And life as I knew it changed. Things that seemed overwhelming and important weren't anymore. I had never heard much about cancer of the pancreas, other than about the two very famous men who brought attention to it recently. Patrick Swayze and Steve Jobs. Powerful, famous men who ultimately succumbed to the disease. I began to do my research. I didn't like what I was finding. Early symptoms, (of which my Dad was having, but were going undiagnosed), were major weight loss (40 lbs), fatigue, pain in his abdomen that sometimes went into his back, and loss of appetite. The disease of pancreatic cancer is called the "silent killer", because early symptoms are sometimes so vague, the disease can remain undiagnosed until it has reached advanced stages.
|My "Deddy", Cody, and Mama at Cody's high school graduation 2011|
My Dad's cancer is in the "body" of the pancreas. It is a tumor, or "mass" that is enlarged to a point that it is possibly touching vessels, which explains his severe back pain. The Whipple Surgery Procedure isn't an option until they shrink the tumor. Shrinking the tumor means an aggressive chemo regimen with new drugs, and my Dad had his first treatment today. My Mom dropped him off for chemo that started around 11 a.m. and finished up between 4:30 and 5 p.m. He will do this every 2 weeks until the Doctor feels it's time to do another scan to see if tumor size is changing. My Dad is in pain, but has a positive attitude! He is doing a lot of scripture reading on Faith, healing, and trusting God.
|My Christmas gift to my Deddy, his retirement has turned him into a great "house husband". :)|
I've been reading that Pancreatic Cancer can be cured, if it is caught before it has spread and the tumor can be removed by surgery. My hope is that chemo begins to shrink that nasty tumor and it can be removed, and my Dad can go on and enjoy his retirement years with my Mom. He retired in December 2011, and became sick shortley after. We have said this sickness is just a detour, because my Mom wasn't set to retire until December 2012, but God had plans for her to retire now. My Dad becoming sick has given me a whole new outlook on life. You realize what the important things are, and they aren't things. They are people. Relationships. Being available for my parents during this time has been the most important thing I have done with my life lately. The only thing I can give them is my time. And I realize THAT is what we all need to do in every relationship we have, give our time. Once it is gone, you cannot get it back.
I will definately be blogging as my Dad's cancer treatment goes on. It's therapy for me. And I am learning and reading and maybe something I come across will help someone else. On the other side of this is the story of a survivor. My "Deddy" as I have called him since childhood...he will be a cancer survivor.
|The parentals and I at graduation 2011 THS|