I got that shitty text no one wants to get this morning. Cousin Gary was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in December. This morning he died.
It is an awful disease–a cruel killer with no regard for who you are or how good you were. Gary was a good guy. My friend Kevin, taken by pancreatic cancer ten years ago, was a good guy too.
Don’t get a false impression by my ‘cure.’ There is no actual cure for pancreatic cancer. My cancer was found and removed before it spread. That is the only way in 2018.
“Clean margins,” was the surgeon’s verdict after six hours in surgery. It was what we wanted to hear.
Only one in three can get this surgery. Only one in three of those have this result.
People call all the time to talk about pancreatic cancer. It’s a role I’ve taken on willingly. Most of the time I know how things are going to end before we begin.
There is research ongoing, but this is a particularly tough disease. There is no definitive test for pancreatic cancer other than a physical biopsy. It’s not a routine test because it’s surgery.
Though only 3% of all cancers, pancreatic cancer accounts for 7% of deaths. It’s fast and efficient. The five year survival rate for those whose cancer was detected after it began to spread is 3%.
So, we root for smart doctors and the really brave patients who let them experiment on them with trials, so far mainly ineffective. And we remind the families, like my cousins today, how much we love them and how much of their pain is shared deep inside.
It hurts me Gary suffered for one minute. I hate this damn disease.