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Survivor Story: Fran Coredig

04/02/2013
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.



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