Calendar

Important Dates 

Sept. 2nd, 2014 ~ Support Group ~ Amy (Caregiver)

Sept. 27th, 2014 ~ NS PC Awareness Walk/Run/Bike

Sept. 27th, 2014 ~ Cold Lake, Alberta Awareness Walk

Sept. 27th, 2014 ~ Nfld. PC Awareness Walk

Oct. 7th, 2014 ~ Support Group ~ Pharmacist

Oct. 25th, 2014 ~ PEI PC Awareness Walk

Nov. 1st, 2014 ~ NB Awareness Walk

Nov. 4th, 2014 ~ Support Group

Nov. 2014 ~ Pancreatic Cancer Awareness

Nov. 8th, 2014 ~ Light up the Lake - 5km Run

Nov. 15th, 2014 ~ Parade of Lights!

Dec. 2nd, 2014 ~ Support Group

» View Calendar

 

Recent Video

Support Group Guest Speakers:

Moamen Bydoun on indentifying therapeutic targets in pancreatic cancer:

Neemat Sobhani on Nautural Food Products and Health:

Dr. Scott Hurton on Pancreatic Cancer care research in Nova Scotia:

Debbie Matheson on being a caregiver:

Dr. Mark Walsh on Pancreatic Cancer "How are we doing and where are we going?"

Celine Burlock on how to find peace:

Roy Ellis talks about grief and loss:

Rob Rutledge talks about the mind-body-spirit connection:

Timothy Walker talks about Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction:

Dr. Colin MacLeod talks about naturopathic medicine and cancer:

Dr. Daniel Rayson talks about pancreatic cancer:

Reverend David McGinley talks about spirituality and cancer:

Survivor Stories

 

Monday
Jan302012

Peter Fry - his story

I'm now a 68 year old retired CA spent most of my career in the Prov Govt in various Financial Management positions. Next to my family, wife Barb, two grown sons and one grandson, my main passion is sailing. Other interests include travel, following hockey, football and looking after our home in Clayton Park and beachhouse  in Queens County. Barb is still working, has her own business which I help out with from time to time. In the past I've done a lot of volunteeer work mainly around the kids activities, minor sports and scouting. I've also been a volunteer with sailing activities, tall ships events and Pier 21 etc.

In the late winter of 2009 my GP called me to go over my annual medical test results.  There was a problem with my liver enzymes which called for a retest. Still bad results. He sent me for an ultra sound and referred me to an internal specialist. After more tests they were sure it was my gall bladder and referred me to a surgeon, Dr Molinari.  I met with Dr.M in June and he recommended a scope called ERCP to have a look around and see whats going on.  The scope was scheduled for late July. In early July I noticed I was getting very itchy all over and everything was turning yellow. Barb called our GP and he said to get into emergency asap. I told them my story and within a few days I had Dr M's ERCP. They brought the itching and yellow under control and a few weeks later I got a call to go in for an MRI. 

A week later we met with Dr.M and he gave us the bad news, I had a tumour in my pancreatic duct. He advised that we were very lucky to find it early and that it was one of the few pancreatic cancers that was operable.  On Sept 3rd 09 I had the operation known as a whipple. After 11 days In Hosp I was allowed to go home only to come down with an infection a week or so later and back in I went for another week. They got the infection under control and eventually in Nov recommended chemo. I didnt handle the chemo well and ended up in emerg every week  and eventually was back in the hosp for a week in Jan and a week in March with cellulites and pneumonia.  They stopped the chemo in March. My leggs were so badly swollen I could hardly walk.  I needed months of manual lymph drainage treatments to get back on my feet. I still go once a month for mld maintenance treatment.

One other side effect of all this is my heart went into afibrulation. It beats normally for awhile and then flutters for a few beats then back to normal.  Last spring, this Afib developed into CHF (congestive heart failure) and I spent 5 days in Hospital. I have been stabilized since on cardiac meds and follow up tests are planned for Jan/12. I have also developed an incisional hernia where the whipple was done and Dr M says it may have to be repaired  in the spring. Otherwise I'm doing fine, have to act my age, can't do anything too extreme and not lift too much.

Every 4 - 6 months Dr M orders a CT scan, blood work and sometimes an Xray to monitor the situation and so far so good. Keep your fingers crossed.

