In August 2008, I noticed I was losing weight. After I ate, I would get sick. After describing my symptoms to the doctor, he thought I had acid reflux. My weight loss continued and I developed a cough. I went back to the doctor; he decided to do blood work and found the enzyme levels were high in my liver. Then, he did a CAT scan and informed me that I had a mass at the head of my pancreas the size of a golf ball. Following that, in January 2009, I had a biopsy done. The doctor told us he had done many of these biopsies before and that the mass was cancerous.
The doctor told me to call back next week to schedule an appointment, which I was not able to get until February. The medical team informed me that it was stage 3 and suggested radiation and chemotherapy. I was told that I was not a surgical candidate because the cancer had invaded the main blood artery and other critical areas.
After researching more about pancreatic cancer, we learned that time was not on our side. We informed the doctors that we were going to get a second opinion; after further testing we found out that the mass may not be cancerous and that it had not invaded any other areas or blood arteries. I had the Whipple procedure on March 10, 2009; the biopsy came back with clear results and I did not have to take any radiation or chemotherapy. I feel very fortunate that I received such great news! This experience shows me that we need more research and early detection so others won't have to go through what I did.