Together We Can
It can take one word to significantly alter one’s life – “cancer.” The flood of questions matched with the process of putting the pieces together to figure out what comes next consumes the mind in such a way that the diagnoses seems to have taken victory in a battle not yet fought.
Pancreatic cancer can be a quiet, inconspicuous form of the disease, generally disguising symptoms in its earliest stages to model other conditions. According to the American Cancer Society, however, pancreatic cancer diagnoses are on the rise and have recently surpassed breast cancer cases, but there is an answer for patients faced with this difficult diagnosis that is close to home.
For Robin Eagleson, her story began with a possible cancer diagnosis, which led to an internet search for a surgical oncologist closer to her home. Shortly into her search, the Ohio resident discovered Lutheran Hospital’s surgical oncologist, Neal Agee, MD, and after doing some research, knew this was her answer. “I truly believe I was led to Dr. Agee and his staff,” she stated. “This was right where I needed to be at this time.”
An option for some patients who have been impacted by a possible pancreatic cancer diagnosis is the Whipple procedure. This complex operation removes the head of the pancreases, the first part of the small intestine, the gallbladder and the bile duct and can often assist in the return to a state of normalcy for patients who undergo the procedure. Eagleson not only underwent the surgery, she was also Dr. Agee’s 100th Whipple procedure patient; a milestone which speaks volumes to the complexity of the operation itself. “The knowledge that the tumor was gone was such a relief,” she stated. “Had he not found it when he did, I might be sharing a different story right now.”
After undergoing the Whipple procedure in April, Eagleson and her family know they are headed in the right direction toward her improved health. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without Dr. Agee’s knowledge; his entire team was everything you could ever ask for and I could not praise them enough,” she stated. To this day, not only has she enjoyed the feeling of normalcy that has resulted from her operation, she is also feeling mentally and physically great – and people are taking notice.
“It was after I received my diagnosis, the staff told me, we are family, we will face this together and will get through it someday, somehow - hearing that gave me everything I needed for this fight.”