Jim, 36, diagnosed in 2013 with inoperable pancreatic andenocardinoma with splenic and liver metastases
I was diagnosed at the end of November with Metastatic Adenocarcinoma of the Pancreas (splenic and liver metastases). I am 36 years old. I live with my wife Fiona, and our 4 year-old daughter, Caitlin. I work for Arsenal Football Club.
My story begins like many others I suspect. I was experiencing back pain and digestive problems. I first felt some symptoms a few weeks before I got married last summer, and a few days after I got back from honeymoon I knew something wasn't right - I'm never ill!
I went to see the GP on a few occasions in August and early September and was advised on each occasion I was most likely suffering from indigestion / acid reflux. On the third visit, my GP agreed to refer me to a specialist through my private medical insurance. Initially, my consultant again thought reflux was a likely candidate, or perhaps gallstones. An Ultrasound showed a mass on my pancreas, and some marks on my liver and spleen. This was followed by an MRI, a CT Scan, and lastly an Endoscopic Ultrasound, which confirmed my diagnosis.
As I became more concerned as I went through the scans, I had obviously looked at the 'worst case scenario' of pancreatic cancer, but all the statistics were telling me that I was too young and that I was feeling too well. My back pain had disappeared and from October onwards I was almost symptomless.
My consultant dealt with the delivery of the news as well as anyone ever could, he explained that the tumour was currently inoperable due to its location encasing veins and that I would be looking at a programme of chemotherapy. I went through the horrible process of telling all of our loved ones.
Despite the terrible prognosis of the disease, I am full of hope. I am young, fit, and have more to live for than anyone could imagine. I am determined to remain as fit as possible for as long as possible, and enjoy a full and active life.
I started on Folfirinox chemotherapy on 19th December, and am managing the side effects pretty well so far, and it has not stopped me enjoying my life and my family.
I returned back to work today (6th January). My employer is being incredibly supportive and flexible, allowing me to listen to my body and work when I can.
My family and I understand that our lives have changed forever, and we have a long hard battle together, hand in hand. However, I am determined that 2014 can be as fun-filled and fulfilling as I will let it be.