My name is Patricia or “Tricia” as I am so fondly known to my family. I am Rev. Constance’s older sister. She wanted me to write about some of my experiences having pancreatic cancer. She and I are writing a multi-part series and I am the writer of part one.
Let me start by telling you a little about the pancreas. “The pancreas is an organ located in the abdomen. It plays an essential role in converting the food we eat into fuel for the body’s cells. The pancreas has two main functions: an exocrine function that helps in digestion and an endocrine function that regulates blood sugar.” I went to the doctor because I was having some abdomen pains that would not go away. I ignored it for a while, but eventually I went to the doctor. The doctor did not inform me initially of what they found. It was some time later when they finally told me. This was in late 2016. I shared the news with my husband and two children (who were both doctors at John Hopkins University at the time). Because of my children’s affiliation with John Hopkins University, the hospital agrees to help me with a specialized treatment plan.
In October 2016, I shared the news with the rest of the family. They all were in a state of shock, but everyone believed that God would heal me. I told them about the plan of treatment. This meant that my husband and I would be moving from South Carolina to Baltimore. We would live with my son while I was being treated at John Hopkins.
Chemotherapy has to be the worst form of treatment possible. It is painful. You lose weight. You lose your appetite. You become lethargic. You are always tired. Not only did the chemotherapy kill my cancer cells, but it also killed my healthy cells. During my treatment, the doctors found out that the cancer had spread to my liver. This means more chemotherapy, more radiation, and more clinical trials that are unique to my illness.
After consultation with my doctors, my daughter moves up her wedding date to March 2017. God is good. Her wedding is on a chilly Saturday in Baltimore. She is beautiful. Her brother is her Man of Honor. Her father cried when he walked her down the aisle. I am the proud mother. My siblings are all here. My father is here. All of my husband’s siblings are here. All of her friends are here. The man she is going to marry adores her. I am at a good point in my treatment. My strength and appetite are back. I was pain free. God is good. I hope my family; especially my sisters can understand why I did not want to go to a different place for treatment. If I had, then I would not have been able to be around my immediate family during this very difficult time. Being around loved ones can make the suffering more bearable. God is Good to have blessed me with such a wonderful husband and children. Thank you my Lord and Savior.
October 2017, the doctors tell me that they cannot do anymore for me. My husband and I move back to South Carolina. My children take an extended leave of absence to be with me. Their love for me reminds me why it is so important for parents to bring their “children up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4b) For m this is what honoring their mother looks like. (Ephesians 6:1-2) God is good. The month of December has been really hard. I have lost a lot of weight. I am in a lot of pain. My husband, the love of my life for the last 44 years refuses to let the nurse help him. He insists on doing everything for me including bathing me. I guess this is what it means in those marriage vows, “ . . . in sickness and health . . .” This is the love spoken of in Genesis 2:24-25 and Ephesians 5:25-31.
 “The Pancreas and Its Functions.” Columbia University Department of Surgery College of Physicians and Surgeons. Obtained January 14, 2018, from http://columbiasurgery.org/pancreas/pancreas-and-its-functions.