My Story is about my Me

 

This event took place from 16 October 2019 until now

 

The Discovery

During a scan before an emergency peratinitus operation.

 

This is My Story

I was diagnosed too late, I guess I had symptoms for at least 18 months before my diagnosis. My cancer was only discovered during an emergency operation. If it hadn’t been discovered I know I wouldn’t be here now. Due to the excellent care of my nurses & doctors who are keeping me alive my tumour is stable but u operable I am able to enjoy my time with family & friends although I am very tired after 46 cycles of chemotherapy. Time to ne is important & making people aware of the symptoms is important.

 

The Impact of Time

Time is a gift, I was diagnosed 2 years ago, I have had 46 cycles of Folfirnox & 6 weeks of radiotherapy & exploration in 2 years. My gift is the treatment is keeping me alive, allowing me with time with my loved ones.

 

My Story is about my Barbara Rychter

 

This event took place from 13 October 2018 to 24 September 2019

 

The Discovery

My mother felt ill with symptoms similar to an ulcer which quickly progressed to hospitalization (within weeks) and then a biopsy of some “sludge” clogging a bile duct was proved to be pancreatic cancer.

 

This is My Story

This happened within a matter of weeks. No one would have ever guessed it was coming and suddenly our whole world changed. We lost my wonderful mother only 11 months after her diagnosis.

 

The Impact of Time

Everything is so fast! Symptoms to diagnosis to terminal. It all slips away so quickly. Time is absolutely a gift and what we all wouldn’t do for just one more moment with our loved ones.

Pancreatic Cancer needs urgent attention!

 

My Story is about my My mother-in-law, Tammy

 

The Discovery

Her cancer was discovered after a few visits to the emergency room for stomach pain. She was originally diagnosed with ulcers, but had a feeling it was something more, so she pushed for more help.

 

This is My Story

My daughter never got the chance to meet her paternal grandmother, so I make sure to make an extra effort to have her know and visit her remaining grandparents and great grandparents. I make sure she knows how much she would have been loved by her grandma, and that she knows stories and things about her. Just because someone is gone doesn’t mean their love and memories are. Wearing purple on World Pancreatic Cancer day is a way we can honor her love and memory together.

 

The Impact of Time

Every time I get frustrated, or short on patience with a loved one I stop and remember how lucky I am that I still have them in my life. I have the constant reminder that life can be very short, and it should be lived as I want to live it, not just sit back and wait for “the perfect time” to do things.

 

My Story is about my Sister & my Aunt

 

This event took place from 17 November 2008 to 7 March 2017

 

The Discovery

My sister was having pain in her stomach and lower back. She had her gallbladder removed first and the pain continued. Then through blood work they decided to do a scope and they found the tumor on her pancreas.

 

This is My Story

My sister was my first encounter with this disease, we had not experienced it before. She was the first person I loss so close to me. I am the baby sister so she spoiled me. She had 2 young girls at the time of her death they were 9 and 4. Her journey with pancreatic cancer was up and down as she went through 10 months of 6 different chemotherapy and one round of radiation filling her surgery to remove 60% of her stomach, majority of her pancreas, spleen and adrenal gland. She fought but in October of 2009 they stopped everything infusion and treatments she made to her birthday on Dec 3 and her daughter’s birthday on Dec 5 and left us the week before Christmas on Dec 17th.

In 2017 when my Aunt started showing symptoms I knew and I had to be there for my cousins.

 

The Impact of Time

With my sister she was only 42, and it happen and we had one full year with her until Dec 17, 2009. My Aunt was much faster she was diagnosed in February and gone in March 2017. Now I value time spent with family and friends, I cherish and embrace it. I make sure I am there in that moment. No time to waste!

Early detection is so important now that myself, my other sister, cousins and my sisters children are doing genetic testing. I have implemented recommendations from my doctor to stay on focus for early detection.

 

My Story is about My brother, Joshua

 

This event took place from 1 October 2017 to 9 April 2019

 

The Discovery

At age 36, my brother had started experiencing some back pain. He had a history of kidney stones and figured it was another bout of that. Time went on and the pain continued, becoming unbearable at times. He ended up having a biopsy done on his pancreas and they said they weren’t able to get a good sample. He ended up going to the emergency room due to the pain progressing. A scan was done and he was scheduled to see a gastroenterologist at University of Michigan on February 14,2018. Josh went to work that day and got off early for his appointment. My parents and I met Joshua at the medical center. We were all tense and had a bad feeling about this appointment, but tried to remain positive. The dr he had ran about an hour or so late. He came into the room and greeted us. He cut to the chase and told us that Joshua had stage 4 pancreatic cancer. The cancer had metastasized to his liver. Joshua said, “ok” and the Dr said, “no…it’s not ok”. We all had tears filling up our eyes as Joshua tried to remain strong for us after hearing this diagnosis. My dad asked the difficult question…what was his prognosis? The Dr said 10 months. He said there was nothing he could do for him besides palliative care.

