Angela was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic adenocarcinoma in October 2012. Read her story here
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.
A note from Pancreatic Cancer UK – If you are considering using complementary therapy, alternative treatments or making changes to your diet you should talk to your healthcare team at the hospital or your GP about the safety of these treatments and to check whether the therapy might interact with the cancer treatment they are providing in any way. For example by changing the effectiveness of the treatment or increasing side effects.