Pancreatic Cancer

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    Community Voices

    # day to day event 6-18-22 and days prior

    I have talked before abt the first psychiatrist I ever saw. I saw him when I was 25. He dropped me as a patient w / o any support because I would not go into a psychiatric hospital. I was a 25 year old or (maybe 26 )teacher at the time. I became very I’ll. I never fully recovered I don’t think. That was 50 yrs ago.
    I found this psychiatrist is still practicing. I left him a voicemail saying he ruined my life . I hated the hospital.
    I don’t know how I feel about that. I don’t know if he remembered me or not.

    I feel a lone. My husband tries to talk w me as much as he can. But, I don’t think he comprehends how I feel or what I talk about.

    I found out abt a month ago my sister has stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

    I also found out abt a month ago I have a life changing health issue.

    I pray when I can. Tonight w the fact that my neighbor moved away - I need to chipper up. Life awaits.

    1 person is talking about this
    Community Voices

    New Medication?

    In the last six months my Fibromyalgia has "gone nuclear" as I put it. I've had the diagnosis for 11 years, but recently the intensity of pain/brain fog/losing balance/and other symptoms has grown, and the length of my flare-ups has increased as well. Honestly, I've just been dealing with. After so many tests this last year for whooping cough, pancreatic cancer, viral pneumonia, and bipolar disorder, I just didn't want to go in.

    But last week I decided to see my PCP. He wasn't surprised that it had intensified over time, which is I guess a good sign that he has dealt with it before. I don't know if I'm allowed to post medication names here, but he started me on Savella. I'm wondering if anyone else had been on this medication, and if their outcomes were good. Thank you in advance!

    #Fibromyalgia

    1 person is talking about this
    Community Voices
    Community Voices
    Community Voices

    This isn’t just about pancreatic cancer but I’m trying keep my husband’s electrolytes up. Any recommendations for something that isn’t sweet?

    Community Voices

    I know that I’ll be struggling with how I feel physically this weekend. I got a bad cat bite last weekend and the antibiotics are takings their toll on me and I’m on them through Monday.
    When I don’t feel good I struggle because I always feeling good. When I’m not feeling well, I feel sad and feel I’m missing things. I also find that I cry for my husband and my Father who died 9 months apart from a quick spreading cancer nearly a decade ago. My husband was 49 years old - high school sweetheart (pancreatic cancer - 7 weeks) my dad, (my hero) 75, lung cancer, 4 weeks. Just as I was mourning my dad, my husband started not feeling great. They left swiftly and very ill. I’ve long mastered the flashbacks but when I’m sick, I want one or both of them. I’m nearly 59 and and those core human needs remain..as they should. I’m only human.
    Anyway, anticipating a struggle, I’ve made ice with my Ice maker to sip on some nice cold drinks, got my new Debbie McComber novel ready, got my laundry done and all my errands and switched shifts at work. I also have at least 20 ty notes to write and just maybe (SURPRISE) the antibiotics won’t hit me as hard as they usually do on day 5.
    My point is, I know myself, when I know that illness is coming, I prepare…and I get through it more like a luxurious retreat than a sad, dark, miserable weekend. I’ve trained myself these past years. When you lose half of your heart, you learn to embrace the struggle 😊

    8 people are talking about this
    Community Voices

    Loss of parent

    I lost my Dad this morning to stage 4 pancreatic cancer. He had been battling for over two years. He was the rock of our family and did everything for us. I don’t understand why someone so wanted and needed could be taken away. Why wasn’t I taken instead? Everyone depends on my Dad. No one depends on me. I don’t think I can handle life without him.

