Mal

“My mom passed away 7 days after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer”

My name is Hayley and I would like to share my story about my mom, Mal.

MalMom was a very active lady, selfless and always there for others, my mom was 67 years old with a husband of 34 years of marriage, 5 children and 12 grandchildren.

Mom was always there for her family, night or day. She always liked to get involved with her grandchildren’s lives, whether it was watching them play football, performing on stage at theatre school, doing school runs, dentist appointments, tennis tournaments, gymnastic sessions and every Sunday, mom would cook Sunday roast dinners, some weeks she would cook for 12-15 people. Family was very important to her and idolised her husband, my dad.

My mom loved to go away on holidays and adventures, we had a caravan in Rhyl where we spent most our family holidays. In October 2016, my mom and dad went to Las Vegas for their 34th wedding anniversary and flew over Grand Canyon and in November, she walked miles sightseeing in London.

I want to stress that my mom didn’t smoke, didn’t drink, had no previous illnesses, medical records was clear and she was not obese.

Below is a picture of my mom Christmas day 2016. She appears to look healthy, WRONG, we were not aware that she was carrying the deadly silent killer disease. 22nd December, my mom attended her Christmas works do, she complained of fatigue and nausea. Christmas day was our normal annual time of year, everyone would meet at my mom’s to exchange gifts, raise a glass, some would stay for dinner, some would go and visit extended family.

patient
Mal on Christmas day 2016

Christmas night in to Boxing day, my mom was experiencing some pain, so we called the out of hours surgery, where they issued her with a 3-day course of antibiotics (Trimethorprim) for a water infection, the pain did not go away, so they issued her a different type of antibiotics for 7 days (Ciprofloxacin) and not to wait for her doctors to open in the new year, if still experiencing pain, my mom being my mom did wait for the doctors to open.

8th January, my mom went to the doctors, the doctors were concerned and requested tests immediately, so the next day she had blood tests taken, they were very quick at ringing her later that day, to say they found abnormalities to her liver and they wanted to investigate further. On Friday 13th (my Birthday), my mom had an abdominal scan and was waiting for a letter for a date for a CT Scan.

On 16th January, we rushed mom into hospital, signs of jaundice and high blood pressure. Mom stayed in hospital for a few days, she then had CT Scan on 18th January.

19th January, the doctor called a meeting with my mom, dad and my eldest brother. From that date my world fell apart, we received the news we didn’t want to hear, that one dreaded word, CANCER, we thought ok mom is a fighter she will beat this, they told us she had primary pancreatic cancer, I had no idea what that was or what part of the body the pancreas are or what it does, until now. Not only did she have primary pancreatic cancer, she also had gallstones and secondary liver cancer, there was no cure, there was nothing they could do for my mom and they gave my mom week to a month to live. It was too late.

Questions: Why? How? When? No symptoms, no warnings, how has our mom got secondary cancer when we were not aware of her having primary cancer.

My mom remained strong for my dad, myself and my siblings. She said we’ve all got to go at some point. I will never know what my mom was really thinking.


Hayley's family
Mal’s 12 grandchildren
Mal’s 5 children

20th January, my mom came home with morphine and anti-sickness tablets and support from McMillian.

My mom had several visitors, she didn’t want to turn anyone away, on the Sunday 22nd, my mom looked fine, looked tired but ok, she was eating and drinking and talking.

24th Jan, dad asked me to stop so he could have a good night’s sleep, we watched a film downstairs, then we went up to bed, before going to bed, we made sure mom was comfortable and she had her medication. That night my mom became so weak and she struggled to swallow, we didn’t want to take any chances, we rang my eldest brother who is a paramedic on duty and he rushed her into hospital, my brother must get his strength from our mom, he remained calm, professional and strong, even though he was dealing with his own mom. That night my mom went unconscious and deteriorated fast, my mom remained that way until Thursday 26th January 2017  at 9:15pm, aged 67 years, with her whole family around her.

My mom was only diagnosed a week before she passed, One Week.
We could not get our head around it, a fit, active lady was diagnosed with this awful disease and we all had no idea, but to pass away only 7 days later, I can’t even describe the words we are feeling, mom was our rock, our strength, a lady who we all turned to. My gran is 90 and going strong and her mom was the same age too before she passed peacefully., so you always think mom would live till she was 90 too, there has been no family history of this disease, we are all just in shock. This was one fight our mom was not going to win.

Cancer will hit anyone, at any age and at any time.

Our mom brought us 5 into this world and watched us all take our first breath, and we watched our mom take her last.

The reason why I want to share my story is because like myself I had no idea about pancreatic cancer or any information about the pancreas, I want to raise awareness of the symptoms, they are common symptoms too that they get ignored or misdiagnosed.

We need early diagnosis and a cure for this in the UK.

I held a coffee morning on 1st April for pancreatic cancer action, we had a cake sale and a raffle and we raised a massive £1053.

Thank you for taking the time to read my story. Mom, We love and miss you every day, you taught us everything we know, just not how to live without you.

Hayley coffee morning