Saturday, August 8, 2009

Over My Dead Pancreas!

... Give Me More Health Problems...NOT!

Prior to beginning the radiation/chemo, which is the next phase of treatment, I met with the Radiologist Oncologist for a consultation.
When he shared with me that he was going to radiate my entire (remaining) pancreas which offers a guarantee that I would become a moderate to severe diabetic, I froze in my chair. Hell no! I put the treatment on hold while I took the time to talk with other doctors. Truly, in all the research I've done, I've never found any incident where the outcome was as drastic as what he was about to bestow upon me. Further, I was consistently finding information stating that radiation therapy was controversial; that it's benefits are so minimal that Great Britain had discontinued it's use for pancreatic cancer treatment.

I realize there are others in worse condition than I...those who would allow their pancreas to be fried and fed to the neighbors dog for a chance to live a few extra years. But what I'm discussing here is specific to my situation...someone who has been given the gift of life of a few more years OR, by the grace of God, may end up in the low percentage of survivors who live well beyond 5 years.

In meeting with my Oncology Surgeon, he shared that radiation therapy, in fact, not only offers minimal benefit but in some cases, can make things worse. He talked with the Radiation Oncologist and insisted that he did not want me to become diabetic, given the very high risk that this cancer will return and quality of life is a factor. He does believe that we should do all we can as it is a standard therapy for pancreatic cancer in the United States (which is much lacking in current research!!). So now the radiation will be isolated to the surgical sight of the pancreas only. This will offer a much, much lower risk of becoming diabetic.

I'll now take this therapy and it begins August 17th. Even though the statistics dictate that this cancer will return, thus, my prognosis isn't very good, there's a 20% chance that I could survive this and live a long life. The 20% group of survivors had radiation therapy...I'll follow the herd. I wouldn't want to end up with the cancer coming back and wondering "what if...". You know, that 20% group is there for a reason. I plan to be part of it!

Aroma Fields Candles & Bath


Larky Lady said...

Yes, Marilyn. I believe you will be part of the 20%. Thank you for sharing this. Prayers are on the way! Hugs, Mildred

Maryann said...

I say follow the 20% herd too; if it means anything, when I was born they gave me a 5% chance of making it through the night....they were wrong.
Stay positive and know that you have much support behind you.

Aroma Fields said...

Mildred, thank you so much for your continued prayers and support. I'm blessed to have you for my friend.

Maryann, I had no idea you were given a negative prognosis at birth. Look at you now!...a beautiful, strong, healthy woman! What an inspiration you are! Thanks so much for the encouragement.

Hugs to you both.

Ruby Red said...

My prayers are with you as you go for treatment. Keep up your blog as a way to remain connected.

Anonymous said...

No matter what your choice is, I will just be praying for you :)

valentin said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Melinda said...

Marilyn, I believe you will be also..Somehow I really and truly do. I think you are making some very wise choices that are so difficult.
You are in my prayers as always..

Julia said...

Marilyn - it was with great joy that I saw this link at fhf. I seldom get there any more but you have been much on my mind, and I am absolutely delighted that you are doing so well.

I hope that each day is a little bit better, with occasionally "wow - hugely better" day in between.

Much hugs & love -

Melanie said...

You are amazing.
I truly believe your strength will carry you.
I could only hope to be so brave.

My mother in law was diagnosed with cancer in her mid 30s in the 50s. She was given no more than a couple of years. She lived a great happy life until age 70, in 1992.
She did it by sheer will and love of life.
You're going down that same road and I'm so proud of you for that.

The delight with which you take on each day is truly inspiring.
I'm pulling for you with all my heart.

Much love and caring, my friend

Ria said...


Keep your faith and rest when you are tired. You have angels watching over you.

As a cancer "survivor", I know you can do it.

frugal southern mom said...

Go for the 20% Keep your chin up and positive thinking! Thanks for sharing your stories! Your wonderful!

WhiteStone said...

Those doggone statistics! Ovarian doesn't exactly have wonderfully high percentages either. But we each take one day at a time, take our treatment, and trust the rest to God. I'm always amazed at the energy some cancer survivors have! I'm amazed! Thanks for visiting my blog. Bless you!