    1 person is talking about this

    How Caretaking Multiple Relatives With Cancer Impacted One Woman

    Meet Jae Cobb . Jae is one of the Mighty’s Super Contributors, often writing about life with endometriosis, lupus , and other chronic illnesses. While Jae has had her own cancer scare, she was primarily a caretaker for her relatives with pancreatic cancer , breast cancer, and leukemia. Here’s what Jae had to say about being a caretaker to their relatives with cancer. The Mighty: It’s well-known that there’s a physical journey that comes with having cancer, but how has the emotional journey been? Were there any parts of the journey that took an unexpected larger toll on your spirit? Which part of the emotional journey did you find the hardest? Jae: The hardest part has been watching my family members fight and walk their journey. I have had multiple family members battle cancer, two have passed away and one is still dealing with chronic leukemia. She is also a breast cancer survivor. All of them were so strong and never complained and went to each treatment without a complaint. I draw so much strength from them and their journey to make it through each day. The Mighty: What is something you have never told anyone about your experience with cancer that you’ve been keeping in? Jae: I would have to say the fear I had with each hospital admission. It was very debilitating and I was so scared that with each hospital visit we would never see my aunt ever again. Eventually, she succumbed to her cancer and my whole heart broke when she passed. Many people don’t know that. I also had my own cancer scare last summer and never told a soul. I had a lump in my breast and severe pain and had to go see a breast specialist and get a mammogram. Praise God – it was just scar tissue but it made me realize that I will have to deal with cancer forever and get checked more than most people with breasts. The Mighty: What are some non-medical ways of support or comfort you have found during your cancer journey? Jae: When my aunt was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer we found that being around her family brought her joy. So, as often as we could, we would surround her and sing to her and play her favorite music. We also gave her comforting gifts like hats, scarves, homemade blankets, and heating pads and she loved those things. Towards the end all she wanted was to hold our hands. So we would go sit with her and hold her hands and sing gospel songs to her. The Mighty: What role did you play in supporting them through their cancer journey? Jae: My aunts have been the ones with cancer, so I’ve been a caregiver and support person. I’ve taken them to treatments, sat with them, given gifts and just been there, and supporting other family members is just as important of a role as well. This is something that gets overlooked. Caregivers need help too and I was glad I could be there to support my cousins during this time. The Mighty: What has been the most difficult part of balancing your health and personal wellness as well as your loved one? Jae: Hmm, I would say managing my own appointments and theirs, as well as holding back my emotions. I learned that I couldn’t discuss how I felt. I had to release that with my therapist so I could support my other family members. We didn’t talk about our feelings much while my aunt battled. We just went through each day like nothing was wrong and that was hard. The Mighty: What is something you wish you knew about being a caretaker to someone with cancer? Jae: That it’s hard and never ends, and it’s hard to give the reins to someone else. The Mighty: Have you ever had any of your perspectives on life or health change as you supported someone through their cancer journey? Jae: No, not really. I applied my experience with chronic illness to helping my loved one with cancer. You take each day as it comes and enjoy the beautiful moments.    

