I’m now a three year pancreatic cancer survivor and I want to update my original story from almost three years ago. First, let me cover my medical history. I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer on November 19, 2010. I had a Whipple procedure the day before Thanksgiving. The surgery went well and I was home in 10 days. On January 4, 2011 a CT scan showed five lesions on my liver. I started an aggressive chemotherapy regimen using three different chemotherapy drugs immediately. I had about six months of treatment and the lesions went away. I have been cancer free ever since.
Getting a diagnosis of metastatic pancreatic cancer can certainly change your life. When a doctor has the talk about getting your affairs in order, you get a whole new perspective on what is and isn’t important. Faith in God, the support of my wife, Jean, my family and friends got me through. Still, every time I have my, now six-month, CT scan there is certainly a level of apprehension.
I often wonder why God chose to spare me and I think it’s to provide hope for others diagnosed with this disease. I volunteer with the Survivor Thank You Call program for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and each year my friends and family hold a Gospel Festival with the proceeds going to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. This year we have taken the step to set up our own non-profit, the Mid-Shore Pancreatic Cancer Foundation Inc., to fight pancreatic cancer. Our mission is to provide hope and support for people fighting pancreatic cancer in our community. We are working toward a day when pancreatic cancer will move from being a deadly disease to being a chronic disease.
Finally, I can’t emphasize enough the importance of a positive attitude. I have a friend who has MS. She says she has MS, but MS doesn’t have her. I feel the same way. I have pancreatic cancer, but it doesn’t have me. I’m in this fight to win.