As babies we are all born with a fatal prognosis.
Yep. The chance of recovery from the human condition is pretty much zero.
But you have to admit that the days between birth and death are the treasure. It is the journey. The moments of life that are ours. Good or bad, it's our life. The only thing we really know.
The pancreatic cancer prognosis puts a period on that life.
And let's face it, knowing that we're going to die someday. And knowing that we're going to die sooner than someday are two very different things.
When we met with mom's oncologist for the first time, we had so many questions. But the biggest, scariest and most important was:
What is the Pancreatic Cancer Life Expectancy?
It was also the hardest question to get out. My mouth just wouldn't form the words. It was like admitting defeat before we even began the fight.
Thankfully, the doctor understood. He started the consultation by outlining the statistics for pancreatic cancer.
They were not good:
1 year survival rate for pancreatic cancer is about 20%.
5 year survival rate for pancreatic cancer is only about 4%.
As we sat in his office absorbing those sobering statistics, he finished the prognosis with this comment:
Most pancreatic cancer patients only live 3 to 6 months from the time of diagnosis.
We couldn't breathe. That statement, that pancreatic prognosis, was like a punch to the stomach.
Only 3 months until my daughter's wedding. Would her grandma be there? Inconceivable that she would be gone by then.
7 months until mom's 71st birthday. Would her days be numbered to 70 years? Impossible to believe.
The tears pushed hot and hard, but none of us let them spill. We were determined to get through this.
Treatment? we asked. Surgery? Something? Anything?
We needed a lifeline, some hope. All we received was an expiration date.
The doctor conceded that mom's cancer was still confined to the pancreas, but that it was inoperable.
Our brains refused to wrap around that. We just couldn't understand. If it hadn't spread, then get it out.
We know now that the doctor had already staged mom's cancer.
Read this article about pancreatic cancer stages to better understand the prognosis.
A pancreatic cancer prognosis is simply a way of explaining the patients chances of recovery.
Those chances are mighty grim.
But there is a chance, however slim. Mom hasn't hit the period at the end of her life yet.
So, we're planning on living that life for all it's worth.
She's begun treatment, and while we can, we breathe deeply, hug warmly and choose to savor the moments of this life.
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