Pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rate of all the cancers tracked by the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute (NCI). There are no early detection tools and no effective treatments. Despite these facts, the federal government has no long-term comprehensive research strategy to combat pancreatic cancer.
The best way to fight this disease and change the status quo is to pass the Pancreatic Cancer Research & Education Act (S. 362/H.R. 733). The bill would require the NCI to develop a long-term comprehensive strategic plan to combat the disease. I am grateful that our very own Senators Bob Casey and Patrick Toomey and Representative Todd Platts are co-sponsors of this critical legislation.
But not all of our representatives in Congress, though, have signed on to the bill yet.
My own story is difficult to tell, but I share it in hopes that each and every one of the senators and representatives that our own lawmakers interact with willunderstand the devastation this disease has caused for one of their own constituents and his entire family.
As a co-sponsor of this bill, they know how important this issue is. I ask that they please continue to help constituents like me who have been impacted by this disease by encouraging all of their colleagues to co-sponsor the Pancreatic Cancer Research and Education Act once again.
My husband was 55 years young and "we thought" in good physical condition. He started feeling bad in May 2010 and was initially diagnosed with acuteacid reflux. Then he began having pain in his sternum, ribs and back, which doctors said was nerve ending/chest wall pain. He was having diarrhea and losing a lot of weight and the doctors said it was a reaction to his medication for pain.
He requested a scan, MRI, or to just be put in the hospital to find out what was wrong. Our doctor said he didn't need that, and he knew what the problem was and we just needed to find the right medication to help with the pain.
We finally made a trip to a hospital emergency room out of York in the middle of the night, and they ordered a scan (the scan he had been requesting and that took maybe 15 minutes to complete) and found a mass in his pancreas the size of a baseball. After further tests and biopsies they diagnosed him with pancreatic cancer, stage IV, that had metastasized to the liver.
No one who has not been in this situation can even begin to understand the devastation a person and their family feels when told they may only have three to six months to live.
Our only human hope was in the clinical trials they offered and that the tumors would shrink and they could operate or that the tumors would be totally destroyed. Our ultimate hope was in the Lord, that he would give us the miracle we were searching for through the clinical trial he was in and that He would put a burden on the hearts of all of our representatives in the political realm to "make things happen" in finding a cure for pancreatic cancer through co-sponsoring the Pancreatic Cancer Research & Education Act.
Well, the Lord decided He wanted my husband with Him, and so May 16, 2011, He called him to his final "home" and gave him freedom from the pain and suffering he had endured.
Now my hope and prayer is that all of our lawmakers who have already signed on to this bill will urge all of those who are not co-sponsoring the Pancreatic Cancer Research & Education Act to do so.