That single moment of hearing the doctor say that I had pancreatic cancer changed me….Babz
OK so here is part 2 of Episode #2 – How I got cancer. This episode will take you through how I discovered and finally got diagnosed.
Just a bit of some background information. This was back in 2017 – I was living the absolute best time of my life personally and professionally.
I had a wonderful career as a data consultant at IBM where I worked for 4 years, so by all accounts was doing very well. When my contract ended – my wife and I decided we wanted a different pace of life and lifestyle. So we decided to relocate to barcelona – Spain. Luckily we got approved for a business residency visa which would allow up to setup a business in Spain. so by the time our residency permit got issued, we only had about 4 weeks to leave Canada bcos we wanted our daughter to be there when the school year started. Literally within 3 weeks, we sold most of our wordly possessions, packed up, booked our flights and left the country.
This was really an exciting and happy time for me and my family. I was living the best time of my life at this point.
Within a weel of getting to Spain, I remember getting this dull back pain – sort of in my lower back. Didn’t think much of it – I thought was it was probably due to a pulled muscle or something life that. Nothing to really worry about – I would lay down on the floor and ask my daughter who was 4 going on 4 at the time to walk on my back hoping to relieve the disconfort.
Over time, the pain would sort of come and go.
however the turning point came several months later when I had this constant pain in my stomach. Like a typical guy I first didnt think much of it however my wife eventually persuaded me to go to the emergency room which I did.
The outcome of that visit was that there was nothing wrong and that I was just constipated.
Couple of days after the visit and after taking the medication prescribed there was still a slight improvement, however I still had a really mild pain or discomfort around my stomach area.
Eventually I foound an elgish speaking doctor – mind you I did not speak a word of Spanish. So he sent me for more medical tests – but still nothing. His suspicion was that I maybe had IBS or some form of allergy. At some point I was diagnosed with Hpylory virus in my gut which I was treated for – still no relief.
As time went on – days and weeks – the symptoms became more pronounced. The pain and discomfort – sort of moved around my back, my stomach. Again I continued to do more medical tests but still nothing conclusive.
When the pain became a bit more unbearable – I started taking pain meds – once every other day, then later it became once every day, then twice a day and eventually multiple times a day.
At this point i developed other symptoms – I was get this intense pain right after eating. At first I thought it was the food but it really wasn’t. Sometimes I would get the pain when eating other times I wouldnt.
Obviously this was a constant concern for me – I would google my symptoms and one of the diagnosis was that pancreatic cancer but I thought no way – that is only for old white people.
The piviotal moment came when I made an appointment to see a specialistv- a gastroentrologist. He basically we ordered the same medical tests I’d been going for several months but this time they found a 4mm mass between my pancrease and stomach. The mass or tumor had basically encased or surrounded the major blood vessels in my stomach. Immediately it became clear this was something more serious but I didn’t know it was malignant or benign at this point. I went in for a biopsy a few days later and that came back inconclusive. meaning they were sure what it was.
I was constantly in pain – a lot of pain. I was taking pain medications every 2-3 hours and that wasn’t even enough. It just took the edge off the pain. Just before I was diagnosed I was on Morphine and other opiods just so I could function.
So finally I decided to Leave my wife and kids in Barcelona and I flew back to Toronto. I immediately checked myself in at princess margaret hospital. AGain I had to go through much of the same medical tests, blood work, scans, biopsy and within a few days, I was back at the cancer clinic with my sister when the news was delivered that I had pancreatic cancer.
That single moment of hearing of hearing the doctor say those words that I had cancer changed me…
and I’ll talk more in later episodes on what that change is.
From the first onset of when my symptoms started to when the diagnosis was confirmed it took about 8-9 months.
Although it took a while. am just grateful that my wife continued to insist and pressure me into going to the doctors, going to the emergency room and doing all the different tests.
So there you have it – thats how I found out I Had cancer.
Now there are a lot more details surrounding my journey early on – from being denied medical coverage from the insurance company bcos it was deeemed a preexisting condition, to some of the doctors missing the initial signs of the disease – so please check out some of the upcoming episodes to hear more about it.
Thanks for listening, until next time – Live out loud.