for Pat Adair, and the people who love her...

Our beloved Pat got some shocking news recently, and we're off and running on a mysterious medical adventure. Not an adventure we would have picked, but we're off just the same... (If you're new to the blog, start here.)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The news we feared

Mike and I went with Mom to the oncologist appointment on Friday, and heard what we were afraid we might: Mom has pancreatic cancer, which is treatable, but not curable. The prognosis, then, is pretty bleak - around 25% to 30% of patients will still be alive a year after diagnosis.

The doctor recommends chemotherapy, which in this case sounds like an easy decision in part because most people handle the treatments well, with little nausea and fatigue, and no hair loss. To balance that, lest you get too enthusiastic, is the fact that a relatively small number of patients with this cancer actually benefit from the chemo. The plan is for once-a-week chemo treatments for three weeks, then a week off. This continues for as long as the body tolerates it and as long as it shows benefit. She'll probably start late next week.

I guess that all qualifies as bad news. Is there good news? Mom is a little shocked, like the rest of us, but is in good spirits, amazingly enough. I can't speak for her, but I think we have a lot of things to be grateful for.
  • We have a large and loving extended family, and we had a wonderful Christmas in Utah.
  • Mom is a member of the Mormon church, and they've been incredibly supportive and generous.
  • She also has a lot of good and generous friends who are offering meals, help with errands, and friendship.
  • We have my brother Mike, who has been a pillar of strength during this event and last year, going through his own medical crisis when he had a brain tumor removed.
  • When my Uncle Bob, Pat's brother, died 15 months ago, we had his family to show us how its done - how to be present and loving and supportive as Bob died.
  • And for now, I have my loving Mother. I'm glad I get to spend a lot more time with her during this precious time. Time is always precious, but we rarely know it...
I have one request for the people reading this: don't go silent on us. A lot of times people don't know what to say, so they don't say anything. Or they don't want to feel awkward. Well, feel awkward, don't worry so much about saying the right thing, and post a comment, or call, or write an e-mail. It's a precious time. Like it always is...

Much love,


At January 12, 2008 8:01 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Pat, Dave, Mike and family,
We meant all day to call about the news, but somehow the day got away from us and we've just seen your posting. We are grateful to have had the opportunity to digest this news through your loving post and tribute to your Mom and family, Dave. We join you in being shocked and dismayed, to say the least. We realized we knew very little about Pat's diagnosed cancer, so we've been looking it up online. We found an excellent site at "PanCAN" which is the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network: Working Together for a Cure, so others might want to visit it also:

We'll talk with you very soon, Pat. You've done such an amazing job meeting this head on with courage so far, and we wish you continued strength to keep up the good fight in the days ahead. Love Myrth, Kim, Claude and family

At January 14, 2008 8:22 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

PS: Dear Pat,
Are they going to be able to give you some relief for the pain in your hip??? (I hope so!!) Love Kim

At January 16, 2008 1:13 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Aunt Pat, You are in my thoughts constantly- you and your awesome family. Are you feeling sick or is it mostly the pain in your hip. I know with Dad's cancer he didn't feel sick from it for a long time -or have the pain from it. I hope you have a similar experience- in that regart anyway. I love you and we pray for you. Hope to hear from you soon. Love Liz

At January 22, 2008 12:35 PM , Anonymous julie said...

Hey Aunt Pat,
What's the latest? Have you began chemo yet? If so, how are you tolerating it? Is it far from your house? Do you drive yourself there? Have they got your pain under control? I heard about a great cancer hospital/treatment center that you should look into. The phone number is 888-214-6471. I believe it's traditional treatment but I don't know what they do differently to have a better success rate. is their website.
Love you , Jules

At January 22, 2008 6:36 PM , Blogger Jeanette said...

Hello Aunt Pat,
Just wanted to let you and your family know that I am thinking about you guys. I'm in LA now so I hope to visit you soon! I hope and pray things are going well with you guys.
With lots of love,


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