Starting in December 2010, back and abdominal pains doubled in intensity every three weeks. My PCP and various specialists found nothing but a hiatal hernia. I was finally diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in May 2011 after visiting the emergency room because of those pains. Soon thereafter, I was deemed unresectable based on a 2.5 cm tumor wrapping the superior mesenteric artery.
Due to my knowledge of a specific familial genetic defect (BRCA2), my oncologist was able to select a non-standard treatment based on published case studies of individuals with this defect. Fortunately, this treatment also worked extremely well for me and I had a Whipple surgery in Sept 2012.
After surgery, I joined this Johns Hopkins clinical trial for recently resected patients. I am co-moderator of the pancreatic cancer forum at cancerforums.net. I’m furthering my understanding of cancer through online courses in biostatistics, cancer, evolution, and genetics through Coursera and FutureLearn.