TeamBS

RAISED:

$1,480

GOAL:

$2,020

Wage Hope to end pancreatic cancer

  September 2006 my Mom; Beverly Schulz, was having some stomach issues. Knowing something was wrong she drove to Aberdeen, SD to the ER. With a family history of pancreatic cancer they were quick to focus on the pancreas and saw a mass on the head of the pancreas. Since Aberdeen did not treat pancreas cancer they gave her choices of places to go. Mom chose Mayo Clinic and that made all of the difference. Over the next 3 weeks she was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma of the pancreas, had a stent placement and was scheduled for a Whipple surgery with Dr. Farnell in Rochester. The surgery was about 11 hours and was successful and just 5 days later she was discharged to go home! The following year included chemotherapy, radiation and more chemotherapy. With few side effects Mom was very fortunate.

  On her 5 year check up at Mayo they noticed a few spots on the lungs that they had been watching from the original diagnosis, were growing. A wedge resection on the largest spot on the lung was performed and the results came back as pancreatic cancer that had spread to the lung. Choosing a non invasive approach, Mom had Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy. This gave her high dosage radiation at different angles to precisely kill the cancerous spots in the lungs. 

   Mom had another 3 years before the cancer came back. First, more spots in the lungs and then a lesion on her brain. The lung spots were watched because of the small size but the brain lesion was taken care of by Gamma Knife Radiosurgery at Mayo Clinic. The procedure uses 200  beams of radiation focused precisely on the tumor. With no incision with this procedure, Mom was up and out of the hospital and walking around Shopko within a few hours. She was not happy with the bandage around her head from the Hannibal Lecter like cage screwed into her head to hold her head still during the procedure. We offered to draw pictures on it and put racing numbers on the side but she had her standards, so we got her a baseball cap of her favorite NASCAR racer, Jimmy Johnson instead. 

   After 8 years of good health after the whipple surgery we could see her body was getting tired. With  few issues since the diagnosis we started to see changes physically and mentally. After a scan at Mayo showed everything was stable we thought we got lucky again. Unfortunately in just 3 weeks from that last scan at Mayo the cancer had spread completely through the liver. We chose to go back to Mayo from the Fargo hospital to get another opinion. The cancer metastasis was confirmed and Mom had her longest stay in the hospital, an 11 day stay in Mayo Methodist hospital. The stay was longer than expected because she was too sick for some care facilities and not sick enough for others. After leaving Mayo, Mom had a short time at home with Hospice before she entered Bethany Homes in Fargo. A short 3 weeks later we said our final goodbyes.

  Our family knows how fortunate we were to have had Mom for almost 9 good years after her diagnosis. Mom wasn't as fortunate and only had her Mom; Esther Hapala, for a few months after Esther's pancreatic cancer diagnosis. 

   We are aware that some families have only weeks with their family after diagnosis, this needs to change and that is why we are walking in Purple Stride for the 7th year. We need better detection, treatments and therapies for pancreatic cancer and hopefully with your support we can achieve these goals.

Pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rate of all major cancers, at just 9%. This deadly disease has stolen our best and our brightest, but it can’t take away our determination. 

Our team has stepped up to Wage Hope at PurpleStride, the walk to end pancreatic cancer. Will you help us rewrite the future of this disease by making a donation today?

Every dollar that you donate ensures that the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network can continue working to create better outcomes for pancreatic cancer patients and their families. By donating to our team, you are supporting vital efforts to double pancreatic cancer survival by 2020. 


Pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rate of all major cancers, at just 9%. This deadly disease has stolen our best and our brightest, but it can’t take away our determination. 

Our team has stepped up to Wage Hope at PurpleStride, the walk to end pancreatic cancer. Will you help us rewrite the future of this disease by making a donation today?

Every dollar that you donate ensures that the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network can continue working to create better outcomes for pancreatic cancer patients and their families. By donating to our team, you are supporting vital efforts to double pancreatic cancer survival by 2020. 

Purple ribbons aren’t enough. Please join us in the fight today. 

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