My Story is about My dad Rogelio “Roy” Garcia

 

This event took place from 14 August 2020 to 21 October 2021

 

The Discovery

My father had pain in his back so he went in to get it checked out. They didn’t find anything. He went back in because the whites of his eyes and skin tone was turning very yellow. His bile duct was blocked and they put in a stent to help it. Then they found the mass that was growing on the head of the pancreas in august 2020 he underwent chemo therapy treatment once every two weeks right away in sept of 2020 and after that radiation treatment everyday for about a month and was finished with all treatment June 2021. Passed away October 21 2021

This is My Story

I never thought my dad would pass away from cancer. Cancer doesn’t Discriminate, it doesn’t care how old the person is or what nationality they are. I think people should be aware of pancreatic cancer just as they are aware of breast cancer. When my father was diagnosed that was the first time I heard about pancreatic cancer so I had no clue how vicious it was. And not all symptoms are the same. If any type of cancer is present in other family members you need to be checked regularly to catch it before it is to late. I wish the medical field was advanced enough to catch it before it is to late.

The Impact of Time

I think early detection would have worked for him. He has a long family history of cancer and he was the first with pancreatic cancer. The lord blessed us with 15 months of hardly any suffering. Chemo treatment was a breeze, no nausea and he could still do what he loved to do, work on cars. His appetite changed a little down the line. Foods tasted sweeter and he became full quicker. I will forever tell my fathers journey with pancreatic cancer, and how lucky I was to get 15 months with him from his diagnoses. I feel terrible for the lives lost so quickly and the families left behind in shock, not knowing what the heck just happened.

 

My story is about my Queen: My mom

 

This event took place from 25 March 2020 to 5 February 2021

 

The Discovery

It was discovered when I decided to take her to the Emergency Room.

This is My Story

My mom started having a rare stomach and back pain last year around March 2020. She would go to her doctor at the Community Clinic. She would tell the doctor about her pain and loss of appetite as well , but all they did was send her medicines. They would say ” try this medicine ” ,” maybe it’s this, maybe it’s that”, they even had the nerve to tell her “Maybe it’s something mental.”

My mom couldn’t sleep at night anymore.. it got to the point where she couldn’t handle the pain, so she would take Norco, tylenol, advil, ibuprofen 400mg just so it could help. Until , the medicines were not helping anymore. She started losing her appetite. She would drink tea, eat yogurt, but nothing.
Until one day her primary doctor sent her to get an MRI. The doctor at the MRI center, told me to take her to the ER. To not pay attention to what her primary doctor tells her. To just take her straight to the hospital because this seems like Cancer.
Even tho he said that, I called her primary doctor to notify him of the situation. He said “to not pay attention to him, that he didn’t know what he was talking about, to wait 2 weeks for her next appointment with him.”

I didn’t wait. I couldn’t help seeing my mom in horrible pain. It was devastating seeing my bestfriend, my all , suffering from this undetectable disease.
When I took her to the ER, she was there for a while.
The doctor told me what this was. She was diagnosed with Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer. My dad & myself were in absolute shock. We never expected this to be Cancer. When she was released to us, she was fragile, she would hardly talk or eat, she would sleep alot.
Her neurologist Sent her sooo much medicine it was unbelievable how much she had to take. When she would take her Morphine , she was hallucinating alot! It was scary. On the night of February 4, 2021, she was back. She was perfect. She started talking like nothing was happening. She even said she didn’t want to take anymore medicine because all she would do is sleep and couldn’t watch her favorite television shows haha.
That night she told my dad if he could make dinner for the 3 of us so we could eat together & watch TV. I gave her a shower, brushed her hair, put perfume on. She loved smelling good haha.

