I would love to tell you all why I Wage Hope. I am a 13-year survivor of pancreatic cancer. I am very blessed. Not many people survived this deadly disease in 2002. I was fortunate to be diagnosed early. My only symptom was maddening itching. No jaundice was obvious, but my lab test reflected a bile duct obstruction. My smart doctor called me in for an immediate CT scan, which showed a 2.5-centimeter tumor.
Then the treatment started. First, we knew a good surgeon who performed the well-known Whipple procedure. The next step after recovery was to locate a good oncologist and radiation oncologist, and then I began chemotherapy and radiation.
Six months later, I had lost 75 pounds and was so nauseated and depressed that I was hospitalized. The prognosis at that time was not good. Despite my attentive family and friends and my strong faith, it was very difficult to keep my spirits up. Being an RN, I was very aware of the prognosis. Being elderly was another negative. But by taking one small step at a time with lots of tests and doctor visits, I recovered. Year after year gave me more hope. After 5 years, the oncologist told me it wasn’t coming back!
We must get the backing we need to stop this terrible disease. We must have more money for funding and hound the legislators and researchers to back us.
And if you or a loved one should receive this diagnosis, research the physicians. Even though they may be very personable, ask them about their experience. Get the numbers. “How many Whipple procedures have you performed?” Educate yourself on the latest and most successful treatments. Get the facts!
And then, when you are well, share your story with others who are diagnosed. Give them hope. Volunteer. I did!