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Pancreatic Cancer - Living From Diagnosis to Death - The Diary of a Cancer Patient's Daughter

Pancreatic Cancer - Living From Diagnosis to Death - The Diary of a Cancer Patient's Daughter

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Published by: shared4u2 on Jan 28, 2012
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10/09/2012

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 ==== ====FREE CANCER INFORMATIONhttp://www.cancerinfosearch.org ==== ====One of the hardest things to do in life is to live once you've been told you are going to die. It's as iflife speeds up after you receive knowledge that your days are ticking away on a finite clock thatyou have no control over. One important thing that I learned while experiencing the devastatingaffects of Pancreatic Cancer with my mother as she fought this distressing disease is that it iscrucial to focus on the time that you have rather than on the time you don't have. To me this articleis a condensed version of the Diary of Cancer Patient's Daughter as I explain what living withPancreatic Cancer is like from diagnosis to death as I framed the picture of my mother'sexperience in my mind. I hope and pray that you receive something out of these words birthed out of pain that will bringyou peace and help you or your loved one with a Cancer diagnosis live a little longer and happierin spite of the sad reality you are facing. There are 7 D's in this Cancer Diary that can help youmanage the physical and mental aspects of this awful disease. Remember that what you don't doin the Cancer Crisis is just as important as what you do. Entry # 1: The Diagnosis: My mother Joyce was 66 years old when she was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer during thesummer of 2008. Though all Cancer is bad, Pancreatic Cancer is considered one of the worstbecause it is the most difficult to diagnose. The reason is that the symptoms mirror digestiveproblems as the disease hides in the depths of the digestive system. My mother had chronic painin her stomach and though she went to the emergency room several times receiving numeroustests and ultra sounds the doctors kept telling her nothing was wrong with her and sent her homeevery time. Initially they thought it was a problem with her gal bladder which is a commonmisdiagnoses in the case of Pancreatic Cancer. Her Father Boyce whom she was named after died of Pancreatic Cancer 20 years earlier, but thechance that she could have that very same thing never occurred to her or anyone else in ourfamily. If Cancer runs in your family, especially Pancreatic Cancer, I would advise you to haveregular screenings for this disease as early diagnosis is a key to survival. One of the most deadlythings about Pancreatic Cancer is that because it is so hard to diagnose most patients don'treceive their diagnosis until they are already in Stage 4 of the Cancer when there is practically nohope. The symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer include: abdominal pain and pressure, jaundice, nausea, lossof appetite, depression, weight loss and weakness. My mother had all sypmtoms except for jaundice. Just because a person is missing a common symptom doesn't mean they don't havePancreatic Cancer. The most common procedures used to diagnosis this brutal disease are:Ultrasonography, CT Scanning, Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancretography, Endoscopic
 
Ultrasound, MRI, and Cholangiogram Percutaneous Transhepatic. I'm pretty sure my mother hadall of these tests done and it can be very draining to endure such experiences, however it is vital inobtaining a diagnosis. The results of her diagnosis showed that there was a tumor on herpancreas blocking the flow of bile from her liver, as well as, the flow of enzymes from herpancreas. In her case the tumor was wrapped around a blood vessel and surgery to remove thetumor was not really an option. Very few surgeons in the country would have been able tosuccessfully perform the surgery and her chances of survival would have been slim to none. Evenif she had of had the surgery her quality of life following it was questionable. This surgery iscommonly known as the Whipple Operation and removes a large part of the pancreas, theduodenum and a portion of the bile duct What do you do in this situation? You make the choice to live the best life in the time that you havewhich is undetermined and different for everyone. Suck every drop of joy out of life you can asquickly as possible. If we could turn back the clock and do it all over again the one thing we woulddo differently is have annual screenings for the disease conducted because had we done that mymother might still be alive today. What you do in time can determine the time you have on thisearth. Many people allow the hands of time to cover their eyes to what they don't want to see. Open youreyes today and if you have not been diagnosed with this disease begin to use preventativemeasures such as a healthy diet, exercise, and regular checkups with your doctor. Entry # 2: Denial: We were in such disbelief after receiving the diagnosis we failed to take immediate action lockedin the paralysis of our new found reality. One thing Cancer does not give you is time. That big devilcalled denial must be dealt with. I can still hear my mother saying, "I can't have this...not me!" Youmust come to grips with what you have in order to get a grip on the situation. Sometimes I think ofCancer being more of an accident of health rather than a mistake of nature. All you can do with amistake is wish that it never happened but accidents can be prevented. Maybe this is a littleoptimistic since Cancer tends to creep in like an unexpected thief to steal your most prizedpossessions. Even so, optimism is always stronger than pessimism and it merely means that ourpowerful spirits encased in a fragile frame of flesh chooses to live. Even people with diseases such as drug addiction and alcoholism must come out of denial beforethey recover. I know Cancer survivors and they are the same people that came out of denial anddealt with the disease. You will never take action in regards to something you don't believe. Entry # 3: Drugs: We live in a pill popping nation where there is a drug for every situation. One of the main problemswith drugs is that they mask symptoms but fail to provide a cure. Drugs do their best to cover upthe Cancer until the victim is covered with earth in a coffin. I keep hearing rumors that there is acure for Cancer but the medical and funeral industries are making too much money off of thedisease to release the cure. I don't know if that is true but it sure makes sense. Though drugs were diagnosed to help my mother one of the first things we did which is extremelyimportant for Pancreatic Cancer patients was to have a stint put in. Stints were inserted into the
 
