Carer Story: Abi Stock
Abi Stock tells the story of her Dad’s battle with pancreatic cancer after being diagnosed in 2018, which he unfortunately lost in the same year.
2018 was an extremely tough year for me and my family after my dad, aged 54, was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer in early March, and passed away in September that same year.
Experiencing the Symptoms
His diagnosis, in my opinion, did not happen quick enough. He started having pains in his stomach around December time, but knowing my dad it was probably before that! He never liked to make a fuss, but the pain got so bad, he wasn’t sleeping he was having time off work (very unlike him) and began to lose some weight. He had been back and forth to the doctors where they prescribed him antibiotics, and nothing was touching the sides. On one occasion mum driving him to A&E but again nothing was picked up or rang alarm bells?
He was a very fit and healthy man, so it was very unlike my dad, and he didn’t go to the doctors often so we knew he must be in some pain. He was getting desperate with the pain, doubled over and really struggling, so he decided to go private to get to the bottom of what this was. After a consultation they thought it must be gall stones. We’d have been delighted with that news….
He was then sent off with a date for an ultrasound scan, but worry did start to kick in and we pushed for an earlier date. Mum ended up phoning around every single Nuffield around our area and managed to get a last-minute appointment in Oxford, so they rushed off there. Got him in for the scan, and on looking at it couldn’t find traces of gallstones, but something came up on that scan that triggered them to doing a CT scan. I think at this moment mum and dad knew, but my brother and I were none the wiser. They waited a few more hours for a CT scan slot. After having this he then went on to waiting 2 days for the results.
A snowy day at the beginning of March and my mum who always answers her phone, hadn’t been in touch and panic started to kick in for my brother and I. we knew what time the appointment was and we were both waiting at the end of our mobiles hoping for a text to let us know it was a nasty infection.
We both received a text asking us to pop home when we finished work and at the moment, I knew this was going to be bad news.
They arrived home and broke us the devastating news that changed our lives forever. I couldn’t believe it, my dad was in tears telling us he had pancreatic cancer – I had never heard of it before, but all he said was as far as cancers go this one isn’t great.
Another wait now until he saw the specialists about his next steps. These waits were unbearable, we’d all been through such a torrid time and my poor dad knew he had this cancer in him but was now made to wait for further investigation and to know where we go from here.
Undergoing chemotherapy and Whipple surgery
After seeing the specialist, we were told Dad’s tumour was wrapped around the major vein and they couldn’t operate straight away. It was to be the strong horrid chemotherapy to try and reduce this and get it to pull away from the vein so they could operate.
Chemo started over a month later, again not quick enough in my opinion – why are we having to wait for everything, we want the best chance so why are we not acting quickly?
He had several rounds of chemo, several trips to hospital with all the side effects that come with the chemo. I just kept thinking my poor dad, why do we deserve this? Why him?
After seeing lots of consultants and getting second opinions and undergoing a lot of tests, in early August dad was granted the operation he desperately needed, it was now or never, the chemo wasn’t making enough of an impact. We were relieved he might finally get the chance to fight this thing off.
August bank holiday and dad had the long and tough Whipple operation, but after a number of post op problems too complex to explain he spent a month in critical care fighting for his life operation after operation, procedure after procedure, bad news after bad news. On 23rd September my dad passed away surrounded by his close family. Devastated and heartbroken just doesn’t begin to cut it.
Life after dads Passing
The anger, and pain I feel about this disease is still as strong as it was the day he was diagnosed. This silent deadly cancer has changed my life forever and I don’t think I will ever get over this. My dad really was the best person, he was my best friend as well as my dad. Coming from an extremely close family, it has seriously broken us, and anything I can do to help raise awareness I will grab with both hands.
At dad’s funeral we raised over £4k for pancreatic cancer, plus another £6k at other events ran by friends and family. This is still ongoing!
My boyfriend ran the marathon for Cancer Research and was training whilst dad was undergoing chemo, he passed away just before he ran it, but we raised nearly £7k doing this.
And I am currently training for a Macmillan charity flat horse race at York Racecourse and so far, I have raised over £10,500. I am passionate in particular about pancreatic cancer however the race had to be ran for Macmillan but I believe any support I can others is at least something.