Steven’s Story of Courage

Categories: Success Stories

I am a two-time survivor of pancreatic adenocarcinoma (Whipple procedure, 2007; liver surgery after metastasis, 2010) who has been cancer free and in excellent health for the past 4 1/2 years. When my liver metastasis was diagnosed, the oncologist talked to me briefly, recommended palliative care and walked out of the room. Instead, I aggressively persuaded my doctors to pursue treatment that was bold, aggressive, decisive and rapid. This meant a PET scan to determine if there was metastasis beyond my liver (which there fortunately was not) followed by liver surgery to remove the tumor. Throughout nearly all of both my bouts with pancreatic cancer I was able to maintain a positive, upbeat attitude. This enabled my loving support group – my wife, children, family, relatives and a close knit caring community of friends to remain energetically encouraging to me during my entire cancer experience. In contrast, had I projected an image of negativity and complaint, many people would have stopped being supportive and/or found excuses not to interact with me. This is because of the truth that everyone has their own problems and I would have worn out the good intentions of others be regularly complaining to them about their own issues. I did not fully realize this during my cancer journey, but my choice of maintaining a positive attitude has profoundly affected my life in an extremely positive manner. I now look forward to each day with a positivity and vigor that I never knew before. Since my cancer experience, many of the smaller day-to-day life issues and disappointments that virtually all of us have simply melt away into the “well…its not pancreatic cancer” category. In this way, I consider my pancreatic cancer experience, as physically and emotionally perilous as it was, to have provided me with a great gift…that of perspective to see life’s more trivial issues for the small inconveniences that really are.