Pancreas Cancer Web


I’m writing from Houston. My husband, David, has PC. After a few months of increasing fatigue, and then a few weeks of persistent and increasing abdominal pain, he talked to his primary care doc during a routine physical. Thank God Dr. Broussard listened and ordered an ultrasound. It showed a “shadow” over the pancreas, which led to a CT scan, then a biopsy, and MRA/MRV, all over the course of about 6 weeks. The dx was: adenocarcinoma, about 3 cm, on the body of the pancreas, encircling it like a belt, plus involvement with the vessels. After the biopsy we were stunned to hear “cancer,” and then after the final tests confirmed what the surgeon had suspected, we heard “inoperable.” Like many on the Board David had never had a serious illness, never smoked, and, still working hard at age 61 as communications director for a big church here, was athletic and robust.

On July 29 David began an intensive treatment protocol combining 5-FU delivered through a 24-hour pump on alternate weeks, M-F, and daily (M-F) radiation treatments. He never suffered the classic 5-FU symptom of mouth sores. Instead, he had a terrible time with nausea, fatigue and loss of appetite, and as a result he lost 20 pounds during the 6-week treatment period, which ended on Sep 5. Since then he has slowly been improving and is weaning himself off Zofran pills, which he was taking up to 3 times a day. Our fond hope is to hear, when the follow-up scans are done in early October, that the surgeon wants to try the Whipple, but it’s too soon really to expect that.

I just celebrated my 50th birthday, and I continue to work at my job as administrative officer for a small consulting firm. David and I both are buying lottery tickets,and when we win, we are going to start traveling in earnest. We cancelled a trip to Portugal last September, after the terrorist actions in the Northeast, and still intend to go there, and to Tuscany, for starters.

Our outlook is this: we expect a cure, even knowing the odds; but we will accept death if we must. I, as the caregiver, am trying hard not to predict the future (I can’t), and to make the most of every day. Already we can see lives around us changing, as our lives change.

Posted 09/12/2002 10:59 am by TerryKF
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