Let’s Win! Pancreatic Cancer

Re: An article I wrote on my pancreatic cancer journey.

As noted several times on this blog, it has been quite a personal journey for me since learning in January 2015 that I had pancreatic cancer. And undergoing Whipple surgery in February 2015. I count my blessings every single day!! 🙂

Yesterday, it was my honor to be featured on the Let’s Win! Pancreatic Cancer page, an affiliate of the Lustgarten Foundation. Click on the photo of my terrific family to read the article.

And, if you are able, please donate to Team Joel. We are raising money for the October 2019 Lustgarten Foundation Walk. You can donate as little as a few dollars by filling in the amount on the team page. Thanks.

From the left: son-in-law Adam, daughter Stacey, wife Linda, me, daughter Jennifer, and son-in-law Phil.

PLEASE Support My Lustgarten Foundation Walk to Find a Cure Pancreatic Cancer

We need YOUR support to find a cure for this deadly disease. Thanks.

Hello colleagues and readers:

I am a VERY blessed four-year survivor of pancreatic cancer. After this amount of time, I am among the only 5-7% of those with PC who is still alive. The fatality statistics for those afflicted with PC are truly staggering.

According Cancer.net:

In 2019, “an estimated 56,770 adults (29,940 men and 26,830 women) in the United States will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  Incidence rates are 25% higher in black people than in white people. It is estimated that 45,750 deaths (23,800 men and 21,950 women) from this disease will occur this year.”

“While pancreatic cancer is the ninth most common cancer in women and the tenth most common cancer in men, it is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in men and women.”

Here is the link for Team Joel: https://events.lustgarten.org/team/232854

This year, I will be walking on October 6, 2019 in the annual Lustgarten Pancreatic Cancer Research Foundation walk on Long Island. If you want to walk with me, I welcome you to Team Joel.

Whether or not you can do the walk, please make a donation. 100% goes directly to research. Not administrative expenses. A donation of ANY amount would be greatly appreciated. 😊

At Lustgarten, “Thanks to separate funding to support administrative expenses, 100% of your donation goes directly to pancreatic cancer research. We are the only pancreatic cancer organization that can make this claim. The Lustgarten Foundation meets the highest standards established by Charity Navigator, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) Wise Giving Alliance, and GuideStar. In fact, we have received a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator for ten consecutive years, which only one percent of charities evaluated have achieved. We are a fully accredited charity with the BBB Wise Giving Alliance and have a platinum transparency rating with GuideStar.” 

Thank you. You have my full gratitude.

Regards

Joel, a very lucky pancreatic survivor striving to give back!!!!!

P.S.: You can also click on my image to go to the Team Joel page.

PLEASE Support My Lustgarten Foundation Walk to Find a Cure Pancreatic Cancer
 

New Hope for Those with Pancreatic Cancer

Mayo Clinic providing new options.

For those who follow this blog, you know that I am a VERY fortunate pancreatic cancer survivor. Since my cancer was diagnosed early, I was able to have a successful Whipple surgery. For most, the outlook is not as positive.

But, new research presents greater hope for the future. As Erika Edwards reports for NBC News:

“Historically, doctors have given pancreatic cancer patients chemotherapy or radiation hoping it would cause the tumor to shrink or pull away from the artery or vein it’s ensnared. Dr. Mark Truty, a surgical oncologist at Mayo Clinic, believes that’s the wrong approach. ‘You’re going to be sorely disappointed if that’s what you’re expecting’, Truty told NBC News.”

“About a third of pancreatic cancer cases are found at stage 3. Truty estimates about half of his pancreatic cancer patients diagnosed at this stage seek his care after other physicians said their tumors could not be surgically removed. His team’s approach to treating stage 3 pancreatic cancer is different from most other oncology practices”

“The Mayo Clinic approach works like this. Patients are given extended, personalized chemotherapy until levels of a tumor marker in the blood called CA 19-9 fall to a normal range. Then if a PET scan shows the tumor is destroyed, doctors move forward with radiation and surgery.”

“Among 194 pancreatic cancer treated this way at the Mayo Clinic, 89 percent lived longer than the expected 12 to 18 months. The approach has pushed average survival to five years after diagnosis, according to a study by the Mayo Clinic.

To learn more, watch the following video. Note: The beginning of the video may be a downer. But the overall video is hopeful.


 

Diagnosing Pancreatic Cancer as Early as Possible

As a PC survivor. I am here today because I was diagnosed very early through a Bilirubin blood test. It was part of my quarterly series of blood tests as a diabetic. Thus, I was able to have Whipple surgery. Here I am today 3 1/2+ years post surgery.

Yet, unfortunately most of those who get PC are not diagnosed in time. So, today’s post focuses on signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer.

The following discussion and chart are from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute:

“The pancreas produces fluids that help digest (break down) food, and hormones, such as insulin, to help control blood sugar levels. The digestive fluids are produced by exocrine pancreas cells, and the hormones are produced by endocrine pancreas cells. About 95 percent of pancreatic cancers begin with the exocrine cells, and are called pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma or other types of carcinomas.  Another type of pancreatic tumor is called a pancreatic endocrine tumor, and these tumors originate from the endocrine cells. Making the distinction between these two kinds of pancreatic cancer is important, as patients with these two tumor types are treated differently.”

