I had been seeking health for several years prior to May of 2011. My mother and sister both have serious health issues and I was determined to do my best to stay healthy. An annoying cough had led to surgery for GERD (acid reflux) and that surgery led to gallbladder pain. I mentioned the gallbladder issue to my surgeon at a follow up visit, and he said we could wait or go ahead and do an ultrasound. My deductible was met so I said, “Let’s do it now.” I wasn't too worried when the tech said she saw something "gassy" around my pancreas. I didn't even know what the pancreas really was at that time. I stayed for a CAT scan and then went on my merry way. A week later I returned to the surgeon's office for the results. He was not his normal happy, joking self and I soon found out why. My tests had revealed that I did indeed have gallstones. They also revealed a 4cm tumor on the pancreas. I was 43 years old and terrified that I would die before my children were grown. After many tests, I was diagnosed with a pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor.
I traveled to a large cancer center in Baltimore and had a very new type of surgery - a laparoscopic Whipple. It was still a huge surgery but the incisions were very small. I had a few complications after surgery including delayed gastric emptying and a biliary stricture. I still have a biliary stent in after seven months and continue to have procedures on that every four weeks. But I know I am amazingly blessed that this tumor was found. It had no symptoms of its own. If I had not been seeking my own health, it wouldn't have been found. The doctors declare me to be cancer free. Praise the Lord! I do not need chemo or radiation. I will have follow up scans every year and am doing all I can to be healthy. I believe that God is in charge and only He knows when my time here on earth will end. Until then I will praise His name!