144 results found


Survivor Story: Suzanne Mitchell
I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in July 2013 and I’ve opted not to have treatment beyond the Whipple surgery I had in August of that year. Instead, I’m fighting the disease on my own terms and am enjoying each moment of every day — traveling, reading, spending time with friends and doing many of the things I never had time to do until now. During the 14 years I spent with the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders – I was their first-ever director – I often told the girls that, “It’s not what happens to you ... it’s what happens through...

Survivor Story: Philip Zeblisky
In May, 2014 I was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic adenocarcinoma.  The first sign that there was something wrong came just five weeks earlier when I started to experience symptoms of jaundice which turned out to be caused by a small tumor at the head of my pancreas.  Initially the prognosis was that the cancer was stage 2, and a Whipple procedure was attempted.  However, during that surgery a metastasis was identified, and the surgery was aborted. The prognosis after surgery was not good.  I was effectively told that I should get my ...

Survivor Story: Melissa Kartasevich
I am 40 years old and a one year-plus survivor.  My story starts April 2013.  I woke up in the morning with pain and discomfort in my left side.  Thinking it was from sleeping in a bad position, I just took some pain medicine and went to work.  By lunch time the pain had not gone away and was slightly worse.  Knowing my body and knowing it was an unusual pain, I left work and headed to the ER.  The doctors ran some tests and performed a CAT scan, where they saw that my spleen had infracted.  But they did not know what had caused this.  They kept me...

Survivor Story: John O'Grady
I have always been a person who likes to do things for myself. I love to hike, backpack, kayak and bike ride. Even in my work – I work independently throughout the mid-Atlantic region servicing various accounts. I have always been able to confront a situation, develop a plan, initiate that plan and solve the problem without much help from others. In 2010, all that changed with a simple slight pain in my right side. My doctor told me to lay off fried foods, thinking the pain was probably my gallbladder. That worked for a while. The pain came...

Survivor Story: Rich Gary
It’s funny how life can change in an instant.  I was 52-years-old and married to a wonderful woman.  We had four children and seven grandchildren.  I was at the top of my profession and the worship leader/pastor at our church.  Our life was full of family, friends, and serving God.  On April 28th, 2014, that all changed.  I went into the emergency room with a stomachache and dark urine.  The doctor ordered an MRI, and at approximately three o’clock that afternoon I was told I only had six months to live.  I had stage 4 pancreatic cancer that...

Survivor Stories: Clinical Trials Participant - Ken Douglass
In the fall of 1999, my brother-in-law was found to have a mass in his pancreas. After an unsuccessful Whipple surgery, he enrolled in a clinical trial using radiation plus chemotherapy. This shrunk the tumor so a second Whipple surgery was successful.  He lived 12 more years and passed from stomach cancer.Then, in January of 2013, I had a CT scan following abdominal surgery that showed a mass on my pancreas. After a biopsy confirmed that this was cancerous, I was enrolled in a clinical trial consisting of chemotherapy before and...

Survivor Stories - Clinical Trials Participant: Richard Valdes
It all started in late 2011 with a minor discomfort just above my stomach. When I went for my annual physical in February 2012, I mentioned my minor discomfort and my doctor got right on it. After almost a year of trying to diagnose my "gastric" discomfort, a blood test was done to check my liver activity. It was high, so in January of 2013 I had a CT scan. It was then that the mass on the tail of my pancreas was discovered. It was like a ton of bricks landed on my shoulders. The doctor was quick to add that it was isolated and surgery could remove...

Survivor Story: Michael Turek
I was diagnosed on September 30, 2013 with a tumor in the head of the pancreas with blood vessel involvement, but no spread to other organs.  Non-resectable.  Since then I have had treatment with a combination of three chemotherapy drugs for several months for 4-5 hours every two weeks, followed by 46 hours of being on a chemotherapy pump.  I then had radiation over 6 weeks.  Then I had more chemotherapy, this time a combination of two chemotherapy drugs for 2 months.  My CA 19-9 marker kept going down and is currently 45. Through all of this I...

Updated Survivor Story: Peter Suess
I’m 68 and a 5-year-plus survivor!  My story started in June of 2009.  I was feeling very sluggish while on vacation with my family in Galveston, TX.  I couldn’t take long walks on the beach because I was too tired.Besides the fatigue, I began to have other symptoms.  I had tremendous itching, some weight loss and my urine changed color. I called my family doctor because I thought I had a kidney or bladder infection. He noticed that I was turning jaundiced. He sent me to have a sonogram and...

Clinical Trial Survivor Story: Patricia Theobald
I was diagnosed in March of 2013 as stage 4, with surgery not an option.  I was initially given four to six months, the standard prognosis for people in my situation.  I was 63 and about to have my first grandson in six months.  After educating myself, I opted to join a clinical trial that included standard chemotherapy.  I have been receiving standard chemotherapy every two weeks and an oral experimental drug each day since May of 2013. I am nearing my two year survivorship mark. The original tumor has not been growing, nor has the cancer been...

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