Hey followers. It felt necessary to make this post. My boyfriend, Alex, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer 2 months ago. He had no chance of living. Many of you probably knew him as danesh5ever on here. His mom texted me tonight and informed he was in the hospital and won’t live through the night. I’m beyond broken right now and I’m speechless. I don’t know what to say. Please pray for him. Please reblog to get word around.
“"Your time is limited, so donât waste it living someone elseâs life. Donât be trapped by dogma â which is living with the results of other peopleâs thinking. Donât let the noise of othersâ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”— Steve Jobs
Fuck you, pancreatic cancer.
So, remember that post from July 18th? The one where I found out that my friend’s mom has pancreatic cancer? Well, when I returned from Turks & Caicos on Monday evening and started receiving text messages (I had turned it off while I was away), the first text I got was from my friend G. Her mother had passed away over the weekend. Emotional breakdown ensues on the taxi-ing plane.
Ironically, I chose the below shirt (smile cropped because it doesn’t seem appropriate in this context) from PurpleStride New York City as my airplane-traveling wear. I couldn’t believe it. While I’m not exactly sure on the details and timing of everything, I’m pretty sure her mom died within two months of diagnosis. TWO MONTHS. EIGHT WEEKS! Fuck.
My friend is super-strong. Anyone who has told me I’ve been strong in the past year, well, G was a big part of my support system and I admire her so much. While she is a very religious and faithful person (and I’m not), I’m just amazed by her poise and sincerity and strength and positive attitude.
I attended her mom’s memorial service last night and what do you know? I’m the mental case crying and G is consoling me. Typical! I’m still devastated for her. I pretty much sobbed the entire drive from NJ back to Queens after the service. But I know she’ll be OK. She has an AMAZING husband and family and friends. And the most beautiful daughter, too. But I know she must be hurting and I’m sad for her.
And it does get me all riled up again about pancreatic cancer and I’m just consistently amazed by how aggressive this cancer is. So, perfect timing or what, I get an email tonight recapping yesterday’s Pancreatic Cancer Action Network - New York Affiliate meeting notes. So, I take the opportunity to volunteer my time on September 22 and also register for PurpleLight in NYC.
Sunday, September 30 at 5:00pm
New York City Hall
119 E 48th Street
PurpleLight Vigil for Hope is a nationwide series of events that honors loved ones fighting pancreatic cancer and those who have lost the fight. It is an opportunity for family and friends of those touched by pancreatic cancer to come together to gain both comfort and encouragement.
I’m planning on going. If anyone is interested in volunteering for PanCan - it’s a nationwide non-profit organization, please visit their site www.pancan.org and find events and opportunities in your area. And more specifically, if anyone wants to join me at the PurpleLight - NYC, let me know.
In the meantime, please READ these devastating facts about pancreatic cancer and consider reblogging these details, volunteering your time to spread awareness or making a donation to Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.
- There is no early detection or screening exam currently available for pancreatic cancer.
- An estimated 74% of patients will die within one year of diagnosis.
- The average life expectancy after diagnosis with metastatic disease is just five to seven months.
- 94% of pancreatic cancer patients will die within 5 years of diagnosis and only 6% will survive more than five years.
- Pancreatic cancer research is drastically under-funded and as a result, relatively few researchers are investigating the disease as compared with researchers focusing on breast cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, etc.
- Just 2% of the National Cancer Institute’s budget is allocated to this leading killer.
And with that, I’ll continue to think about my dad. My friend’s mom. Kathleen’s mom. And the (estimated) 37,000 people who will die from pancreatic cancer this year. Sigh.
Update on my Aunt
So on December 5th, my aunt when in for a big dose of chemo and tests to evaluate how she is is responding to treatment.
It’s bittersweet. The cancer has not spread but neither has it gone away. It’s the same as it was. So, NIH has stopped the experimental drug since it is dangerous and doesn’t appear to be doing any good. They are going to finish chemo in the next several weeks. After that, we have no idea. NIH doesn’t have another study that we know of - so we are going to have to scramble to get her in another one.
