Tag Archive for: Real Stories

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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My Story is about My husband

This event took place from 07 Oct 2004 to 07 Oct 2005

The Discovery

Ron was diagnosed with Head and Neck cancer in 2004. After he completed radiation, he was given a clean bill of health. However, the side effects of treatment seemed to linger: nausea, vomiting and fatigue. When he became jaundiced, we started to have more tests done and he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in Fall of 2004.

This is My Story

My husband Ron was 59 years old when he died from pancreatic cancer. Ron had always lived his life to its fullest and it was from his example that I learned to savor every moment. Following his diagnosis, I was in awe of how hard he struggled through a grueling 12 months of pain, nausea and the debilitating indignities of this brutal disease. Had he been lucky enough to have his cancer detected early, we believe he would have had more time with us. By the time he was diagnosed and went in for a Whipple procedure, the surgeon was unable to help him, as the cancer had already spread to his liver. Still, we savored each day together.

Ron insisted on traveling in between chemo appointments and spending every minute possible with family. It all culminated in our last family trip to his beloved “Lake Winnie” in New Hampshire. It was there that we gently lifted him into the last boat he would ever own, which he aptly named “More Time.” While we cruised gently through the waters that brought him peace we shared an unspoken sense of sadness at the moments that would never be, the grandchildren he would never meet. I will always be grateful to him for setting such a memorable example for our family. He taught me and our children that time is the biggest gift of all. Not a day should be taken for granted.

It is our duty to our loved ones, for those who have lost their voices, to fight as hard as them, for better survival rates and a cure…for it is always about time.

The Impact of Time

A few years after Ron’s death, I started the Ron Foley Foundation to raise funds for pancreatic cancer research. Our goal is to give others the precious time that we didn’t have.

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My story is about John Wright

This event took place from 09 Aug 1988 to 24 Feb 2012

The Discovery

My husband developed Pancreatitis in September 2010, which was when I feel his sickness started but his official diagnosis came in December 2010 when he started to turn yellow and felt very ill. He went to the doctors and they did a CT scan and found a blockage on his bile duct. He went in to have a stent put in on 21st December 2010, which was when we got the diagnosis. Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer with secondary on his liver. 3 days before his 50th Birthday.

This is My Story

Our story was my husbands cancer was detected in the very late stage of his illness, so when we went to the Oncologist at the beginning of January 2011 he had 3 treatment options available to him, but we was also told his was terminal at that appointment, I wanted to know a timeframe but my husband didn’t so we didn’t ask anymore.

He started his first treatment a week later and things were starting to look positive after a few months, his cancer markers were coming down and then they started to increase again, which was when the first treatment stopped working and we went onto the second one a couple of weeks later, that one lasted a couple of months as well until we went onto the 3rd treatment option which was successful for Breast Cancer but only trialed on Pancreatic Cancer.

We thought we was going to loose him in July 2011 because he became so ill but he had such a fighting spirit that he kept fighting until his death in February 2012.

I became his carer, nurse, wife all at the same time but I wouldn’t have done it any differently.

We were so blessed because we actually had 14 months with him through this illness. He died with just me beside him, which I knew was exactly how he wanted it to be. We have 2 beautiful children together so he still lives on through them.

Found out after he passed away they would have given him 3 to 6 months to live. So was so grateful we got as long as we did have him here with us.

The Impact of Time

We had a love story for 24 years, we have 2 beautiful children and now have a beautiful granddaughter who was born last year. We made so many beautiful memories together that I will always cherish and remember. Always take photos of everything because one day that might be all you have is your memories.

Our daughter married and had the exact same venue we celebrated our wedding at 20 years earlier, which was a beautiful tribute to his memory.

We all still miss him everyday and I am writing my story about our lives together hopefully to help other people cope with grief, when it is published.

I also donate 10% of my profit from my business to Garvan Institute for Pancreatic Cancer Research.

