Almost eight years after defeating pancreatic cancer, Ten Mile House woman lends a hand in support
Teresa Doyle, 70, of Ten Mile House said she put her faith in the medical team and God when she was told she had pancreatic cancer.
That was almost eight years ago.
Five years ago, she was declared cancer free by doctors.
Doyle knows she’s one of the lucky ones. Only eight per cent of patients live past five years.
“It’s almost like a miracle. I know I’m very fortunate,’’ Doyle said.
Now, she’s hoping her story will bring some attention to a cancer that has the lowest survival rate among the most common cancers. She’s hoping that by pounding the drum it will help increase funding for research.
Doyle will never forget how alone she felt when she was sick or how things changed after undergoing surgery to remove 30 per cent of her pancreas, part of her stomach, intestine and bowel. They also took out her bile duct and gall bladder.
“I’m running half empty,’’ she laughs.
She said her husband, Bill, was beyond excellent as were her children “but they didn’t go through what I went through and I wanted somebody to understand what I was going through . . . my whole digestive system was out of whack because of (the surgery). Food tasted terrible. Food wasn’t digesting properly.’’
Still, she couldn’t have made it through without the support of family and friends.
“(Bill) was a terrific caregiver, right from day one and my kids were great, too. (It was) a very rough period. It was rough for him.’’
Then she found an organization, Craig’s Cause Pancreatic Cancer Society, which was launched in Halifax by a family whose father died from pancreatic cancer shortly after being diagnosed. The organization is staffed by part-time employees and raises money it donates to patients and research. To date, more than $20,000 has been donated to patient support and more than $2 million to research funding.
Doyle helps to mentor some of the people who have gone through what she has.
“It’s rewarding. I just wanted to be able to reach out and help somebody else. I’ve met some people who have had the (surgery) and their stories are success stories . . . some are just living on a daily basis.’’
Her strength doesn’t surprise Bill.
“She’s probably one of the most strong willed persons I’ve ever known and she’s a fighter,’’ Bill said. “(We) also believed in prayer and I believe that’s what brought us through it.’’
Bill and Teresa Doyle are embracing life even more these days after Teresa fought a pancreatic cancer diagnosis almost eight years ago. Today, the Ten Mile House woman is cancer free and helping others.