“Pancreatic cancer is a very complex condition to treat, since symptoms are often not apparent until the cancer has spread beyond the pancreas.  These are some of the leading risk factors:

* Pancreatic cysts

* Smoking

* Long-standing diabetes

* Chronic pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas, especially in people who smoke)

* Age (55+ years)

* Obesity

* Race (African-Americans are more likely to develop pancreatic cancer than white, Hispanic, or Asian-Americans)

* Family history of pancreatic cancer

* Genetic factors

 

PLEASE get a regular battery of blood tests that relate to a wide range of possible ailments.  Be proactive. Not reactive.

Diagnosing Pancreatic Cancer as Early as Possible
 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A Role Model for Those with Major Illnesses

Many of us recognize the name Ruth Bader Ginsburg. We know her as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, just the second women to be chosen for the Supreme Court. But do you also that Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a role model for those with major illnesses? 

Before reading below, check out her Wikipedia biography by clicking the image.


Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Role Model
Be sure to look at the video below of Justice Ginsburg exercising with Stephen Colbert. 🙂

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A Role Model for Those with Major Illnesses 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is now 85 years old. She is about 5 feet tall and weighs less than 100 pounds. She has overcome significant health issues and remains active on the Supreme Court. She even has a well-chronicled exercise routine. Despite your political persuasion, Justice Ginsburg is a great role model for those of us dealing with major health issues.

As reported by Wikipedia from several sources:

“In 1999, Ginsburg was diagnosed with colon cancer; she underwent surgery that was followed by chemotherapy and radiation therapy. During the process, she did not miss a day on the bench. Ginsburg was physically weakened by the cancer treatment, and she began working with a personal trainer. In spite of her small stature, Ginsburg saw her physical fitness improve since her first bout with cancer; she was able to complete twenty full push-ups in a session before her 80th birthday.”

“On February 5, 2009, she underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer. Ginsburg had a tumor that was discovered at an early stage. She was released from a New York City hospital on February 13 and returned to the bench when the Supreme Court went back into session on February 23, 2009. On September 24, 2009, Ginsburg was hospitalized in Washington DC for lightheadedness following an outpatient treatment for iron deficiency and was released the following day.”

“On November 26, 2014, she had a stent placed in her right coronary artery after experiencing discomfort while exercising in the Supreme Court gym with her personal trainer.”

Justice Ginsburg and Exercise

As described by Katherine Ellen Foley for Quartz Media in March 2017:

“Ginsberg is in better shape than most 83-year-olds (and possibly most people), according to Politico. Twice a week, RBG meets with Bryant Johnson, a 52-year-old ex-military personal trainer, who guides her through an hour-long workout consisting of some cardio, followed by three sets of 10 to 13 reps of weight training for her whole body—including pushups, which she does without the use of her knees, according to Johnson. She also does single-leg squats, and a standing maneuver where she throws a medicine ball to Johnson before sitting down and catching it.”

More recently, Elana Lyn Gross wrote for Business Insider:

“Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is not defined by her 85 years of age – she works out with her personal trainer, Bryant Johnson, twice a week for an hour. Ginsburg’s workout is a series of full body strength exercises that target arms, chest, legs, back, shoulders, glutes, and abs. Johnson and Ginsburg have been doing the one-hour workout that he details in his book, ‘The RBG Workout: How She Stays Strong and You Can Toofor 18 years, aside from the three years he was deployed in Kuwait.”

“The workout starts with a five-minute warm-up and light stretching followed by a strength training session that includes push-ups, planks, chest presses, squats, and hip abductor exercises, then another round of stretches to cool down.”

 
Here’s a video clip of Justice Ginsburg with Stephen Colbert.

 

Welcome to Living Well with Cancer

We extend a warm welcome to Living Well with Cancer. This blog is for anyone — or your families — dealing with serious health issues. It is written by an extremely lucky pancreatic cancer survivor.

To access a FREE PDF file of Surviving Cancer and Embracing Life: My Personal Journal, please click “Book” in the upper right. There are instructions as well a link to a Kindle E-book version for $0.99. PLEASE share the book with anyone you think needs some inspiration and hope.
 

Why This Blog?

There is a light at the end of the tunnel, even if that light is not as bright as before. And sometimes, we have to fight to see that light. I am NOT a medical professional. I am not alone in my battle with cancer. This is one person’s journey, both the ups and downs – with the strong determination to have the best life possible for as long as possible.

I am a pancreatic cancer survivor. I underwent an 8-½ hour Whipple surgery to remove the cancer. I had a lot of problems during chemo. As a diabetic, I passed out from low blood sugar a few days after finishing chemo. As a result, I had to miss my daughter’s bridal shower. And I had to have cement pumped into my back. I have a lot of other stuff going on. But enough of that. I am NOT complaining. I just want you to see where I have been – and where I still am going.

With this blog, I want to offer hope and support to those dealing with any terrible disease and their families. Why? To quote the late NY Yankee star Lou Gehrig when he was honored at Yankee Stadium while dying from ALS: “Today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.”

Choose to Be Happy