 

This is My Story

We all went back to Joshua’s house afterwards and talked about where to go from here. That night, he contacted Cancer Treatment Centers of America for a second opinion on treatment options. They set him up with an appointment at their center near Chicago within 10 days. My dad transported him back and forth to the center for treatment and we all tried to remain hopeful. Throughout treatment, his tumors had shrunk some. This seemed promising. Unfortunately, Joshua also had cystic fibrosis and this created additional problems with his health and his ability to tolerate chemo. He eventually decided to obtain oncology care at a local hospital in Lansing, Michigan. As time went on, Joshua was in and out of the hospital. Did chemo as his body tolerated it. He lost a lot of weight off his already thin frame. He became jaundiced. His appetite became less and less. The pain medications he had been taking were no longer working. He became weaker by the day. On 1 April 2019, he told my family and I that he couldn’t do it anymore and needed more help to manage his pain. He decided to go on hospice. The next day, hospice services were set in place at our family’s home where Joshua wanted to stay. He was alert for a couple days, but would become irritable every night. We never left his side during this time. He was no longer eating or drinking. His breathing became rattled. On April 9, 2019, he was hardly communicating with us. He was staring off at the ceiling. We noticed his breathing had changed…his skin appeared bruised on his back and his nails were bluish…we were giving him pain meds every 5-10 minutes to control his pain and irritability. At 6:20pm, my brother passed away surrounded by his loved ones at the age of 37.

Since Joshua passed away, my dad also passed away on January 11, 2021 due to health issues. A big part of it was that he couldn’t handle being without his son. He had no will to fight anymore. RIP to both of them.

I love and miss you both.

 

The Impact of Time

Life is so very short. After losing 2 loved ones in my immediate family in 2.5 years, I’ve realized just how precious life truly is. I try to make the most out of my life because my loved ones that have passed on would love to be here enjoying their lives still.

 

My Story is about My mum: Rosa Mari

 

This event took place from 1 November 2019 to 22 December 2019

 

The Discovery

My mum pancreatic cancer was discovered on November 2019. She went to the primary care center for abdominal pain. She was diagnosed with kidney stones and underwent treatment. However, the pain persisted. They took her from one doctor to another, many tests but no clear diagnosis. In the end, he began to have tenths of a fever and then they did a CT scan where they saw a tumor in the ovaries.

The following days, he went to speak with the oncologist and they saw that the cancer was not of the ovaries, but of the pancreas, but that there was metastasis in the ovaries, intestines, and lungs. This diagnosis was devastating.

My mother, on the other hand, accepted it from the first moment. There was no option to do any treatment because it was useless. They gave her 6 months at the most. That same week, a thrombus appeared in her leg and she had to be admitted. A week after being admitted, she died at the age of 55.

To all this, we were very unhappy with the medical care. My mother suffered a loss of weight 2 years ago but they did not do many tests, the least. She also had pancreatitis when she was young. They also did not take it into account when she complained of back pain.

These symptoms are overlooked today. That is why it is so important to raise awareness and inform people about this deadly type of cancer. For my mother it was late, but I hope that in a few years, this will help other people to be saved.

 

This is My Story

When images of her come to me in the hospital, I try to look at this photo and move back to that day. She was so happy watching her favorite music group … I was so happy seeing her happy! I hope one day I can meet you again. I love you mum.

 

The Impact of Time

The value of time is the most important thing. My mum died in a month since it was detected. My sisters and I didn’t have time to accept his illness. The role of early detection in my story was the most important thing. She had the symptoms years ago. If she would have been cared for by trained professionals, perhaps the cancer could have been treated, although it is a very deadly cancer.

From this day, I try to live day per day, but the society is not made for this… I appreciate all the time I spent with my mum, even when she was at the hospital with palliative treatment.

One of the things I said to my mother when she was recently diagnosed was that: “we still have many things to see and experience.” But she knew deep down that it wasn’t going to be like this.

Time is treasure.

 

My Story is about Me – Tania

 

This event took place from 12 February 2021 until now.

