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My husband Alan was diagnosed with pc the end of August 1998 and underwent the Whipple at St. Luke's in Milwaukee in early September. He will be 50 February 29th (28th this year). He has a very strong family history of cancer including in a sister, brother, and grandfather and his dad died of pc at 56. He also smoked until about five years ago and eats quite a high fat diet without much exercise. Alan finished his 28th treatment of radiation in conjunction with a 5-FU infusion pump on December 18. He will have about four weeks off treatment and will begin his four months of chemo alone on January 11, 1999, with a regimen of one week on followed by three weeks off chemo. He tolerated the initial treatment quite well only experiencing tenderness in the abdomen, some itching there also, and a little less appetite. He is 6 feet 3 inches and still weighs about 285. He lost about 50 pounds right after his surgery and has not gained that back. He was off work for about 6-1/2 to 7 weeks following his Whipple and seemed a little discouraged at that point. He was recovering very normally but was frustrated that he still wasn't back to his old self. He also complains he is more tired and has no energy but I kid him about that pointing out that at his baseline he was not exactly a dynamo. We initally had quite a time of it trying to find an onc who we felt was right. We live in southern Wisconsin and although the oncs are generally amenable to what you want to try they don't seem to have the experience of dealing with a lot of pc patients and the overall response to pc is that treatment is of little use. We took the advice of several people in this chat room about finding an onc who will treat the pc aggressively and going to a larger learning/university hospital where they are offering studies, trials, etc. Fortunately, Alan works in Chicago and a friend he rides the train with suggested Northwestern where she was treated for breast cancer five years ago. She was nice enough to go with Alan on his initial appointment with the onc, showed him around, asked the onc questions, and generally remembered stuff that Alan couldn't at such an emotional time. It was a very hectic daily schedule for him - up at 5 a.m.,the 6:20 train to Chicago, work until 3 or so, take a cab to Northwestern, receive his radiation treatment five days a week, and then the train back home getting home after 7 p.m. if all went well and he was on schedule. Changing the dressing on his PICC line (for the infusion pump) meant another apointment every week. I honestly don't know how he does it. If I had the pc, chemo and radiation would be all I could handle. I would not be working. Alan said that he prefers to work because he is so busy he does not have time to worry, brood, etc. Returning to work has certainly seemed to improve his attitude. Also very fortunately, he felt well enough to go to work every day and so he never missed a radiation treatment, and he was concerned about how he would hold up. He had a prescription for Zofran for nausea but never needed to fill it. He was on insulin for about the first month and a half after surgery but now is on just Glyburide, Pancrease, and Zantac. His radiotherapist and onc think he is doing very well and all test results so far are good. They plan on a CA19-9 next week and a CAT scan three months after his chemo ends in May. We don't know what the future holds but have a strong faith in God and believe only he knows how long any of us have to live whether we have pc or not. I always enjoy the good news others have posted and am encouraged by all the survivors. I'm grateful for all of you who post here and know we are not facing this alone. God bless all of you.

Posted 01/06/1999 03:06 am by Judy H
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