Two and a half years ago, the week before Thanksgiving in 2006, my mom got a severe stomachache. She had pains for a few weeks but they weren’t going away, she decided to call the doctor, even though her symptoms were those similar to indigestion.
The doctor suggested limiting fat from her diet for a week or two and monitoring the pain. Interestingly enough, the diet change alleviated the symptoms. However, reducing your diet to completely fat free (especially during the holidays) is almost impossible. The doctor believed she was suffering because of her gall bladder and wanted to remove it.
We would come to find out that it was not her gall bladder at all but a cancerous mass on her pancreas. She would need it removed via the Whipple procedure surgery, less than two weeks after the stomachache. Her doctor wanted her to be the, “exception for this diagnosis.”
No one knows the cause of pancreatic cancer, but there are some risk factors. They include being over the age of 60, a smoker, having diabetes, being male and African-Americans. My mom does not fit one of those categories. She is an example of why everyone needs to be aware of this disease, but also an example of survival.
The symptoms of pancreatic cancer include upper abdomen pain, jaundice, loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting, which are also very easy to detect. Most of us experience a few of these symptoms often, but we do not have cancer of the pancreas. However, because these symptoms are seemingly mundane, we must take caution with them and not be afraid to get checked out. If my mom did not see her doctor for her stomach pains, she would probably not be here today. The survival rate of pancreatic cancer is 4.6 percent.
In my next article, I will go into more detail of her treatment and recovery process and hope to spread awareness of this deadly disease. For more information, please go to:
To help promote awareness and fund research, please go to:
Michelle Rose is an advocate of health, fitness, and food.