My Knight Pancreatic Cancer Story
In 2004, I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. My tumor was massive and involved all the blood vessels. Because of its location, doctors told me surgery was not an option. I got more opinions, but the news was always bad: I had no chance of a cure.
Finally, I went to OHSU Knight Cancer Institute. Their cancer specialists prescribed chemotherapy and radiation that could shrink the tumor. After a year of treatment, it had shrunk to the point where Dr. Brett Sheppard was willing to do surgery. He explained that the surgery would be dangerous, but I was willing to do anything to live.
As part of my surgery, Dr. Sheppard told me a large vein would need to be removed and then reconstructed. Until lately, doctors have not been able to do this surgery, but it is sometimes possible today. At OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, they do this complex procedure for 20% of patients with pancreatic cancer. Dr. Sheppard had to take out half my pancreas and parts of other organs to remove the cancer, but now I’m back on the golf course.
After the surgery, the chemotherapy and the fatigue from all the treatments, the worst part of having pancreatic cancer was being told over and over that I was going to die. People with pancreatic cancer think and are told there is no hope. Dr. Sheppard and I proved there is.