Susan's Story

My Survivor Story

Susan and Stan

My name is Susan and I am a survivor of pancreatic cancer. My story began in July 2009 when I was due to have a hysterectomy. Six weeks before my intended operation I had been getting niggly pains in my side, burping a lot and what felt like butterflies in my tummy so I asked the Dr if it could possibly be anything to worry about and could it be my gall bladder. She didn’t think it was anything to worry about but I asked if I could have it checked out. On my insistence she reluctantly booked me in for an ultrasound. It took 3 weeks before I could get in for one and that day was a turning point in my life.

After the ultrasound I was asked when I was going to see my Dr – I said I would drop of the results and take it from there. Next day my Dr phoned me at work and said I needed to have a cat scan as soon as possible. I managed to get one that day at the same place and they put me in during their lunch break. My husband and I took the results to the Dr the same day and she told us I had a mass on my pancreas and needed to see a Surgeon urgently – we weren’t worried as the word cancer was never mentioned and the Dr said we were being very calm. She did tell us to get my 2 sons home who were in the army. I think we were just naïve as we didn’t know anything about pancreatic cancer let alone what the pancreas did. We came home and looked up some information. Risks for cancer include smoking and excessive drinking, however I don’t smoke and do not drink.

2 days later I was seeing a wonderful Surgeon who ordered blood tests, pet scan and some inoculations. By the following Saturday I was in hospital having the mass and my spleen removed. (lucky Chinese Day 8/8/2009 my surgeon was Chinese and was so busy he booked me in on Saturday as his only patient) I will always be so grateful to him. The army had sent my sons and their family home and even their pet dog. It was so nice to have them all by my side as I went into surgery and when I woke up to my son telling me “they had got it all Mum”. It was only then that we asked if it was cancer.

I spent 15 days in hospital and 6 months of chemo and radiation and to this day I am still cancer free and glad that I insisted on an ultrasound to see if there was anything to worry about. I now have a wonderful job working as a Secretary for Volunteers in a Perth hospital and thank my family for putting their lives on hold to be with me.