I am a 69-year old, three-year, two month, survivor of pancreatic cancer. In early July of 2007, I was diagnosed with a blocked bile duct – my urine had changed colour. Following blood and urine tests, and then an ultra sound, I had emergency surgery (ERCP) where a stent was inserted to open the duct. I was then told that a tumor on my pancreas was blocking my bile duct. A CT Scan a week later confirmed that the tumor was operable and that the cancer had not spread. Then, I was referred to Dr. Cobourn, at Trillium Hospital in Mississauga – the best surgeon in the world! Prior to the change in my urine, I had been experiencing worsening digestive difficulties over the space of about four months with no explanation as to why despite a number to visits to the doctor. I had also become very bloated, putting on almost ten pounds.
On August 10, 2007, I had the whipple procedure – one of the most invasive surgeries there is. The head of my pancreas, my bile duct, a third of my stomach, my gallbladder and duodenum plus five lymph nodes were removed. Fortunately a vascular surgeon was on call as I also had to have a resection of the portal vein as the tumor had grown. The tumor was successfully removed and I did not have to have chemotherapy or radiation.
I spent four grueling weeks in hospital – my remaining body parts didn't seem to want to co-operate! Eventually, after three months of mostly diarrhea and a 40-pound weight loss, I was started on digestive enzymes and my body started co-operating!! Even today, my body doesn't always work as it should; BUT, I am here and that is what matters! I believe that the secret was early diagnosis and good doctors!
The support, love and prayers of my husband, family and friends (ongoing) played a major role is my recovery. The prayers and support of our faith community was truly humbling.
If anyone would like to contact me, my email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org