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My Story is about My mother

This event took place from 26 Mar 2013 to 03 Aug 2014

The Discovery

In March 2013, my mum was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. In hindsight, we believe she was exhibiting symptoms for 12 to 18 months prior to diagnosis. In the leadup to her diagnosis, her sugars were fluctuating and she lost her appetite. She was also having stomach pains and back pains. As she was insulin resistant, she was already under the care of an endocrinologist, who sent her to a gastroenterologist for further testing.
Originally, mum was believed to be a candidate for surgery. But upon further investigation, doctors found that the tumour was wrapped around the portal vein. Chemotherapy was recommended in the hopes that the tumour would shrink.
Mum ended up not being able to have the whipple. In total, she had 13 rounds of chemotherapy, 10 intensive days of radiation, several attempts to insert a stent to fix a blocked bile duct and multiple drains of excess fluid from her abdomen.

This is My Story

After mum passed away, my family and I created #PurpleOurWorld – a social media movement dedicated to raising awareness of pancreatic cancer. We are so proud to work alongside our pancreatic cancer community in Australia – Garvan Institute of Medical Research, GI Cancer Institute, Pancare Foundation and Pankind – and to be an inaugural member of the World Pancreatic Cancer Coalition. We have made friends for life (only those who fully understand the devastation of pancreatic cancer can truly empathise with what we’ve been through) and we honestly feel like we are making a difference.

The Impact of Time

Five months after my mum was diagnosed, my now-husband proposed to me. It was a beautiful time for us as a family, but throughout the wedding planning process, there was a very real possibility that my mum wouldn’t make it to walk me down the aisle. In fact, at one stage, there was talk about bringing forward the wedding. But mum continued her treatment and continued to live her best life, as much as she could. She organised my engagement party, and came with me to every appointment with my dress-maker, the decorator and the caterers. She sat at the dining table, lovingly dictating what songs the band was allowed to play and what they weren’t. She even managed to come to choose my bridesmaids dresses with me and the girls. In between these appointments, we went wig shopping, I drove her to the hospital to get her chemo bag removed, I spent time with her in the emergency department when she experienced symptoms of jaundice. It was a time of true juxtapositions.

I’ll never forget, when she did show symptoms of jaundice and we rushed her to the emergency room, my dad turned to me and said “this is usually the first sign of pancreatic cancer”. By that stage, mum had been receiving treatment for approximately six months.

Knowing that it would take a couple of months for her to regain her strength following her treatment, mum took a break in early 2014 so she would feel strong on my wedding day. And on my wedding day, she not only walked me down the aisle, but she made her speech and spent the majority of the night boogy-ing on the dance floor. Of course, there were moments of pacing the foyer in pain, but she made it through. And I will forever be thankful that the treatment she had gave us those moments together. As I said during my speech at my wedding, she absolutely lit up the room and was the most beautiful person there – I was the bride, I was allowed to say that.

Following my wedding, my mum went downhill. By July, we were being told there was nothing further doctors could do. On 2 August, my mum’s breathing started to slow. Over the course of the weekend, our immediate family never left her side, and on 3 August at around 2pm, my mum passed away, holding the hands of my dad, my sister and I. There were about 30 other family members in the room with us.

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My Story is about My sister Viola Irving-Powell

This event took place from 26 Jan 2013 to 29 Jan 2020

The Discovery

My sister Vi had been having back pain, abdominal pain and weight loss. She was being treated for these symptoms but misdiagnosed as to what was causing them. On June 26, 2013 the pain and weight loss got so severe that she was taken to the hospital . It was at that time she was told that she had pancreatic cancer. Our lives were changed forever.

This is My Story

I lost my sister on June 7, 2013, after only four short months of battling pancreatic cancer. She was schedule to participate in her first PurpleStride on June 15, 2015, but instead we were having her funeral on this date. How could this have happened? How could I be burying my 53 year old sister and best friend. I promised her a month earlier that if she did not survive the disease I would continue to support PanCAN and the cause. The day after burying my sister I remember asking myself , “What do I do now”? The answer came to me quickly…You keep fighting so that others don’t have to experience what you are experiencing. It is through this fight that I have met some amazing individuals who are(were) in the fight with me. One was my brave friend Adam Deal who instantly became my virtual brother and we fought together until he finished (not lost) his battle in December 2020 and my dear friend Sang Watts who finished her fight in May 2021. They fought with the bravery and courage of a fearless warrior. It is hard when you do get the outcome or healing that you pray and fight for. It knocks you down hard, but you get back up and remember you are now in charge of keeping these individuals in the fight and their memories alive. That is what I owe them. It is the least I can give to them. When I leave this earth I pray that part of my legacy will be that I helped change the outcome of this disease. Year from now history will pay homage to all those who fought to change the story a face of pancreatic cancer!

