For several weeks during July 2013, Sherri was following up on some increasing abdominal pain and elevated liver function tests. Preliminary diagnosis was gallstones based on the pain, but an ultrasound and then an MRI showed some suspicious shadows on her pancreas, dilated ducts, and liver lesions. On Aug 5, she went to Fox Chase Cancer Center for an outpatient endoscopic procedure (EUS and ERCP) to take a closer look and grab some cell samples. Complications (including bacteremia) landed her back in the hospital for the rest of the week , and on Thu Aug 8 they delivered us the news that the cells in both her pancreas and liver were positive for pancreatic cancer (adenocarcinoma of pancreatic origin).

We picked up the pathology reports on Mon Aug 12, and found out that any spread of the cancer from the pancreas to another organ (in this case the liver) automatically classifies the cancer as Stage IV. On Thu Aug 15, we met with an oncologist at Fox Chase who specializes in pancreatic cancer treatment. During this meeting, he confirmed that surgical options are not effective once the cancer has metastasized, and that Sherri should start a chemotherapy regimen as soon as possible.

We’ve been told that the outlook for pancreatic cancer has improved over the last year or so, and that we shouldn’t put too much stock in the stories out there on the internet. Just passing that along.



9 thoughts on “Diagnosis

  1. Pingback: Staging the battle | Kick this Cancer in the Pancreas

  2. Thanks so much for starting this page. Sherri and you (her family) have been on my mind since I heard the news! You are in our thoughts and prayers! You have our love and support! I am heartened to read that treatment for this type of cancer has improved beyond what I read on the web! May this week go well, with love, Jane & Michael

  3. Sherri – although it has been ~100 years since we have seen each other, you are in my thoughts and prayers.

  4. Best Friends for Life…I am thinking about you and your sweet family all the time. My prayers for strength and perseverance and painlessness and the forgetfulness of sleep.

    All my love my darlin’,


  5. Dear Sherri and family,
    We’re all pulling for you and are available to help any way we can!
    Cheers and love, John, Heather, Max and Elise

  6. Dear Sherri,

    Sending strength and positive thoughts to your way. We will pray for you and your family.

    Hugs, Barbara

  7. Researchers Find Potential New Treatment Approach for Pancreatic Cancer

    Dec. 20, 2013 — Scientists from the University of Manchester believe they have discovered a new way to make chemo treatment more effective for pancreatic cancer patients. Researchers believe they have found an effective strategy for selectively killing pancreatic cancer cells while sparing healthy cells. The research, published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry this month, found pancreatic cancer cells may have their own specialized energy supply that maintains calcium levels that keep cancer cells alive. In pancreatic cancer cells there is a shift towards glycolysis as the major energy source. It is thought that the calcium pump may have its own supply of glycolytic ATP, and it is this fuel supply that gives cancer cells a survival advantage over normal cells. So scientists looked at the effect of blocking these energy sources. Their study shows that when they blocked glycolysis, it resulted in a toxic calcium overload and ultimately death of the pancreatic cancer cells. Dr. Jason Bruce, from the Physiological Systems and Disease Research Group, who led the research said: “Designing drugs to block glycolysis might be an effective strategy for selectively killing cancer cells while sparing normal cells within the pancreas.”

  8. Sherri,
    Though I haven’t had the opportunity to come up and visit you in Bryn Athen, I remember fondly our days at University of Delaware together and talking with you when we met in Durham,(about 15 years ago by my calculations!). I remember how warm and open you were . We wish you all the best and carry you in our hearts and prayers.

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