February 5, 2021 10:50am.
I woke up and she recognized me , my dad asked her ” who is that walking in?” She said ” that’s my baby, that’s my daughter ” . 11:00am, she started feeling alone of pain again, she didn’t want to take her morphine like the doctor recommended for pain. When she finally took it, she kept moving around on the bed, she was really cold, she told us that ” she was going to die” …. we got scared, we didn’t know what to do but to tell her to lay down and relax.
When we told her that, when she laid down… she took two long breaths… then we couldn’t see her breathing anymore.
My dad turned her around and that was it. . We called 911 , they came , they did EVERYTHING EVERYTHING to help…… they told us she was gone.
We were devastated .. we felt our lives crumbling into pieces..

Throughout that pain, we were grateful that she was able to spend her last days with us. Her family. She was surrounded by love & joy. Even though it was tought, we tried our best to keep a smile on and push thru.
We tried making her laugh, we would treat her like nothing was wrong.

My queen was gone.
Now it’s just my dad & me pushing thru life. The entire family is in Colombia so my mom was our rock.

Pancreatic Cancer has a shock over me. It’s dangerous.

The Impact of Time

It happened so fast. One day my mom is singing & dancing , and in a blink of an eye.. she was laying down, sleeping all the time due to the stomach & back pain she had. It was just fast.

Sadly, this was detected late. When I took her to the Emergency room, the doctor called me saying she was already in stage 4 of Pancreatic Cancer. We didn’t know the symptoms, we never imagined a stomach pain would be Cancer. I took her to the hospital on January 7, 2021. She spent the days in the hospital alone because of covid. We couldn’t visit her so it was hard for us. We had the blessing of her getting released from the hospital, to spend her last 2 weeks with us. She spent it at home with her family, with the people that loved/loves her, in her own bed, her own home.

 

My Story is about My Husband

 

This event took place from 14 October 2020 to 7 March 2021

 

The Discovery

He started with a small cough and for a few months would have a loud hiccup in the middle of the night which we laughed about as it was loud enough to wake me up. He also complained about itchy skin which we put down to dry air. He also lost interest in things he loved such as watching soccer and playing his guitars telling me he was bored with them, we put it down to all the restrictions with COVID. He also lost weight but he was fussy about staying slim and I did notice he was eating less.

In mid February he said he couldn’t taste his food so we got tested for COVID which was negative. he then went to the local clinic who did a chest X-ray that was clear. Our son in Law is a Surgeon and said we needed to go to emergency which we did and they did more blood work and a cat scan. Two days later we had a phone consultation with our Doctor who informed us he had terminal pancreatic cancer that had spread. He had non stop hiccups that no amount of medication could stop and he was unable to get a liver biopsy because he couldn’t keep still. He never really had any pain just mild discomfort. We tried to keep him at home but he was so weak and disoriented from the medication which they couldn’t regulate we had to take him to palliative care.
Just before that we had a video consult with an oncologist in Victoria who really wanted to help him with new treatments but he was already too sick and was too weak to make the 2 hour journey to the cancer centre.

The Nurses and Doctor in the palliative care were wonderful and he was much more comfortable plus I stayed with him. At this point he wasn’t eating or drinking and he lived three more days before passing away at age 76. He was never in pain and even the lowest doses of morphine were almost too much for him to take. Since he passed away I’ve checked the early signs of pancreatic cancer and the itchy skin is one of them. He never had the yellow skin but he did have terrible night sweats in the last two weeks he was alive.

This is My Story

We had 29 wonderful years together and it was so hard to see him lose his fight to live when he had so much more he wanted to do and see.
Because he had always been the fittest one of our group it made us all think about our mortality and how we need to make every day count as you just don’t know what is in store for you.

The Impact of Time

We should have taken more notice of his symptoms but because of all the COVID restrictions we were more worried about getting COVID that dealing with what we’re mild symptoms in the early stages from October to February.

He had always been one of the fittest people I know and an athlete but once he received the diagnosis later in February he only lived two more weeks so we had little time to get all our affairs in order. We did manage to get the Family together which was difficult because of COVID.