 

The Discovery

I was initially feeling lethargic and tired, and I wasn’t sleeping properly. When I went to my GP, she assumed I was going through menopause.
Following this, I got severe glandular fever in July 2020 and went back to my GP after I had recovered. I got blood tests done the results came back normal.
In November, I started to feel severe lethargy and shooting pains under my breastbone to the point that I couldn’t finish my workouts at the gym. I stopped going to the gym and I thought my lethargy may have been related to low iron (which is something I had experienced in the past). I also started losing my appetite and losing weight, but I attributed that to stopping my workouts. Initially I did a few sessions of acupuncture but when the pain did not subside, I went back to my GP. When she started talking about menopause again, I insisted that there was something else going on. I got a blood test on 27th November and based on the results, my GP thought I may have had an issue with my gall bladder. I got an ultra sound on 1st December and they found a cyst on my pancreas which raised alarm and I got sent to do an urgent CT scan on 2nd December. I got the call that afternoon with the news that it was a tumour and I was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer – metastised to the liver. I was 44 years old.

 

This is My Story

I’m a big believer that your mindset dictates your behaviour and what you attract into your life. I’m a big fan of Joe Dispenza and his meditations and teachings helped me a lot. I believe mental and emotional health plays a very big part in your healing journey as a cancer patient.
Trusting my gut and listening to my instincts helped me immeasurably. I googled ‘successful pancreatic cancer stories’ often because I wanted to know what others had done to get to remission. This was something I did often and not only did it give me hope, it gave me ideas on what to include to help treat my cancer.
I asked my oncologist not to tell me my prognosis, I believed it wasn’t up to her and that I wasn’t a statistic. I also believed if I carried this information with me, it would be a detriment to my mental health and my recovery.

I attribute a big part of my journey and my healing to my faith. Prayer helped me immensely.

My message of hope for others is to never give up even if you have dire circumstances. Hope is what gives us the power to endure what we think we can’t, to heal. You can defy the odds, you’re not a number or a statistic. Always follow your gut, don’t be afraid to challenge your oncologist and if you’re not happy with how you are being treated get a second or third opinion. Always advocate for yourself, no-one knows you better than you know yourself. Steer your own ship and be open to alternate therapies that can help assist with your treatment and boost your immune system. And lastly, don’t dismiss your mental health, it’s just as important as your physical health.

 

The Impact of Time

Most people are diagnosed at late stage with pancreatic cancer which means time isn’t on your side.. in one instant second, your world is turned upside down
It has been a tough journey for me emotionally especially in the early stages of diagnosis. I had never before had to face my mortality and looking down the barrel of death was pretty scary and traumatic.

I couldn’t understand how I got pancreatic cancer – it wasn’t genetic, and my family has a history of breast cancer, so it didn’t make sense to me. I was living a healthy lifestyle (eating well and doing weights and resistance training 4 times a week as well as trying to walk 10,000 steps a day) and didn’t have any of the typical pancreatic cancer risk factors (I don’t smoke or do drugs, I’m not overweight or obese, I rarely drink alcohol, I don’t have diabetes) and I had never been to hospital or had any major health issues.

Time became a precious resource to me..I vowed to spend quality time with my loved ones when I was able and I wanted to spend my time doing things that brought me joy such as going to the beach, spending time in nature, going on little getaways and creating memories. I feel so blessed to still be here and although my cancer journey isn’t over yet, I now choose to use my time wisely, not sweat the small stuff and let go of control and surrender.

 

My Story is about John

 

This event took place from 24 May 2014 to 25 September 2014

 

The Discovery

It was discovered because of a trip to the ER for continous heartburn that had been going on for about 2 months

 

This is My Story

My fiancé, my daughter’s dad, only 43 years old, was diagnosed memorial day weekend 2014 and passed only 4 months later. He was diagnosed stage 4, metastasized to stomach and liver.

At first they thought it might be liver cancer and never would I wish for someone to have cancer but I was really hoping it was liver because I already knew the outcome for pancreatic cancer. He went in every 2 weeks for chemo. I believe it was about 6 hours that he had to sit in the treatment center then he had to wear a chemo pump for almost 2 days after that. Out of the 2 weeks he was lucky to get 2 really good days where he would want to get out of the house, eat, go outside, do anything but lay in bed or on the couch.

So much changed so quickly. Up until then he didn’t have the weight loss typically associated with pancreatic cancer. He didn’t have any of the typical, more well known signs. The only things that could be considered out of place was lack of energy and persistent heartburn. Well he was in his early 40’s, loss of energy happens right? About 2 months earlier we had tacos for dinner and we used fresh jalapeños (which we never did) so heartburn happens right? He didn’t mention to me it had been pretty much continuous for a few weeks. He waited until memorial day weekend to go to the ER because he didn’t want to interrupt the last couple of weeks of the school year. I think he knew something was really wrong but didn’t let on to me about any of it.

