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My wonderful loving husband, Stanley, was dx with pc on Oct. 23, 1997 at the age of 64. In the month before seeing his doctor he'd experienced weight loss, dark urine, light stool, and jaundice. His doctor told us something was blocking the common bile duct and sent Stanley for a CT scan. The scan showed " a mass on the pancreas". The gastroenterologist he was referred to said his only hope was the Whipple at JH. Even though we live in DC with lots of hospitals and good doctors, he was told to have this surgery done at JH. Less than 48 hours later, Stanley was admitted and a stent put in and tests done to determine if he was a candidate for the Whipple. All tests indicated yes so surgery was scheduled for Nov. 24. When we were told after less than 3 hours that the surgeon wanted to talk with us, I knew. The tumor involved the head, neck, and body of the pancreas and mesenteric artery and was therefore unresectable. Stanley's gall bladder was removed, a pain block and bypass done, and he made plans to undergo radiation and chemo with 5FU. He recovered well from the surgery but a week after being discharged, his ankes started swelling and the swelling quickly moved up his body. On Dec. 28 he was re-admitted to JH to get this under control. Another CT scan was done, an ultra sound on his legs to check for clots, etc. The pc was worse--radiation no longer an option, so he started gemzar the following night. A diuretic solved the swelling problem and he had only minor side effects from the gemzar. We'd drive to Baltimore, have his blood work done, meet with his onc or his nurse, have chemo, go out for a good lunch, and come home. During this time, Stanley became more and more fatigued and lost his appetite. After the first cycle of gemzar, another CT scan showed that it wasn't working. Stanley was so weak by then than another type of chemo wasn't an option. We investigated vaccine trials but he didn't meet the criteria. He actually improved some after this as the effects of the gemzar wore off. His appetite returned but he was never able to gain back any weight.It was wonderful cooking for him again as he was enjoying his food and requesting many of his favorites. During his illness, we celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary, took 3 trips to our second home in NC, and tried to do things that we both enjoyed. Stanley also devoted much of his time and energy to making sure I could handle the responsiblity of our home, finances, etc. I didn't realize at the time just how much he was doing for me! Stanley's main goal was reaching his 65th birthday which he did on March 13. The following week was wonderful--he had so much energy! His sense of humor, which he never lost, was back in full force! Everyone he saw remarked on how well he looked. This week was probably the miracle I'd been praying for! At the end of that week, he started going downhill very rapidly. He again lost his appetite and couldn't eat anything solid and started having some pain. He died on April 1, 1998. He wasn't able to talk much that final morning but did understood and respond to what was said to him. Moments before he died he gave me the strongest most wonderful hug --something I'll never forget! I will always be grateful for the years we had together and I will miss him and love him always.

Posted 10/22/1998 10:44 pm by Marsha
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