The Impact of Time

We had very little time from diagnosis to death with my sister. She was diagnosed on January 26, 2013 and died on June 7, 2013 which was my brother’s birthday. I wish I was more educated on the signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer before my sister was diagnosed . I think about daily how educated I am on the disease and the resources available through PanCAN. Not a day goes by that I don’ t regret not taking the “TIME” to be more aware about this disease. I had heard of several high profile people and even a colleague being diagnosed. It always gave me a pause and their stories captured my attention, but I didn’t follow my gut instinct to learn more. I think about that all the time, but this this is my first time writing it or even admitting my feelings, regret and guilt. How I wish I had followed my instinct to read and learn more. Time is the more precious thing we have . Always wishing for more, but are we careful not to waste or misuse what we have? Since unexpectedly losing my sister and mother, I use every second of my time to make a difference in the work. It is our most valuable commodity.

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The Discovery

Testimony of our founders, Carmen Delgado and Olga Lamarca in words of her son Nico and her sister Marta Lamarca respectively. Olga and Carmen did not have time to share their story, so their beloved ones tell us how they learnt to enjoy the gift of live. This video is a personal testimony, in first person, from letters that Carmen and Olga wrote a few months before they passed away.

This is My Story

The two videos with our founders testimonies are available in our Youtube channel:

Captions in English available in the video settings.

The Impact of Time

Pancreatic cancer changed everything for Carmen and Olga. However it also brought a lot into their lives. It gave them a different pespective of life. It helped to value those things that really matter. The dissease made them wiser and better people. It help them prioritize things like solidarity, and help them become stronger. But all these learnings are meaningless without TIME to practice them and to enjoy live. Pancreatic cancer took it away from them.

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My Story is about Steve Kelly

This event took place from 01 Jun 2013 to 15 Apr 2015

The Discovery

Stomach pain that spread to the back

This is My Story

As an avid runner, “time” to Steve Kelly usually centered on achieving a personal best. But pancreatic cancer was a harsh awakening that time is something much more precious.
Steve was preparing for the annual Broad Street Run, a 10-miler through the streets of Philadelphia, when he first began experiencing stomach pain. A journalist at the Philadelphia Inquirer, he chalked it up to stress and took antacid tablets to ease the discomfort. But when the pain migrated to his back, he saw his physician. A series of tests, first an ultrasound, then an MRI, a CT scan and finally a biopsy, confirmed the diagnosis: stage 4 pancreatic cancer that had spread to his liver. Suddenly, “time” took on a whole new meaning.
Steve was just 53, fit and didn’t have any of the traditional risk factors for pancreatic cancer. He sought aggressive treatment, participating in two clinical trials – first a new chemotherapy combo and then an immunotherapy treatment designed to activate the body’s own immune system to fight the growing cancer cells. The treatments were difficult and often-times debilitating with side effects. But they also yielded some promising results. Steve was able to enjoy what his wife Kerry calls “a six-month gift to our family” in which his tumor growth stalled and he was pain-free. In his final year, Steve white-water rafted and ziplined with his family in Costa Rica, ran a 5K with his daughter and delivered an emotional survivor speech at New Jersey’s PurpleStride event.
Steve Kelly died in April 2015, 22 months after his diagnosis. He has inspired family and friends to create Kelly’s Heroes, a nonprofit that established the Steve Kelly Fund for Pancreatic Research at Johns Hopkins. And Steve – a husband, father and clinical trial hero – continues to give future pancreatic cancer patients the precious gift of hope – and time.

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