In the end of September, my mom went in to see a doctor because she was jaundiced. They did an MRI and an ultrasound, and found a mass at the top of the pancreas. They went back in and did an ERCP to try and get a better idea of what was going on. They cleaned out the pancreas and got some cell samples, but not from the mass, and put a temporary stint in so that things could drain again. After that 'outpatient surgery' she was hospitalized for five days for pancreatitis caused from the ERCP. She got the results back from the cell samples and they came back negative, so that was good. About two weeks later they went back in and got a sample of the mass through an endoscopic ultrasound.
Last week, mom called with the news. She has pancreatic cancer and the mass is a tumor that they will remove on December 2nd(hopefully, as long as everything still looks okay and the fluid around the pancreas has dissipated from the last operation), along with the gall bladder and the duodenum curve(maybe more of it) and the duct from the liver to the pancreas, which they're going to resection to the lower bowel. My grandfather, her father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer around October of 1994 and died ten months later in August of 1995. She has the same gene, but the cancer hasn't spread as much, which is a really good thing, and more research has been done since then and the doctors are more skilled.
Here are a few more pieces of good news(and these all came from Mom): 1.) Apparently they can do tests now for family members with a history of pancreatic cancer(like me) to find the gene early on and watch it so that if it does turn into cancer(like it did for mom), you can get help earlier on when things aren't so advanced. 2.)Apparently John's Hopkins is in the experimental phase of a pancreatic cancer vaccine that, so far, is showing pretty good results. Maybe that will be of some use to someone in our family and others someday. And 3.) Her surgeon is the best in the country for this particular procedure. He has perfected the Whipple procedure(the one they will be doing on Dec. 2) and has minimized the amount of things that have to be taken out and he has minimized the length of time that a patient has to stay down in the hospital. There's actually a great article about him(Dr. Traverso) and the Virginia Mason hospital(where she will be getting the surgery) that you can read here. It's comforting to know she'll be in such good hands. And most important, we know that the Lord's hand is in this, and we love Him and trust His wise judgment. He knows all and will do what is best. Please, keep her, and our family in your prayers. I know they will be a comfort and a blessing to us.