May 21, 2020
In February 2016, Rodney Meidam knew something was wrong when he woke up in the middle of the night with a pain in his side. Despite his best efforts to try to go back to sleep, the pain didn’t go away.
Rodney went to the Emergency Department at HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital in Oconto Falls and after running tests, it was determined he had appendicitis and his appendix needed to be removed. But, the CT scan also revealed a cyst on his pancreas.
“I was in shock by the findings and had no idea how long it had been there or if it was too late,” recalled Rodney.
Rodney’s care team reassured him that he was in good hands and referred him to the region’s only pancreatic specialist at Prevea to drain the cyst and have a sample of the cyst fluid tested to determine if cancer cells were present. The procedure was done in March 2016 and at the follow-up appointment, Rodney learned that the pancreatic cyst contained precancerous cells.
“Cancer can be a scary word, but for me, I still had time to correct this before any cancer started; we caught it in time,” said Rodney.
At Rodney’s consultation at HSHS St. Vincent Hospital Cancer Centers, his pancreatic surgeon explained everything in a way he could understand. “His recommendations and involving me in developing a plan of care helped put me at ease as I prepared for a major surgery.”
And on May 3, 2016, Rodney underwent surgery to have 20 percent of his pancreas removed and that was it; no chemotherapy and no radiation.
“I consider myself lucky. Had I never had appendicitis, my care team would not have found the pre-cancerous cells when they did. My appendicitis was a blessing in disguise,” said Rodney.
Rodney believes his positive attitude, along with the support from his family and care team, is what helped him get through everything. He made short- and long-range goals so he could keep moving forward.
“To this day I am thankful that I’m still here living life with those who matter most,” said Rodney.
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