 

Friday
Dec302011

Peter Parsons - his story

I live in Chester with my wife, four wonderful daughters ranging in ages from 18 to 33, and my little beagle, Milo. Both my wife and I have worked at Bonny Lea Farm, a facility for challenged adults, since the early 70s. I enjoy going to the beach and this summer am looking forward to camping in my new "boler" trailer. I love music, especially jazz and blues. I play piano and guitar and have played in several bands in the past. I now play for fun and with my brother for special events, one being the Annual Craigs Cause Fundraiser at Porters Lake.

In Dec.2005 at the age of 54, I was not feeling well and by Jan.2006 started exhibiting symptoms such as tiredness, then extreme itching and then juandice. In early February 2006, I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I spent two weeks in the QEII hospital after undergoing major surgery, the Whipple procedure. I was fortunate enough to have had Dr. Michelle Molinari, a brilliant surgeon, a wonderful man and a great friend.

After my stay in the hospital, I returned home to recuperate. After a few weeks I was well enough to undergo chemotherapy. I went into the city weekly and this continued for 6 months. Then I returned to
work, first part time and eventually back to full time. I have been cancer free since January 2006 and after five years of follow up appointments, I have finally "graduated" !!

I will be forever grateful for the love and support from both family and friends. And for the excellent care, kindness and support from the nurses and doctors at both the QEII and the Dickson Center. We are extremely fortunate in NS to have such highly skilled medical professionals who work so hard every
day caring for the sick and saving lives
Sunday
Jan232011

Kelly Power - Her Story

Hi, my name is Kelly Power.  I am 38 years old and on May 5, 2010 I was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer.

These were words I never expected to hear on that beautiful spring morning in May.  My husband John and I were completely taken by surprise.  I had no symptoms of pancreatic cancer:

 “loss of appetite; abdominal pain; weight loss; jaundice; mid back pain as position is changed; blood clots in the legs; nausea; diarrhea; itchy skin; general weakness; slow digestion of food; and liver or gallbladder may be swollen”.

My 2010 New Years resolution was to run my first half marathon in the Blue Nose Marathon on May 23.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jan182011

Jennifer - My Story: March 2002-Feb-2007

I remember the first episode of pain. Two bites into a piece of Pizza and something felt really wrong in my upper abdomen. I was alarmed, but I did not want to upset my two young sons. We were at a Pizza Hut, and I certainly did not want to make a scene. I motioned to my husband that we really needed to leave.

The feeling passed, only to return again about a week later. I made an appointment to see my Doctor. She knew I did not complain about much, so she had some tests ordered. H Pylori came back negative and she prescribed Ranitidine.

Two weeks later, the pain returned. This time it was excruciating...to the point where I literally fell to the floor. It radiated into my back and it was nothing I had ever felt before. My husband brought me to the ER, and they controlled the pain with Demerol. Ct scan came back negative, and nothing in the bloodwork indicated anything in particular. By this time I had also developed a terrible itch across my chest on my forearms, and face. No one knew what that was about either.

I continued to function on the most part. I was losing weight,(40 pounds), mainly because I just couldn’t eat without feeling very full. I started to have the pain attacks quite regularly, and was finally told it was pancreatitis.

The next step was to go through a series of tests (ERCP) and a cat scan (this time with dye/contrast). A tumor was revealed on the tail of my pancreas. It was assumed to be a harmless pseudocyst. The specialist believed that perhaps it was a marker left from having had pancreatitis that might have been brought on by gallbladder issues. Out came my gallbladder. Unfortunately, I continued to have the attacks, and the itching was unbearable. I believe they hesitated to be aggressive at first, because I just did not fit the “profile” of P.C patient. I was only 40 years old, and my lifestyle was very moderate all around.

The decision was made to proceed with surgery to remove the cyst, as now they believed it might just turn “nasty” since the gallbladder surgery did not help dissolve it. The surgeon was surprised to see what the surgery revealed. Up until that point, I don’t think anyone could account for the amount of pain I was in. They removed ½ my pancreas, my spleen and part of my stomach, as the tumor was now twisted around those organs. Pathology report came two weeks later….it was cancer. To be exact: “Cystadenocarcinoma.” A slow growing ,rare type of cancer. I will never know how I got to be so lucky, when P.C rarely gives anyone who has it much of a chance.

