Stories of HOPE shared with NPCF by our supporters

Six months ago my husband Sergio and I were training for the Panama City Ironman when a gastro check-up revealed a dilated pancreatic duct. Fear was our first reaction. It should have been hope, faith, and courage.

Sergio underwent a distal pancreatectomy and followed a rigorous nutrition plan. After a 2 month recovery period he returned to training.

Last Saturday, November 3, 2012, he completed his first Ironman in Panama City, FL, 6 months after his surgery.

He would like to tell all who are battling this disease, to stay positive, healthy, and take control of what you can control.

Submitted by Monica Marie Weglicki Sanchez

In April of 2012, after numerous doctor appointments, blood work and even an emergency heart catheter, my dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. My father, who is in his early 60’s, good health and still working full-time, started experiencing chest pains and discomfort in his back and stomach. His appetite diminished, along with his sleep and energy. Although his primary care physician continued to treat him for his symptoms, these treatments did not resolve the pain and discomfort he was experiencing. My father’s persistence in knowing that something wasn’t right is what brought us to where we are now. He went to the doctor yet another time when they decided to do an ultrasound. That’s when they discovered the tumor. Later that day, we were given what we thought was my father’s fate. Our family doctor came to my parent’s home, sat down in their living room and very bluntly told us my father had 3 months to 1 year to live. From what the doctors could tell the mass was contained in the tale of his pancreas but that there was no time to waste. Within a few days, he was meeting with his oncologist and within a week we were scheduled for a surgery that we weren’t sure was even possible.

My father underwent surgery for 6 hours (by the grace of God) at I.U. Medical Center. His stellar surgeon, Dr. Nakeb, removed half of his pancreas, spleen , adrenal gland and 15 lymph nodes. We were released from I.U. Medical Center within a week. This was huge for our family since the average time spent in the hospital after this particular surgery was a recovery time, for up to 5 weeks. The treatment wasn’t over though. My father had another 6 weeks to recover at home. Once released from under his surgeons care, he began the onset of radiation and chemo everyday for 5 weeks. He successfully made it through his 5 weeks of treatment and has begun his 6 months of chemotherapy alone. This past Tuesday, my dad was scheduled for his first scan since undergoing surgery.

This road we’ve been on has not been easy. It’s been rough, dark at times and extremely scary. Our world as we know it will never be the same. As I said earlier, we thought we knew my dad’s fate. But that scan, it showed us differently. The scan came back clear of cancer! This isn’t the end of my dad’s battle. He’ll continue on with treatment until February of 2013. And what the New Year will bring, no one knows. But I can tell you this, whether it’s rough, dark or scary, we still have a road in front of us, that’s more than what we thought we had in the beginning. Modern medicine has played a vital role in my father’s existence but so has good health, unwavering support from family and friends and determination to NEVER give up.

Submitted by Holly Fuller