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PATRICK (MY DAD)
Let me begin by saying that my dad was young, healthy (not sick 1 day in the
past 10 years) and full of life before pancreatic cancer came into our lives.
My parents enjoyed their 35th wedding anniversary on Dec 16th 2007. We
planned to take them out for a nice dinner to Irridesence to celebrate but my
dad (who never turns down a good meal) said that food wasn't tasting right to
him and he thought he had acid reflux or something and wanted to wait until
after the holidays to go. A few days passed and he started to complain that
his lower back and stomach really hurt but he thought it was from lifting
some tires. By Christmas Eve he was in so much pain that he made a trip to
the ER to find out what was going on. They admitted him and started running
tests. To our shock and horror they said that he had stage 4 pancreatic
cancer that had Mets to the liver, kidney, lungs and lymph nodes- he was
released January 7th 2008.
The doctors never came out and told him how long he had only that he was
young- Only 56 years old and in good shape and heathly other than the cancer.
They said he would be on the far end of the median range (IE 6 months).
They told him to walk regularly and eat properly and started him on tarceva
daily and gemstar once a week for 7 weeks- a 2 week break and then another 7
week cycle. In the hospital that first stay they called my dad the hall
monitor because he walked the floor non-stop.
My dad was hopeful when he came home and loaded up on food and began to
walk...but things went down hill quickly.
My dad began to get very cold and very tired, he broke out in a horrible rash
from the tarceva, he got nauseau frequently, his hair turned gray and thinned
out, his voice was raspy, and he slept more and more and ate less and less.
As the pain increased they increased the frequency we changed his pain
patches, he began to be constipated from the pain meds, and was in more pain
from that. A horrible cycle of side effects causing more side effects with
each additional drug he was put on.
My dad was hopeful when he went into the doctors office to start his 2nd
cycle of chemo but the doctor took one look at him and said he had a blockage
and he was jaundice and had to be admitted to the hospital- that was March
7th 2008. In the hospital they ran tests because he needed a stent put in to
drain the bile that was building up- but the dr came back and said the chemo
didn't work and there was no where to put a stent in because the cancer and
tumors had spread. They put him on vitamin k to try to get his kidneys and
liver functioning properly but it was too late and they were beginning to
shut down. Wed March 12th my dad began to get much worse- he began to have
scary visions (which he never had in his whole life) and panic attacks and
didn't want to be left alone so I stayed with him.
The next 5 days were the hardest of my life- we started to call family and
friends in to see him and many came... we would watch as grown men started to
cry at the sight of my dad and how quickly he had deterorated- he had lost 65
lbs in 2 1/2 months and in the hospital was beginning to swell from all the
IVs, he was yellow and incoherent part of the time, he got horrible mouth
sores and in the end was unable to get out of bed. He didn't eat anything
the whole time he was in the hospital. He died on March 17th St. Patricks
Day at 56 yrs old. Only 2 1/2 months after diagnosis.
I never knew very much about pancreatic cancer until this happened to my dad
but in the beginning I thought that if anyone could beat it he could...I was
wrong. This is a horrible disease that hits hard and fast and every day is
twice as bad as the day before. My dad never knew how long he had and as
much as I wanted to tell him it wasn't what he wanted. I was robbed of so
many unrealized memories and adventures with my dad- he was a great man and
will be missed. If you are reading this then you too have been affected in
some way by this horrible disease... live every day for today because you
don't know how many tomorrows there will be and make sure that everyone you
love knows how much you love them.
Posted 03/23/2008 07:56 pm by Amy
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