Reclaiming my life after a rare stage IV neuroendocrine tumor diagnosis

I’ve known six people who have died of pancreatic cancer, including my own dad in 2015. So, when I was diagnosed with that disease in June 2018, my first thought was: “I’ve got to get to MD Anderson.” I live about an hour north of Dallas, close to the Oklahoma border. But I knew the six-hour drive to Houston would be worth it, because all MD Anderson does is cancer. It offers specialized treatment from doctors who are experts. So, that was the only place for me. Today, I’m convinced that if hadn’t been for God and MD Anderson, I wouldn’t still be here. Because it was there that I discovered I actually had a stage IV neuroendocrine tumor of the pancreas — and that it was treatable. Pancreatic cancer experts at MD Anderson offered encouragement The first doctor I met with at MD Anderson was surgical oncologist Dr. Matthew H.G. Katz, who specializes in pancreatic cancer. My wife and I had a million questions. The most important one was, “How long do I have to live?” Because my father only lasted about 10 months after his pancreatic cancer diagnosis, and a friend of mine only lasted about 60 days. Dr. Katz didn’t feel comfortable speculating about that, but he did tell me not to worry. He said, “Look: we’re going to do some more scans and run some additional tests to figure it out. We’ll take care of this.” And, as it turns out, he was right. Corrected diagnosis took me from terminal to treatable The first thing Dr. Katz did was send me to a colleague, gastroenterology...