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10/11/2016 Latest post:
October 8th, 2016 (written by Laura)
Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.
If you are visiting this site, there is strong chance you know Pam and all of the joy she brings to peoples lives, but for those of you who are supporting her loved ones, you may not personally know Pam...so let me introduce her :)
Pam is my mother-in-law. She has been married to Terry for 45 years, has two boys, Chris (married to Jen) and Pat (married to Laura) and 5 grandchildren (Leo, Liv, Eli, Emmett and Louis...Team L and Team E as they are referred to often). This retired elementary school teacher of 36 years loves to knit, cook, travel, spend time at their beautiful lake cabin, and anything related to home improvement....but most of all, enjoys being with her family and close friends. This lady knows how to have fun doing what ever and being where ever. She is full of laughter, wit, and is someone you always want to be around. She has a spirit about her that is like no other and her smile is one of the most contagious.
Five years ago, Pam beat Breast Cancer. Although that was hard, she did it like a champ. And when Terry was diagnosed this last April with Prostate Cancer, the two of them rallied together to take it head on all over again. It's known...cancer sucks...but this unstoppable duo finds time to laugh while navigating through it. When Terry was first diagnosed, Pam chuckled while shaking her head, "Well thanks for ruining my summer". Over the summer, they made lots of trips back and forth to Mayo, driving in cars, sitting in waiting rooms, sleeping in beds that weren't their own...So you can only imagine that when Pam's back pain and random stomach pain started, that she chalked it up to this traveling, stress, aging, or some indigestion problems.
At the end of Terry's treatment, he rang the bell at Mayo and the family headed up to the cabin to celebrate Labor Day. This was a tough weekend for Pam, she was uncomfortable and wasn't sleeping well, but explained that the pain seemed to travel...sometimes it would be her side, or lower abdominal, or mid back and just couldn't pin point it. Pam and Terry then traveled with friends to Maine for a week. This trip unfortunately was again met with pain, but more intense and frequent. They came home on a Friday and scheduled a doctor's appointment that Monday.
Monday came and her doctor referred her for a CT scan on Tuesday morning. Tuesday came, she went in and later that afternoon she received a phone call letting her know a mass on her pancreas was detected. Another CT scan the following day would confirm that her lungs along with liver and kidneys looked clear. On October 4th, Pam went in to get the mass biopsied. The doctor conducting the procedure told them afterwards that it looked like it was a cancerous tumor about 1 and 1/4 inches in the middle of her pancreas and due to blood vessels involved with the tumor, would not be operable. Not the words this family ever wanted to hear or believe. So the family gathered that night...we cried, we hugged, we ate, we drank, we entertained (trying on Pam and Terry's old clothes from the 70's, telling stories, etc...), we laughed, and then we went home only to wake the next morning with confirmation from the biopsy reports...Stage III Pancreatic Cancer, inoperable.
So here we go! We can do this...and we will be that much stronger with you all in our corner! We will need lots of prays, well wishes, strength, smart people who research, and a ton of love! Specific prayers to include minimizing the physical pain for Pam and also to give her strength and energy to keep up her appetite and spirit. Pam's profile picture above wearing a purple wig was taken the Saturday before all this became real...who would have know that purple is the color for the Pancreatic Cancer Awareness ribbon. This is what I like to picture when I think of Pam kicking PC's butt! Smiling and doing it in style.
Next steps...Pam meets with oncologist on Tuesday morning (Oct 11th) to discuss treatment options and places. We will send an update when we know our plan of attack!