Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Devastating news

 The doctor called my sister at 9pm. He apologized twice for being the bearer of bad news.. and then told her she most likely has pancreatic cancer.

 I'm flipping between uncontrollable crying and anger. 

 Tomorrow I will be at her house as we tackle scheduling a battery of tests. PET scan, blood tests.. track down an oncologist. It is a 3cm tumor in the head of the pancreas. Which means that the only option is the Whipple procedure.

More extensive surgery, called the Whipple procedure, involves removal of the pancreas head and nearby structures (e.g., the duodenum). It also may be necessary to remove the entire pancreas, as well as the spleen, gallbladder, and bile duct. Sometimes, the tumor cannot be completely removed. Most specialists believe that partial removal is not beneficial.

 My sister is 47. She's been eating organically and rarely eats meat since she was 18. She doesn't smoke, rarely has a drink, and the only pills she pops are vitamin supplements. 

 I am closer to her than any of my other sisters.  She is my greatest support, my best friend. Ever since I was a baby, she's the one I would turn to. I was the one she would turn to later and no matter what, we knew we could count on the other.

 For the moment, humor has failed me. Every part of my being is trying to will this to be anything except pancreas cancer.

 Her lymph nodes hurt. 

 She's been complaining to the doctor something is wrong for over a year. Not until she was incapacitated with pain and in the ER did she get anyone to actually look.

 See.. the doctor quite blatantly would say "sorry, our 15 minutes is up. You need to reschedule." A "long" session as determined by insurance is 30 minutes. She had to wait over a month to get each appointment. 

 Nothing else seems to matter. Everything else can wait.

 If anything I am grateful we moved back. It seems everything lined up to get us out here, just not for the reasons we thought.

 As long as there is a speck of hope to hold on to.. I will hope.

  I don't know how or when we'll tell our daughter... our daughter is completely devoted to my sister.

 While I am a wreck now, come tomorrow there will be no time for tears. There's not enough time to cry.

 6 months is the average. Less than 5% of pancreatic cancer patients are alive after 5 years.


  1. I am sorry to hear this news. I hope the test show everything is fine Anne.

    Best wishes

  2. I'm so sorry, our thoughts are with your family.

  3. TY guys. It is appreciated. The Whipple procedure we found out today is not an option. It has spread so much it is inoperable. She's been told she has 6 months, maybe with "incredible luck" 9 months.

    Because it is an HMO.. they will not let her go to the Mayo clinic as it is "out of network".