I first went to the doctor in June 2012 suffering from discomfort in my stomach in the evenings; I was diagnosed with reflux. The symptoms then disappeared until October when I returned to the doctor. I was given blood tests which showed a very poor Liver Function Test and was sent for an ultrasound which revealed a mass in my pancreas. A biopsy confirmed that this was a tumour and a subsequent scan showed that owing to involvement of both artery and vein it was inoperable and my condition was terminal – I was given about 12 months. The bottom fell out of my world!
The news was delivered by a “Victorian schoolmarm” type consultant with no empathy at all and I was sent home with no help except a leaflet! I was also then diagnosed diabetic so had this to cope with as well. I also suddenly lost a lot of weight. I and my family were in a dreadful state of shock for a while but during this time a friend of mine met someone who had experienced pancreatic cancer within her family and she had done a lot of research into ways to help. I met her and she passed on this information. I have never been a “sit back” type of person and I wanted to become proactive.
My first action was to contact a doctor who prescribed Mistletoe Therapy, which is used to support the immune system. Only one surgery in my region offers this service so I had to go privately. I began on 3 injections per week, talking to the doctor at the end of each course. I am currently on 2 injections per week. In January 2013 I started chemotherapy with the NHS, once a week for 3 weeks and then a break for a week. I had 5 cycles altogether. I am sure that the mistletoe helped with this as the only side affects I experienced were very sore hands and feet after the third infusion each time.
In February I started to see an alternative practitioner on a private basis (she is cancer free after having experienced cancer twice), who recommended a regime for me. She also worked with me to help me cope emotionally which I found really helpful. I also began hyperbaric oxygen therapy at my local MS centre (a donation is requested). I started with 20 sessions to reach saturation and then one session every week. I was able to continue going to the gym for some time and when I was too tired to do so I began to do some yoga.
I had a short break after the chemo and then began 28 daily sessions of radiotherapy on the NHS. Again I was very lucky and suffered no ill effects. I then had to wait 3 months for a scan which was a very long time. In November I had my diabetic review and had my tablets reduced which seemed a good sign and also all my blood tests were normal.
I am continuing with much of my regime and I feel very well. I have tried to stay positive, this has been advocated all the way along by professionals and everyone I have been in contact with. I have also found being proactive has really helped me. I have also had fantastic support and much positivity from my wonderful family and friends. I have great faith and have been helped by prayer from members of my church and people all over the country and world.
Update September 2015
I am still in remission which is great. I do have some stomach/digestive problems but the hospital and my GP are aware and I have some new tablets to try to help. I lead a pretty normal life and manage to go to the gym most weeks.