 

My Story is about Bjarne Schelde

This event took place from 14 Nov 2014 to 14 Mar 2015

The Discovery

Bjarne’s Pancreatic Cancer was discovered when he was experiencing extreme abdominal pain. The Doctor’s initially suspected a bowel blockage and were treating that. While in the hospital the Doctor’s were trying everything to get the bowels to work again and after a CT scan they could see a tumor on the Pancreas. The Doctor’s believe the tumor on the Pancreas may have invaded some of the nerves telling the bowel to work. After all of this, he had surgery to address the bowel issue and that took a month to recover from. All the while, Bjarne had numerous biopsies, each with inconclusive results. We were also informed in early December that the tumor had invaded a major artery and surgery was not viable. Finally, after nearly two months and three biopsies it was confirmed – Pancreatic Cancer.

This is My Story

Sadly, on March 14, 2015, Bjarne Schelde passed away in Hillerød, Denmark. He was surrounded by me and his family. Bjarne was 66 years old and died three months before he planned on retiring.

What helped me the most through this experience, was all the great information on PANCAN’s Website. There was so much valuable information that helped me to understand what was going on and what to expect next. I was able to ask smarter questions to Bjarne’s Doctors and I even recommended that they visit PANCAN’s Website. Without all the valuable information from PANCAN, I’m not really sure what I would have done. PANCAN was a life saver for me and I can’t thank you all enough for helping me through this experience. I’m forever in debt to PANCAN and that is why I will always support all the great work PANCAN is doing to fight Pancreatic Cancer.

The Impact of Time

I was lucky enough to be able to bring Bjarne home for Christmas. We enjoyed a very quiet Christmas celebration and I did everything in my power to make sure he was eating and getting enough nutrition to gain weight and strength. These eight days, I will forever cherish!

On January 1, 2015, Bjarne and I were enjoying a very quiet day watching EPL soccer on TV. Out of nowhere, Bjarne started vomiting blood and he was rushed back to the hospital. We were told that the tumor was invading a major artery and that there may not be much that they could do to stop the bleeding. After multiple incidents of bleeding, the Doctor’s told me to gather all the family members and were expecting him to pass. I stayed in the hospital with him for two nights and on the third day Bjarne woke up asking for breakfast. All of the Doctor’s were amazed and could not believe what they were seeing.

After this, I had two great months with Bjarne and we did everything we could to try and fight his Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer Diagnosis. I’m forever grateful for this extra time because it gave us all time to just surround Bjarne with so much love and support. Bjarne knew he was surrounded by love!

 

My Story is about my mom, Marge Kraynak

The Discovery

My mom was having bad stomach pains when she would eat. She went to the emergency room for tests in Feb of 2005 and passed away 2 months later on April 20, 2005

This is My Story

When my mom was diagnosed in 2005, I had no clue what a pancreas was. Since her untimely death, I became involved as a volunteer with PanCAN for the past 14 yrs and even though the process has been slow going from a 5% survival rate to 10%, that still seems unreal in today’s world of modern technology. Seeing the hopelessness in my mother’s eyes when she was told she had this deadly cancer is something that no loved one should have to endure. She was my rock in life and to this day, I miss her more than I could even begin to try and describe here.

 

My story is about Engr. Emmanuel Nwaneke Sr.

The Discovery

My dad was first diagnosed with the disease in March of 2020, he had done some series of tests prior, but none showed any signs of pancreatic cancer, I remember he was always in pain until he did another test later that year when a growth in the form of a tumor was noticed in his pancreas.

This is My Story

My dad was my hero, he came from a poor background but made sure we had everything he couldn’t have and I’ll always remember the love he shared with us, his memory will always live in us.

The Impact of Time

The death of my dad really changed my view on things, life being one of them, the amount of “time” we all have being another one.

Time indeed is something we should all take more seriously as we only have one life and what we do with it all depends on us.