Is it strange that in my bones, I know God will redeem this. He is my Redeemer! Awesome and powerful. I hold on to that.
I am just scared that I am not doing enough. I want my family to know Jesus yet I can’t find the words to speak with them when I am around them. I am at a loss and no doubt I feel as though I have failed. But my God is the Redeemer.
What Steve Jobs Means To Me: A Kinda Self-Absorbed Essay About Cancer
I used to have a lot of fantasies during the eight months my mom battled pancreatic cancer, which we knew was terminal when she was diagnosed. They all involved her living, of course. Whether it was via a miracle, a juice diet, meditation, laser surgery, a medical trial, or chemo that no one had thought to try until I came along (because I know EVERYTHING), I held out hope that my mom could somehow beat it. Other times I would daydream about someone insanely famous getting pancreatic cancer. Okay fine - not just someone. Oprah. It was always Oprah. I’d imagine she would raise a ton of awareness and money for the disease with her celebrity and then use her billions to find some miracle cure which we’d use to save my mother, too. Then Oprah, my mom and I would sit out on Oprah’s patio in Santa Barbara and reminisce about that little cancer thing we all went through that one time. No, Gayle would not be invited. Cancer pals only.
Not that I’d wish cancer on Oprah (cue terrible “You get a tumor” joke) or anyone in the world, but when you want so badly to save someone, you brain ends up in a weird place. For me, it was that if one person could beat pancreatic cancer, everyone could. After my mom died, I took all the desperate hope I had cultivated for her and placed it elsewhere. I thought The Last Lecture author Randy Pausch might beat it, but he passed away a little over a year after my mom. Patrick Swayze lived just a year and a half after he was diagnosed.
And then there’s Steve Jobs, who has been living with pancreatic cancer for years. He has a more rare form of pancreatic cancer, different from my mother’s, but I never cared. As long as Steve was standing there in his black turtle neck, I had faith. Steve would be the one to carry us out of this cancer mess. He is the genius of all geniuses, he revolutionized the digital age. Plus he’s a just a straight-up, cutthroat bad-ass. Surely he was the one. He’s done nothing but fight it - special diet, Whipple surgery, a liver transplant - he did everything I had fantasized would cure my mom and yet it’s not working. If Steve goes, so does my stupid, naive, unrealistic hope that someone might one day beat pancreatic cancer and win. And I’m having a hard time letting that go.
[Donate to Pancan.org]
YES! What? … YES!
Just breathing and enjoying being here. It’s a good feeling.
I went for a run in the rain this morning, and during my run I decided that I’m going to train to do a sponsored run for Pancreatic Cancer. Research into Pancreatic Cancer desperately needs more attention and funding.
I lost two beautiful people to it. My Uncle Bill passed away on my 18th birthday, and my friend Gemma passed away in August 2010.
My Uncle Bill had was living in New Zealand when he was diagnosed, unfortunately I did not have enough money to fly out to see him.
Gemma was the older sister of my boyfriend at the time of her diagnosis. I visited her in hospital, I visited her in the hospice, and I visited her in her last couple of weeks at home.
Watching this beautiful woman be taken by cancer was heart-breaking.
Gemma was a brave soul, and commanded so much grace. I will forever be in awe of her. Even when she was very ill, Gemma was always more interested in putting other people first. Always more interested in the silver lining. My admiration for Gemma Harrison is insurmountable.
There was something so comforting about being in Gemma’s presence. She had a natural talent for making you feel at home, and comfortable. Even during the night before her funeral, when I spent time alone with her I still felt that comfort of her being in the room. However somber that may sound.
I’ll never forget Gemma’s mum telling me the words that Gemma had used to describe her battle with cancer. She said “It’s like I’m floating on a river, and I’ve just got to go with the flow”