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Karmen's Story

Every year 630 New Zealanders are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and over 540 families lose a loved one to this striking disease.

This Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month we want to Shine a Light on just a few of the stories told by those fighting their personal pancreatic cancer battle, and those who have lost someone dear to them.

Karmen lost her beloved Dad Keith to pancreatic cancer on June 20th, 2020, and is bravely sharing his story to help raise awareness in the hope that it will help someone else going through the same.

“In March 2020 at the same time when Covid-19 hit, my Dad took ill. He had pains in his stomach and lower back and went to the doctor and the doctor told Dad that he was constipated and he was given medication and told that he would feel better in a couple of days.

After a couple of weeks, Dad went back to the doctor as he was not getting any better and they did some tests and still came back with the answer that he was constipated. Dad knew that he wasn’t as he kept a record of his bowel motions and it was all normal.

By the end of April, Dad was looking worse and he had lost a lot of weight by this time. We asked for a MRI Scan and with COVID-19 etc it took a bit to get him in but we finally did.

On Thursday 14th May 2020, we were called into the doctors and were told that Dad had pancreatic cancer and that he needed to see a specialist. So we got into see a specialist and the specialist told us that the cancer had spread to his stomach and bowels and there was nothing that they could do for him. Dad lost 20 kgs in a week and at the beginning of June, Dad was admitted to hospital for a couple of weeks as he was going downhill really fast. Because Mum was unable to give him the meds, he had to be put in a rest home for end-of-life care. Dad went into Radius rest home where I worked which was extremely hard but at least I could spend time with him. He was in there for 1 week and 2 days and sadly passed away on the 20th June 2020 at 11 am with all the family around him.

To this day, it’s still so hard as I was a Daddy’s girl, and he would always come and help us out on the farm. The one thing I’m grateful for is that Dad had one wish and that was to give me away and we were meant to get married on the 10th of October but we brought the wedding forward to the 29th of May. It was extremely hard but we did it in 8 days and I’m so grateful that I was able to give Dad his wish and that we had a fantastic support group of family and friends that made this possible for us all and 1700 wedding photos to cherish forever. Thanks for taking the time to read this story as it was extremely hard to write but I hope that one day my story could help someone who is going through the same ordeal.”

Pancreatic Cancer Aotearoa/ New Zealand - Facebook Support Group

If you have been affected by pancreatic visit: https://www.facebook.com/PanCan.ANZ. for an online community to support patients, friends, and family affected by pancreatic cancer