Pancreas Cancer Web


My husband Harry was diagnosed January 2, 1998. We had a wonderful radiologist and medical man who wanted us to see a specialist. He and his partners had researched this because they had recently had several other patients diagnosed and want them to get the best care possible. They sent us to Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philly. We saw Dr. Hoffman just five days later and came home with hope that we could fight this horrible disease. I should go back and tell you that Harry had already been to hell and back because in February '97 he woke me to take him to the ER. He was in the midst of a heart attack and for the next two months we went thru a balloon angioplasty, 2 bouts of congestive heart failure, the last one, I thought I was going to loose him and finally a quadruple by pass. He came through with flying colors and went back to coaching and teaching in one of our high schools. By late fall he wasn't eating well, his blood sugars where going carzy and he looked like he was from Bangladesh. The first series of blood test were normal but within a week the same tests were totally out of wack. The Ct scan and biopsy were done on 1/2/98. Dr. Hoffman order a six week course of chemo and radiation so we started with cisplatinum, vincristine and 5FU once a week with radiation daily for six weeks. Although our oncologists wasn't sure he would make such an aggressive course he made it to the last radiation and then ended up in the hospital with dehydration. They started TPN which he kept until 3 weeks after coming home from the surgery. He was in the hosptial for 18 days after surgery and had trouble with the fats which was why he stayed with the TPN. Once home he slowly recovered. He had a whipple with several positive nodes so once recovered he started chemo again. This time it was gemzar and that was 3 weeks on and then one off for a total of 16 weeks. By the time he finished his CA19-9 was down to 13 and we were thrilled. He finished just in time to go back to school and once again he coached football, scored the basketball games and then coached his softball team once again. Unfortunately the 3 month CTs have not been so successful. First there were a couple of lesions in his liver, the next one showed nodes around the surgery site and now there is a lesion in his lung. The June CT showed additional progression and now there was significant ascites to deal with. He has started chemo again, gemzar again but with a long infusion time. This all sounds so unbelievable, if we hadn't lived through it I would say yeh, right! Harry is still teaching although a little slower than he had been and tries to maintain a fairly even schedule. We have 2 daughters, 20 and 17 and they are his focus. He is fighting to be there for them and watch them go out into the world. He is so close and I pray that this chemo will give him that opportunity. To all of you just starting this, hang in there and stay close to your loved one for that support will be the best medicine of all. Gail

Posted 07/11/1999 10:12 pm by Gail
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