    Monika Sudakov

    'And Just Like That…' Episode 4: Diversity, Friendship and Trauma

    Well, the friend circle is expanding exponentially and the ladies are learning how to navigate these new relationships… and it’s both constructive and instructive. Before we continue, just another reminder that there will be spoilers beyond this point for “And Just Like That…” Season 1 Episode 4. Not up to date? Read Season 1 Episode 3’s recap. Carrie has finally managed to get some sleep and with a fresh perspective on things realizes that she can no longer live in the apartment she shared with Big. She decides to list it and hires Seema Patel (Sarita Choudhury) to be her real estate agent. Seema suggests some major changes to the staging of the apartment prior to putting it on the market. Carrie agrees. Meanwhile, Charlotte and LTW-Lisa Todd Wexley (Nicole Ari Parker), who bonded over their kids’ school events committee, are working on developing their relationship from “mom friends” to “real friends.” Initially Charlotte plans a dinner party at her house where she frets about having a guest list that is diverse enough. This event gets cancelled and instead Charlotte and Harry are invited to a dinner at LTW’s home where… they are the only white couple. Charlotte wins everyone over when she stops trying so hard and simply relies on what she does best-be herself… in this case her knowledge of art. The women end up bonding over their shared desire to become closer and their shared anxiety about wanting to make the other comfortable with their racial diversity. Miranda is on her own friend making mission when she and her professor Nya Wallace (Karen Pittman) meet for dinner. Their conversation quickly turns toward Nya’s struggles with IVF and her questions about motherhood. The two share an intimate conversation about the reality of being a mother and about how even on the hard days it can be worth it. Carrie and Seema begin to bond over fashion and design. During a lunch Seema discloses that she’s never been married but has dated extensively using every online dating platform imaginable. Carrie tries to show her enthusiasm by telling her it’s “great that you’re still putting yourself out there” in a rather flippant statement. Later back at her newly staged apartment Seema discloses that she accidentally broke a frame that had a photo of Carrie and Big in it. Carrie is very upset and feels that Seema is being insensitive. Seema apologizes and both women realize that sometimes what you say and how it is intended isn’t how it is heard by the other person. They apologize to one another “and just like that…(they) began (their) real friendship.” Let’s break down some major themes in this episode: Making friends as an adult is challenging I admit that I had a personal reaction to the primary theme of this episode…making real friends is hard to do. It’s been the subject of so many therapy sessions that I can’t even tell you. In this world of social media, it’s even harder to move beyond the acquaintance stage and find people who you truly connect with, can trust and genuinely enjoy being around. Throw in a healthy dose of trauma and the idea of trying feels downright impossible. Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte are fortunate in that they already have a template for what “real” friends are in one another. But even they struggle to move beyond surface level chit chat to more substantive meaningful interactions. What this episode shows is that ultimately our own insecurities are the thing that most often sabotage us in terms of connecting to others. In our attempt at not wanting to mess up or be rejected, we often do or say things that are not in line with who we truly are or our values. The pressure of motherhood This is another subject that I had a very personal and visceral reaction to. I have written extensively about my own choice to not procreate and how I’ve had to navigate the pressure that society and everyone around me constantly puts on me regarding my choice. Nya articulates this  beautifully in her discussion with Miranda. The constant questions about when and how many children, comments about how you’re going to regret it if you don’t have them and judgments about how you aren’t getting any younger are all intrusive at best and abusive at worst. It’s none of anyone’s business if you do or don’t have children and motherhood neither defines you or makes you more whole. Nya notes having felt relieved when the first round of IVF failed and having some misgivings about doing it again but feeling like she had to. Becoming a parent should never be something you feel pressured to do. It’s very well possible that Nya will become an amazing mom and won’t regret her choice if/when she does have a child, but the premise that she’d put her body and soul through that for someone else is something that doesn’t sit well with me at all, not just as a feminist—but as the adult child of parents who weren’t equipped to be and (in the case of my father) didn’t want to be parents. Rupture and repair We discuss the idea of “rupture and repair” as it pertains to relationships constantly in therapy. It’s a primary theme in couples counseling, but ultimately it’s an important skill to learn in any relationship. The idea is often novel to those of us who came from neglectful or abusive homes where our feelings and voices were often silenced into compliance. For many of us the first time we heard the phrase and actually got the opportunity to implement it is in the context of the therapeutic relationship. That’s why I appreciated the scene between Carrie and Seema where each of them felt misunderstood and hurt by something the other said. They could have let this end their relationship, but instead they discuss it. Seema beautifully articulated how she might have a tiny bit of resentment because Carrie did find the love of her life even if it ended tragically, while she is still searching. That’s a valid feeling of both/and… the paradox of having compassion for Carrie and some envy toward her. They make her human and I think her ability to express this allowed Carrie to really connect with her in a more intimate way. Honorable Mentions Disability representation : Ali Stroker, who won the 2019 Tony for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical for playing Ado Annie in Oklahoma, makes an appearance in this episode as the spitfire social media content manager of Carrie’s podcast. The disappearance of Stanford Blatch : Willie Garson, who played the beloved character of Stanford Blatch, passed away in September after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. There was much speculation as to how they would handle his absence on the show since he had appeared prominently in the first three episodes of the reboot. They unceremoniously wrote him off the show with a completely forced plot line of him running off to Japan to represent some Tik Tok star. It was clunky and it felt disrespectful to the character, the fans and to Garson’s legacy. Will Carries apartment get sold? How will all of these new friendships evolve? Stay tuned.

