Pancreas Cancer Web



I am a 48 year old white female. I've been blessed to be married to the same sweet guy for 25 yrs. We have 2 crazy boys....age 17 (high school junior) and ...age 13 (8th grade) who give us much joy and laughter.

We live in an unbelievably loving community....Chester, MT..about 900 people..out on the prairie, 40 miles south of the Alberta border.

I have my bachelors degree in Microbiology from Montana State University w/ my Intership at the Columbus Hospital School of Medical Technology. I have worked as a medical technologist, then a sales representative for Curtin Matheson Scientific, and then back to the lab...first at Northern Montana Hospital lab and then at Liberty County Hospital lab.

I was diagnosed with metastatic Pancreatic Cancer on May 1, 2007.

Symptoms: During the week of Easter, I was on call and working at the hospital lab when our community suffered many cases of Norovirus. I was ill w/ the virus myself and had self-medicated w/ anti-diarrhea meds. to keep me able to work. By the following Tuesday, I started waking up w/ a strange pain in my back at 3am. When I would turn over, it felt like I was lying on a pine cone...right below my left rib cage. I attributed it to constipation brought on by the OTC meds I took earlier. However, I kept waking up at 2:30 to 3 am every night for the next week...same back pain w/ that weird 'pine cone' pain in my stomach. Finally, I went to a doctor.

The doctor ran all basic chemistry labs, hematology labs and did a plate of by abdomen. The chemistry labs were all normal...including liver enzymes and bilirubin. The hematology labs showed a slight microcytic anemia. The x-ray showed that I was clinically 'F.O.S.' or 'full of $hyt'. The doctor sent me home w/ the instructions to get some Fleets enemas and see if that worked.

MEANWHILE.....I decided to call my family practice doctor. I wrote down everything I'd experienced and she called me that day and squeezed me in. She repeated all the labs, added cardiac studies, EKG, H. Pylori and also scheduled a catscan for the next day.

A MASS IN THE TAIL OF THE PANCREAS......the radiologist initial reading. Thank family practice doctor also read the scan and pointed out a centimeter mass on my abdomen and demanded a second opinion on the cat scan. After my doctor and surgeon consulted w/ a specialist at Huntsman Cancer Center in Utah, I had a catscan aided biopsy of the mass in my abdomen.


For more updates...please go to and go to my address: richiehamel.

Thanks for you prayers and support. rh

Posted 03/23/2008 01:13 am by Richie H
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