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Updated Survivor Story: Bill Shrieves

I’m now a three year pancreatic cancer survivor and I want to update my original story from almost three years ago.  First, let me cover my medical history.  I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer on November 19, 2010.  I had a Whipple procedure the day before Thanksgiving.  The surgery went well and I was home in 10 days.  On January 4, 2011 a CT scan showed five lesions on my liver.  I started an aggressive chemotherapy regimen using three different chemotherapy drugs immediately.  I had about six months of treatment and the lesions went away.  I have been cancer free ever since.

Getting a diagnosis of metastatic pancreatic cancer can certainly change your life.  When a doctor has the talk about getting your affairs in order, you get a whole new perspective on what is and isn’t important.  Faith in God, the support of my wife, Jean, my family and friends got me through.  Still, every time I have my, now six-month, CT scan there is certainly a level of apprehension.

I often wonder why God chose to spare me and I think it’s to provide hope for others diagnosed with this disease.  I volunteer with the Survivor Thank You Call program for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and each year my friends and family hold a Gospel Festival with the proceeds going to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.  This year we have taken the step to set up our own non-profit, the Mid-Shore Pancreatic Cancer Foundation Inc., to fight pancreatic cancer.  Our mission is to provide hope and support for people fighting pancreatic cancer in our community.  We are working toward a day when pancreatic cancer will move from being a deadly disease to being a chronic disease.

Finally, I can’t emphasize enough the importance of a positive attitude.  I have a friend who has MS.  She says she has MS, but MS doesn’t have her.  I feel the same way.  I have pancreatic cancer, but it doesn’t have me.  I’m in this fight to win.

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