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My mom, Jeanne, was diagnosed August 20, 2000 after having a year + time of problems with pains in her side. Her GP found it through a CT scan, and called her in the next day to tell her that he was 95% sure that it was PC and if it was she would have 4-6mos. to live. He suggested a second opinion, sent her to a surgeon at a bigger Hospital (University of Michigan). At this point the cancer had not spread beyond the Pancreas. It took two weeks to get in, a week to get another CT scan another week to get and angioplasty to see if there was vein involvement (which there was and that at this time she was no longer resectable) another week to get set up for treatment for radiation and Gemzar + Cisplatinum and finally another week to get a final CT before they began. Six weeks total to get her into treatment. It was in the last CT before treatment that they found the cancer had spread to her liver and lymph nodes. They pulled her out of the clinical trial with radiation and treated her with clinical trial of Gemzar + Cisplatinum + 5FU. The regiment was 3 weeks on 1 week off/ CT scan every two rotations. The Gemzar and Cisplatinum were given by infusion, with Cisplatinum only being given on the 1st and 3rd week. 5FU was supposed to be given 24/7 by pump but her body could not take it (mouth sores) and she only lasted one week for two rotations before they took her off of it. She continued with Gemzar and Cisplatinum treatment for 4 mos. She had minimal side affects including loss of hair, and little nausea and vomiting and low blood counts. Her first CT there was shrinkage and stabilization. The second CT there was significant progression of growth of cancer and the treatment was stopped. My mom passed away at home EXACTLY six months to the diagnosis on February 20, 2001, just as predicted by her GP (he was the only doctor that ever gave her a timeline...even doctors that saw her right at the end would not say how long it could be). She had hospice and family at her side when she passed. She was a wonderful woman, with a beautiful smile and a great, funny personality. She is missed severely by her family and friends.

It has become my 'cause' to educate every new comer that asks for information and guidance how important it is to move fast in the beginning with this disease. It is my opinion that if we would forced the doctors to move faster in the beginning there might have been more options for treatment, although I'm not sure how much that would have helped in the end. In the beginning there was no spreading, in 6 weeks when they tried to begin treatment it had spread to her liver and lymph nodes. It says a lot to just how fast this disease moves. My other 'Cause' is to encourage researching the symptoms of the end of a life. We did not, it made my mom's death very traumatic for me at the time and I believe if I had known what was to be expected it would have been easier for me.

I reside in Kalamazoo, Michigan and my mom was treated at University of Michigan and in Grand Rapids for a short time at the end.

Posted 04/25/2001 01:59 pm by Penny
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