I recently heard that an extremely lucky person in California won $2 billion dollars in the lottery. I also feel like I won the lottery in life by beating pancreatic cancer.
In 2017 I developed a burning sensation in my esophagus. The pain would not go away.My sister Grace found a gastroenterologist, who ordered a CT scan. I thought the pain would be easily resolved by a change in my eating habits. I naively expected the doctor to tell me to stop eating salty foods and take some aspirin. Instead, the doctor called and asked me to come into his office in person. I told him my workday was very busy and that I wasn’t able to come in, but he insisted, saying that I needed to come right away.
That was the day I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I was shocked, nervous, and scared. Pancreatic cancer was the disease that took my mother 25 years earlier. You can imagine how my world caved in upon itself in a matter of minutes.
I Didn’t Know What to Do!
Going back to work was all I could do that day. It took me a full 24 hours to find the words and courage to tell Grace. We have a strong sibling bond and I knew this would be hard for both of us.
I was introduced to Dr. Allyson Ocean at Weill Cornell Medicine by a friend who had been affected by the same disease. Dr. Ocean is an oncologist who works with many pancreatic cancer patients. She held my hand and gave me confidence, a road map, and a vision. She assured my sister and me that we were going to get through this. Having an experienced, trusted, and supportive doctor is everything.