Connect Mayo Clinic-1/25/15 MY Experience with Pancreatic Cancer (Diffuse Large B Cell [...]

Posted by La Rita Mason @lrmason, Jan 25, 2015

Connect Mayo Clinic-1/25/15

MY Experience with Pancreatic Cancer (Diffuse Large B Cell Lymphoma, extra nodal), Staging and Treatment

On January 2, 2013, I was ending my 16th annual “New Year’s” physical at Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale with my Executive Health primary physician, thinking I was departing from another successful physical. Both he and the subsequent gastroenterologist said that from the initial physical exam they would never have suspected an abdominal issue of any sort. It’s the blood work that was the tip-off.

On January 7th, I sent an e-mail out to my several hundred “Groupies”:

SUBJECT: At this point I have been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

You see, my “Groupies” are people from around the world who travel and eat vicariously through me. I have always believed in “making memories” each day…if someone asks you to do something FUN, don’t ever say “no” to stay home to do your professional work or to clean house. The next day, much less next year, you will not remember what it was that you stayed home to do, but if you go “make a memory” THAT you will cherish. And it is the memories we all will need to fall back on in adverse circumstances. But, I digress…

With the pancreatic cancer diagnosis, I knew I had to rally any and all of my resources. I am a private practice speech-language pathologist who used to attend medical staff meetings where I was the only non-MD person present. I listened to the doctors’ presentations and “table talk.” That is where I learned that, unlike the philosophy of when I grew up in a very small town, all doctors and lawyers must be “next to God,” I soon learned that some docs graduated at the BOTTOM of their class.

Garnering all of my resources of faith and research skills, the “Groupies” and I began the January Journey together. These were e-mails that were exchanged between me and them, filled with research, suggestions, and support. About a month into them, my lawyer told me that I should publish them because they contained so much good information about how to advocate for yourself and how to get through the cancer staging procedures (22 days from lab score to start of my first chemotherapy infusion), treatment and follow-up. I told him that I didn’t think I could psychologically go back and edit it all, as I believe in always moving FORWARD in life… Eventually, my childhood friend edited those compiled e-mails four times and added a Preface and Epilogue to them. You may access them at a link to my website:

After my lawyer’s comment, mid-way through my chemotherapy regime, I decided that I COULD develop a Protocol to help people know how to deal with treatment issues. My physicians confirmed its value, printing it out for any patients who will be undergoing chemotherapy. You may access this document, too, at my website:

May you will find HOPE and practical tips in the above links.

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