I think when you get any type of diagnosis (not just about cancer), our first instinct is to dive in and research what it means. I, however, know that looking into something can sometimes lead to scary discoveries. So when my mom told me that my dad was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, the first thing I did after I hung up was Google “pancreatic cancer, stage 4.”
Friends, here’s the truth (and it sucks): there is absolutely nothing good about stage 4 pancreatic cancer. I very, very briefly skimmed some websites that all said the same thing about being stage 4: no cure and life expectancy extremely minimal. Reading that set me into immediate denial. There was no way we were going to give up.
I actually remember talking to my dad the day we found out his cancer was back, and asking him if he was going to fight it. He said yes, and he did. My dad fought those last few weeks; he endured a couple of rounds of chemo, and dealt with obstacles that come from a cancer taking over your body.
But! And there’s always a but; if you can catch it early enough, there are options.
Honestly, to this day—almost three months exactly from when my dad died—I haven’t really looked into pancreatic cancer, because it frankly just sucks. What I do know is that it’s not a cancer you want to get. And I know, I know. Nobody wants to get any kind of cancer, but y’all: there are treatable cancers out there. That’s not to say that pancreatic cancer can’t be treated, but it develops and progresses so gosh darn fast that it’s hard to detect, which makes it hard to treat.
However!!!!! That’s where awareness, research, and fundraising comes in. I’m sure, at one point, breast cancer was in the same dismal boat. Yes, people still die from breast cancer, but there is so much more hope surrounding breast cancer now. Through awareness and funding for research, we’re hoping to double the survival rate by 2020.
My dad’s only symptoms before being diagnosed was his back hurting (which we attributed all the traveling we did in the car and the new/different beds he was sleeping in), an ongoing stomach ache, and slight loss of appetite.
It’s ironic that its color is purple, because that’s the same color that Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, his last cancer, represented. It’s also my mom’s favorite color, which I find comforting. Thanks, Papa, for at least not having a green or orange cancer. I hope the purple awareness will continue to grow and become just as large of a movement as pink is for breast cancer.
So why all this talk about my dad’s cancer? Because Today is World Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Day, so that’s what I hope I’m doing…raising awareness about this particular cancer. All cancer’s suck; there’s no denying that. But if you didn’t know a single thing about pancreatic cancer before this post, and now you know one small (or big) fact now, then that’s one way we’re helping fight this.
You can also help fight it by donating to help wage hope. I’m also donating my commission on Pampered Chef sales this month to pancreatic cancer research. I still have dates open for one-hour parties on Facebook or catalog parties, so feel free to get in touch if you’d like to get free stuff and help fight this cancer, or just buy something…Christmas is just around the corner after all 🙂
I know I can’t bring my dad back. I know, as much as we wish we could, we can’t go back in time and catch what he had sooner. But if this post, and World Pancreatic Cancer Awareness month sparks conversation and helps someone else at the beginning stages of it, then there’s still hope.