My Story is about my Dad, Geric
My dad’s pancreatic cancer story began around October 2021 when he started having constant stomach aches that would make him go to the toilet every time he eats. He also started being jaundiced and the color of his urine started turning darker until it was tea-like in color. He started losing weight fast. His GI requested an MRI and a tumor was found in his pancreatic head. Biopsy around Dec 2022 returned no dysplasia in duodenum and mucin-secreting epithelial neoplasm in his pancreatic head mass. He underwent MRCP with stenting by January 2022 but experienced lots of complications (pancreatitis, cholangitis) that had him sent to the hospital on & off. He underwent PTBD procedure by early Feb and Whipple by mid-Feb 2022.
This is My Story
Last February, my dad was diagnosed with Stage 1b pancreatic cancer. This was made official after he went through Whipple surgery that lasted 10 hours. Months before, my dad had sudden weight loss, jaundice, and bouts of pancreatitis which meant lots of laboratory procedures, doctor consults, & hospitalizations.
As if all those were not enough, while we were preparing my dad for chemo last March, his PET scan showed abnormal growth in both thyroid glands. A biopsy confirmed it is also cancer of the thyroid, so my dad is a double primary cancer patient. He underwent total thyroidectomy last May.
At his weakest, my dad could not even lift himself up to adjust his position in bed. From his lowest weight of 53kg in Feb, my dad is now 70kg. His thin clothes don’t fit him anymore. His cheeks are sometimes rosy. He can eat and tolerate pretty much everything (in controlled portions). He is back to his old routine of exercising every morning. He laughs more. He is happy. He is thriving.
When I look back at how this year started and where we are now, I am in absolute awe with how the Lord has provided and sustained us. Because of complications, my Dad underwent Whipple a month earlier than planned. We weren’t financially ready (we are from the Philippines and we don’t have a good health insurance system here), but the Lord continued to provide, the money kept coming from all over. Two days before my dad’s Whipple, on Valentine’s Day, we had more than what we need for the surgery. By the time we were discharged, we even had money left and that’s the same funds that’s been sustaining us through the post-surgery needs of my dad, his thyroidectomy, and more.
Though the battle against cancer continues, I am comforted knowing I have a dad who is a fighter, and he inspires me to keep fighting too. I also keep my faith in miracles big and small that will continue happening in our lives.
The Impact of Time
“Cancer” is such a scary word for anyone, but when it’s “pancreatic cancer” it’s even scarier, knowing how poor its prognosis is. In the case of my dad, what really helped was him raising his hands & waving his arms to let us know something is wrong with him — that his stomach is always upset, that his bowel movement has gotten too many for a normal person, and that his urine color is getting darker and darker. The fact that my dad listened to his body is probably what saved him the most because we caught the cancer early enough while it’s still Stage 1b. Because my dad listened to his body, we have been given the gift of time to fight this disease with everything that we have and can do for my dad to be cured.