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Survivor Story: Cuemella McAllister

I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer on January 8, 2013 after going to the emergency room for lower back and abdominal pain.  I had been sick for months prior with stomach and back pain.  Single and with no insurance, I was afraid to seek medical attention for fear of incurring another bill and being alone and sick.  After being seen at the emergency room, a CT scan showed a lesion on my pancreas, so the doctor made a referral for an MRI to rule out cancer.  I was in disbelief and denial.

I waited almost a month to have the MRI done.  The results showed a tumor on the tail of my pancreas.  Surgery was scheduled a week later.  I was still in disbelief and numb.  All I knew of pancreatic cancer was death.  I was only 45 at the time of diagnosis.  After surgery and a biopsy, it was confirmed stage III pancreatic cancer which had spread to two of my lymph nodes.  The tumor (60% of pancreas) was successfully removed along with my spleen.  I have since undergone months of combined radiation therapy, and oral and IV chemotherapy.  I had developed a blood clot on my lung which has been controlled with the use of blood thinners.

Pancreatic cancer is an awful disease that tried to rob me of my life, my sanity, peace of mind, strength and will to survive.  Since diagnosis, I have lost most of my hair, some weight, friends, and even family, but today, I AM A SURVIVOR.  Today, I am hopeful and thankful.  Thankful and appreciative to GOD, my loving mother, my amazing children, grandchildren, family, friends and medical staff who supported, encouraged, cried with me and simply loved me through it all.  Today, I am a SURVIVOR and I am determined to LIVE a happy, thankful life.  Determined to fight.  Determined to be a voice of hope, love, and support to others fighting this disease.  There IS hope and with the help of organizations like the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, we can make a difference.

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