Step N Out For My Mom!
10 years....that's how long it's been since I lost my mom to pancreatic cancer.
On July 4, 2009, my mom called me and told me she was having some stomach issues and her eyes were yellow. After working her shift, she went to the emergency room. From there, everything moved so quickly, it felt like a dream (or worse, a nightmare). They noticed that her common bile duct was blocked on MRI and beleived she might have a gall stone that was causing her symptoms. The hospital she was at, did not specialize in gut issues, so they transferred her to a hospital downtown where there were specialists who were more skilled at helping. Many tests, a biopsy and several days later, the GI doctor came in and sat down on the bed next to my mom and me and said the dreaded news "You have pancreatic cancer" I was 3 months pregnant and remember dropping to the floor...my mom might not meet her unborn grandchild. My mom kept it together pretty well and simply said "I figured". July 10th, she underwent the Whipple Procedure which removed part of her stomach, part of her pancreas, gall bladder. Just before surgery, she asked the surgeon if this will help her lose weight...she kept such humor throuugh this whole process.
3 weeks later, she was released from the hospital and headed to meet her oncologist to start an outpatient game plan. As we sat in the waiting room, she filled out a medical history. She said to me "I feel like I need to check one of these boxes" as she kept answering no to every single one. A healthy woman in her 50s with no major previous medical history, was now facing death in the face. Just a month earlier, she was laughing with her friends and playing with her grandson.
After almost a year of chemotherapy and radiation, we got the word that her cancer marker tests were elevating and there was nothing more they could do for her. These were not the words we wanted to hear after beating the 1 year survival mark. They referred her to TGen to look into clinical trials.
The visit to TGen was full of hope. They had several trials that they were eager to enroll her in. This was the key to survival. However, after many side effects that were intolerable, she became ineligible for any further clinical trials, but TGen helped her survive 16 months!
Knowing that there was nothing left to fight, she was admitted to hospice and died on November 21, 2010. She got to meet her 2nd grandchild, but would never meet #3.
In the 10 years that have passed, the 5 year survival rate has increased from 6% to 10%. While it doesn't sound like much, that means a few more people are getting to know their grandchildren than ever before. It's a direct result of clinical trials that are being done at TGen.
It's been quite the year....definitely not one that any of us expected it to me. I'm not sure what this year's 5K will look like, but I will be running to support TGen regardless of if it is at Scottsdale Sports Complex or it's in my neighborhood.
Last year, I raised $1480, this year I want to get to $3000! In honor of 10 years since my mom's passing, I hope you will consider a donation of $10. All funds go directly towards helping pancreatic cancer research at TGen. Together, we can increase the survival rate even more. Every dollar helps get us there. Thank you to everyone who has supported me in the past and thank you to those that will support me in the future!
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