Pancreatic Cancer

You say pancreatic cancer and I do something crazy. What does pancreatic cancer have to do with a travel blog about moving from Colorado to New Zealand? And, no, thankfully I don’t have pancreatic cancer. But whenever I have any doubts about taking a risk in my life, trying something new or worry too much about spending money I think about pancreatic cancer.

I’m not afraid of heart attacks or car accidents. I must admit I don’t like strokes either though. But nothing gets my attention and propels me to live my life to the fullest like pancreatic cancer.

The pancreas is a very vascular (lots of blood supply) organ. It sits nestled near the liver and gut. By the time it is discovered, pancreatic cancer has already invariably spread its tentacles into surrounding tissue. Like so many other cancers, it’s insidious, and its initial signs are often vague and non-specific: abdominal discomfort or pain, bloating, loss of appetite, nausea, weight loss, jaundice. You generally don’t know you’ve got it until it’s too late to do anything about it. And it takes you out in a short period of time. You find out you have it, and a few months later you are dead. Nothing seems to help.

A few of Rebecca’s friends have died of it. Like Bob, hiking and mountain bike riding, and within a few months wasting down to nothing and dead. And one of Rebecca’s childhood friends—again healthy than dead in a few months.

Bob’s death in part spurred Rebecca to want to go to New Zealand for a month. If healthy, fit people can die so quickly, what the hell? What are you or I waiting for? And it propelled us in part to move somewhere, to decide to do something.

Lots of famous people have died from pancreatic cancer: Steve Jobs (founder and CEO of Apple Computer), Patrick Swayze (one minute dirty dancing, the next minute dead), Michael Landon (you probably don’t remember the old Bonanza TV series, do you, how about Little House on the Prarie? Okay, Highway to Heaven?), Luciano Pavarotti (opera singer) and a score of other famous people.

If you have any doubts about doing something bold or crazy or simply taking a chance or risk in your life whether small or big, just think pancreatic cancer.

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2 thoughts on “Pancreatic Cancer

  1. This is very true. My mom was just diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer last month…changes your entire perspective on life. I used to think the quotes, “live your life to the fullest”…or “live everyday like it’s your last” was so cliché. It’s not at all.

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