stillkickin's Journey with Pancreatic Cancer

Survivor: Pancreatic Cancer

Patient Info: Diagnosed: over 8 years ago, Female, Age: 71

  1. 1
    almost 6 years ago
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    Oh No

    I was diagnosed with duodenal cancer early in 2010. My gastroenterologist referred me to Shands Hospital in Gainesville, FL. They admitted me immediately after examining me, and did 9 hours of surgery a few days later. I spent a month in the hospital, after which they released me to go home. My daughter lives with me, but during that time, I felt completely alone and terrified. Coming to terms with my diagnosis was difficult, and I spent a lot of time crying and asking "Why me?" over and over. Then I realized that I couldn't live the rest of my life like that, and made up my mind to live one day at a time, be happy for that day, and stay as positive as I could. That's been working for me!

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  2. 2
    almost 6 years ago
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    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    I started my chemo with an IV infusion, but the drug they gave me made me violently ill, within just a short time of starting the infusion. The sickness lingered on for weeks, so when I returned to my oncologist, he decided that my body couldn't handle the drug. My kind of cancer is rare, without many treatment options. The doctor picked the drug that he thought would help me the most. He started me on Xeloda, which is in tablet form. I started with 1 tablet in the morning and 1 at night for 7 days, then off for 7 days. Over time he increased my dosage to 2 tablets twice a day, and finally 3 tablets twice daily. He told me that there was a 20% chance that Xeloda would work for me, and that I had 6 months to live if it didn't help. <Insert miracle here> Now I am a year and a half down the road, doing remarkably well, feeling good, and am a year past my "expiration date". I have every intention of sticking around long enough to make my son and daughter crazy, that said with a big smile. :-)

    Easy to Do: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
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  3. 3
    almost 6 years ago
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    Side Effects

    I definitely have side effects from my chemo drug that are distressing, but the issues aren't there every day, and I'm happy to deal with those, because the drug is literally keeping me alive. What is more of a problem for me is the effects of the surgery, which is called the Whipple procedure, common for patients with pancreatic cancer. During the procedure they remove half of your pancreas, all of your duodenum, your gall bladder, some of your small intestine and more. My gastrointestinal system does seem to work differently now. As the doctor explained to me after the surgery, I now had "new plumbing". I liked the old plumbing so much better, except for that darn cancer.

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  4. 4
    almost 6 years ago
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    Celebration

    Today is my birthday. It is quite possibly the most important birthday I've ever had. I am now one year past my "expiration date", per my oncologist. Still in chemo, doing well, and most important, still kickin'. Happy, happy birthday to me!!!

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  5. 5
    over 5 years ago
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    Celebration

    I had my first CT scan in 6 months yesterday, and my oncologist just called to say that the scan was GOOD!!! I know that I don't have to try to explain to any of you how much that means. Oh, happy day!!!

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  6. 6
    over 5 years ago
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    Celebration

    To Hilary, Staci, Karen and others that have been supportive of me...I have some BIG news to share. I've been sitting on this news since last week, because I was still trying to figure out how I felt about it, and still getting over my initial shock and disbelief. Last week I saw my oncologist, and to my shock and amazement, he told me that I am now CANCER FREE! I spent a few days crying and thinking and crying some more. I asked myself over and over why *I* deserved to have such a wonderful miracle in my life, when so many of you are still struggling. I don't know what the answer is, but I am profoundly grateful. Two years ago I was given six months to live, and now I am here, doing well, and cancer free. It doesn't get much better than that. A huge thank you to all who have supported me on my journey, and I hope that this miracle of mine can bring hope and inspiration to many, because miracles DO happen! Coming out from behind my stillkickin username... Pat

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