If we had known how serious the disease was and how early detection played a major role towards curing pancreatic cancer, my dad may still be alive today, the lack of awareness in my country has however motivated me to startup a foundation to create awareness about this lethal disease.

Time really is a gift and its the impact we make that truly matters.

 

My story is about Lina, my mother.

This event took place from 08 Aug 2019 to 10 Feb 2020

The Discovery

Pancreatic cancer was discovered due to rapid weight loss not attributable to other causes. The other symptoms that led us to deepen were nausea and fatigue. On 8 August my mom performed an abdominal ultrasound and a CT scan that confirmed a pancreatic mass localized to the tail body of the pancreas, locally advanced. In September, tumor markers and biopsy confirmed stage four pancreatic adenocarcinoma diagnosis.

This is My Story

Mine is the story of a daughter who lost her most important person. But, also, is the story of a brave woman who fought to the last.
My mother was a woman who at the time she knew was being convicted of cancer fought for herself and for the patients like her. During the illness we supported each other, her strength helped me not to fall.  Her courage still accompanies us today, although she is no longer with us. One day i asked her how I could live without her, and she said “you can do anything because you’re my daughter”. In conclusion I think we must continue to fight pancreatic cancer for the patients of yesterday, today and tomorrow.

The Impact of Time

For the period of the illness the time was not enough, for the cure, the medical checks, to look after my mom, make her food, help her dress up.It was a fight against time. When we came to the end, time became more precious. If i think of Mom’s last month I would have wanted, with all my strength, to stop time. Time is really a gift, because she and i had little time to talk to each other, to live there, to be mother and daughter and make so many experiences that we thought life gave us. So if you are aware that time is short, try to take advantage od every second.

 

My story is about Greg Griffith

This event took place starting 5 Feb 2010

The Discovery

On February 5, 2010, Greg was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. On February 10, 2010 Greg and Cathy Griffith meet Dr. A. James Moser. It was at this meeting where they discuss a plan going forward, and Greg tells Dr. Moser that God is bigger than pancreatic cancer.

This is My Story

At the time Greg was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer, he was told he had only six weeks to live. Even though the diagnosis was absolutely traumatic for our entire family, Greg humbly asked God for help, and he got it! God blessed Greg and his family with the gift of 19 miraculous months. Throughout this period, Greg made a tremendous difference in many people’s lives. His courage in the face of death and faith in God caused many to ponder their own mortality and whether they were spiritually ready if tomorrow happened to be their last day. Greg continues to be an inspiration to us all.

The Impact of Time

Greg’s story is a message of hope. When Greg was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic and liver cancer in the prime of his life, he was told that time was limited. However, on hearing his diagnosis, he said to his doctor “What can Cathy and I do to help you?” The doctors were amazed to hear this question from a terminally ill patient. From there, a new trajectory for pancreatic cancer had begun with those words spoken by Greg Griffith. Cathy Griffith is Greg’s wife and the mother of two their amazing sons, Jamie and Jordan. She became a widow at the age of 48. It was through God’s love and grace that Cathy was able to remain calm and steadfast in the midst of a ferocious tornado called pancreatic cancer. Instead of being an end, this tragic event became the beginning of something very beautiful… you can read more here.

 

My Story is about Massimo Canonica and his adventure “Road to Mont Blanc”

This event took place from 01 Jul 2019 to 21 Jul 2019

The Discovery

In the fall of 2017 Massimo experienced digestive problems, unexpected weight loss, fatigue and back pain. In December 2017 a CT scan reveled the presence of tumor on his pancreas.

This is My Story

For Massimo the concept of time is very important. During these past years he focused on accomplishing important projects with his son. You can find them travelling, biking, flying in a small plane, skiing, climbing, surrounded by the astonishing nature.

Massimo “listened to his body” and the early detection allowed him to go through surgery first and adjuvant therapy later. He is still under treatment and his attitude to life is making everything possible for him.

