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    Pancreatic cancer, how did you survive?

    Asked by WhatNextEmails on Monday, March 11, 2013

    Pancreatic cancer, how did you survive?

    We need your help. This month we are putting together a collection of articles for those newly diagnosed on what actions survivors took to beat their specific type of cancer. Please take a few minutes to share your experiences and advice for those newly diagnosed, and your posts might just get included in our articles. Feel free to share whatever comes to mind. Here are some more specific questions to help get the juices going: What kind of support did you have? Were there things you did that really made a difference? How do you go about finding your medical care team? Who made up your team? What resources did you find that were most helpful to you?

    3 Answers from the Community

    • Russ' Avatar
      Russ

      We all have our own way of dealing with cancer and I choose to tell my story to others. I am not a professional counselor but until someone has gone through what I, and millions of others, have gone through you cannot tell another cancer victim how they feel…or how they should feel. First the initial shock of hearing that you have this deadly disease called cancer, and then the surgery, and then they tell you that the survival for stage-III pancreatic cancer is 4% for 5 years; then the radiation and chemo treatments, and then more chemo, and the never ending emotional roller coaster.

      But I cannot focus on self-pity…or waste my time thinking of how unfair this is to me. I have always been a positive person and nothing will change that...but this is certainly a true test of my strength and determination. And if I can make a difference in just one person’s outlook about how to deal with this disease I feel that I have done something...it makes me feel better.

      Many people have asked me...to what do I owe my success in having survived pancreatic cancer? I just say that it was a combination of many things. It was my persistence and determination...when the doctors told me that I had a 2% chance of making it 3 years, and a 4% chance of making it 5 years I simply said..."whatever the number is just count me in." It was also the support of my family and friends, and that of people I didn't even know. When you have cancer you learn very quickly that there is a whole new family of people out there that you never knew existed. When I returned to work one of the security guards handed me a note and said, "I heard about your battle with pancreatic cancer and I just wanted to give you this prayer that I wrote for you." It was also the prayers of so many people...and I'd be foolish to think that there was not some Divine intervention that was looking out for me. It was the cards, letters, phone calls, and emails from so many people. I saved every one of them, and pull them out around this time every year...they still tug at my heart. Then of course it was the excellent medical care that I received at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital. I remember when I was able to get up out of bed...my wife and I walked down to the end of the hall to sit in the lounge area. I said to my wife..."these are special people all of the doctors and nurses who took care of me." If I am not mistaken my brother wrote a letter to the president of the hospital to compliment the nursing staff on my floor...they all are truly special people.

      Best regards to all of you,
      Russ

      over 4 years ago
    • FreeBird's Avatar
      FreeBird

      I'm a caregiver for my dad, who was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer last year in 2012. The best way to take it has been one day at a time.

      The most helpful resources as far as standard of care information, and advice have been the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network pancan.org the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health www.cancer.gov and information through the American Cancer Society cancer.org . I would say that the National Cancer Institute probably provides the best picture of what you're likely to see offered as the standard of care.

      Pancan has a great one-on-one support service that you can also ask for a list of doctors in your area who have experience with this type of cancer. That might be helpful for a second opinion.

      I have read quite a bit of the literature available for stage 4 pancreatic cancer, and there really isn't much that stands out, up to now, early 2013. If I was diagnosed, I might ask about the studies in which they added high dose I.V. vitamin C to the chemo regimen. I have only seen a small phase 1 clinical trial, but it looked like something that could make a positive difference, and it's worth looking into if you've just been diagnosed.

      over 4 years ago
    • FreeBird's Avatar
      FreeBird

      Lustgarten Foundation is also a helpful resource http://www.lustgarten.org/ with lists of links you might find useful.

      over 4 years ago

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