Disclaimer: I wanted to share my grandmother's experience with this cancer to act as a contrast to many stories I read upon research of this illness. We accepted defeated early on because she did not qualify for surgery (age restrictions). I also must add that my family made an onerous decision not to tell her the specifics of the tumor and how it was terminal. Feel free to ask questions. This is a truthful account of what I saw during her last few months and this post aims to give hope to those knowing their loved ones will lose this battle. I do not typically support admitting defeat, miracles happen each day. Our miracle was being able to have such an amazing woman in our life for so long and I hope that your miracle will be victory. Continue fighting! I will continue praying for all who have been afflicted and their wonderful supportive loved ones.
"The doctor met with your mom today, I'm sorry, Mawmaw has pancreas cancer." "Cancer" alone was enough to momentarily drain all hope from my body. My eyes were engulfed with saline and I fled to my computer to research what this exactly meant. The facts were devastating. The descriptions and stories were filled with words like "brutal", "aggressive", and "fatal." My grandmother, the devout Christian who had been living with us for a few years and dedicated her life to loving us unconditionally, was under attack by such a vicious and horrific illness. All I could do was pray. "Please God. Let this case be different. Don't bring her through this pain. Take her before she would ever experience such hurt. Disregard the emotional prayers to keep her here, unless it be Your will. Give us your grace." It was a difficult prayer to pray. My gmaw was 85 and ready to meet God and her family, for whom she frequently yearned, but I do support anyone's decision to fight. I just dedicated my prayers to saving her from the atrocious side effects about which I read.
The tumor was discovered after a scary morning of intensely bloody, pale, and loose stool, stomach pain, and my gmaw's skin transforming it's beautiful olive coloring to a distinct yellow. This was in November and occurred again in December just before they performed the Whipple surgery. All symptoms from December to April were diminished to a cough and weight-loss. The pain was late to show, as I had often prayed, and was manageable with medicine. Every morning from about 9am-12pm, for about a month, my gmaw would have stomach pain and pale loose bowel movements, but by each afternoon, she was fine (we would even go out to eat, or she would visit with her friends that same evening.) The pain did start to last a bit longer, but she would always find relief within the day. The longest it lasted (to my knowledge) was 4pm.
It was not until one week before she passed away where the pain brought us to the hospital. Throughout the entire process, there was only one day where it was all just too much. In the middle of May, the pain appeared at night and her body began eliminating blood at an alarming rate. She was taken to the ER and put in ICU because she experienced a mini heart attack through it all. That night was a nightmare. The doctors told us she would not make it through the night. After about six hours of her body rejecting medication, and continuing to expel blood, calamity came out of no where. She was talking to us, concerned if we hadn't eaten supper yet, praying for Jesus to take her hand, and slowly began recovering. The doctors didn't expect this. I was thrilled to have more time with her, but true fear began to seep in to my core. Would there be more nights like this? I can't watch her suffer like that again. I didn't want to doubt for one moment that God was delivering her through this and had His hand holding us.
The sun rose the next day and I spent the next night with her in the hospital. She was told she had cancer, but still felt like she could go home. At this point, it was not a possibility. Her pain was being completely managed by medication, though she was weak and had no appetite (which became more frequent toward the end). As the week passed on, she would sleep for more and more hours at a time. If I remember correctly, the last three days she had stopped speaking entirely. With hospice we would help clean her, shift her, and apply medicine. Then, with our fair share of warning, she finally joined God. I love you, Mawmaw. Please be an angel to all those suffering. While on Earth, she constantly prayed for and loved others. I hope to grow and be at least a portion as wonderful as her. God speed to you all.
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I too pray that if it is God's will to please cure my husband, but if not, please please spare him the pain. Sounds like you were a wonderful grandson to your Mawmaw. Thank you again.
I too thank you for sharing your loving story of your Mawmaw......She has given you the gift of "Loving Memories" you are so blessed to have had such a beautiful gmaw in your life....Just from reading your story I'd say you are the same loving person as she was.....Blessings, carol~
Oct 9,2012 Hubby's ( 65 ) ERCP, Stent put in also told might be cancer
Oct 23,2012 ( ERCP ) diagnosed. PC on head of pancreas.
Nov. 5,2012 Whipple at Loma Linda Hosp.... could not be finished due to heart issues
( 4 1/2 hours into surgery )told it's also attached to Portal Vein, now only Chemo & Radiation
11-27-12 Surgery site Infection
Waiting for Chemo/Radiation
1-18-13 appt with Radiologist on 22nd.
1-30-13 Hubby started on his radiation and Pill Chemo ( Xeloda 3200 mg per day ) for six weeks
3-12-13 ( Bowel blockage) in Hospital Fluid being drained
3-21-13 Last day of Chemo/radiation...Now on a much needed break
4-18-13 New Stent put in metal with mesh
4-19-13 2nd round of ( Xeloda ) 2 weeks on 1 week off till ? 4000 mg per day for 6 months ( changed to 3000 )
6-12-13 Large Hernia at surgery site/won't be repaired due to his heart condition also losing toenails ( Xeloda )
8-9-13 Taken off all Chemo just Living Life now and Keeping him Pain Free "In God's Hands"
REMISSION NOW PRAYING IT WILL LAST 1-10-14
Seems like your grandma had a amazing family thank you for sharing
October 2012 dx stage 4 pancreatic cancer mets to Liver
November 2012 failed Whipple
December 2013 Mom is septic put on a respirator no chemo fighting for her life _happy new year in hospital she Also is dx with c diff turns around with heavy duty antibiotics from January till March
March-september 2013 DECIDE to start. Chemo CA 9-19 # 14500 dr decides to add abraxine to gemzar had everyside effect also stent change 4 times in and out of hospital many infection
October 2013 Ct scans shows liver leisions gone put no change to pancrease change chemo to xeloda
January 2014 tumor markers up
January 24 cancer spread lungs , spine, abdomin, stomach liver and pc tomorrow all lit up on petscan so back on gemzar and abraxine.
May 2014 no change everything stays the same after 18 rounds of chemo chemo brake
August 2014 on chemo brake scans shows all tumors got bigger mom wants to continue chemo meeting with drs on the 28th Dr said if mom not strong enough no chemo.
Thank you for sharing a part of your life with us. It was so beautifully written. You took something so horrible and brought it to a calm loving place.
Be strong and God bless.
Moms cancer history: current age 84 she made it Nov 8th! Very excited
1994 breast cancer
2011 Jan dx with colon cancer
2011 Sept colon resection, no recurrence
2012 Dec PET scan showed metobolic activity in pancreas
2013 July PET scan showed increased activity in pancreas and mets to liver. Liver biopsy confirmed pancreatic cancer.
2013 Aug 28th she wanted to try chemo of Gemzar and Abraxane.
Two treatments then no more. It was too toxic for her.
October 2013, feeling much better. Maybe the chemo is finally out of her system. Enjoying family visitors while she is feeling very well. We'll take it!
Nov 2013, subtle changes,decreased appetite, sleeping more
Dec 2013, very weak, short of breath, eating less
Jan 2, 2014 home Hospice began.
Jan 18, 2014 mom passed.