John D

John was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and sadly passed away just one month later, aged 69. His wife Jennifer shares his story…

John, pancreatic cancer patient, with wife JenniferIt all started when we went to a Christmas party in 2013. John had eaten some Christmas nibbles and had one glass of wine – he hardly drank and had never smoked in his life – on the way home he kept repeating and burping.

At the time we thought it was quite comical and we kept giggling every time he burped. We thought some of the nibbles must have upset him at the party. This was the first unusual thing I can think of that may have been a symptom.

Further symptoms and going to the GP

Not long after he had a lot of pain in his right shoulder, to the extent where he couldn’t even lie in bed on that side.  He was also feeling  more full when he ate. So, he went to the doctors because he knew something wasn’t quite right.

John wasn’t a typical man that never went to the doctors.  In March 1999 he had been diagnosed with multiple myeloma and against all the odds he survived 15 years. He also was diagnosed with low grade prostate cancer which was only being monitored.

His GP gave him some medication which didn’t help, so he kept going back with the same outcome.

We were a bit worried and thought that he may have gallstones or an hiatus hernia, so we paid privately to have an ultrasound so see if anything else was wrong. They didn’t find anything, the doctor said “we really can’t see anything, but your pancreas seems to be a bit enlarged but don’t worry because you are slim sometimes organs look bigger in slim people.”

This sent alarm bells ringing with me. I ran after the doctor to ask him further questions but he was gone. I had a good friend who’s father had pancreatic cancer but his symptoms were nothing like John’s at all.  I always wanted to be a nurse so I took a great interest in anything medical.

The pain gradually worsened on his right side.

I know people say not to but I did Google the symptoms. When I checked stomach cancer and pancreatic cancer neither corresponded with the symptoms that John was suffering from.

He then had an endoscopy which showed nothing and finally a CT scan which the private doctor had recommended, just to be safe rather than sorry.  Two weeks later he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and he passed away exactly one month after that aged 69.

I cannot believe this happened to such a healthy man

I cannot get over how this happened to such a healthy man. He was always so active and very athletic. He was careful with what he ate, rarely drank alcohol and had never smoked in his life.

If he had passed away from his first cancer, multiple myeloma, it would have been easier to accept although still  a shock. Even if he passed away from prostate cancer but not this. It doesn’t seem fair, it really seemed as if the  cancer was out to get him and I just can’t understand why it had to be pancreatic cancer of all cancers.