Pancreas Cancer Web


My mom, Hazel was 82 when she was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer. She is a 5 year survivor of metastatic breast cancer, having under gone chemo, radiation following her mastectomy in 1995. In December of 1999, she was still in remission from the breast cancer according to her oncologist who was following her every three months. She started complaining of discomfort under her right rib cage (in the area of her gall bladder) in January of 2000. I took her to her oncologist who examined her, but performed no tests, and he stated he could find nothing wrong. She still complained. (She never took any medication for anything prior to her bc except for an occasional Tylenol for discomfort.) I took her to her internist, who examined her and also stated he could find no reason for her pain. He ordered an ultrasound of her abdomen which was negative. She continued to have the discomfort and called me at 6 AM one morning and said that she had been sick all night and wanted to go to the ER, so I took her. They checked her out there, and could not find anything wrong, and were going to dismiss her. I told them that this had been going on for 2 months and that they were going to admit her and find the cause of her difficulty. They admitted her to the hospital and kept her for 2 weeks and ran numerous tests including a CT of Abd. and MRI. Also CA 19-9 was done. The CT indicated an enlargement of the head of her pancreas and the CA 19-9 was elevated at over 4000. Her appetite was terrible and she was having clay colored stools. She was dismissed with the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. A followup HIDA scan showed enlargementof the bile ducts, and a CT of abd. in Apr. 2000 showed definite enlargement of the head of the pancreas with probable lymphadenopathyof surrounding structures. Having undergone treatment for bc over 5 yrs., developing diabetes, had a DVT of left leg and AFib, plus heradvanced age, she opted for no treatment except symptomatic relief ofher disease. Her sister had passed away 12 years prior to this with pancreatic cancer, which went undiagnosed despite intensive efforts to do so. Mom was never a complainer, and throughout this battle, she has never complained. The only thing I prayed for was that she not be in pain, and that prayer has been answered. She is in the terminal stage of her disease, and to see her literally starving to death is beyond belief. I am devastated! But, this was her wish--and she will be treated with dignity until her last breath. I am going to miss her to the depths of my soul. She was my mentor and my teacher. She is a retired RN who gave over 40 years of her life helping others. I am an RN who works in oncology, and may not be ableto go back to it after this personal experience. Her courage has humbled me. I will miss her terribly. I will also continue to learn all I can about this disease, and hopefully help others who are afflicted with its ramifications. Carol

Posted 06/09/2000 11:31 pm by Carol
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