My Story is about Me – Tania
This event took place from 12 February 2021 until now.
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.