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Name: Lucille Cowan
Location: Huntsville, Alabama
Diagnosis Date: October 2003
Death: August 2004
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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