A 40-year-old woman felt heart palpitations and attributed them to over-exercising. She was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.


(Left) Lindsay Gavin, who was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer at age 40.  (Right) Gavin and his family dressed up for Purple Stride.

(Left) Lindsay Gavin, who was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer at age 40. (Right) Gavin and his family dressed up for Purple Stride.Lindsey Gavin

  • Lindsay Gavin, 40, complained of heart palpitations and was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

  • Like many patients, she noticed symptoms only in the later stages of pancreatic cancer.

  • Relying on her network of friends and family helped her find all treatment options.

When Lindsay Gavin was rushed to the emergency room on Christmas Eve 2022, Lindsay Gavin, a 40-year-old mother of two, didn’t know what to do with her heart palpitations.she thought she was trying too hard orange theory The day before. Later, while waiting at her hospital, her stomach pains and fever began, she told the insider.

Imaging tests diagnosed stage 4 pancreatic cancer that had spread to the liver.It was a difficult diagnosis: about 5-10% of patients with pancreatic cancer Five years after diagnosis, the five-year survival rate for stage 4 pancreatic cancer is 1%.

Gavin is Younger than most pancreatic cancer patientsWhen she got the diagnosis, she told insiders she felt “complete shock” and was immediately reminded of her family. “Obviously, all I’m thinking about is my two daughters, but am I going to be with them?” she said. “But they are also my beacon of hope, so I had to be strong and do what I had to do.”

She said she immediately sought antidepressants because of her daughters, ages 7 and 4. She then began seeking treatment for ailments such as, with the help of a huge network. deadliest cancerwhich kills about 50,000 people a year in the United States.

Like many people, her symptoms of pancreatic cancer appeared late.

Diagnosis of the pancreas is very difficult because Most people do not experience symptoms until stage 4, the most advanced stage of the disease..

Gavin, who worked as a nurse before starting treatment, suffered a work-related shoulder injury a month before his diagnosis. She was on Tylenol and Motrin “around the clock,” which she suspected was masking her fever. When she was diagnosed with cancer, she had masses in her pancreas and liver, severe diverticulitis (bulging sacs in her digestive tract), and a septic abscess in her colon.

Her family helps her find all possible treatment options

(Left) Gavin with her husband and two daughters.  (Right) Gavin with her parents and sister.

(Left) Gavin with her husband and two daughters. (Right) Gavin with her parents and sister.Lindsey Gavin

Doctors told Gavin that chemotherapy was the best treatment, but the family was determined to explore all possible treatments, including cutting-edge biotechnology.

Gavin enlisted his sister and retired mother, and they quickly tapped into government-provided resources. Pancreatic cancer control network.

She has had nine rounds of chemotherapy so far at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and after eight weeks it was “very successful,” initially all tumors shrinking but some regrowing, she said. Told.

Her family and friends keep her up to date on new advances in pancreatic cancer treatment, including recent treatments. Development of mRNA vaccine This prevented cancer recurrence in 50% of patients who received jab.

Gavin still doesn’t feel like reading much about pancreatic cancer, but his mother and sister’s research has helped. “They are bulldogs when it comes to that,” she said.

She looks to her huge network for emotional support

Lindsay Gavin's friends and colleagues are supporting her chemotherapy treatment.

Gavin’s friends and colleagues support her chemotherapy treatment.Lindsey Gavin

Gavin said the help she received was “unreal”. Many of her friends and colleagues showed up at her chemotherapy treatment with posters to cheer her on and snacks for her nurses.

“They bring gifts and cards, not the typical ‘I’m so sorry for what happened,'” she says. “It’s like, ‘Oh my God, I hate her husband. Listen to what he did to me last night.'” Ms. Gavin reads the documents while undergoing therapy.

Since her diagnosis, her network has also expanded. One of Gavin’s best friends introduced him to her 39-year-old woman from Atlanta who also had terminal pancreatic cancer.

“We talk almost every day now, which is great,” Gavin said. “She has a great sense of humor. Humor has been very helpful to me throughout this diagnosis.”

Gavin went out of his way to help raise funds for pancreatic cancer research. purple stride Over 120 teams competed in Chicago and took first place. Her sister also formed a team with her family and friends in Detroit, where Gavin was born and raised. “It was kind of cool to have two top fundraising teams in two different states with the same goal,” Gavin said.

The future is uncertain, but Gavin is hopeful. She has a “wonderful” rare genetic mutation. Doctors say they can try targeted therapies, which can help cancer cells with an infusion of drugs that target specific proteins on cancer cells. It can also stop the growth and destroy cancer cells. The drugs Herceptin and Perjeta are not FDA-approved to treat pancreatic cancer, but they are used to treat pancreatic cancer. chest and stomach cancer.

In the meantime, she said she was trying to build a new relationship with God and take it all in one day at a time. “There are so many prayers in my life right now that I really just forget myself among my friends and family,” she said. “I really only focus on small wins.”

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