In November of 2014, a very diligent primary care physician at Kaiser in Oregon decided that "We don't know" wasn't an acceptable answer to what caused my brother Xan's pancreatitis. A hunch led to a scan, a scan to a diagnosis, a diagnosis to a treatment, and a treatment to a hope.
Our hope is that more Xans happen. Pancreatic cancer survival is bad. How bad? Ask a physician what their least favorite diagnosis to tell a patient about is, and most of them will tell you it's this. When your family's affected, you try not to look at the numbers, but like flashing lights on the opposite side of the highway, you do anyways. 8% at 5 years, 1% at 10.
Throughout his clinical trials (2), surgeries (2), and chemo infusions (innumerable), Xan's perseverance, spirit, and results have defied accepted medical understanding. When you're battling Stage IV pancreatic cancer, you're not supposed to go to CrossFit every morning. You're not supposed to take up kiteboarding as a hobby. You're not supposed to fly your hang glider or beat your brothers in a Spartan Race. And yet, he does.
Today, we look forward. We look forward to joining Xan and Sara in celebrating their son Kevin's first birthday in October. We look forward to his joining Athletes for Cancer camps as a guide, not a patient. We look forward to the dinners and the holidays and the family trips and the family disagreements on the family trips and the awful dad jokes that beating this disease brings. And, with your help, we'll help other families look forward, too.