In the fall of 2011, I noticed that I would feel very full after eating, even a small meal, and it would last for many hours after I had eaten. I also noticed I was having oily stools from time to time. I didn’t think much of it at the time, brushing it off as “something I ate.” However, when the summer of 2012 came around, I started losing weight, and then I knew something wasn’t right. My general practitioner couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me, and an abdominal CT scan was negative. Because my symptoms persisted, I kept pushing for answers and went to a gastroenterologist.
He initially didn’t feel that anything was wrong with me, but I raised the issue of a pancreas problem, because my symptoms were consistent with that, from the research I had done. He ordered a pancreas protocol MRI and a suspicious area was noted on the pancreas.
I went to a cancer hospital near where I live, and an endoscopic ultrasound was done, which confirmed a neuroendocrine tumor of the pancreas. I saw a world-renowned surgical oncologist who specializes in pancreas surgeries, and he recommended the Whipple procedure, which I had on July 16, 2012. Fortunately, it was a clean removal -- the margins and lymph nodes were clear, and there were no metastases. The surgeon did not recommend any chemotherapy or radiation. I had a difficult post-operative course with many complications, but by the fourth month after surgery, I had returned to work and resumed doing my volunteering at a local animal shelter.
I just passed the one-year mark and there are no signs of recurrence. And, I recently got married to a lovely woman! Life is good -- I’m happy, healthy, and look forward to many years of being happily married and continuing with my volunteer work to help homeless animals. Life is great! I beat this cancer, and you can, too!