Chapter One: Sharing Something Personal
Monday, November 22, 2021
I have something very personal I want to share: last week I was diagnosed with stage II thyroid cancer.
Over the last couple of days as I have told friends and loved ones about my diagnosis, something I have heard over and over is that if you’re going to get cancer, this is the one to get. This is the same thing I heard five years ago when I was diagnosed with stage I breast cancer.
Although the 98% survival rate is a relief to me, it immediately made me think of those who are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer – whose wellbeing I fight for every day – and how those are words they likely never hear, even if they are diagnosed in the early stages.
I am sharing this with you because that sentiment – that I’m fighting a very treatable cancer – is important context next to a disease that has a 10% long-term survival rate. It starkly illustrates the need for greater funding into early diagnosis, more effective treatment options, and specialized care for pancreatic cancer patients and their loved ones. Cancers like breast and thyroid when caught at an early stage have become treatable because of major investments in research, and it is long past time for pancreatic cancer to get on the same track.
Every day I speak to people impacted by pancreatic cancer: patients desperate for effective treatment options, survivors who want to give back, caregivers looking for support, and more often than all others, those who have lost a loved one to this disease. These members of our community are countless, some are understandably still reeling with grief and others are resolved to help us raise the rate of survival so fewer families will have to face the loss they feel. They are a constant reminder of what we are working towards: a survival rate that offers the hope I am fortunate enough to feel right now.
Over the coming weeks and months, I plan to continue sharing my journey, along with someone who is fighting stage II pancreatic cancer, and I hope you will join me. Today, I ask you talk to your loved ones about this disease, share the signs and symptoms with your networks, and consider a gift to research that will move this disease in the right direction.
Your actions today might just save a life.