Pancreatic cancer has struck my family two times in the past 12 years. The first time was in July, 2001 when my sweet wife, Marlene, who was 60, told me she was experiencing a persistent sharp pain in her side and back. A subsequent ultrasound, followed by a CT scan showed a tumor on her pancreas. Two weeks later, an attempted Whipple procedure revealed that the cancer had metastasized to her liver. After leaving the hospital, we called the folks at the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and sought information on possible treatments. Several weeks of chemotherapy, followed by radiation treatments yielded negative results. We tried macrobiotic diets and several other recommended treatments to no avail. We even consulted a "witch" doctor in Mexico. Marlene fought this disease with every ounce of strength she possessed, but pancreatic cancer took her away from us. My sweet wife of over 41 years passed away listening to the waves crashing against the beach in Laguna Beach on May 1, 2002, with her family at her side. I thought we were through with this horrible disease.
At the young age of 73, I was proven wrong. A biopsy taken in July, 2012 proved that lightning can strike twice. I had stage III pancreatic cancer. How is that for a "nasty" coincidence? Luckily the treatment for pancreatic treatment had greatly improved over the past 11 years. I was blessed by being admitted to a high volume pancreatic cancer hospital and somehow being seen by a caring surgeon that set me up with a genius oncologist. I met patients that had been under my oncologist’s care for three, four, six, eight, and ten years. After declaring that I would never submit to the torture of chemotherapy as my wife had, I believed that this doctor could give me at least a few years of life. Well, my last three scans did not detect any cancer. My last chemotherapy treatment was on July 11th, of this year. A miracle? And now, I have even more news. I have been selected to have a new experimental procedure called irreversible electroporation. If successful, it may help prevent a recurrence of the cancer to my pancreas.