    Jae Cobb
    Jae Cobb @jaecobb
    contributor

    The Lessons Cancer Has Taught My Family

    Loss is a funny thing … it has no time limits and there isn’t anything that can prepare you for it. Recently, I lost my sweet, dear aunt to pancreatic cancer. She battled for five long years and well, she fought hard. She never complained and never told a soul how hard things got or how sick she was. She had so much light and joy in her for as long as she could display it. It wasn’t until the last three months that I saw the life fade from my aunt. She rapidly lost all of her body mass being left to a mere skeleton, she stopped eating, laughing, talking and smiling. All she would do is hold your hand. But it wasn’t an ordinary hand holding, it was a lingering, soul connecting hand hold like she was trying to convey her thoughts to us from a simple hand squeeze. At our last family gathering, she spent all her time holding her nieces’ hands, giving us her last moments and thoughts and pieces of love and to make sure that we were OK with her preparing to leave this earth. And that made me feel at peace with knowing that she was transitioning. I knew from looking at her that her time was coming to an end. Somehow with cancer you just know it is almost over. You get this gut-wrenching feeling and it’s like peace but fear at the same time. But for some reason I wanted my aunt to just let go, I wanted her to go be with my grandmother who also died of cancer 35 years earlier. I wanted the pain to end. When I got the call that my aunt passed, I felt relief. But then what happened next gave my despair and turmoil in my spirit. I began talking to my mother about my aunt’s life and all that she taught us and about this piece and I quickly learned that cancer had not only affected her and my grandmother. I learned that cancer had taken out most of mother’s aunts and uncles and I will say, this disturbed me on many levels. I didn’t even know where to begin to ask questions. My mind began to spin and I wanted to know so much. Before I could even form my lips to ask the first question mother began to speak. She told me during her childhood and early adulthood, access to medical care was very difficult for poor African Americans, especially those in rural areas and in the inner city. Mother grew up in D.C. and much of her family grew up rural Virginia. If they were lucky they made it John’s Hopkins or to the public hospitals in D.C. but it was often when their disease had reached the advance stages. As she said so eloquently “ back in those days, black folk didn’t go to the doctor unless it was absolutely necessary. And we didn’t have many doctors who were willing to treat us. That’s why I lost so many of my family members. But I am glad now to have screenings and good health care. I will fight when I can to make this awful disease go away.” I couldn’t say anything. In all my life I had only known two other people in my family who had been afflicted with cancer, not six! Cancer has literally torn our family to shreds! It isn’t fair. My aunt was a special case. She also had multiple sclerosis (MS) and to this moment, I will always say that saved her life. Had she not had thatMS flare, they would not have found her pancreatic cancer at stage 1. The doctors worked so diligently to provide top shelf treatment to her and work to make her as comfortable as possible. However, her journey was not easy. She endured multiple infections which led to sometimes several month long or more hospital stays, her body got so weak she fell down the stairs and we had to set up in home care for her, she lost her ability to control her bowels, and then eventually she could not walk or stand and then towards the end, she could not swallow. But with each hospital stay and each hiccup, she never complained. She always smiled and wanted us children, grandchildren and nieces to live our lives and be happy and not worry about her. But how do you not worry about your loved one who has cancer? I watched my mother worry constantly, which made me worry because she made so many trips to see her, or when I spoke to her she sounded so forlorn because her sister was in the hospital and there wasn’t anything she could do. And that made me sad because I knew my mother was so overwhelmed having a chronically ill husband to take care of and a sister who was fighting for her life. But during my aunt’s battle I learned many things. The biggest lesson is that cancer is a family disease and it affected us all. We all played a part in my aunt’s treatment and well-being. The second lesson I learned was that she needed us to continue our lives as we normally would. While her diagnosis and battle were life altering, she needed us to continue our normal lives as much as possible. She craved the normalcy, the laughter and the love we all brought to the family each day. She needed the family events and the milestones and life moments to know that we were still “living our lives” as she so eloquently put things. She wanted us to enjoy things despite her condition. Lastly, I learned you have to fight at every moment and have an advocate. My aunt was very fortunate to have several advocates for her, for towards the end of her life she grew very weary and didn’t have the strength to do much for herself. But her sisters and nieces and daughter were able to step in and be her voice and ensure she continued to receive the best care. She needed that. And I firmly believed this is why she was able to fight as long as she did. So you see, even though cancer is awful, and can cause the utmost grief in families, it can also present opportunities for love and growth in families. While our hearts feel sorrow for our loss, we also feel joy because of the things we learned and the time we got to spend with our loved one. We also know that now she is no longer hurting from the effects of this awful disease. And that is priceless.