Walk 4 Pancreatic Cancer

May 9, 2012 at 5:41 AM 3 comments

If you have been reading this blog for a long time, you’ll know that pancreatic cancer is very near to me.  My father passed away from pancreatic cancer ten months after he was diagnosed.  Pancreatic cancer is extremely difficult to detect until it’s too late, stage four cancer.  It is a nasty one.  Dad’s symptoms began with what we thought was the stomach flu.  My little nephew had the flu and my dad was around him a lot so we assumed he had that.  We blamed his taking longer to get over it on age, he was 62.  Eventually the throwing up subsided but the appetite never came back.  His doctor suspected it was an ulcer and my dad even brought in the DVD “Father of the Bride” to show his Dr. that he was going through many of the same emotions that Steve Martin’s character went through, as his BABY girl was getting married.  Test showed it wasn’t an ulcer.  After more testing, they discovered a growth on the pancreas.  They drew out the fluid and miraculously it came back as pre-cancerous.  It was decided he would have a surgery to remove a portion of the pancreas, he would be fine and we would move on with life.  About two hours into the scheduled six hour surgery,  the surgeon came out, my mother, brother and I were taken to behind a partition where the surgeon explained to us that they were wrong,  the cancer had spread to the liver and my dad had about six months to live.  He told us that we could do chemo but that it really doesn’t do any good with Pancreatic cancer and that there was no hope.  That day marked a series of monumentally horrific days in my life.

My prayer is that one day a surgeon won’t have to deliver that kind of news.  That one day, a Dr. can say, we’ve detected cancer on your pancreas but its in the beginning stages and we can fix it.  That one day, a Dr. will say there is hope, even though the cancer has progressed, we have a very effective chemo.

My dad did get chemo treatment.  We went to UCSF, where he had one of the best pancreatic oncologists in the world.  We feel incredibly blessed that he received such amazing treatment.  We have to thank them for not giving him six months to live, but in fact, ten, and every extra month was an absolute gift to every one of us.  The nurses at UCSF were so kind and supportive.  When we would go there for his chemo treatments, you sit with all other cancer patients for about six hours of treatment.  The nurses know how taxing this is on patients and so they treat the patients like family, with abundant love and kindness.

This Saturday, our dear friends, the Mariani Family, are doing an annual pancreatic cancer walk.  All of the proceeds with go to UCSF pancreatic cancer research.  I know it’s a big ask for time or money, but, if you have the time this Saturday and you live locally, we’d love to see you at the walk.  The walk is held at Santa Clara campus and it begins at 8:30 AM.  If you, don’t have the time, but would like to donate, please do so here.  For more information, please visit the website: www.walk4pancreaticcancer.com  I also realize I didn’t give you much warning and for that I apologize.  Truth be told, these posts are difficult for me to write but I do find them important to get awareness out there.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Katie  |  May 9, 2012 at 8:00 AM

    I would definitely walk with you if I lived in SF! Your candor on your blog is so inspiring. I am certain that your dad will be walking with you on Saturday.

  • 2. Glynnis  |  May 9, 2012 at 9:11 AM

    It’s hard to find words to express my admiration for your effort on this blog Kate. I know how hard it is for you – but also how important it is to raise funds for this cause.

  • 3. Laura Shinn  |  May 21, 2012 at 6:09 PM

    Little Kate Imwalle. Hi, you! My mom sent me your blog and I just re-stumbled across it. So beautiful! And so very touching. I’m tearing up reading this. Much love to you! xo-Laura Shinn


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