Never Give Up and Never Give In - KNOW IT. FIGHT IT. END IT. Thanksgiving, 1999, my mother is in her final stages of pancreatic cancer. At our dinner table I complain to my in-law, who happens to be a doctor, that I keep having hunger pangs. He arranges for a battery of tests which include an ultra sound, endoscopy, and colonoscopy. Test results reveal that I am suffering from Helicobacter pylori (ulcer) and I am put on a 14-day high dose of antibiotics. I am happy to learn that this is all, and that I will soon be cured. However, in view of my mother’s cancer, my doctor, decides to run an additional test to ascertain that I am truly suffering from the ulcer, only. He orders a CT scan which reveals that I do, in fact have a mass in the head of my pancreas. So now to determine what type of cancer I have, and whether it is benign or malignant, on January 7, 2000, I go for an endoscopic ultrasound with a biopsy. The cancer is confirmed. I am suffering from Adenocarcinoma. My doctor tells me the horrible news but all I say is what’s next, what do we do? Things are moving real fast. An appointment is set up with the surgeon who happens to have a cancellation of a full-day procedure for Monday, January 17, 2000. I refuse to have the surgery right away because my Mom is dying and I need to be with her. Needless to say, when my doctor hears of my refusal, he calls me at my Mom’s and gives me a thorough tongue-lashing telling me that I cannot afford to wait with the surgery, especially since we don’t know how much longer my Mom would live and that I must have the surgery immediately. I continue to refuse. As I am crying and arguing with my doctor, my brother comes in to the room and tells me to go ahead and schedule my surgery immediately because our Mother has passed away. To date I believe that Mom gave up her life a little sooner so that I can have a chance at my life. I buried my Mother on Sunday, January 16, 2000; checked into the hospital the same afternoon, and told everyone who would listen that the Whipple surgery will be performed on Monday so that my Mom has a chance to get up to heaven and spread her angel wings to watch over me and to protect me. I survived the 10-hour delicate and dangerous surgery and have fully recovered and beat this horrible and deadly disease due to help from above, the dedication and competence of my doctors, and the support and prayers of my family, friends, and community, and ultimately due to my unwillingness to give up. I AM A SURVIVOR, and I am blessed with my husband of 46 years, 3 wonderful children and their loving spouses, 13 beautiful grandchildren, my extended family, and many terrific friends on whom I can count to be by my side in good times as well as in bad times. Thanksgiving now has extra meaning for me and my family. I’m fortunate to be one of too few who can say: HAD IT-FOUGHT IT-BEAT IT, and I will fight to find a cure to ensure that others can share a similar fortune I will walk in the PURPLE STRIDE for me, and all other cancer survivors. I will walk for my Mother, who passed away from pancreatic cancer and for my Mother-in-law, who passed away from breast cancer. I will walk for all those who are in the clutches of cancer, any kind of cancer, and I will walk for all those who succumbed to the vicious enemy. Mostly, I will walk for the CURE of this devastating disease, the disease that is physically and mentally painful and debilitating, not only to the ones suffering from it, but also to their family and friends.
Bela Greenbaum, 12-Year Pancreatic Cancer Survivor.