That was almost three years ago come June. The first year of recovery was quite difficult because I was desperate to be better for the sake of my kids and my wonderful husband. I tried returning to work at the 6 month mark, but my energy level was just no there. I still have digestive issues, but I deal with that by watching what I eat. I was diagnosed with Diabetes three months ago…but, it wasn’t really a surprise as I was told it might happen.

I don’t t know if anyone would understand this, but sometimes it is difficult being a SURVIVOR. There are so many emotions involved. I remember being so strong and matter of fact throughout the process, but I literally crashed when my body was actually feeling better. The gravity of what I had actually been through overwhelmed me. My mind was pretty angry at my body for betraying me, and I fell into an anxious, depressed state. I am happy to say I did get help to get me through that, and today I am much better. I am back to work full time, my husband has finally been able to relax a little, and the kids are growing up in front of my eyes…what more can I ask for? I will never be the same, but I am here to see what I can become.

Tuesday
Jan182011

Ralph and Mariann Cheney - Monticello, New York USA

I would like to bring my message of hope to everyone. Above all, we are not alone, as I found out early on when my wife contacted PanCAN on Valentines Day 2005. Soon, a gentleman, whom I affectionately call my “sponsor”, and I were sharing experiences over the phone. They were experiences that could only be understood one survivor to another.

After nine months of phone conversations, I finally met this wonderful man at the Pancreatic Cancer Symposium - Los Angeles in November 2005. The Symposium brought my wife Mariann and I so much hope. We were struck with the message of creating awareness. The diligent work being done by the researchers was inspiring, however we came away knowing there is more to be done.

My journey started in the summer of 2004 as an annoying pain in my back. I thought I had pulled a muscle but the pain began radiating under my ribs. Excruciating, debilitating pancreatitis was my diagnosis. In the hospital, my treatment was starvation and a sonogram revealed a gallstone. My gallbladder was removed. The week of Thanksgiving, I had pancreatitis again. More starving and total weight loss of 30 pounds. A CT scan revealed a shadow on the tail of my pancreas. The doctor's suggestion was, “Wait six months, do another CT scan and let the pancreatitis clear up.”

My wife was not convinced that waiting was the right thing to do. I'd like to express my gratitude and love for my wife, my advocate, as I was too sick to manage my own health care. She found experts at a hospital at the Pancreas Center, Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center NYC, 2 hours from our home.

The first week of December 2004, I met a phenomenal gastroenterologist at the hospital, named Peter Stevens who performed an EUS. Although the biopsy was inconclusive, he suggested surgery as it “looked suspicious.” I later learned that his ability to visualize my tumor through his experience with EUS techniques would prove to be one of the most defining factors for me obtaining an operation. He is among the most talented in this procedure in the world.

A brilliant surgeon at the hospital, John Allendorf agreed. I had a distal pancreatectomy and splenectomy in January 2005. Lymph nodes and surgical margins were clear in surgery. The surgeon told my wife, “It appears to be acute pancreatitis; however, we must wait for the pathology report.” Relieved, we went home.

One week post-op my pathology report came back ductal adenocarcinoma invading the splenic vein. That very day I suffered a total of three strokes from a clot which shattered in the front of my brain. Fortunately, there were no lasting effects.

My oncologist, Abby Siegel, at the hospital was honest with us about pancreatic cancer research data, that there were different schools of thought regarding radiation, combination chemotherapy, etc. However, not once did she ever say, “There is no hope, Ralph.” Instead she said, “Let's go for the cure.”

We decided to be aggressive and do GTX which was developed at this hospital along with radiation. Our brother-in-law Jim, who had retired to South Carolina , was going to come help me with the chemo. He passed away suddenly and we buried him the day before I was to start taking the Xeloda pills. My faith was visibly shaken and I was not emotionally ready to start. So at my oncologist's suggestion, we opted for six months of Gemzar and radiation.

My faith and hope were restored as I realized that my brother-in-law Jim and Jan (my wife's sister, who died from lung cancer eight years ago) would want us to fight, to get connected, to have a new purpose in life and to give back. We felt we needed to go to the Symposium in LA in 2005 to see first-hand how this all works, how to get more involved, and to see others with this disease smiling and living life in spite of it. We found all of that and more. Today I volunteer as a member of the PALS Survivor and Caregiver Network and give back what was freely given to me by my dear friend.

Thanks to PanCAN, my wife, and my great team of doctors, I am a two year plus survivor. I have no evidence of disease and I am filled with hope and gratitude.

Click to read more ...