Telling my family
My mum and my dad are still alive in Ireland, so I rang one of my sisters and I told her that I had pancreatic cancer. She then picked up my other two sisters and went to tell my parents. When they got there, my mum and dad knew something was wrong straight away. My mum started crying immediately.
She said that my dad, well they might as well have hit him in the stomach. He lost all the colour in him.
I had told my daughter Shannon, who lived closest to me, and my other daughter and son were told soon after. It was just complete total shock for all of us. It was made worse by COVID as I couldn’t see them all. We started using FaceTime a lot. It was horrible because I could see how much it was taking out of everybody else. It was awful to see what it was doing to them.
Having the Whipple’s procedure
I went back on the morning of the 5th of November, which is when they told me the operation would be taking place. The registrar came in dressed in her scrubs and she told me we were slightly delayed because at the time, surgeons had to fight to get their operation to happen that day due to the backlog. Rebecca told me the consultant was in there now arguing the case that my operation must go ahead as soon as possible. I was very lucky this worked, and I was wheeled down at 9am.
I was on the table for about eight hours, and they rang my daughter straight away to say that I was okay. Before I went down to surgery, the registrar had said please do let us know if there is anything at all we can do for you, and I just said, the only thing I want you to do is when I wake up, is to tell me you’ve got it all. The day following my surgery, I was already out of recovery and in the ward. At about 6pm, the same registrar came to my bed, and she said: “Well, you asked me to do something, and I did tell you last night, but you were under the anaesthetic, so I wanted to tell you again. We did get it all.” I am so glad she came back because I did not remember her saying that the first time.