Our daughter was only 6 at the time and I felt bad having to go to work leaving them to basically take care of each other for the whole summer. Mid September came around and he noticed his stomach was looking bloated. We went to the hospital and they drained the fluid off. Two days later the fluid started building up again so that landed him in the hospital. The first couple of days was ok until the doctor came in and told us that despite the chemo treatments the cancer had spread to the abdominal wall. They could try a different chemo to try and keep that cancer at bay but he refused. Who could blame him? I certainly couldn’t. Seeing him go from the person he was to the person he had become was awful.

He spent his last 10 days in the hospital. He passed at 4am September 25th. I should have expected nothing less from the man I had been with for over 10 years, who enjoyed his weekend bonfires and beers and typically would not come in until the wee hours of the morning. We will never forget him. I will never let our daughter forget him. He will forever be missed by those he left behind.

The Impact of Time

You truly don’t realize how short time is until you find out you don’t have much left. Knowing that the time left won’t even be quality time because of the attempted treatment is even worse.

 

My Story is about My mum, Geraldine McLaughlin

 

This event took place from 26 November 2016 to 19 February 2017

 

This is My Story

Prior to my mum getting diagnosed, I had never heard about the symptoms of pancreatic cancer, the causes, or ways you may be more susceptible to the disease. For this reason, I take every opportunity I can to spread awareness for pancreatic cancer. The more people who are aware of the symptoms might be able to help themselves or the people around them.

 

The Impact of Time

The value of time related to pancreatic cancer is enormous. Pancreatic cancer can progress in such small period of time, which is why it’s so important that people are aware of the symptoms to catch this disease as early as possible.

My outlook on time has changed significantly because of pancreatic cancer. My mum had the operation only a few weeks after being diagnosed; unfortunately, her operation was unsuccessful. We had hope, and we did everything we could to get her strong enough for chemotherapy. Weeks started to feel like months and my mum was only getting weaker. The doctors told us she was too weak for chemo, the only thing we could now do was make her as comfortable as possible, time was not on our side. I often wonder, “what might have happened if we had caught it earlier?”… An earlier detection may have completely changed how things panned out. Time is definitely a gift, and it is certainly a thing I shall never take for granted again.

 

My Story is about My daddy

 

This event took place from 1 June 2014 to 13 May 2015

 

The Discovery

June 1, 2014 my healthy 53 year old daddy had his first pain. At the ED, we heard the words that changed our lives forever “a mass on your pancreas.” The hospital took a biopsy and didn’t get any positive cells so they said they had mistakenly diagnosed this and it was pancreatitis. They sent him home with suggestions on how to prevent flair ups. In the 3 months after that, he was in pain on and off and we went to a bigger more specialized hospital where they did multiple ERCPs and a total of 7 tests before getting a positive cell. My boyfriend at the time walked into my parents house to ask for my hand in marriage about 5 minutes after the doctor called him to deliver the news of the positive cells.

 

This is My Story

We traveled 2 hours away where in September 2014, he had the Whipple and vein resection done. The surgeon told us there was a 90% chance he would not make it. When this news was told to my dad, his response was I have a 10% chance. I can do this. A few weeks later, I got engaged and I knew I wanted to quickly get married because of his diagnosis. We got married in November 2014 and in the 2 months from my dads surgery to my wedding day, he lost so much weight and began to look so weak. March 2015, the ascites started and my dad started going to the hospital twice a week to get it drained. We knew this was bad but we didn’t give up fighting for him and with him. April 2015, he had blood in his stool and he went back to the hospital where the admitted him and eventually sent him home on hospice. A former college football player, 54 years old now on his death bed. We watched him waste away into nothing but bones. My brother, my mom, my husband, and I spent everyday soaking up every moment we could with him. On May 13, 2015 my daddy peacefully passed away with my mom, my brother, the hospice nurse, and myself by his side. I found out I was pregnant 2 weeks later and my daughter which would have been my dads first grandchild was born exactly 8 months after he passed. My brother is now married to my dads hospice nurse. Losing my dad at 24 years old shifted my life in a way I will never recover from. Pancreatic cancer took the strongest man I have ever known and if my story can help 1 person, I will be fulfilled in my life. Advocate for your loved ones, educate others on this awful disease!

 

The Impact of Time

I know now just how important time is. I am always wishing for just one more moment. Time is so important.