I was never sick a day in my life. Then, for over a month, I had daily stomach aches. I am not sure why but I knew something was wrong - possibly an ulcer, possibly acid reflux. There were so many possibilities. I went to my gastroenterologist and he ordered a CAT scan. He saw something on the scan, so he performed an endoscopy. During the endoscopy, he confirmed that there was something in my pancreas, but he was not sure if it was serious. I went to a different hospital, a teaching institution that specializes in pancreatic cancer, to get an endoscopic ultrasound, which confirmed pancreatic cancer. Shock set in, so I sought another opinion in a different hospital that also specializes in pancreatic cancer to confirm the diagnosis. After the diagnosis was confirmed, I was ready for the fight of a lifetime.
I went back to the hospital that had originally diagnosed me and started an aggressive Phase II clinical trial. My cancer was NOT resectable (operable), so my treatment consisted of chemotherapy followed by radiation and chemotherapy combined. We hoped that the treatment would make my tumor resectable. Another scan showed that the treatments had worked and I was ready for surgery. I had a radical distal pancreatectomy followed by more chemotherapy.
I am now 6 months cancer free and plan to stay cancer free. It was an exhausting year, but with the love and support of my husband and children, I was able to do it. We need to be aware of our bodies and take control of our own medical care, by asking questions and by seeking what is the best direction for each one of us. We can win this battle but we need to continue fighting for funding. I am alive and now healthy. Learn more about clinical trials