What Do You Do When You Are Diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer? (Part II)
In honor of Father’s Day, enBloom is featuring a special two part guest post from Helen W. She shares her family’s personal journey during her father’s battle with pancreatic cancer. This story powerfully illustrates the value of early screening as well as the benefits of taking an active role in managing your health care.
A grueling 6 1/2 hour whipple surgery ended with the successful removal of a malignant tumor of the pancreas. Additionally, there was no evidence of cancer in the bloodstream or lymph nodes. The clinical staff at Georgetown University Hospital was stellar. My father recuperated for eight days in the transplant wing of the hospital. The most challenging part of his recovery arose from a complication—a clot in the portal vein— that resulted in his re-admission into the hospital. It was now February 2010 during what was to become the most record-breaking blizzard in DC history. Because of the harsh weather conditions, we were unable to visit him as we did during his initial stay and he was bored and a bit restless without our company.
After being absent from work since November 2009, having a cancer diagnosis, major surgery, and a grueling recuperation; Dad returned to work in July 2010. Since then, the wonderful oncologists at Georgetown’s Lombardi Center have aggressively treated him with a combination of chemotherapy and radiation. He is currently taking a regimen of chemotherapy pills for the next year. Despite the aggressive treatments the odds of the recurrence of pancreatic cancer is still high; nevertheless, we continue to remain optimistic, supportive and connected as a family.
In June of 2010, three months after Dad’s surgery we participated in the PanCan Purple Stride Walk and raised over $3,500 dollars towards research for Pancreatic Cancer. Earlier this year, Dad took us on a family trip to San Francisco for a week as a thank you for taking care of him when he was sick. We are well aware that Dad’s circumstances could have been far worse and for that we remain optimistic and grateful that we can continue to enjoy each other as a family for many years to come.