Pancreas Cancer Web


Hello. My name is Jennifer and my Mother, Adela, was diagnosed with pc on March 31, 1999. On March 29, she presented at her primary care physician's office with extreme jaundice, fatigue, acid reflux (later we found out that it was actually bile backup) and weight loss of 15 pounds. He admitted her to the hospital and began by ruling out pc. My mother age 64, diabetic, hypertensive and has a slughish thyroid. These illnesses, however, never caused her to miss a beat. She is a tough old broad. she worked until the Friday before her hospitalization and has been employed continuously since a teenager. The first treatment was a CT scan and ultrasound which revealed four lesions. A 3.5 cm tumor lies in the artery at the head of the pancreas next to the liver. A larger tumor was found in the liver and the last two were determined to be dermoid cysts, one on the left ovary and the other in the womb. An ERCP was done on March 31 with a temporary stent implanted to drain the bile. The jaundice began to resolve and she gained some weight. Her diagnosis was made on Long Island (New York) and the docs knew that if she was to have any chance she need to go to NYC for treatment. The LI docs, primary care, gastroenterologists and the oncs, found a surgeon at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Fortunately, my husband and I live in NYC just a short cab ride away. She was seen by the most caring and thoughtful surgeon I have ever met. His name is Dr. David Paul Jacques (pronounced Jakes) and he is the Vice Chief of Surgery at Sloan. He is also one of about 10 surgeons on the Hepatabiliary service. His assistant, Barbara Hennesy, RN, MS is a god send. They rearanged their schedules to see my mom on two days notice. Dr. Jacques has been straight with mom and I throughout. While reviewing the CT he admitted concern with lesions he saw on the liver to be mets. He went in laparoscopically on Friday April 16 and within 3 hours was out to speak with myself and my husband delivering the news that indeed the cancer had spread to the liver. Rather than cutting mom open for the sake of inquiry into this dasterdly disease as I have heard of all too often, he had a game plan if mets was present. His office coordinated with Dr. Eilleen O'Reilly also at Sloan to begin chemo within two weeks from surgery rather than a month. Mom begins Chemo on April 30 and has been having more bad days then good. She knows now that the pain she felt in the low back and left side are all attributable to pc which in away has put her mind at ease. She is in good spirits, her diabetes is in check and she has moved in with my husband and I who will share the responsibility of caring for her as best as we can. I am a 31 year old only child and have no siblings to share this with. I have left my job as an attorney to spend as much quality time with her as possible and will remain with her throughout this madness. The one piece of advice that I have is to question the treatment plans and the suggestions of the health care providers. We had an awful experience with the pre-surgical consult at Sloan. The anesthesiologist was running late. Mom had only been discharged from the first hospital the day before, was weak and the dinner hour was nearing. Tired, cold and frustrated, she lay in the admissions deaprtment waiting for the Dr. When the Dr. arrived, nasty, condecending and dismissive are the polite adjectives which best describe her behavior. She began the consult by announcing that she'd prefer if we'd hold all questions to the end of her questions, which we did. At the conclusion of the three minute consult I asked the following two questions, (1) should I give my mother her 7 p.m. insulin shot on the night before surgery in light of the bowl prep and liquid diet and (2) whether mom should have an echocardiogram in addition to the EKG. Looking over her glasses she dismissed my questions with a rediculous tone...Telling me to go ahead with the insulin and that the EKG was normal. Mom and I had a bad feeling about this chick. The following day was bowl prep and liquid diet. We followed the directions and at 11:45 p.m. mom went into diabetic shock. We had Dr. Jacques on the phone in two minutes. We followed his directions to bring up the sugar. Ultimately the surgery was postponed for a day because the sugar was still very low. The anesthesiologist had the nerve to come see my mom after she was admitted and was being stablized. I told her to never come see mom again because I would rip her heart out. We never saw her again. She missed an irregularity on the EKG as well and mom has a heart defect which was seen on the Echo I had requested. Needless to say I was not thrilled. Be an advocate for your loved one, do not accept all that is said by the health care providers as gospel. Research, question and make your self known. Be there at the hospital and the Dr. appts. The treatment they receive can only improve. God speed to you all. Jen

Posted 04/21/1999 03:19 pm by JEN
E-mail Address:

Return to Main Message List

No replies on file.

*DISCLAIMER: This page is an unmoderated forum, and the opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. Patients are advised to consult their personal physicians before making any medical decisions.

Pancreas Home | Surgical | Medical | Basic Sci | Docs | Registry | FAQ | Appts | Chat

Feedback | Pathology Home | Oncology Center Home
Copyright © 2022 The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland
Last Modified: 11/11/2002 10:50 am