The Impact of Time

Massimo reached out to our Foundation in 2019, after he went through surgery that removed part of his pancreas. He was looking for advices for a second opinion, since he was receiving adjuvant chemotherapy. I was amazed about the knowledge he had about the disease, but most importantly I was impressed about the way he was facing the disease. Massimo is a very active person, he does a lot of sport (gym, bicycle, skiing, hiking, climbing), he follows a proper diet, he has psychological support, he spoke with many pancreatic cancer specialists in Italy and abroad. By following his path, we became very good friends! In July 2019, Massimo and his friends decided to climb the Mont Blanc (Italian and French side, in 5 different steps) to create awareness about pancreatic cancer.

On July 21st, Massimo and his crew reached the Refuge du Goûter at 3815 meters, completing successfully his challenging dream.

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My Story is about Patrycja Rzadkowska

The Discovery

I have always wanted to lose weight. In order to do it properly, I’ve consulted with my doctor. My blood tests were correct, so she made an USG of the abdomen. It was Wednesday, second half of July. She said she couldn’t see my pancreas and that there is something big inside my belly. She didn’t want me to panic so she advised to do CT as soon as possible. So I did, the next day, on Thursday. I begged for getting results quickly. On Friday morning, I had an USG made by friendly doctor, gastroenterologist. He confirmed – I had a big tumor, 16 cm, in body and tail of pancreas. Later that day I received CT results.

This is My Story

I barely remember that day. I went to work so I wouldn’t freak out. I’ve spent entire day on the phone, talking to my friends and family. At the same time, at home, my mum and her sister were setting up the appointment and looking for the best ways out. Few days later, next Wednesday, we went to Katowice for appointment with one of the best pancreatic surgeon. Well, in my opinion he is the best, but I might be biased. He said I need surgery as soon as possible. He found me a date in hospital he works in, in the middle of September. In the meantime, I had diagnostic laparoscopy in Wrocław, which showed it was neuroendocrine tumor. Semptemebr 8th my family and friends threw up a surprise birthday party for me. I was overwhelmed with the amount of love and support I was given. I was finally 25, I had all my life in my hands. Well, no. My life was in hands of cancer. September 18th I went to Katowice and the next day I had surgery. It lasted 5-6 hours. The entire tumor was cut out. I can’t recon next few days. First day I remember was Friday, when my friend and her husband paid me a visit.

The Impact of Time

I didn’t feel much pain then but I was getting morphine. I couldn’t eat then, but I was given drips. Days went by and I was stuck in the hospital due to complications – my pancreatic duct was damaged. Pancreatic juice flowed out of my belly so I had drain. I wasn’t given any food in order not to burden the pancreas. I’ve spent whole month in a hospital. My closest friends from Oława, Warszawa, Kraków and Radom came with a visit. So did my family. My parents were with me the whole time. I wasn’t alone. I was also using help from psychooncologist. It all made this battle with cancer easier. In the meantime, histopathology results came – it wasn’t neuroendocrine tumor, it was SPN (solid-pseudopapillary neoplasm), much rarer. Doctors said surgery was all treatment I needed. They’ve transported me to hospital in Warsaw in order to fix my Wirsung’s duct. I went home 31 days after surgery. I’ve lost 12 kg, I wasn’t eating, I was exhausted, I didn’t have any strength, I had a huge scar across my whole body – from the bottom of my breast to the navel. But I was alive. I was healthy. Of course, I have thousands of appointments with a lot of doctors. I still have ECPW procedure, because my Wirsung’s duct isn’t working properly. But I’ve graduated university – I am psychologist. I have also completed postgraduates studies and become psychooncologist, which helps me in my voluntary work. I am spreading my story so maybe somebody will go and check his health condition. I was lucky because it was the last moment to discover cancer. Timing is crucial. And I had the best support I could have ever dreamt of – my family, my friends, my doctors – my huge army which helped me survive. I am cancer survivor. And I am proud of myself. And now I am living my life even fuller than I did before.

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