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Tracy Dale (Mother)

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A tribute byMaureen Fuller

Nov 2013 we were given the devastating news that my daughter had been diagnosed with metastatic adenocarcinoma of the pancreas and liver metastases our whole family were in disbelief at that time we were told it was inoperable.
My daughter loved her job her family husband Chris and my two grandchildren Oliver & Georgia (aged 25, and 22) were happy and healthy, my daughter married her husband Chris 25 years ago and they were looking forward to celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary on July 2014 and to her 50th birthday in January 2014 with a trip to New York she thought life really couldn’t get much better until this awful tragedy struck our family.
My daughter had been visiting her doctor on and off for over a 8 months with persistent tummy and backache problems he said it was probable gastritis or an ulcer by mid- November 2013 she had noticed a very sharp pain on the left side of her lower chest, and sometimes it felt just sore, it seemed to be worse in the evening after a meal she went to see her GP every couple of months protesting that it wasn’t any better.
One day at work the sore intermittent pain in her chest was really bothering her and the GPs where she worked said something was not right so she decided to take herself down to her own doctor again and insist on some tests to get checked out it was not her usual GP as he was off but a locum doctor who was concerned that she hadn’t been scanned in over one year and she arranged an ultrasound scan immediately Tracy had a CT scan which revealed some worrying but very small lesions on her liver and a shadow on her pancreas she was referred to a specialist at the Conquest Hospital.
Her appointment 2 weeks later with the consultant was devastating we will never forget it, she left that appointment in total shock, slowly and carefully, and with almost brutal honesty, he told her that her tumour on her pancreas was too advanced and due to what appeared to be secondary’s in her liver the disease had become metastatic, she was told that it was inoperable and she had stage 4 pancreatic cancer telling my family my grandchildren and close friends was the hardest thing I had to do, not to mention getting my head around this and as a mother preparing for what was to come.
At the start of her chemotherapy treatment her CA19-9 was 5380. Having met her oncologist she started on Folfirinox chemotherapy on 12th December 2013. I knew this was going to be a tough regime, but, Tracy promised her husband Chris and children she would never give up my battle with this disease.
After 6 sessions of chemotherapy the CT scan showed stabilisation of the liver metastases and a slight shrinkage on the pancreas tumour with a steadily falling CA19-9 tumour marker. The scan after 12 sessions involved a meeting with her oncologist who was beaming and really happy to provide some unexpected news. All liver metastases were gone and there was no evidence of the pancreatic tumour. Her CA19-9 tumour marker was now 400.
My daughter has endured gruelling chemotherapy and has remained optimistic and brave throughout, despite enduring all the side effects that chemotherapy brings with it, for Tracy it has been the hardest battle she has been the one who has had to endure 57 sessions of Folfirinox (a record apparently for anyone especially in the UK), 10 Sessions of GemCap, and a liver ablation but she never complained or said why her, she just got on with everything the best way she could even with the constant fatigue and flu-like symptoms which last several days after her chemo sessions Folfirinox with the Oxaliplatin
The reason that I'm posting this now 33months on I would like to highlight the symptoms of this type of cancer are often mistaken for other conditions she was told for eight months that she had gastritis I would ask anyone reading this to make themselves aware of the symptoms , such as abdominal bloating, backache, feeling full after eating very little and sharp pain or feeling of pressure sometimes there can be more symptoms or fewer, I just want people to be aware because if my daughters doctor had known more about the symptoms of pancreatic cancer her diagnosis we could have had treatment sooner and the cancer would not so advanced there is a simple blood test that can indicate the presence of pancreatic cancer it's called a CA19-9 marker test. If anyone is concerned then ask your doctor for this blood test.
Sadly in October 2015 Tracy became resistant to the chemotherapy and in November 2015 she started a new trial of Immunotherapy but sadly on 19th March 2016 at 11.30 pm my daughter Tracy lost her fight against Pancreatic Cancer in her sleep with her family beside her my daughter Tracy was an amazingly brave, strong, beautiful, elegant and classy young lady, I know how she always managed to put on such a brave face for everyone Tracy was a beautiful person inside and out. I have an empty vacant dense feeling inside me as a mother never expected her daughter to go before her I just hope Tracy will recover now in her next life and leave all the pain and suffering behind in this world and I know her guardian angels will be beside her every step of the way. Mothers and daughters have a bond of closeness that will never break a friendship that is unconditional between two never ending friends. my daughter was so lucky to have a fantastic close family and friends to support her a caring husband Chris and her two grown up children Georgia and Oliver being very positive at all times ,and all my wonderful friends who have been at the end of the phone for me whenever I needed to talk her Reiki Master Margaret who gave her strength and positivity every week I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.
On 24th May 2016 I decided to take a journey to Tenerife which was Tracy’s favourite holiday destination in the last 2 years of her life she visited eight hotels and I decided to visit all the eight hotels with her very close girlfriend Lorraine of 25 years and take some of Tracy’s ashes and Angel Dust to scatter with me in the gardens and beaches where my daughter had so many beautiful memories in the sunshine.
I would like to thank the nurses at the Judy Baird Day Unit at the Conquest Hospital Hastings and the Pancreatic Cancer UK helpline who has been there for us 24 hrs a day they have been so compassionate and understanding and without their help we would not have got through these past 2 years and 7 months I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart Tracy’s story can be read on the site in Memory’s and you can watch the video she took part in for the support line in November 2014. She has also recently been involved in a film raising awareness of Pancreatic Cancer for "Nicki's Smile" At the start of her journey with this terrible disease she was told by the specialist who provided her with the terrible diagnosis “you are your own statistic”. So for everyone reading her story never give daughter didn’t .
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