tubes leading from her liver and pancreas to help them function and this helped her to live a betterlife. In some cases, depending on the size of the tumor, it is very difficult to insert stints but thereare several alternative methods and procedures to accomplish the same effect. If you have a gooddoctor he will inform you of all options. If you have a doctor that doesn't tell you all the options; getanother doctor. My experience with a mother with Pancreatic Cancer perfected a hatred in me for Morphine whichis the pain medication my mother was put on. Since the pain caused by the Cancer is so intenseour options were limited and we wanted my mother to be able to live out her days as pain free aspossible as I think anyone would. The Morphine altered her mind, changed her personality, andcaused aggression and paranoia. The effects of the Morphine put the family in pain while relievingmy mother's pain. At times it was as if she was out of her mind and it nearly drove us out of ours. She no longertrusted the people that loved her and many times would forget what she was saying in the middleof a sentence. The family told her many things over and over again and she wouldn't do them andalways forgot what we told her. To me Morphine kills a person before they die. It kills their ability toconvey the essence of who they truly are. There are alternatives for pain relief drugs but I don'tknow how much better they are since we only dealt with Morphine. It amazes me how Patrick Swayze filmed a television series with Pancreatic Cancer refusing totake pain medications so he could concentrate on and accomplish his work. I remember hearinghim speak about preparing hours in advance of his shoots to be mentally and physically preparedto accomplish every task in pain. I think drugs such as Morphine make a person die fasterbecause it arrests their mind. In the movie the Matrix if you've ever seen it, Neo is doing the jumpprogram with Morpheus and falls. When he comes out of it he is bleeding and makes a statementto the fact that he thought it wasn't real and Morpheus tells him that the mind makes it real andthat the body cannot live without the mind. If you are mentally incapacitated, how can you make aconscious decision to fight for your life? A glimmer of hope came to us while dealing with the madness of the Morphine which is analternative pain treatment that Cancer patients can receive that deals with injecting alcohol aroundcertain nerves to block the feelings of pain. My mother had this procedure done but said that itdidn't work. To this day I don't know if the treatment really didn't work or if by the time she had itshe was already addicted to the Morphine and the pain she felt were the pangs of withdraw. Unfortunately Morphine was only one wave in the ocean of drugs we had to deal with. There weredigestive enzymes that had to be taken prior to eating, beta blockers, heart medication, anxietymedication, insulin for the diabetes caused by the shut down of the pancreas, medication forindigestion, vitamins, blood thinners for blood clots and so many medications we had to make anExcel spreadsheet just to keep track of them. One of the effects of the disease that had to be dealt with was extreme swelling of the abdomenand feet to the point where diuretics were prescribed, fluid draw procedures had to be performedby using a needle to draw the fluid from the abdomen and as for the feet; only house shoes couldbe worn. I found out that the swelling was caused by the Cancer mainly due to the body's reaction

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