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Survivor Story: Caroline Clark

I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in May of 2012.  Being a registered nurse, I immediately knew that I was in for a big battle.  My grandfather also had pancreatic cancer.  

It has been a long and difficult year for me but I continue to make progress.  After I was diagnosed, I immediately called a friend who is now a five year survivor, for support and guidance.  I found the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network website and read all the stories of hope, inspiration and education.  I am now well enough to attend local meetings and plan on walking in the Jacksonville PurpleStride this September.

My treatment started with chemotherapy because my tumor was involving some major veins and I was not eligible for surgery.  The chemotherapy was very difficult; I lost my hair, my job, lots of weight and was just very knock down sick.  However, I never felt more loved and supported by family and friends.  I was eventually able to have surgery.  It was also very difficult and involved some complications.  I did recover (although I was doubtful at times that I would) and now I am back in chemotherapy.  This time the chemotherapy is different and much more tolerable.  I am waiting for the results of my scans, and hopefully I will receive good news.

I am here today and I am very blessed!  I no longer have straight blonde hair, but a sassy curly gray.  Life is different and it all seemed to change very quickly.  I am a different person both physically, spiritually and mentally, and I am accepting that.  My husband and I are closer and stronger than ever.  I guess my point is, even though this is the toughest ride of my life, it is one that has many blessings and I could not appreciate or love life more than I do now.

My advice is: network all you can to find out about other people’s care and how they have gotten through this.  Keep talking to people and your doctors.  Ask for help when you need it and accept it when offered.  Give yourself a break - it is a tough journey.  There is hope!!!  God bless you!
Here is a memorable photo of me with my grandfather. 

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