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My mom, Dorothy, age 72, was dx in 9/99 with pancreatic cancer. she had been
feeling poorly for several months, lots of aches and pains in her bones,
which she was sure was arthritis. her doctors here in vero beach, florida,
told her it was arthritis. one doctor told her it was psychosomatic. no
x-rays were done. no scans. no nothing. finally, in july, '99, she went to
burke rehab ctr in westchester county, ny. had a scan. doctor told her
there was a spot on her pancreas but she could wait til she got back to
florida to look into it. by that time, september, she was jaundiced, 40 lbs
lighter and having awful bowel movements. she was seen by a new md in fl who
did an ecrp (?) and found she had a blocked bile duct, but he also suspected
cancer. he sent her to hopkins as soon as she got out of the hospital. she
saw dr. yeo, who also suspected cancer, and scheduled her for a whipple 6
weeks from then.
On 10/25/99, mom had her whipple. she was in the hospital for 8-9 days.
came home and recovered really well. had to have radiation and take
enzymes, but otherwise lived lived lived. She and my dad travelled and had a
great time enjoying life.
in september of 2000, she returned to hopkins for her follow up exam and
was told that the cancer had spread to her liver. this shocked her because
she felt pretty good and was sure she was going to recover. Her oncologist
said something like, 'well what do you want? after all you're 72 years old.'
but she was a young 72!!!!! I mean it. she had spunk.
She followed up with some more radiation and chemo, and in december,
2000, her blood count was good and she got very optimistic. made my dad get
her a dog -- mimi, a sweet, enthusiastic, black standard poodle puppy.
but in april, 2001, the oncologist told her the chemo wasn't working.
she and my dad were devastated and decided to not go for anymore treatment.
i moved down to florida and spent a wonderful month with my mom. Hospice
came and each day, her friends visited. It was a bittersweet time. Mimi and
my dad became fast friends, and my mom really knew what she was doing by
getting that puppy, because my dad couldn't always handle my mom's illness.
when that happened, mimi and dad would go for LONG walks.
During that last month, my mom slowly deteriorated. She began spending
more and more time in bed. Pain became stronger. But she was really with it
until the last three days of her life. In those last three days, she was on
strong pain killers and she lapsed in and out of consciousness. The hospice
nurse said that she probably had 6 or 8 weeks left to live, which i found
hard to believe. sure enough, on may 22, 2001, at 8:40 p.m., my mom slipped
away from us. my dad held one hand, and held the other.
My mom lived for 21 months after diagnosis, which was awesome. and
those were really quality months for her. she was very courageous, and
although she was raised catholic, she became much more spiritual in those
months. Pancreatic cancer is a horrible disease, painful, debilitating, and
fatal. But pancreatic cancer also brought my mom closer to her God. It
brought our family closer together. And it brought mimi, the wonder dog into
This is not to say i don't miss my mom desperately. I do. Each day, i
still have a good cry and think about her.
Posted 11/13/2004 02:05 pm by ciciinfla
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