If I can do math correctly, that means that 85 freaking percent of people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer will be deceased in the FIRST YEAR.
Pancreatic cancer is the tenth most common cancer in men and women, and the fourth leading cause of cancer death in men and women.
FOURTH leading cause of cancer deaths in all cancers, but second to last in funding for research to fight the disease. Something's not right there.
The five year survival rate is a staggering 6%. Only 6 out of 100 patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer will be around to see the five year anniversary of their diagnosis. Another heartbreaking statistic.
So when I got that text early this morning that a friend of mine's father had passed away in the wee hours of the morning, I was at first SHOCKED and scared. I felt a lump in my throat and could not think of the right words to text back. I opened up my phone to respond to the message, and all that would come out of my head and through the tips of my fingers was AAAAAAAAAAAH Damn :( Nothing else came to mind. Nothing I could say now would make things any better or rosier or happier for the families involved. I know what they have been through, but there again I have NO idea. They have experienced one part that I have not. The end of life process. That's why I firmly believe I have nothing to offer them in the ways of condolences except to be that listening ear when they are ready to talk. This person is not a close best friend of mine. We had been 'introduced' on facebook initially because both of our parents have been struck down with the same horrifying disease. We messaged back and forth, would give updates when needed, and maybe just send a message or two each other's way saying we are thinking and praying for them. Neither one of us ever knew who's parent would lose the battle first, but we both knew we were in the same fight. Fighting to make our parents feel loved, feel healthy, feel normal, feel blessed. I honestly thought that her father would most definitely outlive my mother. Morbid you say, that I compare the two? What would YOU do if you were put in my situation? I know the end outcome. I have no choice or no chance to change that outcome. I watched her father get different treatment options, and with my mother, they basically shut her off of all treatments as they would dramatically decrease her quality of life. A sacrifice we were not willing to make. So with my friends father getting the treatments, I felt he was at an advantage, hence the reason for believing he would survive longer. But obviously God has other plans for him. Big plans. And although I know nothing about him as a loving grandfather, father, and friend, I am willing to bet he left some pretty damn big shoes to fill. So I go to bed tonight thinking of Kim, thinking of what she could possibly be feeling at this very moment. What struggles she will have, does she have relief knowing the disease no longer has control over her father? Is she heartbroken to the point that she questions what the medical profession did or did not do? I am sure those answers will come in time. For her and for me. Caregivers have a common bond that no other person can even imagine exists. I will always be there for Kim...in spirit, soul, and heart. Praying for peace for her and her family, hoping that they one day discover the reason why their father was stricken with cancer. For now, my mother continues on with her battle. Right now she is winning. <3 I am eternally grateful for every extra day I get to talk to her on the phone, visit, text, and hug. Some people have that swept from them faster than they can blink. I get that.....Praying <3