Pancreas Cancer Web


Name: Lucille Cowan Age: 71
Location: Huntsville, Alabama
Diagnosis Date: October 2003
Treatment: Chemo/Radiation
Death: August 2004

photo My mom, Lucille Cowan, was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer in October of 2003. She had pain in the abdomen beginning in August 2003, which continued to get worse until a CT suggested she had pancreatitis and gallstones. During a laproscopic gallstone removal surgery, dye was administered into her bile duct and revealed a narrowing of the duct. A follow-up ERCP revealed a tumor of the pancreas. We proceeded to a research facility in Birmingham, Alabama in hopes that mom would be a candidate for the Whipple surgery. A stent was placed into the bile duct, and the EUS revealed definate cancer of the pancreas. However, with the level of pain and the location of the 2-3 cm tumor, it was determined that her tumor was most likely arterial, and she was not a candidate for the surgery. We were advised to follow a UAB study for treatment, which included 5.5 weeks of Xeloda chemotherapy along with daily radiation. While this combo was difficult, mom made it to the end of her treatment and her pain was finally gone. She had almost 3 good months of no pain until March 2004, when the pain came back with furor. Once again we started treatment, this time with Gemzar. In the fourth week of Gemzar, mom's red blood count dropped low enough that she required a 4 pint blood transfusion. She also developed ascites which had to be drained twice (3 liters of fluid were drained with the first procedure). One week later mom was again hospitilized with multiple blood clots in her lungs. She was too weak to even take a bath unassisted. The decision was made to stop treatment and allow mom to go home with Hospice care. She was on Hospice for less than four weeks before she died. My dad, brothers, sisters-in-law, and aunts were her caregivers during her illness. It was a tremendous honor and blessing to care for her, as she was a sweetheart and remained more concerned about everyone else around her, rather than for herself. On the day she died we had approximately 150 friends and family at her house. During the visitation prior to the funeral the visitors waited in long lines to pay their respects. She will be sorely missed. Her loving daughter and primary caregiver, Beth

Posted 08/11/2004 10:05 pm by Beth in Alabama
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