Posted by: Kathy | August 4, 2009

A Letter to Pancreatic Cancer

I hear your name and my heart seizes up with fear, anxiety, anger, or sorrow. I hate you with a fury that words could never describe. You took the life of someone I loved, and I will never forgive you for the pain, uncertainty, and sadness you brought to my family. Every time I turn around, it seems that you are there, and I hear how pancreatic cancer has struck again.

I am haunted at times by what you did to my mom. She was a vibrant, active, happy woman who was so full of life and you reduced to her a walking skeleton, a shell of her former self. She did not deserve the fate you handed to her and she fought so hard against you. It was a fight she desperately wanted to win. A fight we all wanted her to win. But it was not meant to be and I’ve learned to accept it. But at the same time, I get so angry at what you took away from us: a wife, a mother, a grandmother, and a friend to many.

You are a silent and elusive killer, your presence often not detected until it’s too late. Like a stealth burglar, you go from person to person, taking life, stealing health, leaving behind a sense of emptiness in which the pain of loss echoes. Even when your presence is detected early, you are hard to defeat. You are like a poison for which there is no antidote, and even with the strongest of medicines, there is no cure for you. Is there anything that can match your power?

But don’t get too comfortable. There are people fighting against you, looking for a way to weaken you, defeat you. There are even some people now who win the battle, and there will be more in the future. Your secret is out and you can no longer hide. Even though I cringe every time I hear your name, I’m hearing it more often because of the war against you. There are more people fighting against you than ever before.

There will come a time when your name is no longer associated with death. I have hope that someone will find whatever is needed to beat you. There are many out there who are smarter than you. There are people who are looking for ways to defeat you. All you have is strength and one day that won’t be enough and you will lose.

There will come a day, probably not during my lifetime, when we will begin to win the fight against pancreatic cancer. I hope and pray that this day comes sooner than later.


  1. i can completely relate to the way you feel…i lost a parent to lung cancer and i didn’t even get to see them before they left. We didn’t even know it was cancer until after they were gone \. There’s no getting over such a loss. There’s only strength to live through it.

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