I was 31 years old when I found out from a Pancreatic Cancer Tumour Blood Test that I had cancer. I continue to share with you stories of people who have faced terrible diagnoses and talk about their experiences. “An ultrasound showed that I have large cysts on my ovaries. To monitor them, I had ultrasounds every two weeks, but my condition continued to worsen. I lost a lot of weight, and my worry about my baby’s health became even greater.”
“On October 18, I again had a routine ultrasound.
My obstetrician-gynecologist asked me in detail about how I was feeling, and I, of course, said that I hardly eat, and the child does not move much, and this stresses me out. The doctor’s verdict was unexpected – according to her version, I was not receiving enough nutrients, and therefore, I was sent to the hospital to resolve this issue.
Luckily, he was healthy, but his lungs still needed to develop. Things weren’t looking so good for me; I was in intensive care because fluid had to be removed from my abdomen and lungs.
No one could explain to me where it came from.
A few hours after I gave birth, my OB/GYN came to tell me my ovaries looked “really angry,” as he put it. She advised me to have a Pancreatic Blood Test and then a hysterectomy to remove them. After a while, my son and I were allowed to return home. Our family of four was finally together; I was sure all the bad things were behind us.” She called my OB/GYN to let him know, and I was then scheduled for another ultrasound of my left arm.
The examination showed that I had a blood clot.
So, I was back in the hospital; I had an endoscopy and a colonoscopy – both results were normal. Then, while the blood clot was resolving, I asked the doctor if my symptoms could be a warning sign of cancer.
The doctor evasively suggested that, generally, yes, but suggested we wait for the results.” “On November 5, we found out that I have cancer: stage 4 pancreatic cancer. A biopsy of my ovaries came back positive for metastatic pancreatic cancer.
The cancer had spread from my pancreas to my ovaries, which explained my “evil” ovaries during pregnancy. A CT scan then showed lesions on my pancreas and, combined with the biopsy results, confirmed my diagnosis.
Then, I just tried to accept the harsh truth.
We had the perfect little family – our daughter was 5 years old, and our son was less than a month old. Will I see my son at 6 months? Will I see my daughter go to kindergarten? What about school? Nobody could answer my questions. “I was told that I would never have surgery to remove the tumour because it had metastasized and had grown into major arteries.
But my oncologist still gave me hope. I started chemotherapy a few weeks after my diagnosis. Most of all, I was afraid that the doctor would tell me something like – you only have six months to live. But he didn’t. Even though I was ready to fight this disease, I also wanted to make sure life was as normal as possible for my two young children.
The days of the Pancreatic Blood Test report were followed by months of treatment, which were hard – chemotherapy throws you off track. But on those days when things weren’t so bad, we tried to do something special as a family. Besides my mom and husband, my dad, brother, other family members, and friends were my biggest supporters.
They brought food, sat with me, and let me cry.
They kept saying, “We’ll get through this,” and showed up when times got tough. It meant a lot to me.” Even though the chemotherapy worked, it made my role as a mother more difficult. I had limited options when it came to my children. From the day I had chemo, and for four to five days afterwards, I was constantly in bed because of how bad I felt after the treatment; my children would come and see me or watch TV with me.
After seeing how successful chemotherapy was after reviewing the Pancreatic blood testing history, a pancreatic cancer specialist recommended that I see a colleague known for his pancreatic surgery. This trip was in December 2012, and the surgeon told me he thought he could operate.
But before the operation, he wanted to have radiation to the pancreas and ilium.
The radiation was in February 2013, and my surgery to remove the tumour was the following month. We brought our children to this operation. From the very beginning, we were very open with them about the fact that I had cancer. And now, after so many years, they cherish every minute spent with me and their father.
Often, we drive around our city. We love being with each other and try to do as many things as possible together. After pancreatic surgery, I had chemotherapy with scans every three months. In 2014, doctors noticed a spot on my left lung and did a biopsy. It was a metastasis.
In July of that year,
I had to have part of my left lung removed. Meanwhile, in May 2014, I started having seizures. I didn’t know what was happening, nor did my doctors; they thought it was just back muscle spasms. But the episodes kept getting worse. The examination revealed a tumour on the left side of my brain. I was sent to a renowned neurosurgeon who removed the tumour in November of that year. A biopsy showed by the pancreatic cancer tests that it was with metastases.
I endured a week of brain radiation to remove any remaining cancer cells. And everything was fine, but then, 3 years later, in 2016, the cancer returned. I had radiation again, and things remained fairly stable for a while, with no signs of progress.
But in May 2017, I had an attack.
The radiation oncologist did an MRI and saw inflammation in the brain. They sent me home with steroids and told me that if the medication didn’t reduce the inflammation, it could be something worse, like metastases.
Steroids didn’t help, so I went back to chemotherapy.
Of this entire experience, I would say that cancer affecting the brain was the most challenging and devastating aspect. I couldn’t think clearly. The surgery to remove the metastases even affected the nerve, which caused my foot to drop, which meant that I could not lift my leg normally.
The physical limitations of brain surgery and multiple radiation treatments meant that I was unable to engage in some activities with my children.
Luckily, I have friends who can help and always have with my Pancreatic Test appointments.
When I couldn’t take my kids somewhere, my friends did it for me. And my children understand perfectly well that I cannot do everything other mothers can. I continued chemotherapy until January 2020, and then my oncologists told me about an immunotherapy treatment that had been tested on patients with the same genetic mutation as me.
These patients responded well to it, and the doctors wondered if it would work for me, too. Of course, it was. Every three months, I have a CT scan Test of my chest, abdomen and pelvis. Every four months, I have an MRI of my brain. Since then, my scans have been clear, with no signs of illness.
The medicine also does not cause any side effects.
I am now 41 years old, which means I have been living with pancreatic cancer for 11 years. And I know that I am a rare exception. I am grateful that my Pancreatic Cancer Test treatment helped me overcome these difficulties. The targeted chemotherapy that helped me undergo surgery and radiation, as well as the immunotherapy I started last year, were made possible by the work of my doctors.”