My Personal Journey
My name is Tim and this my personal Pancreatic Cancer journey.
I've always been a big lad, overweight through lack of exercise and eating the wrong things plus having a stressful job.
I first knew that something wasn't right when I was in Melbourne in March 2012 and was going to the bathroom a lot. Over ensuing days I started to turn yellow and was diagnosed with Hepatitis A which I very much doubted. A friend referred me to a Gastroenterologist and he quickly identified that cancer was growing near the bile duct and I had a stent put in then further tests which confirmed pancreatic cancer. That certainly put a crease in my day as I thought that if Steve Jobs could not dodge the PC bullet with all his financial resources then how could I. I didn't count on the wonderful medical staff in our public health system.
Following a series of scans and tests I had a Whipple procedure in June 2012. After 9.5 hours of surgery I was told weeks later (by a very abrupt and insensitive doctor) that I wasn't going to make it and there was no point doing chemo and handed me some brochures on hospice care. I was determined to live and wanted to see my 14 year old great nephew become a professional soccer player in the UK (which he recently achieved, signing with Crystal Palace) so I insisted on chemotherapy which wasn't a lot of fun but I came through it and gradually gained my strength having lost over 68 kgs and weighed 50 kgs. I found walking was very good for me and still walk regularly. I can't thank the doctors, nurses and support staff at the hospital enough and I still catch up with them socially.
My wonderful company (I had only been with them for six months when I became ill) were fully supportive and this made a huge difference to my positive attitude knowing I had a job to come back to, along with all the support from my two sisters and many friends and the Cancer Council of WA. In October 2013 my doctor delivered the great news that I was cancer free and that I had made an incredible recovery from such an aggressive cancer. My kidneys and in particular my liver were in very poor condition but now are near perfect. Other than getting tired and some aches and discomfort while stretching (putting the clothes on the line is hard work!) from having a big operation I have been working fulltime since March 2013.
Being single with no family made my journey more difficult and I can't think what I would have done without my sisters and my friends. There are some incredibly nice people out there in the world and I owe them a lot.