Carole W

Carole was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer following treatment for bowel cancer. Read her story here

Carole W
3 February 2015

My cancer journey began shortly after I retired from teaching at 60.

I was a fit and healthy woman looking forward to spending time with her grandchildren and having time for travel and hobbies when I was diagnosed with bowel cancer. I had surgery followed by 9 months of gruelling chemotherapy. I recovered from this and was getting back to my normal life and enjoying the addition of two more grandchildren. Three years later on, after one of my regular CT scan check-ups I was staggered to be told they had found something in my pancreas. In my naivety I didn’t think I could have cancer twice!!

I was then thrown into rapid further tests and scans whilst at the same time I was quickly becoming very unwell and losing weight. It was diagnosed as a tumour in my pancreas but fortunately I was lucky enough to be one of the few eligible for surgery. So three years after my first cancer surgery I was looking at another major cancer operation and more chemotherapy. I was given excellent care at Addenbrookes Hospital and thankfully the surgery was successful. I had a distal pancreatectomy and splenectomy in September 2013 followed by 6 months chemotherapy.

I felt very weak and helpless after surgery and had lost two stones in weight. I stayed between my two daughters who looked after me and nursed me back to health, along with the help of my four young grandchildren who were more help than they’ll ever know- they made me smile every day and gave me the reason to deal with what had happened to me and the strength to fight my way back again after another lot of chemo.

I am now 12 months on from surgery and as a result of both surgeries my digestive system is somewhat different but I am managing to eat and enjoy food, I am putting on some weight and each day I wake up and say thank you for another day. I have a different outlook on life now, each day is a blessing to be enjoyed and to live life to the full. I am so grateful to the surgeons who saved me and for the care and support I was given post-surgery to get me to this stage in my life.

I have also recently discovered the Pancreatic Cancer UK web site and have found this helpful too.