I was having back pain and complained to my doctor about it on a regular visit. Because a year and a half before I had been diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer and had both breasts removed, he was taking no chances and ordered a CT scan. It was late in the day when I went for the scan. After doing the scan, the technician started to speak to me about whether I have had cancer before. This should have been my first clue. After the scan I was told to wait in the waiting area - "my second clue."
I was the last patient in the waiting room and it was late so I was getting tired and irritated. The technician who did the test came out with the phone in his hands and said, “Your doctor would like to speak to you.” I was told I had a mass on the head of my pancreas and he wanted me to call my oncologist right away. I left the hospital, got to my car, and cried for a very long time. I had lost my mother to the same disease just two short years before.
I saw my oncologist the next day and was referred to a pancreatic doctor at another hospital. I was told that this would proceed very fast, unlike the breast cancer. I was told from the start that the cancer was at a very early stage. I had a CT scan 6 months prior and it showed no sign of this latest tumor. I was also told the pancreas tumor was unrelated to the breast cancer and that this was aggressive.
Two weeks after the initial diagnosis, I was in surgery for a Whipple procedure. Here we are, six months later, and I am having chemotherapy, which is not so bad. This time I kept my hair. Radiation is starting shortly, and aside from the 40 pound weight loss (which I needed), I have only small side effects. While I am still scared, I keep a positive attitude. I beat stage II breast cancer; I know I can beat this, too.