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My Story
A Son's Story
In Closing
Message Board




Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that my father, who was the picture of health, would be gone in 9 months. I was in the beginning phase of my studies in medicine and for all that I thought I knew about biology and medicine, I became somewhat frustrated that I didn't know that much about the intricate mechanics of pancreatic cancer. I was fortunate, that through my alliances with physicians and friends, that I had some access to names of notable physicians around the country and institutions who were conducting clinical trials, with positive results, in the area of pancreatic cancer.

It was my thought, at the time, that I had to do whatever I could to help save, or more realistically, extend the life of this man who sacrificed so much for us and whom I deeply loved. My mother and family, who had no background in the sciences, were at a loss with what was going on and what to do next. My father was, fortunately, a candidate for resection. I never thought of myself as being highly organized but I guess those years of trying to make top grades in undergraduate school instilled this ability in me. I immediately got on the phone, after a few tears, and started accessing all the contacts I could, in the hope that my dad would be able to receive the best care available. Within 24-hours we had the names of 3 highly-respected surgeons who did pancreatic resections. The doctor we chose was on vacation and we were "blown away" when this dear man called us from his vacation site and talked to us for about 30 minutes, all at his long-distance expense. By the end of that day we also had the good fortune of being able to obtain housing for my family and their spouses, who wanted to be there to support my father during his surgery (see Guerilla Checklist). My father virtually sailed through his resection (also known as a Whipple procedure). This can only be attributed to the strong spirit and constitution that defined my father.

A follow-up of chemotherapy and radiation was prescribed after a 3-week recuperation period. We decided to go to a medical center that was in near proximity to the family. After a disappointing meeting at this institute and an additional 3-wasted weeks, we returned to the medical center that had performed the Whipple procedure. A CT-scan was ordered as part of the workup before the radiation and chemotherapy were to begin. It was upon the reading of the scan that it was discovered that the cancer had progressed to my father's liver. There were several areas of metastatic disease. It was decided that my father should return to his home state for chemotherapy, radiation would no longer be a consideration. Our family now entered what would become a baptism by fire of the devastating effects of pancreatic cancer.



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