No Time for Pain

Cancer is a life-changing diagnosis; and cancer pain can be severe and debilitating.

Kevin Jari of Schofield had progressive pancreatic cancer pain, and his oral pain medications were not helping. When Kevin found out that Aspirus Pain Management Specialist Kris Ferguson, MD would be at Aspirus Riverview Hospital on April 12, he and his daughter Kendra hit the road for Wisconsin Rapids. 

“Cancer pain management is almost a subspeciality within the specialty of pain management,” said Dr. Ferguson, who is board certified in both anesthesiology and pain management.

The Aspirus Riverview emergency room staff was expecting Kevin, and after a quick assessment, he was added to that day’s operating room schedule. The Aspirus Riverview OR team didn’t think twice about staying late. They were determined to ease Kevin’s pain.

Led by Dr. Ferguson, the team performed an injection called a celiac plexus ablation. Explaining the 10-minute procedure, Dr. Ferguson said, “The injection puts the nerves causing pain to sleep.”

Kevin’s pain relief was immediate, and Dr. Ferguson expects the procedure to keep his abdominal pain away for 3 to 6 months. Kevin has been able to wean off all his oral opioids and pain medications due to the success of the injection, which can be repeated if needed.

Kevin recently visited Aspirus Riverview Hospital to thank the team who cared for him. Sharing laughs and tears, they reflected on how miserable he felt when they met and celebrated how well he’s doing now. 

Describing his arrival at Aspirus Riverview that day in April, Kevin recounted, “I wasn’t going anyplace but here, with this man and you guys. If need be, I will again. That’s for sure.”

Kevin is passionate about sharing his story, hoping to help others who suffer with unrelieved pain. As the happy reunion ended, he told his Aspirus Riverview team, “If you ever have grandkids someday, tell them that the things you do to help people’s lives matter… very much. I love all you guys. Just know that.”

Dr. Kris Ferguson cares for patients at Aspirus Riverview Clinic in Wisconsin Rapids (715.421.7474) and Aspirus Langlade Hospital Pain Clinic in Antigo (715.623.9432). For more information about Aspirus Health’s pain management services, visit

Photo: Kevin Jari recently visited Aspirus Riverview Hospital to thank the team who relieved his severe abdominal pain with a celiac plexus ablation. He is now thrilled to be pain-free and medication-free. Taking part in the happy reunion were (from left): Dr. Kris Ferguson, Pain Management Specialist, Amy Kubisiak, Registered Nurse, Brittany Packer, Registered Nurse, Aspirus Riverview President Chris Stines, Kevin’s daughter Kendra Row, Kevin Jari, Sue Nugent, Surgical Technologist, Dr. Diane Botlfson, Anesthesiologist, Helen Wachuta, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, and Tonya Krings, Medical Assistant.