Arthur, a stage 4 pancreatic cancer survivor

I was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer on Dec. 22, 2016. Most opinions gave me three months to live. Chemo has kept my cancer in check for the last two years. Cancer will win in the end, but it will not beat me. I try to have a positive outlook (yes, there are times of despair).

You must work with your doctors for your best treatment. Everyone is different. I was receiving chemo every two weeks. After six months I was down to 110 lbs. We planned a trip that made me push back chemo to a third week. That trip saved me! I asked my doctor to try keeping it at three weeks. That third week allowed me to regain the weight I would lose during chemo week. My weight is holding steady between 122 and 130 pounds.

My attitude helps immensely. I tend to have a morbid sense of humor, as do most of my friends and family (though my wife wasn’t on board with this at first). We show our humor every time we go to chemo by the shirts we wear. One week, my shirt read, “This is not the cocktail I had in mind.” It has such a positive effect on the staff and other patients. If I can make someone smile and forget that they are hooked up to the poison they are putting in their bodies, then it is worth it. I’m not saying you should follow my lead, but find your own niche.

Find a reason to get out of bed (some mornings it is tough). Sometimes I think the reason I’m still here is because I am determined to see the last season of “Game of Thrones.” Which scares me: what happens come July? I guess I’ll just set my sights on “Star Wars” in December 2019.

Just remember to keep fighting. Find what works for you. You know your body best. Ask questions! The only stupid question is one you don’t ask. You can’t do this alone. This was hard for me. But I am lucky to have a wonderful wife and family.

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