Hero Story: Chris
By Chris Bates
On October 2008, I went in to the doctor for my routine blood work to re-nu my blood pressure medicine. I was a healthy 49 year old male other than high blood pressure. My liver enzymes were off the chart so they did a sonogram. The test reveled a mass on my pancreas. After a CAT scan, my doctor informed me I needed a surgery called a Whipple Surgery. We scheduled the surgery for 10 days later, November 12, 2008. The best day of my life was the day before surgery that I spent with my wife. We laughed, cried, prayed and cried some more. My last meal before surgery was with my wife at a greasy bait shop/restaurant. The surgeon told me my surgery should take about 3 hours. I remember the doctor said if the cancer had spread too bad he would just close me up and start Chemo and radiation. I saw the clock before they put me under and was relieved when they woke me up and I saw it had been about 3 or so hours. I remember a nurse telling me in ICU that the first 3 days would be really tough. After that, each day would be better and better she said. ICU was the worst experience for me. I did not sleep and spent most my time watching the clock and waiting until my wife and children could come see me. My recovery has been remarkable. It was not easy but God has really answered prays in my favor. I remember crying after 10 days when they put that beautiful piece of jello in front of me. I remember crying the first time I got to sleep in my own bed. We celebrated every time they removed a tube. I had trouble sleeping in the hospital and at home so my wife would hold my hand until I fell asleep. I had a pain on the scar line and it felt like a ridge. I was afraid they left something in me. I would tell the doctor and he said it was normal. I looked online at a message room similar to this one and discovered he was right. While in the hospital, God answered another prayer. The results came back as Pancreatic Lymphoma. Very good news for my family and me. I have been through 6 rounds of intense chemo over 4 months. I have also finished my two years of maintenance chemo. My scan after maintenance chemo showed no sign of cancer at all. Seven months after finishing my last maintenance chemo treatment, my PET scan has some very small spots to small to detect a problem. I will repeat my PET scan in 4 months. I only lost about 25 pounds from the time the mass was discovered until Chemo started. I have gained about 20 of that back. I have discovered beef (anyway it's cooked) does not sit well. It has now been 3 years since I was diagnosed. My experience was not a pleasant one at all but with God, my wife and 3 children, church family, friends and relatives by me, I am a survivor.