The Ultimate Guide to Surviving Pancreatic Cancer Part 1

Disclaimer I am not a Doctor, Nurse, or medical professional. What I am is a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend who has a passion to share my experiences with pancreatic cancer so that they may benefit others during their health journey. I intend to bolster hope for us all. Long live hope. 

Hearing the Dreaded News “You Have Pancreatic Cancer.”

On Jan. 4, 2019, a doctor I had never met until that day, lovingly and compassionately held my hand and told me I had pancreatic cancer. To say I was shocked was an understatement. My husband and my parents were with me, and we were all in disbelief. How can a seemingly healthy woman receive this diagnosis? 

Everything I had previously heard about pancreatic cancer was bleak and scary. I was blessed that mine was discovered early. We left the hospital in a blur, with so many unanswered and unspoken questions, as well as questions yet to even occur to us.

My doctor phoned me later that evening. He was so kind and told me “not to go down a rabbit\’s hole” with the news. He explained that there is a surgery called the Whipple procedure, which could eliminate the cancer if I were a candidate for it. That call, and his optimism gave me and my family some much-needed hope at a time when all seemed so very bleak. At age 58, I was not ready to leave the planet. I had so much left I wanted to do.

Before my diagnosis, I had been busy living my life, being active with friends and family, when suddenly I no longer had the energy to do much. For a few weeks, I could only sit on the couch and rest. I thought I had a virus. I went from walking 10,000 steps a day to barely walking from room to room in my home in a short time frame.

I wish I would have had a comprehensive article of hope such as this to boost my spirits in those early days so that I didn’t have to figure it all out from square one.

The statistics are not encouraging yet there is always hope. I knew in my heart of hearts, that cancer would be with me and I would recover and flourish. I hold the candle for hope, love, and encouragement for you too, dear one.

After the Diagnosis … Now What?

Give yourself a little time to catch your breath then put together your healing strategy. Choose your mindset, build your medical and emotional support team.  You should have great faith in your medical support team and those that you surround yourself with. Remind yourself, that this is the time to receive love and support from others.  Allow people to give to you.  People want to help, be clear about what you need.

Remember to give yourself grace. You will be learning a whole new vocabulary within a short time frame all while not feeling well. Be gentle with yourself. That is good medicine for you. 

Coping with Feelings of Overwhelm, Sadness, or Anger 

These feelings are common, normal, and part of the journey. Remember, you have just received shocking news and you need time to process it. Feelings can range from a sense of being down in the dumps to full-blown anxiety or depression. These emotions can run the gamut from one day to the next or one minute to the next.

The good news is that there is help and assistance. You can talk to your oncologist, or health care provider team for recommendations. There are also many online support options. Get the cancer support services you need, for resources in your area visit.

How to Increase Your Odds of Survival

I believe so much of our journey is helped by the power of our positive thoughts and feelings of love and support. I used a lot of positive imagery and exquisite self-care in my journey. Gratitude for the gift of my life, the help, support, and prayers from others helped me survive and thrive.

My faith would carry me through with messages like “Body Calmness” and “All Is Well.”  I would meditate on “Body Calmness,” especially when my guts were in turmoil which really helped. The message of “All Is Well” helps me every day to know that I am supported, loved, protected, and held by the Divine. The good news is you are too, dear ones.

Each New Year, I select a word of the year; for 2019 I chose Flourish. To me, flourish meant vibrancy, being firmly rooted, strong, resilient, and thriving. Last year was that for me. Some days when I was feeling poorly, I would ask myself “how can I flourish?” Sometimes the answer was to drink water, nap, rest, meditate, or eat something. Sometimes the answer was to go outside in nature and nourish my soul.

One particularly windy, rainy night in the hospital, the weather provided a great metaphor for my flourishing. I envisioned myself with strong and vibrant roots allowing me to bear the strong winds and rains that were crashing outside. I envisioned myself hanging on while being buffeted and blown by the winds and pummeled by the rain. I survived the onslaught. I prevailed. I flourished.

Another key point is to consider cancer as a journey and not as a fight. Cancer had something to teach me. In fact, cancer had lots to teach me.

I am a daughter, sister, wife, mother, friend, and more. My cancer diagnosis affected everyone I know to some extent as we are all connected.

I am not alone. You are not alone. So many people were and still are praying for me, sending me love and light and healing goodness and grace for which I am eternally grateful.

Boosting Immune | Responses Living in Hope | Mastery of Thoughts

I choose to focus on healing instead of being “sick.” I choose to focus on Hope. Daffodils are a huge symbol of hope for me. I took the above picture of these beauties from Butchart Garden, in Victoria, BC a few years ago. I called my experience a healing journey with cancer for what it had to teach me and not to dwell on the diagnosis or “fight” with it. I was encouraged to trust, surrender, and embrace the experience.

Many times a day, I meditated or thought about my healing journey. Thoughts included:

  • How did I want to feel?
  • What could I do in the moment to flourish?
  • What did I need?
  • What did I want to eat or drink when I felt better?
  • What did I want to do and where did I want to go when I felt better?

At the time, I felt like my thoughts were helping me heal; now I see, they were boosting my immune system and activating healing as I become a master of my thoughts.

Support System

I did not heal alone but had a vast support system of family, friends, strangers, my medical team, practitioners, and technicians as well as Divine support.  I am so grateful for everyone who helped me or my family along the way.

Sometimes, it was as simple as a stranger holding a door for me because they could tell I could use the help, to as spectacular as a full-fledged miracle and everything in between.   

For free cancer support services in your area visit.

I envision myself healthy, whole, and complete. I envision myself being vibrant and radiating health.

Stay tuned to Part 2 of this series next week!

– Janette

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