Patrick Swayze has pancreatic cancer.
*This announcement today brought up alot of emotion in me, not because I am a huge Patrick Swayze fan, but because I am reminded of how this disease stole from me the most amazing woman I have ever known.
*Each year about 30,000 people are diagnosed in the US with pancreatic cancer. Each year about 30,000 people die in the US from pancreatic cancer. It has the worst median survival period between diagnosis and death of any cancer (about 3 1/2 months.)
*In 1991, Michael Landon died less than 3 months after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
*pancreatic cancer is "silent" because is usually has progressed before symptoms appear.
*There is no reliable screening for pancreatic cancer.
*Only 15-20% of those diagnosed are eligible for surgery. My mom was one of those people.
*Even with surgery, pancreatic cancer often returns.
My mom died 8 months after diagnosis.
*Despite the high mortality rate, the federal government spends woefully little money on pancreatic cancer research.
*If you are wondering why the words, "pancreatic cancer" are typed the way they are, it is because I don't want to give this disease the respect I know it doesn't deserve. It is a cowardly, dirty fighter. It hides and does its damage in the dark until it decides to show itself with a sucker punch to the least suspecting. There is no fair fight, not even for those with a strong will and heart. The damage is done before the fight begins. If I sound defeated and hopeless, I don't mean to. I am angry. I am angry about what this disease did to my mom and my family. And...I am sad to hear today that another family is suffering the way we had to.
*At the grocery store today, the cover of NEWSWEEK caught my eye. It said, "The Hunt for an Addiction Vaccine". I have empathy for anyone suffering addiction. However, there was nothing out there to save my mom from a disease that she was in no way personally responsible for. Redirecting our funding and reprioritizing may be in order!