Photo of Judy Green Pancreatic Cancer Warrior

Judy Green

Photo of Judy Green and Camile Moses

Judy Green With Camille Moses

Diagnosed: January 2016
Survivor: No Visible Signs of Cancer. November 2018

Written By Judy Green

In early December, 2015 I became ill with what I thought was the stomach flu. I had not been feeling well off and on for about 6 weeks. On the morning of January 13, 2016 my husband took me to the emergency room because I became extremely sick.

In the emergency room I was told I had the flu and should go home. I explained to the E.R. doctor that I knew my body and this was not the flu. At the insistence of my husband and myself, I had series of blood tests. My liver enzymes were extremely high. An ultrasound was done which showed my liver was fine but there was a spot on my pancreas. A CAT scan was ordered and I was told it appeared to be Pancreatic Cancer but I would need to have a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis.

I live in California and at that time my older son was living in New York and worked for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center as a recruiter. I traveled there for a second opinion. At Memorial Sloan Kettering I was diagnosed with Stage III locally advanced pancreatic cancer because the tumor surrounded the superior mesenteric artery. I was told it was inoperable. It took 6 weeks to get a definitive biopsy. By that time it had metastasized to my liver. All I could think of was that I would not live to be a grandmoth

The fight began. I underwent 12 treatments of folfirinox at 80% per the suggestion of Memorial Sloan Kettering. I developed neuropathy so they discontinued one component of the folfirinox (oxaliplatin). I then had 37 treatments of folfiri. The road was pretty rough but I was determined not to let this terrible disease define me. I retired last year and my husband and I continued to travel when I was up to it.

I found that ginger candy relieved some of the nausea but I lost significant of weight down to 99 lb. I had no appetite and lost the sense of taste. Even water tasted badly. My family was very persistent and came up with ways to get me to eat. Over many months I began to gain weight and I’m now actually a little above my pre-cancer weight.

My oncolgist told me I would be on chemo the rest of my life because pancreatic cancer comes back. In April 2018 my white blood cells were not regenerating. My oncologist asked me to reach out to Memorial Sloan Kettering and get their input.

My scans had shown no evidence of cancer for almost a year so the decision was made to discontinue chemo and to follow up with scans every three months. Two scans since that time showed no visible cancer. I still find it hard to believe that I can call myself a survivor. I consider myself one of the lucky ones.

At the time of my initial diagnosis my younger son lived in Florida and worked for the Miami Dolphins. Every year the Dolphins do a fund raising event called the “Miami Dolphins Cancer Challenge”. I attended the event in February 2017 and met a woman who at that time was a 5-year survivor of Stage IV Pancreatic Cancer. Her name is Camille Moses and we’ve become good friends. She was the first person who made me believe I could beat this.

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