“Our hearts will forever be broken”
Read Jean-Marie's story on her mother, Jean, and her experiences with pancreatic cancer.
Our concerns started initially in August 2012 when we saw a change in mum’s mood. She was prescribed anti-depressants. She refused to take them as she said they made her feel worse. In early January 2013, she was sent to A&E after taking a “funny turn” at a GP surgery, where my daughter took her after complaining of tummy pains. She was in hospital for one week, basic blood tests were completed but no real concerns were raised, and she was discharged with gastric juice problems and prescribed indigestion medication.
Following her discharge from hospital, myself or my daughter took her to the doctors every two weeks with what we now know were symptoms of pancreatic cancer. Weight loss, mid-shoulder back pain, changes in bowel movement, loss of appetite, vomiting after eating. We were constantly told, “it’s her age, old people lose their appetite.”She was given some multivitamins by the GP as they couldn’t seem to find anything else to suggest. We argued to no avail.
In May 2013, my mum found a lump in her breast. The GP had no option other than to send her for investigation. A mammogram revealed a small, non-invasive tumour. We asked if this could be the cause of her feeling so unwell and were informed no it was too small to make her so poorly. We stressed our concerns and the huge changes we were seeing to a beautiful MacMillan nurse. A day later she rang back and informed us she had spoken with the consultant and requested a full-body scan due to our concerns and he agreed. We finally felt heard. My mum went for a scan on the Friday, the following Tuesday, 18th June, we got the devastating results.
She had an aggressive tumour on her pancreas that had spread to her lungs & liver. Our hearts will forever be broken. She was failed by the GP and hospital for not recognising the symptoms. I work for the NHS & work with medical students. I always ask what their knowledge of pancreatic cancer is and advise them of the symptoms.