My Dad, Michael Adam, went into the hospital in March of 2013 with severe abdominal pain. He was diagnosed with pancreatitis and gall stones but was also told the there was a mass in his pancreas. The tests came back with cancer. Since then he has gone through radiation and a unique and aggressive version of chemo therapy. He had a port implanted and was then hooked up to a chemo pump that he had to carry with him in a bag 24/7 for five weeks. Non-stop chemo, for over a month. During this process he continued to try and work, as he is the majority earner in the house. My mother works just above minimum wage at a local craft store, part time.
Recently he was scheduled for surgery. They did a scope through his belly button to see if the cancer had spread. When the scope came back clear, they opened him up across the abdomen. There were two hopeful options at this point. Either they did the little surgery, which removed the tumor and part of the pancreas; or the "big surgery", the Whipple. The Whipple removes the head of the pancreas, the first part of the small intestine, the gall bladder, the end of the bile duct and sometimes a portion of the stomach. As a family, we were prepared for both options. We got neither. The surgeon tried to remove the tumor for two hours. Two hours, my father was opened up on the table, only to be sewn up and sent to recovery. Nothing was done. His surgeon later explained that the tumor "invaded" up on the vein running vertically in the pancreas, and there was no way for him to remove it. He gave my father two years.
We are looking for a different outcome, and we hope to find one at the MD Anderson clinic in Houston, Texas. Insurance approved the referral, eventually, but we have to pay for lodging and expenses. He will of course be out of work during the entire process, and he also has to have a caregiver there with him the entire time.