Susan Rowell | CaringBridge

Susan Rowell Susan's Cancer Journey

First post: May 27, 2018 Latest post: Jun 24, 2018
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5/27/18: For those of you who don’t know, I was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer on January 13, 2018 after several tests and a biopsy revealed a tumor at the head of my pancreas measuring 4.2 cm, Stage 2A, and blocking my pancreatic duct.  This prevented me from digesting food without pain and discomfort, and these symptoms led me to the diagnosis.  The CT scan confirmed that the tumor was borderline resectable, meaning I needed to shrink the tumor with chemotherapy prior to being able to resect the tumor in surgery.

I am being treated at Providence's Cancer Center and have a very competent team of doctors with excellent credentials that I believe in.  I entered a clinical trial which followed best practices for treatment of pancreatic cancer and began chemotherapy on February 14th.  The regimen being administered is called Folfirinox and consists of 4 different chemo’s infused over 6 ½ hours and taking home an additional  pack to continue infusing for 2 days.  It is a grueling treatment and I have not qualified for scheduled chemo on 3 different dates due to my numbers being too high.  I am grateful they draw blood and verify my blood counts before each infusion as I need to have my liver intact when I am through with this!  The trial requires 8 infusions, and I will have my 7th next week.  I am scheduled to have a Whipple Surgery 4 to 5 weeks following my 8th chemo infusion.  Following surgery will be 4 more chemo infusions and the scheduled treatment is 42+ weeks.

Believe it or not, I am considered one of the “lucky ones” as I have an option to have surgery and remove the tumor.  The CT scans have shown that the cancer has not spread outside of the pancreas and will be able to be surgically removed.  I am thankful for the potential outcome of being cancer-free once I have completed this treatment.


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