures were taken was interesting to see.

    My sisters and I spent the day before the wedding scouring dollar stores to purchase 75 colourful, foldable Japanese style fans so that guests could generate some air movement. Concern about whether the guys would appreciate pinks, pastel colours and pretty prints was wasted time – they didn’t care and dinner in the tent without big fans was definitely colourful.

    It was great to be there and to meet the folks who have become family-by-choice for my sister and her two sons. I’m pretty sure she enjoyed having 2 older sisters there for support, especially given the fact we’re from a large family and that several members had planned to attend the wedding as originally planned but were now unable to make the trip. It was fun.

    It was interesting that, even after Manitoba dropping their mask requirement before we arrived, the majority of people we saw in public were still wearing them.

    We enjoyed amazing hospitality including traditional Ukrainian foods, delishious cakes that are a Winnipeg specialty, snacks, snacks, snacks and beverages – I would happily transfer all of the 4 pounds I need to lose to you if that were at all possible.

    Thanks for continuing to share your thoughts and adventures, my friend – I read every word with interest – you are a talented writer.


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