When we got back from Chicago I went to Stanford for another upper endoscopy to see how the ulcer looked after having its blood supply embolized. Fortunately the duodenal ulcer looked like it was healing, however, the tumor is also significantly pushing on the duodenum so much that there are significant restrictions in the space available for my body to move food along the GI tract.
Simply put, there's a small passage open in the duodenum, and I have to remain on a liquid diet for the foreseeable future. So no deep dish pizza even if I wanted some, unless it's liquified in a blender. Ew.
Additionally, I'm now having to take regular amounts of pain medication because of a) the ulcer and/or b) the tumor pushing on the duodenum. The doctors don't seem to know what's causing the pain. On bad days it's absolutely debilitating. On not so bad days it's really uncomfortable. On good days it's not really noticeable. Lately, most of the days have been bad. For posterity's sake I'll describe the pain as mid-abdomen, with sharp stabbing waves that almost make me lose my breath at its worst and a dull ache when it's playing nice. I'm seeing a pain management doctor tomorrow, so hopefully I'll be able to explore some other options.
I have another scan scheduled at Stanford in April in order to determine if this will be operable. I have the Chicago surgeon's words echoing in mind: there's no reason for me not to go to surgery. Whether the Stanford surgeon agrees or not is a conversation I'll have later, and I'm thankful for something that's hopeful and shines with a curing light at the end of this long tunnel.
I'm not able to be as active as I was before the ulcer, but I'm doing my best to stay healthy and positive. This is a tough place to be. This is probably the toughest it's been. Thank you to all my family and friends, especially my amazing wife, who have been so supportive and helpful during these recent weeks. I love you guys.