Pancreatic Cancer Patient Stories

Dad and Athlete Spending Time With Family Again

After being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, Chris Kerwin wasn't sure if he would make it to Thanksgiving. Now, after working with Dr. Paul Fanta and Dr. Andrew Lowy, he is back to being active and spending quality time with his family.

An Early Diagnosis with a Happy Ending

“I am one of the most fortunate, blessed people in the entire world,” said Mrs. Ann Murphy of Fallbrook, California.  “I’m a survivor!”

Ann and her husband had just returned from vacation when she woke up one morning, looked in the mirror and saw a very yellow face. “Even the lines underneath my tongue were yellow,” she said.

Thinking the jaundice was probably due to hepatitis, Ann’s family doctor immediately put her in the hospital.  A consulting gastroenterologist was called to perform an endoscopic procedure, to see what was happening in her abdominal area.  He determined that her bile duct was obstructed, causing the jaundice.  As soon as he opened the obstruction, the bile began to flow and her yellow faded to normal skin tones.  However, that wasn’t the end of the story.  Her doctor also discovered a very small tumor on the head of her pancreas.

“I had no symptoms, other than the jaundice,” Ann said. “Because of the early diagnosis, I was able to have surgery by Dr. Bouvet at UCSD within two weeks.”

Following her successful surgery, called a Whipple procedure, Ann underwent chemotherapy with 5-Fluorouracil (5-FU).  It wasn’t an easy course, however. Ann became quite dehydrated and again was admitted to the hospital.  Fortunately, a new chemotherapeutic agent, Gemcitabine, was made available and she tolerated it quite well over the next year.  Shortly thereafter, her CT scans were negative for cancer, and she’s remained cancer-free ever since.  So that she could be monitored by an oncologist closer to her Fallbrook home, Dr. Bouvet referred her to Dr. Joel Lamon, who she sees every couple of months.

“The early diagnosis, friends and family, good care, and God’s grace pulled me through,” she said.