Linda was diagnosed with Stage 2 pancreatic cancer in September of 2015. She was determined eligible for the Whipple procedure and had surgery the following October.
They removed 20% of her stomach, her gallbladder, an ovary, re–tied her intestines, and removed the top of her pancreas. Linda remained in the hospital for 28 days when she later went home with a feeding tube and Dilaudid for her intense pain.
In December of 2015, Linda started Gemzar and abraxine for 6 months with hopes that in June, she would be clear. Unfortunately, her cancer returned 5 months later.
Linda then began radiation with Xeloda every day for 6 weeks and again remained clear for 5 months, until her cancer returned again, this time in different places.
Once again, Linda sought treatment, this time it was CyberKnife and her scans came back clear. Unfortunately, shortly after, she had reoccurrence #3 so she was forced to go back on chemo, once again using Gemzar and abraxine for a total of 34 treatments.
Her chemo was working but it took an awful toll on her body. She was hospitalized twice, her white blood cell count was consistently low, and she had to have 2 blood transfusions. Linda’s body was tired and although the chemo was working, her oncologist decided that she should take a break for a month in order to regain strength.
By December of 2017, Linda had lost about 45 lbs and had very limited energy. In January of this year, Linda had another scan showing her tumor markers were now over 10,000 (normal is 0-35), indicating it was recurrence #4.
She now had cancer in her liver, stomach, and pancreas. The Gemzar and Abraxine stopped working for Linda, so she made the decision to switch to 5FU and Oxilaplatin. By the 3rd month, the Oxilaplatin dosage had to be reduced and now she is able to tolerate it better.
Linda is now on her 49th chemo, hoping the spots on her liver, abdomen, and pancreas go away. The 5fu involves a 4-hour chemo on Mondays that she must wear home until she gets it disconnected on Wednesdays.
During her week of chemo, Linda experiences side effects every day but said she feels more alive by the 2nd week. Unfortunately, the effects of the steroids and the way her pancreas is producing glucose, she has now become insulin dependent. She is now testing her glucose level 4 times a day, uses both fast acting and long-lasting insulin to keep her levels in check, and will be on chemo the rest of her life. But Linda says she will continue to fight as she has done for the past 3 years.
Linda is now considered stage 4, but she will continue to pray and live life day by day.