Chris shares her story of hope after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2015.
It's now four and a half years since I heard the words 'You have pancreatic cancer and it is too advanced for any hope of surgery." I remember my first thoughts were for my husband, Grahame, who only a few weeks before had lost his older brother, Dave to the same disease. I couldn't bear to think of him having to go through what we knew could lie ahead. We were only too aware of the grim statistics: Less than 7% of people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer survive for more than five years. 1 in 4 people won’t survive a month. 3 in 4 won’t survive for a year.
Mine is a story of hope. I had amazing medical treatment and responded so well to chemotherapy that I was able to undergo surgery in August 2015. By December 2015 I was told that I was cancer free. Soon after I went out and bought a diary for 2016, and looked at all those days that had been given back to us with prayerful gratitude. Our first granddaughter was born soon after my operation and now we have four beautiful granddaughters who bring so much joy and happiness.
In 2018, a small patch of cancer reactivated in the same area. Again, I had a course of radiotherapy, and subsequent scans and tests have shown increasingly positive results. I count my blessings every day.
But I know that I am one of the very fortunate ones. All through this journey we have had so much love and care from family and friends. I'm never going to be running marathons, but decided the time was right to try to raise some money to support the work of Pancreatic Cancer UK. They offer support in many ways to sufferers and survivors of this horrible disease - and for their loved ones.
So in November 2019 for Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, I wore lots of purple and dyed my hair too. I have been joined and supported by my sister in law, Sue who tells her own story on my fundraising page.
I have been amazed at the love and generosity of so many people who have sponsored me. I had hoped to raise £500, but have actually raised £1,707 to date with more expected coming in, so that others who do not yet know that they will one day hear those fearful words, will have real hope that medical knowledge will have advanced significantly to improve their chances of survival.