I was diagnosed at the beginning of November with Stage I PC. I have just completed 4 weeks of radiotherapy and chemotherapy to attempt to shrink the tumour (was 3cm). At the time of diagnosis it was lying adjacent to the portal vein and they were not sure if they could operate, hence the radio and chemo.
I see the surgeon's on the 3/3/08 and will receive the news if they can operate. I have read a lot of how awful the Whipple's is and also that the recovery time and quality of life after can be poor.
I have lost weight but have now regained my appetite and feel extremely well.
Can anyone give me details of their experiences please, I am juggling my life expectancy against the quality - but my instinct to survive keeps kicking in!
Of course they may say they cannot operate, but I feel so well I believe that the treatment so far must have kicked this little succer in the teeth.
Any comments would be appreciated, it almost feels like I would be signing my own death warrant if I do not agree to the surgery.
Thanks for this wonderful forum
Pauline, Qld, Australia
Hi Pauline, I hope others will share their experiences since I have never had Pancreatic Cancer. I do know the having PC Stage I is very good in terms of your prognosis. In fact, Pancreatic Cancer is rarely diagnosed at such an early stage. Your prognosis is very good... probably years of life ahead of you. This will be especially true if they can do a Whipple to remove what is left of the cancer. If they are unable to remove it all, there are a number of other chemotherapies your medical team can use. If the Whipple is successful, enough of your pancreas should be saved so that you will be able to adjust well. You should have a relatively good quality of life.
Pancreatic cancer of any stage has the potential of being very aggressive so I encourage you to take aggressive measures to control it. Having said my own personal opinion, I do recommend that you talk with your own medical team. If you are not currently at a major medical school, I would go to one for a second opinion.
I am sorry to hear that you have Pancreatic Cancer (PC). This forum is loaded with information and many experiences, some good, some not so good. In my case, so far, it has been good. There are many different kinds of PC and I can only relate to mine. Below I have copied another post from the past that tells my experience. I am now 70 1/2 years old and 26 months post PC. I hope this information helps.
As a member here I have had the Whipple as so many others on this forum have. My PC was discovered on 12-05-2005 and Whipple performed on 12-16-2005.
The Pain after the Whipple will be controlled by medicine so don't worry about that. Your stomach will be asleep for weeks afterward but no fear because you will be fed by the feeding tube. I say don't fear the Whipple but look forward to it as a possible cure from this dreaded disease. I was in the hospital for nine days and went home on Christmas Eve 12-24-2005. You will have a feeding tube to carry with you during the recovery period. Mine was removed 2-9-2006. During the recovery period I could only eat mashed potatoes and peaches. You will find what taste good for you. Eat and drink what you can. I had some problems with digesting food (still do) and GasX has become very helpful to me. After the first six weeks I ate bananas topped with peanut butter to help me gain weight.
Do not think negative thought but stay positive. One day your stomach will wake up (when it is ready) and then you can't get enough to eat. During recovery period at home, GET UP out of that bed or chair and walk around the room. By April of 2006 I was able to walk two miles and took a two week trip pulling my RV. I went on a hike yesterday of three miles.
I believe that is enough information for now, but look forward because in my case there is "Life after the Whipple". Each case is different but negative thinking is not the way to go. I stay true to my faith and truly believe that God healed me. What a blessing.
Ampulla of Vater Carcinoma
Whipple Procedure 12-16-2005
Tumor Staging: pT2 pNO pMX
Moderately differentiated invasive Adenocarcinoma of Ampulla of Vater, 3.0 CM Tumor Invading but not through Muscularis Propria
Two Oncologist stated no benefit would be gained with Chemo or Radiation so none was performed
I feel 100% better for reading this. I am 100% focussed on a solution and your posts have reiterated this to me.
I think at the moment because I do not know yet what the surgeons will say, I am dealing with both ends of the spectrum. Either way, I know that I have the strength and faith to deal with whatever cards are dealt.
I will keep you posted through my progress. Thanks for the bit about my stomach going to sleep, I now have that anology firmly planted in my psyche and it makes me feel better.