I HATE this disease and feel it is important to share this again. Please listen to your body and advocate for your health.
Pancreatic cancer is silent. It is sneaky. It is quiet. Pancreatic cancer is cruel and deadly. In most cases, it does not present with any signs or symptoms until already in late-stage. Pancreatic cancer is almost always fatal and usually within 6-18 months. It rarely leaves any hint whatsoever until it has already silently ravished and taken over the body. It rapidly ages the body and robs it of necessary proteins, nutrients and fats. It receives very little research funding or awareness. November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month. I don't see any professional sports teams, department stores or restaurants waging war on this type of cancer. I see no purple ribbons, no purple shoes, no purple banners. Personally, I wouldn't "buy" into them anyway. I will NOT give pancreatic cancer attention by padding the pockets of organizations seeking to make a profit from it. I WILL spread awareness by sharing what I know about it and by keeping Kevin's memory alive. We MUST spread awareness about this disease. It is up to us, the people that have watched our loved ones or ourselves experience the pain from this monster disease. It is up to us to wage hope. It is up to us to bring awareness so that others will be more alert and in tune with their bodies and know the very early signs. It is up to us to bring awareness and lobby for more funding and research. It us up to us to educate others.
Our Kevin experienced very few symptoms until diagnosed at already late-stage IV. He was never sick and had annual wellness checks. While we share very little personal information about Kevin's war with this disease, I am sharing part of his "story" in hopes that it will save someone else. We lost him too soon, with so much life left to live. Looking back and knowing what we do now, it is apparent that these health issues which each, onset one at a time & separately, were the beginning of his disease.
A few years ago, Kevin's annual wellness check showed very high triglycerides & elevated cholesterol. Considering his diet (sneaking sugary snacks, sweet tea & loving bread), it was disregarded and blamed on diet. Cutting out carbs, refined sugars & grains seemed to work. Then approximately 2 years later, he began having digestive issues, however those were very quickly diagnosed as GERD and again, watching his diet helped give some relief. And then the following summer came the backaches, which were disregarded as working too hard (12-16 hours manual labor per day) and strained muscles. Then the winter presented muscle pain in the upper chest, which was also disregarded as a pulled muscle (still working 12-16 hours manual labor per day). And then the fatigue, weight loss & overall unwell feeling crept in and the diagnosis was made shortly after, within a month of Kevin feeling poorly. All the time Kevin was showing the signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer, however he never felt bad enough for anyone to consider anything other than the diagnoses that were given at the time. Even our own doctor was surprised and in shock. Just two months prior to diagnosis, our doctor ran numerous labs & performed Kevin's annual wellness check. All labs & health evaluation provided normal results. There were absolutely no clinical signs of cancer. This is common with pancreatic cancer! Our own doctor has commented that he has regrets that the cancer wasn't diagnosed. How could it have been? All labs, tests & health evaluation were normal. There was no indication of cancer. There were no "red flags". How many of us have digestive issues from time to time? How many of us have sore, strained muscles from overdoing it? And how many of us eat poorly from time to time and get scolded by our doctors? All of these "signs & symptoms" are common in healthy individuals. Right?
This is why pancreatic cancer is so difficult to diagnose and most often goes overlooked. We need better screening. We need insurance companies to cover those screenings. We do routine colonoscopies, mammograms and other screenings for cancer. Why is there no routine screening for pancreatic cancer? Funding! That's why. Awareness! That's why. We need to educate and bring more awareness. Awareness of signs and symptoms, education of lifestyle & diet, education of fitness & exercise. Besides individual education, we need more awareness that research, clinical trials and other treatments exist and we need funding for them!
I know that Kevin would want all of us to help spread awareness so that by education, someone's life will be spared from this fatal disease. Please help spread purple awareness. However, please consider donating to PANCAN and wearing something you already own instead of purchasing some purple propaganda from some company seeking to profit instead of funding our cause. ♥ ~HUGS!~