I remember the date and the words spoken by the doctor at a cancer center in Tampa on November 18, 2009, “Mr. Lipsey, I am sorry to tell you that you have pancreatic cancer.” Those words hit my wife harder than they hit me, because as a hospice nurse, she knew what they really meant. I was kind of clueless about pancreatic cancer. I allowed myself a one-day pity party, then, not looking back, decided to be positive, proactive, and determined to beat this diagnosis.
I found the pancan.org website and became much more informed about what was ahead of me. It was determined that I was a candidate for the Whipple surgery and on December 23, 2009, I had the procedure. The first year post-Whipple was challenging. However, this December I am excited to say that I will become one of the 6% that survive five years and beyond.
I am a volunteer with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and serve as the Education & Outreach Coordinator for the Tampa Bay Affiliate. I love what I do, and what we as volunteers do to raise awareness in our community. PurpleStride and PurpleLight are the two highlights of our year.
I love how passionate and inspiring our volunteers and supporters are. I have made so many good friends in our Affiliate and am proud to call them my “purple family.” Please join us to create hope, because there is hope and by 2020, there will be increased hope as we raise the survival rate. Know it. Fight it. End it.