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There is no way of saying what I need to say in a soft, gentle way so I am just going to say it - I have pancreatic cancer and it sucks.
I hadn't been feeling great for a few months and a week before Passover, I went to urgent care as my stomach pain was bad. Thank God I had a great doctor who took the time to review all of my records in the system, going back to 2007. She returned to the exam room after asking me some additional questions and pushing on my belly, to tell me that she found that I had pancreatitis back in 2007. She asked me if I even remembered and, of course, I didn't. She then asked about the episode that brought me to the ER in 2014. Again, pancreatitis. This time they did an endoscopy and a colonoscopy to see what’s what. On the tail of my pancreas, they found a few small cysts. They did a needle aspiration of the cysts and it all came back benign.
And here we are again, 7 years later.
I followed up with an excellent GI doctor per her recommendation and had a CT with contrast on my abdomen followed by liver biopsy. On May 11th I learned the news that everyone dreads hearing. This time, nothing is benign. I have cancer.
I had a medi port inserted into my chest on Wednesday, May 26th. I am told that some chemotherapy medications can only be given through a port, as they are too caustic to be delivered into a peripheral vein. In addition, some people have veins that are very difficult to access. This makes a port a better option than placing an IV and I will hopefully not feel like a pincushion.
Chemo begins on June 1st. The days that I have chemo are just that. Pretty full days sitting in the chemo lounge in my oncologist’s office getting pumped with “the stuff.” Right now due to COVID I have to sit there alone. When I leave the end of each session, I will be sent home with a chemo drip bag. This bag should do its thing and feed me additional chemo over 40 – 46 hours. I’ll return to the lab and I will be un-hooked for 10 days until the next round starts.
I am very happy with my oncologist at Illinois Cancer Specialist knowing that my dear friend, Dr. David Hakimian, is watching and monitoring everything very closely.
The prognosis is not so great. I hope that I can get some additional quality years here on this earth with my immediate family, my extended family, and dear friends.
I am not planning to take any time off from work right now, except for the days that I have chemo. I want to work. I need to work.
At this exact moment I don't know what I need, except support and a cheerleading squad! I will take prayers too for those who are inclined, my Hebrew name is Leah Shoshana bat Freyda.
CaringBridge will be updated when possible or when there is news to tell. This is the one place that we can update everyone at the same time. The last thing I can manage right now are all the questions as to what is going on, etc. You can send a private message to me via CaringBridge or just post here in general. PLEASE – DO NOT USE MY SOCIAL MEDIA PAGES FOR ANY HEALTH UPDATES OR CANCER TALK. I will remove it. It will upset me.
Did I say that THIS SUCKS?!
I am blessed to be a member of a wonderful community. I have many caring family members, dear friends, and colleagues. All I can say right now is - one day and one step at a time.
Not exactly the summer that I have imagined after a year plus of covid, but... I'll use a phrase that I actually despise and that is "It is what it is."
I don’t know what our needs will be. It is hard for me to think that way. I’D MUCH RATHER think about what others might need. My most maaahvelous friend, Sharon Shapiro, set up a meal train. The meal train is for the week that I am being filled with "the stuff." If this interests you, check the meal train details on this site. Just note - we are simple eaters and keep kosher. My desire and need to keep my food separated is still quite real!
Most importantly, I do love cards – real cards. My family and I are geeky and we all like going to the mailbox to see if there is anything “good” in there. Please use this Caring Bridge to request an address if you feel inclined!
I will try not to be shy. I'm usually not, but hey, I have cancer. (Sometimes dark, sarcastic humor is good?!)
Also, if you know me, really know me, you know that I am not a quitter. I will fight with all that I have.