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    Wall_tha__yi_and_carly

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      Russ

      This is me, my wife, and our grand-daughter, Carly, at her 4th grade graduation. Carly wasn't born yet when I was first diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at the age of 56. I had this pain under my left rib cage for about 18 months, before it was discovered I had a cancerous tumor on my pancreas, attached to my spleen, and my left kidney. I was stunned! When the doctor shared with me the grim statistics of survival I said to him..."count me in, because somebody has to be in those numbers... and I'm your man!" After a battle with 24 hour chemo, through a port in my chest hooked to a pump, with a cartridge of the chemo 5fu, it was a slow drip of the chemo drug 5fu, non-stop, for 24 hours. This went on for 5 weeks non stop, except to change the cartridge with another tube of 5fu. I also had radiation 5 days a week during the same 5 weeks. It was brutal! I was crawling on the floor on my hands and knees until I cold get up enough strength to stand up. My poor wife worked the grave-yard shift in the casino, and would get home early morning. Then she had to take me for my next radiation treatment, and take care of me when we got back home. She would try to take a couple of quick naps before she had to go back to work. I used to cry while I was alone, and when I asked her if she has cried, she said, "yes when I am alone in the car, or on my way home." She told me she always had this fear she would find me on the floor when she walked in. She would cry all the way home, and up to the door. She was so relieved to see me watching TV or laying in bed reading. Then her day would start all over again taking care of me. She would come to bed later and have to rub me on the back because I was so nauseated. I was curled up in a ball on my knees. She would help me dress, and take me for more radiation. I couldn't help but feel so sorry for her. She was afraid I was going to die... I too was afraid of dying, and would cry. I just looked at these moments as an emotional cleansing. One day when I returned to work on my first day back...it took me 4 trips until I finally made it to work. Each time I would have a bowel movement accident, turned around, showered, and put on another suit. I was bound and determined to get there. This happened 3 times before I made it on the 4th try. I found an envelope on my desk and asked my employees where it came from...they just said some woman dropped it off for you. When I opened it a small, metal, angel fell out. There was a letter inside, but not signed. It simply said that God has appointed me to be your guardian angel...so carry me with you wherever you go. I am not a religious person, but I did carry it in my pocket every day. If I ever forgot it, and was close enough I would turn around. I lost it a couple of times but was able to find it, and on the 3rd time I lost it I didn't look for it, and never found it. I am now a 16 year+ pancreatic cancer survivor at the age of 72. I wrote a book about 6-7 years ago, and the title is: Why Me?...Why Did I Survive While so Many Others DIdn't? I believe now that I have survived to tell others my story in hopes of giving them the courage, the strength, and to never give up hope. Hope is the light that shines at the end of the tunnel. Move forward to the candle of hope, and fight with a passion everything that this disease ties to do to you.
      My best to all of you...
      Russ
      [email redacted]

      3 days ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar
      GregP_WN

      Great picture Russ. and memories they thought you would never get to make. You have shown them a thing or two! Thanks for posting this.

      3 days ago
    • Russ' Avatar
      Russ

      Oh so true Greg. I gave a speech one time at our son's wedding, and I did all could to hold back the tears, but the gates opened and tears came flowing. I said to him, and his bride that I didn't know for sure if I was going to be here to witness this day. It was so emotional. Thanks for your comments, and it was my pleasure to post the picture and the story.
      My best to you Greg,
      Russ

      3 days ago
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    Russ wrote on windsaloft's wall

    Hello windsaloft, Welcome to WhatNext...a great site where you can probably find someone else who is on the same cancer journey as your brother. I believe he is the one with pancreatic cancer. I do not know of any alternative to chemo and or radiation. You see I am a 16 year+ pancreatic cancer survivor. They removed 40% of my pancreas, my entire spleen, a slice of my left kidney, and 5 lymph nodes. The cancer spread to only the lymph nodes. I had 24/7 chemotherapy, (5fu), for 5 weeks straight non-stop, and radiation at the same time. Then we did another round of chemo,(gemzar), for 9 weeks, one day a week for 3 hours at the hospital. I opted for the surgery, and the chemo, and radiation treatments. I am sorry I do not know of any alternatives. I strongly believe I am a survivor because of the aggressive treatments. Also because of my persistence and determination. When the doctors told me if I survived one year I had a 2% chance of making it 3 years, and if I made it that long, I had a 6% chance of making it 5 years. I simply told them to just count me in, because somebody has to be in those numbers...and I am your man. Never give up hope...it's the last candle fluttering in the darkness when all the others have gone out. It's the candle light at the end of the tunnel. I was 56 when I was diagnosed and I am 72 today. So you see this disease can be beat. My best to you, and your brother...Russ

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    Russ wrote on ojdlibra's wall

    Hello ojdlibra, Welcome to WhatNext...when you have the time could you please finish the profile of the person with pancreatic cancer. When diagnosed, any treatments, surgery etc. It may be too early for some of that stuff, but you can completed some of it such as age, gender...no hurry when you have the time. It makes it easier for us here at WhatNext on how to address the person with cancer. Is it a member of your family, or perhaps your spouse. My name is Russ and I am 72 years old, and I am a 16yr+ pancreatic cancer survivor...so you see this disease can be beat...just never give up hope. My best to whom ever has cancer, and my best to you as well. Russ

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    Russ wrote on Virginiafudd's wall

    Hello Virginiafudd...welcome to WhatNext a great website to find others who may be on the same cancer journey as yourself. I myself am a stage IV pancreatic cancer survivor of 16+ years now. So you see this disease can be beat. Never give up hope because hope is the candle light at the end of the tunnel. Gregg, the manager of WhatNext, and I did a video interview about 2-3 years ago, or maybe longer. Any way just click on this website as follows if you would like to see the video: http://youtu.be/vsnyYsRT0BA
    My best to you and once again welcome to WhatNext...Russ

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