I am a recent survivor -- one year to be exact. I have a hard time telling my story, so I want to talk about it and the most impact I believe I can make is from the beginning. My wife literally saved my life!

I was scheduled to get an endoscopy on April 30, 2013, simply for what we believed was acid reflux. Well, for the two weeks up to the test date, I was taking acid reducing medication and felt great. So the day before the test I told my wife, an orthopedic scrub nurse, that it makes sense not to go. I felt great, and the co-pay is $250.00. I am very busy at my business, so nothing led me to believe I should go.

My wife, Donna, would have none of that. She lectured me for 20 minutes about blowing off the test and the danger of it and went ahead and got my daughter to take off work to take me. Thank God! My wife is smarter than me! I woke up from the 20 minute test and heard the doctor say, “Joe we are concerned. You have a mass at the tip of your pancreas that we need to take a better look at and biopsy.” It’s funny now, but I think back and remember saying to him (I’m thinking because of the anesthesia), “Doc, I’m the throat guy -- you got the wrong guy.”

That’s how it began. I insist on telling the beginning of my fight, because I stand on one big soap box for getting TESTED. Please!! If you are scheduled, due, overdue, or think you might need a test, BY ALL MEANS, GO!!! I am here today because of my wife making a very good decision.

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