Being diagnosed with cancer was a terrible shock because I was otherwise so well. My children were only 4, 2 and 3 months old at that time and my husband and I did our best to cope. Although pancreatic cancer is a rare disease, it is not uncommon among women in their mid-30s.
For us, the only way to cope was to just get on with it, so if things were not important — like washing the floor — they didn’t get done. We managed as best we could even though we didn’t have other family close by.
For us the experience of cancer has meant that we now place a lot more emphasis on family and less on things. Building our family and making sure we look after each other has become very important.
Cancer can have a huge impact on the patient’s family because many people have not had to deal with an illness of such intensity or an incapacitated loved one before. Over the years I’ve met many other people who have had pancreatic cancer and I’ve seen how this disease has impacted on them and their families. Many don’t survive and I feel very fortunate to be well now.
From the time I was diagnosed I was interested in finding out about developments in pancreatic cancer research. Through my participation in the AGITG Consumer Advisory Panel, I’m hoping to help make information about new cancer treatments available to future pancreatic cancer sufferers.
We are on the brink of discovering so much about pancreatic cancer and the field of medical research is an exciting place to be. Finding new treatments for pancreatic cancer is essential and there is a lot more to be done. Clinical trials offer opportunities for closer monitoring and access to the latest treatments and pancreatic cancer really needs new treatments.