Pancreatic cancer survivor: Why I participated in a clinical trial

During my 50-plus years as a nurse, I’ve witnessed some pretty amazing advances in medicine, and I’m convinced that they are due to research. That’s why I came straight to MD Anderson when I was diagnosed with stage III pancreatic cancer in May 2017. Over the years, I’d heard stories about advances being made there that amazed me. I also knew the doctors conducted a lot of clinical trials. And I believe in the value of research. So, when the chance arose for me to participate in a clinical trial myself, I jumped at it. I wanted to give back to society. I now believe that I’m doing as well as I am because of other patients’ participation in research. As it turned out, I ended up being the very first patient — both at MD Anderson and in the nation — to join one particular pancreatic cancer clinical trial.  At my first checkup after completing my treatments, my doctor said he couldn’t find any cancer cells. I found this amazing. My unexpected pancreatic cancer diagnosis My family has absolutely no history of cancer, so being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer was a complete surprise. I’d started feeling bloated, passing pale stools and experiencing heartburn so severe that it radiated into my shoulders. With a history of acid reflux, I immediately thought it was getting worse. I went to my local doctor in Arkansas several times to get checked out, but two CT scans and a sonogram showed nothing unusual. Then one day I had to go to the emergency room with severe lower abdominal pain. A third CT scan finally...