Lucille's Journey with Pancreatic Cancer

Survivor: Pancreatic Cancer

Patient Info: Finished active treatment less than 5 years ago, Diagnosed: about 6 years ago, Female, Age: 67, Stage II

  1. 1
    • Lucille
    • Experience with Pancreatic Cancer
    over 4 years ago
    Lucille's Avatar

    Diagnosed

    Oh No

    For the 2nd time in my 62 years, I was diagnosed incorrectly and sent home from emergency room. The 1st time was at age 29 with a heart attack. I am female and had 100% blockage of the LAD (widow maker, the man's disease) The 2nd was in February 2011 at our local er when the doctor said it was "diverticulitis". Sent home with 2 antibiotics. That DID NOT sit well with me because he DID say "the tail of your pancreas has atrophied". He said "that's nothing"....."I'm not worried about that". When he walked out I told my husband that "he" may not be worried but I will get my final report. An abdominal CT was done at that time. He read the first line but DID NOT read the whole paragraph which recommended a MRI or endoscopic ultrasound, which he DID NOT tell me. The report said that there was an area undeterminate and should be followed. Had I NOT gotten that report and followed up myself, I would not be writing this story! Went to another hospital in New Orleans and a biopsy was done and the doctor came out and said "we are 80% sure this is not normal, as we do see cancer cells". Long story!

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  2. 2
    • Lucille
    • Experience with Pancreatic Cancer
    over 4 years ago
    Lucille's Avatar

    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    Initially, I was not operable. The tumor had wrapped around a main artery and 2 vessels. The hospital in Houston Texas said I was high risk because of the heart history and their plan of action was to shrink first, then operate. I was cleared and started chemo first, recuperated with that first, then went to Houston for more chemo/radiation. Twenty-eight treatments over 47 days. Came home to recuperate and elevate bloodcounts. Went back in September 2011 and surgey was a 12hr.whipple procedure with no complications. It will be a year on 9/26/12 since my surgery. I was stage at Stage II and HAD A CHANCE FOR SURVIVAL. I am so fortunate that I was on top of this. So far I am feeling great! ( I cannot believe I forgot this, but after recuperating from the surgery, I also had 6 more chemo treatments as an "insurance policy" in case this cancer had any inkling of coming back) None so far!

    Easy to Do: Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
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  3. 3
    • Lucille
    • Experience with Pancreatic Cancer
    over 4 years ago
    Lucille's Avatar

    Anemia (low red blood cell counts)

    Side Effects

    I had more side effects than the choices above. There were chills, fever, nausea, some vomiting, fatigue, no appetite, weakness.

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  4. 4
    • Lucille
    • Experience with Pancreatic Cancer
    over 4 years ago
    Lucille's Avatar

    Other

    Loss

    I would not call this experience a loss, but a gain instead. I gained knowledge about this disease, although I had gained alot of knowledge when our then 10yr.old daughter was diagnosed with Hodgkins Disease. She went through radiation/chemo at St.Jude's Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. We would do bloodwork here locally before driving to Memphis, as both my husband and I do not fly. If her counts were okay, they would tell us to go. It was very difficult seeing your child go through this at this age. She was very sick most of the time during her 8 month treatment. She is in remission and celebrated her 25th birth this past August. She does have other medical conditions now as a result of the chemo/radiation. We are trying to get her healthier!

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  5. 5
    • Lucille
    • Experience with Pancreatic Cancer
    over 4 years ago
    Lucille's Avatar

    Surgery

    Procedure or Surgery

    I had a 12 hr. whipple procedure. Having been heart cleared, I was quite worried that I would have some type of complication, but everything worked out well. We were truly blessed! Recuperation was slow and is still on-going, as side effects of the surgery come and go. I never know when I "won't feel good" and even when "I do feel good". I take it one day at a time and appreciate each day I have with my family. Life has no guarantees. I will not give up without a fight! I stay positive. I laugh, I cry, I have fun. I love. I appreciate my life and spend quality time with all those who are most important in my life. I pray to God and have faith that I will be okay. When my life is over, I do feel that I gave this my best, and I accept what God has in store for me in Heaven. It's a wonderful life.......to live!

    Went as Expected: Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
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  6. 6
    • Lucille
    • Experience with Pancreatic Cancer
    over 4 years ago
    Lucille's Avatar

    Accepting this diagnosis and trusting I could survive the surgery!

    Decision Point

    Having been ill at age 29 and having heart disease for 32 years, I was very fearful that I could not survive the surgery. I had no choice. I had to take the chance as Stage II is operable and can be successful. Stage IV may have been different. It was a 50-50 chance, but with my faith in God, my family support, the decision was mute. Like I said, I lived my life as normally as possible and with a good attitude that all would end well. So far it has!

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  7. 7
    • Lucille
    • Experience with Pancreatic Cancer
    over 4 years ago
    Lucille's Avatar

    Remission

    Celebration

    As each CT scan I have had shows no indication of the disease returning, I am grateful to God for this blessing. I try not to dwell on the "what if's". We will be leaving 9/23/12 for CT scans on the 24th, dr.appts. on the 25th and 26th, which will mark the 1 year surgery anniversary. We pray that all has remained the same.

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