I’m pretty sure the moment I heard those words spoken about my dad, I stopped breathing and my entire world stopped.
I was sitting in a hospital room with my mom and dad, when those life changing words were spoken. And as quickly as our world stopped, it started spinning again at a speed that seemed so much faster. In those moments, we shed some tears, I called my grandparents, aunts, and uncles, my parents headed to talk to my sister, and the doctors made a game plan for our next steps.
This was just over 5 years ago and to this day that moment is vivid in my memory.
The coming weeks were a blur of appointments, pre-op appointments, processing the diagnosis, and letting our new reality sink in.
About two weeks after we were told that my dad had pancreatic cancer, he went in for a Whipple Procedure on August 25, 2014, spent a few weeks in the hospital, and two months later on October 22, 2014 he began his first round of chemo.
The journey over the next 3 years had its fair share of ups and downs and while I’m not going to include all those details here, I am happy to share my experience as the daughter of someone battling Pancreatic Cancer with anyone who would like to know more.
Ultimately, my dad lost his battle on July 10, 2017, his 61st birthday.
Life After Pancreatic Cancer Loss
The last 2 years since losing my dad have been some of the hardest that I have ever faced. Not only did I lose my dad, whom I loved, but I was now having to deal with grief, the change in routines and celebrations, and the thoughts and dreams that I had for the future.
I’ve had to learn to accept that I will never have my dad walk me down the aisle, should I get married one day. He will never be around to celebrate another birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. He won’t ever go on another vacation with me or meet my (potential) future kids. I won’t get to celebrate the growth and success of my business. And those realities are HARD! I won’t lie. I’ve been to several weddings over the last 2 years and while I celebrate the ones getting married, I also mourn all over again that I won’t have my dad present on that day.
Encouragement for Those Facing the Battle
Pancreatic Cancer isn’t a diagnosis or a disease I would wish on anyone, but sadly it is one that is becoming more common in today’s world.
My encouragement for those of you who are dealing with a family member is to enjoy every moment with the person you love, look for the hope in each day, and lean on the support and resources that are available to you. Most hospitals, cancer centers, hospice and palliative care centers have counselors, not just for the cancer sufferer, but also for the family members and support system. Lean into those resources! Counseling isn’t for the weak, it’s for everyone. Don’t feel bad if you want to go to counseling – that is a sign of strength and I applaud you for that.
Thanks for taking a moment out of your day (World Pancreatic Cancer Day) to read a little of my Pancreatic Cancer Story.
Pancreatic Cancer Resources