At the beginning of February, Kathy got a very unpleasant surprise: she was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Any earlier symptoms she might have had from this cancer were masked by her pre-existing scoliosis. In fact, it was found only because she had a CT scan to confirm she had kidney stones (she did, and passed two). Her urologist referred her to an oncologist, Dr Michael Kasper, at Texas Oncology in Austin. An MRI, blood tests, and a liver biopsy have confirmed the diagnosis.
A search for information has produced the following: Pancreatic cancer is extremely fast and deadly, and cannot be cured. Treatment can only buy time. Surgery is not an option for Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Chemotherapy is the only possible treatment. Chemo therapy includes T-cell therapy, immunotherapy, stem cell therapy, and more. Treatment of this cancer is being studied through clinical trials of new drugs. Kathy may be eligible to participate in trials that could help her.
Kathy is determined to fight the cancer. Her medical records were sent to M.D.Anderson Hospital in Houston. They are being reviewed and should hear soon if they think they can help her. She will have genetic testing to see if she inherited any cancer tendencies; this testing may benefit other members of her family. The recommended chemotherapy regimen is a combination of abraxane and gemcitabine. No date has been set for chemo to begin. Chemo can be very debilitating and, once it starts, will almost certainly make her feel awful.
Therefore, please rely on this CaringBridge site for information about Kathy herself. If you are interested in learning more about this cancer and its treatment, please Google any of the terms above. There is a lot available!
You may post positive and supportive messages on this CaringBridge site if you wish.