Pancreas Cancer Web


My mom, June Evelyn Garner Livingston, aged 61 years, began displaying symptoms of a life-threatening illness in the March, 1999 time frame. Her symptoms were: unexplained weight loss, inability to digest solid food, and lower abdominal pain. She had not been hospitalized for any reason in years - since I, her daughter, was about 7 years of age, and that was only for 2-3 days for a kidney infection. She had had no surgeries in her life, other than an appendectomy at age 15. We had not had any cancer in our family. We live in a small, rural town in south Arkansas, and went through a battery of tests via out-patient basis through our local hospital. All negative. Six weeks of out-patient testing showed nothing. We were then referred to a specialist - a gastroenterologist in Little Rock, AR. She went through an additional 4 weeks of testing, for a total of 10 WEEKS of testing before receiving a diagnosis of Stage II, pancreatic cancer. It was diagnosed through a CAT scan, which showed "possible pancreatic mass" and then an ERCP which showed a double duct blockage, and the results of a CA 19-9 blood test, which initially was 705, and was lowered through chemotherapy to 351 at the lowest point. She was diagnosed on June 3, 1999, and lived exactly 4 months from date of diagnosis. She passed away on October 3, 1999 at the age of 62 years (she had a birthday in June, which made her 62 at time of death.) My mom's pancreatic cancer was inoperable - it had spread to a lymph node outside the pancreas. She had enjoyed good health for years, until this happened. My mom was a smoker. She had smoked since she was a teen - so she had smoked for about 45 years at the time of diagnosis. Her chemotherapy treatments consisted of: gemcitabine, 5FU, and mitomycin. The last of the drugs was changed to something else near the end. Mom was in quite a bit of pain, and oral pain medication by the name of Dilaudid was prescribed. 4mg tablets every 4 hours for pain. The pain medication plus the gemcitabine helped relieve some of the pain, but she was never pain-free from the onset of symptoms. I am her only daughter, Angela Livingston Groves, aged 43 years. Mom did not want to be hospitalized - she wanted to be at home, in familiar surroundings. Her desire was to die at home, without the aid of Hospice, etc. My father and I single-handedly took care of her, which was difficult, since neither of us possessed a medical background. The only time she was hospitalized was on one occasion, which was over night, on the date they did initial biopsy work. The weight loss was extreme - she went from a normal weight of 135 pounds to a mere 75 pounds at the time of her death. This disease is devastating! My advice to others out there - seek medical treatment the MOMENT any symptoms such as these appear! By the time my mom was diagnosed, cure was not possible. Had she had been diagnosed at Stage I, it is possible that she might have been a candidate for the Whipple procedure, or some surgery which might had lended itself to a cure. It is hard not to be bitter about this disease. My mother was very precious to me. I miss her terribly. I miss her touch, the sound of her voice, and I no that no one else in my lifetime will ever love me as much as my mother did. It has been very hard for me to carry on my life without her. I have always lived in the same town as my parents, and knew that one day this day would come - when one of my parents would probably fall ill to a devastating illness, and I wanted to be able to be there, to assist with their care. However, I NEVER, in my WILDEST DREAMS could have comprehended a disease such as this one. I didn't know it existed. So many things were happening in the body, all at once, once we received a diagnosis. There were episodes of diarrhea, constipation, burping, belching, loss of appetite, itching, jaundice, abdominal pain, weight loss, etc. So MANY things going on in her body, all at the same time. I hope and pray that they will discover a cure for pancreatic cancer in my lifetime. Her daughter, Angela Livingston Groves1046 RobinwoodCamden, AR 71701(870) 231-5690

Posted 02/19/2000 08:31 pm by Angela G
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