i've been asked to blog a bit about my journey with pancreatic cancer. i can't find the journal i did when i was first diagnosed. this is how i remember it....
in august 2006 i had an episode of pancreatitis that i just couldn't shake. i had been having episodes of pancreatitis for 10 years but there was something different about this one. i was admitted to the hospital and all my scans were clean. but i still wasn't feeling any better. then i became jaundiced and that seemed to get everyone's attention fast.
i was transferred to cleveland clinic where they put in a stent. i felt a little better but still not great. then they did an endoscopic ultrasound and they saw a pancreatic mass. i was quickly sent to a wonderful, kind, highly skilled surgeon named conrad simpfendorfer. i swear i didn't make up that name! after lots of tests and discussions, i was scheduled for a whipple surgery. i'll spare you the gory details but will tell you it's a huge surgery...some organs come out and some are rearranged. but it was my best chance to fight this horrible disease.
on october 5 when they began surgery, they noticed a lesion on my liver. they biopsied it and it came back negative for cancer, so they proceeded with the whipple surgery. five days after surgery the surgeon came to me and said he had bad news. he said the final pathology reports on the liver came back as cancer. that meant i was Stage 4 and would not have been eligible for the whipple. i figured maybe he just saved my life.