Inoperable Pancreatic Cancer.
Sounded like a death sentence. At least that's how we felt. And truthfully, it was.
Mom's prognosis left us reeling.
The doctor held out little hope. A life expectancy of 3 to 6 months. No chance of surgery to remove the cancer.
Yes, it was a death sentence.
It took me a few weeks to admit it. I think it just took that long for the facts to sink in.
The doctor explained that her tumor, while contained to the pancreas (a good thing, right?), had wrapped around or encased the portal vein (a bad thing, yes).
In his opinion, surgery was too risky to attempt. If the portal vein was nicked or punctured at all, the chances of mom bleeding out on the table were pretty much 100%.
We needed a second opinion to be convinced.
Finally, we admitted it. Mom's cancer was inoperable.
Now, that's not the same as Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Or metastatic pancreatic cancer. These are also inoperable. But they are at the end stage of the pancreatic cancer journey. See this article for a better understanding of the different pancreatic cancer stages.
Mom's cancer was still confined to the pancreas.
It had not spread, so it was not considered metastatic or stage 4. As a matter of fact, the tests showed that there was still no lymph node involvement. That's a good thing.
But there was portal vein involvement. That's a bad thing. And that made it inoperable.
Her doctor said that the only way to "cure" pancreatic cancer was to surgically remove the tumor. And even then, the cancer often found a way to come back.
Pancreatic Cancer is sinister, evil, and wily. It's cunning is ruthless.
We have to be smarter. Fight harder.
So rally the troops. We're heading into treatment. Follow along here to keep up with mom's treatment plan and how she's doing. We'll discuss the various treatment options, side effects and overall management of her pancreatic cancer.
We hope that sharing our successes, and occasional defeats, will help others along the way.
Inoperable doesn't have to mean Hopeless!
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