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Stories From Cancer Survivors: The Whipple

My journey with pancreatic cancer began in the summer of 2012.  That summer I had some odd systems, itching with no rash and for a couple of weeks, strange diarrhea and some slight pain in my back.  And I was overweight and diabetic, two of the risk factors for pancreatic cancer.  On August 31st, I became jaundiced and went to the emergency room where I was diagnosed with a small, 2 cm tumor at the head of my pancreas.  The tumor had blocked my bile duct, causing the systems and the jaundice.

I met with the Dr. Behrman and at this time and he explained that at this point, it did not matter if the tumor was benign or malignant, it had to come out.  Then he explained about the Whipple surgery.  On October 25, 2012, Dr. Behrman and his team performed the Whipple which took 8 hours.  My tumor was malignant, adenocarcinoma, Stage 2A. 

At this time, Dr. Behrman and his dedicated team of nurses were very supportive, caring, and encouraging by giving me the strength during that time. They were great communicators and were very open with me throughout the whole process.

I followed surgery with 7 months of chemo and 5 weeks of radiation therapy as a preventative measure.  Since that time, I have had bi-annual CT scans which have all reported “no evidence of disease”.  I am in remission and am a PANCRATIC CANCER SURVIVOR.

Following my surgery  we attended our first pancreatic cancer support group meeting which is supported by the Herb Kosten Foundation.  There we met a group of wonderful survivors who were supportive and caring.  Many great suggestions for living with pancreatic cancer, remission, and treatments were shared.  I began leading the support group as a volunteer facilitator about 2 years ago.  I support pancreatic cancer research through the work of the Kosten Foundation.

 

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