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Caregiver Story: Frances Acosta

This is a picture of my mom, Debra.  She went to the doctor and was diagnosed with jaundice and stones in her liver.  She was still working and wasn't in any pain.  The doctor wanted to do further studies on the stones in her liver so she he was sent to a specialist, who diagnosed her with pancreatic cancer.  She stopped working and applied for medical insurance.  She was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer.  The doctor said she had cancer for more than a year without us knowing about it.  At this point, she still was not in any pain.  She was also diagnosed with diabetes and arthritis.

After a year of chemotherapy, one day a week, five hours each day, her body started to show weakness.  She couldn't walk, eat, or sleep.  Her port got infected so she was hospitalized.  During that time she had a break from chemotherapy.  It was hard to visit my mom and not break down and cry because of how she looked.  I had to be strong and show no weakness to build her strength.  My mom is my best friend.  We would go shopping together, we did laundry together, we talked all the time, and I could tell her anything.  But, during the time she was sick, she couldn't go anywhere and she could barely hang out and talk.  She lost over 100 pounds, she lost her hair, she lost her strength, but she did not lose her will to live.  She fought and did everything she could.  She couldn't even walk or get out of bed or stand up by herself, but she still made it to chemotherapy every single week.

Doctors were preparing us for the worst by saying this is a downhill process.  But I knew in my heart that everything was going to be okay.  She endured blood test after blood test, MRIs, x-rays, and being in and out of the hospital for eight months.  Then, I noticed a change in the way she looked and acted.  Her walk and natural glow of life seemed so much healthier and better.  She had an MRI scan in October and the doctor said the pancreatic cancer had dried up.  The doctor sent the MRI results to another doctor and they both agreed the cancer was shriveled and dried up.  The doctors later said to my mom that she can live with the dead, dried up cancer in her body.  At 30 days since the doctors told her she was cancer free, I could see the color in her skin and the life back in her.  Her hair was starting to grow and she was starting to gain weight.

Yesterday the results came back from her 90 day MRI scan and she is now 90 days pancreatic cancer free.  It’s so amazing what God has done; from knowing and seeing my mom diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer to being 90 days pancreatic cancer free.  Don't ever give up.  She's 56 and has three children and five grand babies.

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