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506791 tn?1439846583

Fairly new Pancreatic Cancer patient

Things started in March with fatigue, some abdominal soreness, then I noticed my eyes getting yellow, stools getting pale and urine getting dark.  Immediately stopped drinking alcohol as I'd had liver trouble in the past.

My primary care physician was doing blood work trying to figure the problem from that angle, said I was having painless jaundice.

23 April I get a call, "Get to the emergency room, liver numbers are very high."  Ultrasound and CT scan later, I'm sent up the road to Baltimore to the UM Medical center because they saw a suspicious mass pressing against the main bile duct in those scans and further procedure are beyond their capability.  UMMC does an endoscopy and then an ERCP to place a shunt, along with a biopsy, back to my local hospital (5 hour round trip in an ambulance, 5 hours there for procedures and recovery) for in-patient care.  Released on 4 May as numbers looked close enough to normal that I could finish recuperating at home, though pathology report is possible tumor in the head of the pancreas causing the bile duct blockage.

Back to the ER on 10 May as I had a fever of 103.5F, and the jaundice was not clearing, shunt was occluded.  Back up the road to UMMC, as an in-patient this time.  Another ERCP, placing a larger shunt, and biopsy.  Tumor is confirmed.

Oncology-surgeon speaks with me, recommends surgery (mass looked isolated and not spreading).  He thinks we caught it early enough to gain a good life expectancy afterward.

Had a modified (pylorus preserving) Whipple on 2 June at UMMC.  Surgeon told my wife and family after the procedure that he believes they got everything and that there was minimal spread, pathology confirms.  One nerve was possibly involved, tumor had grown and was touching small intestine, but not infiltrating, no other tissue involved save minor suspicious tissue in 4 of 29 lymph nodes.

By 3 weeks after, I was walking a little over a mile a day and the staples came out of the incision, which is healing well.  Very little residual soreness.

Meeting with local oncologist to plan chemo today, which is week 4, outlook is good.

Am well aware of mortality rate, a maternal uncle died of the disease in June 2008.
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506791 tn?1439846583
Start chemo on Tuesday, which will be 6 weeks from the surgery.

Will be on Gemzar for 6 months, 3 weeks on, 4th week blood work...
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Hoping the best for you! Sounds like you and your doctor did get it early, and you are pushing things in the right direction. Staying on top of this with urgency is essential as you know. Have they been monitoring any tumor markers so you get try to monitor your treatment's effectiveness? CA19-9 and CEA?

Take care!
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506791 tn?1439846583
Yes, the oncologist did say that the CA 19-9 and CEA markers are showing a negligible level from the blood panel done 2 weeks before the chemo started.

CT scan from one week before shows no evidence of metastasis either.

Very, very fortunate, remaining cautiously optimistic.
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506791 tn?1439846583
Platelet count was half minimum normal and white cell count was just below normal range, so chemo regime was modified to 2 weeks of treatment and one week off.  Have appointment for meeting with the oncologist tomorrow before infusion session.

Fatigue continues to be the worst side effect so far (besides the blood counts).  Still have some residual soreness from the surgery.
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Good luck with your appt, fingers crossed!
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506791 tn?1439846583
Thank you!

Blood counts were back in normal range yesterday, so it looks like the new schedule will work.

Had a talk with the oncologist.  She continues to be hopeful for me and confirmed to me that she was happy with what she did not see in the CT scan.
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506791 tn?1439846583
10 weeks since the pylorus preserving Whipple procedure.  Chemo session 4 of 18 in the morning.
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996946 tn?1503252712
Good luck to you, Plp!
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506791 tn?1439846583
Thanks, while I am weary (biggest side effect), I am back to work part time and am unbowed mentally and emotionally.
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506791 tn?1439846583
12 weeks out, chemo session 5 in the morning.
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Hang in there, we're rooting for you here!
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506791 tn?1439846583
=)

Thank you!

Found a good resource for support on FB, a Whipple procedure survivors' group.  They have a subgroup just for caregivers, which my wife joined.
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506791 tn?1439846583
Had a CT scan a week ago Friday, results show no evidence of disease thus far.  Looks like the surgery did well and the chemo is doing its jo.
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996946 tn?1503252712
That sounds good, Pip!  Keep up the good fight!
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506791 tn?1439846583
Been awhile.  Had my last chemo session last Tuesday, close out lab work tomorrow.  Oncologist cut the regime short by 1 round as she says the 16 doses I've had thus far seem to have done the trick.  CT scan on 2 December showed no recurrence (pancreatic body and tail look normal) and no metastasis, all other organs and my bones look good, no fluid buildups either.  Tumor markers continue to be negligible.  Only thing is a recurrence of the umbilical hernia that was fixed during the Whipple.

I was Stage 1B when diagnosed in the middle of May.  Tumor was Stage 2B in the post Whipple pathology report (procedure done 2 June).

I have had relatively mild healing and chemo side effects.

My results are not typical, BUT are Possible.  Never, ever give up.
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Wonderful news! So glad you are doing well Pip. Yes, your results are not typical but so very glad that's what you are seeing. Keep up whatever it is you are doing! Have a great holiday.
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996946 tn?1503252712
Sounds like you are doing great, Pip!  So very happy for you!
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I am so glad for you.  You have no idea how much I appreciate your posting this process.  
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506791 tn?1439846583
Thanks all.  I continue to confound the experts. Was signed up for a study through the Uni MD med school, but no follow up after the initial interview last July.  I guess I'm healing too well to be interesting.

Unfortunately, a 1st cousin on my maternal side was diagnosed with PC about 2 1/2 months ago.  He will not speak with me about it, being bone headed.  I am sad to report, from what I do know, sounds like he is at least Stage 3, possibly Stage 4.

The uncle who died from it in 2008 was my mom's baby brother, only 4 years older than me.  y cousin is 6 years younger.
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