From the Philadelphia Flower Show, to Discovering Pancreatic Cancer

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When I first spoke with my surgical oncologist, I felt like he had known me my whole life.

— Eva Lipscomb

For many years I’ve loved the Philadelphia Flower Show, with its stunning displays and arrangements. I always look forward to it, even though I move through the crowded space very slowly, because I had a double knee replacement several years ago. The April 2015 flower show was harder on my knees than usual. Two days after attending, I was still feeling severe pain down my sides, legs, and back, and it was only getting worse. I couldn’t even stand up straight.

At the time I was 66 years old, and even with my knee replacements, I had never felt this sort of long-lasting, intense pain before. I sought relief at my local hospital. The doctors there performed several tests and scans as they considered what could be the cause of my pain. It was there that I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

My mother had been treated for bladder cancer at Fox Chase Cancer Center many years before, and I knew that I wanted to start my treatment there, as well. From the moment I arrived, I knew I had made the right decision.

I knew Fox Chase was where I needed to be. 
When I first spoke with my surgical oncologist, I felt like he had known me my whole life. He scheduled my surgery to remove the cancer just two weeks after that first appointment. In the operating room, my doctor worked for several hours to remove a very large tumor growing in the middle of my pancreas. Although the tumor was growing very close to the blood supply to my stomach and liver, he was able to remove the tumor completely, along with the surrounding lymph nodes, all of which were negative.

The surgery went smoothly and I truly believe that my doctor and the whole team provided the best care I could have possibly received. The nurses and staff were especially helpful and compassionate during my recovery. If I needed anything at all, I called for help, and a staff member was by my side within seconds. Everything went so well that I did not need any chemotherapy or radiation after the procedure.

I consider myself so blessed to have had a terrific support system in my husband of 50 years, my daughter, grandson, and friends. They were my rock throughout my diagnosis, surgery, and recovery process. During one of her visits my daughter sat with me in the hospital reading through stories of other patients who had suffered from pancreatic cancer. We saw how many people had not been as lucky as me.

Many friends visited me, as well. A couple made greeting cards with me, which is my main hobby. It was a relief to be able to do work I love during my recovery, with my friends.

I could not have asked for more from Fox Chase. The doctors and nurses there gave me a second chance, and I will forever be grateful for that.

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