• Stage IV metastatic pancreatic cancer diagnosed
• Chemotherapy cocktail, with adjustments for side effects
• Living as normal a life as possible
I thought I had a really bad stomach ache. The last thing I expected to hear when I went to my doctor was that it was pancreatic cancer. Like every other patient who hears those fateful words, my immediate response was “why me?” Of course there’s no logical answer but “bad luck.”
A Personalized Treatment Plan
But I didn’t have all bad luck, because due to an amazing set of circumstances and coincidences I was referred to Dr. William Isacoff and that’s where the good luck started for me. The protocol used by Dr. Isacoff is one of lower doses of a veritable cocktail of chemo infusions over longer periods of time, with adjustments made for adverse side effects.
I went through some difficult times the first year. I had debilitating side effects; except for not losing the hair on my head, I had them all. My mouth sores were so bad I couldn’t drink water without it hurting. I lost close to 50 pounds; I was fatigued all the time. I had hiccups, abdominal distress, dehydration, and a host of minor discomforts. Each of these side effects was treated with prescriptions or adjustments to my chemotherapy. But as the side effects dissipated I felt better and was able to face things better.
And the chemotherapy was working. When I was diagnosed my pancreatic lesion measured 32 mm by 28 mm. At my most recent CT scan it measured 6 mm by 8 mm. The two liver masses originally measured 30 mm by 25 mm and 17 mm by 17 mm, respectively. Today they are undetectable on the scan.
Through everything, I knew I had to stay positive, and with the help of my wife and anchor, Karen, I was able to do that. Karen has been by my side all the way. Together we fought through this and we are together today.
A “Normal” Lifestyle
Despite it all my wife and I have endeavored to maintain a relatively “normal” lifestyle. I go out to eat, I go to the movies. I just happen to have pancreatic cancer as a bad bonus.
We have traveled to Costa Rica, Scotland and England, Hawaii, and numerous other U.S. destinations. In June we’re headed for the Baltic. We love the movies and stage and attend with regularity. I try to exercise regularly, and do laps in the pool when not hooked up to my 5-FU pump.
As a pancreatic cancer survivor for three years my outlook has changed from when I was first diagnosed. In the beginning I was reading too much negative information, but now I know I have another day to live through, so my outlook stays positive. Staying positive is important. I would tell another patient to find a positive doctor with a positive treatment protocol.
I know I am never going to be cancer free and that’s not how I identify myself, but I don’t want people to look at me and have my cancer be a focal point. I want them to know that I expect to live whatever normal life I can live, and I expect their good wishes.
And with the unwavering support of my wife and my four children, and the unrelenting love of my eight grandchildren, coupled with the ongoing presence of family and friends, like the song goes, “I’ve got a lot of livin’ to do!”
See what Marc has to say about how he lives his life with cancer, in the video “As Each Day Goes By.”