Donald Ebaugh

Liver Cancer (Bile Duct Cancer) Patient Stories

Bile Duct Cancer
Donald Ebaugh

Donald Ebaugh on his horse

In his mid 70s, Donald Ebaugh is likely one of the most active retirees in Delaware. After retiring from the State's Medical Laboratory Division in Dover as a medical lab technician, he devoted much of his time to caring for horses, both as a trainer and rider.

By the winter of 2008, Don began to experience unpleasant symptoms in his gastrointestinal tract and sought medical attention. His physician in Dover performed an endoscopy which detected cancer. "My physician referred me to Dr. John Hoffman, a surgeon at Fox Chase who specializes in gastrointestinal cancers," said Don.

"My wife, Kathleen, our son, Raymond, and I met with Dr. Hoffman at Fox Chase and other members of the team, who spent time explaining the Whipple procedure in great detail," recalled Don.

"Learning that Don had bile duct cancer was really scary," explained Kathleen. "We were about to go through the most difficult ordeal during our 53 years together. We also had the daunting task of explaining this news to our 6 children and 11 grandchilren."

"We were lucky to have Dr. Hoffman on my team."

Don continued, "We were lucky to have Dr. Hoffman on my team. Not only is he an accomplished surgeon with the expertise of performing the Whipple procedure, which is hard to find, but Dr. Hoffman has a wonderful personality with a gift of 'down home feeling.' He went the extra mile to keep us informed."

Dr. Hoffman performed Whipple surgery, which can selectively be used for patients with cancer of the bile duct. There are just a handful of surgeons in the country that are skilled at this demanding surgical procedure. It involves removing the head of the pancreas, some of the small intestine and the gall bladder. Dr. Hoffman then reconstructed Don's digestive tract to preserve function.

"Everything at Fox Chase went so well."

Don stayed in the hospital for 9 days to recover. "Everything at Fox Chase went so well. The nurses were wonderful and always available to help in any way they could," said Don, who was pleasantly surprised with the outcome of his surgery.

"My body is functioning as well as it did before I got cancer."

"I am grateful that my body is functioning as well as it did before I got cancer. I don't have a colostomy bag or anything. I am feeling really good," said Don, who now considers Dr. Hoffman a friend.

He continued, "It was a great feeling to know I could have my surgery performed at Fox Chase by one of the country's top surgeons and have my follow up care close to home." After recuperating from surgery, Don underwent a course of chemotherapy and radiation therapy at nearby Kent General Hospital in Dover.

"It was convenient to go to Kent because of the frequency of my treatments. Dr. Hoffman stayed in touch with my doctors and monitored my care, which gave me peace of mind."

Don has since returned to caring for his horses when the weather is good and building furniture in his shop during the winter. He shared, "I am very happy with the way I'm doing today, thanks to Dr. Hoffman, the whole team at Fox Chase and all the prayers offered by my family and friends."