This is my story of Hope, Faith, and Love. Anyone that has confronted the words, "...we believe you have pancreatic cancer, and it has spread to the liver. This news isn't good. We believe you have three to six months to live. There is no cure. Chemotherapy may help you a little, but not much," knows a devastation of spirit beyond words. So it was for me in November, 2007. I turned to my Lord for comfort.
Shortly after this proclamation, the longtime boyfriend of my oldest daughter, Sarah, asked me for her hand in marriage. The date was set for June, 2008, a little more than six months away. It became my first goal! We (the family) went through a lot of hell that first six months, getting chemotherapy treatments regulated, and dosages adjusted. Steroids drove us all nuts! But finally the routine settled down and we all adjusted. I made the goal and two weeks later had my first NED (no evidence of disease) declaration.
Chemotherapy has continued to this day. I'll never qualify for surgery. I have seen all three of my daughters graduate college, two have married. I have ridden in an MS150 bike ride (150 miles, in 2011), I go kayak fishing with my wife and friends, and I make furniture from old fence boards. I have been on three mission trips overseas, and have another planned for January, 2014. I tell everyone that has pancreatic cancer, not to boast, but to give Hope, to share my Faith and Love. There will be hard times, but there will be good times, too. I advise surviving one day at a time and trust God to have your back. November is my diagnosis birthday as well as Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month. It has been six years living with this beast in me. But, in many ways it has been the best six years of my life. Go figure! God Bless, Mark M. Birch