On September 3, 2010 I went in for a procedure to remove a gallstone, and woke up to find the doctor sitting next to me in the recovery room.  He took my hand and said, “When we performed the endoscopy, we discovered that you do not have a gallstone.  You have cancer, Erin.  It’s a very serious type and I’m scared for you.”  I immediately went into survival mode.  I sectioned off my emotions and asked, “Okay.  What do we do next?”

Two days later, I left the hospital with a diagnosis of adenocarcinoma of the ampulla of Vater and a referral to an extraordinary surgeon.  After a visit with the surgeon, I discovered that the surgery I would receive was the same surgery used to remove pancreatic cancer, a Whipple Procedure.  I had my surgery on September 17th, spent a week in the hospital, and was sent home to continue my recovery.

One month later, at my follow-up visit, the surgeon shared with me that during the surgery he discovered two more tumors.  They were on my pancreas.  I was then diagnosed with stage 3 neuroendocrine pancreatic cancer.  For the next few months I underwent chemotherapy, followed by two more months of a radiation therapy/chemotherapy combination.

On April 5, 2011 I received official notice that I was CANCER FREE!!!  This experience has changed my life beyond measure.  It has taught me to appreciate the time I have with the ones I love, to live a happy and healthy lifestyle, and how to be strong.  I am extremely grateful for the amazing people who have carried me through this experience; the doctors, my friends and family, and my incredible husband.  It was this strong support system that allowed me to focus on getting better.

Contact a PanCAN Patient Services Case Manager
If you have any questions about pancreatic cancer, contact PanCAN Patient Services for free, personalized and in-depth disease information and resources.