Help­ing oth­ers

Al­most eight years af­ter de­feat­ing pan­cre­atic cancer, Ten Mile House woman lends a hand in sup­port

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - HEALTH - BY DAVE STE­WART

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.’’

DAVE STE­WART/THE GUARDIAN

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.

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