An Activist and Survivor Shares Her Story
Lisa Eidelberg has been integral in raising funds for Nikki Mitchell Foundation’s “Country Boots Cancer” show, which is donating 100% of the proceeds to the future Pancreatic Cancer Precision Medicine Program at Johns Hopkins Medicine.
The pancreatic cancer activist and survivor shares her story:
I am a very lucky four-year pancreatic cancer survivor!!
This journey began on Saturday June 7, 2014 when I woke up, looked in the mirror and thought, “Mmm, I look a little yellow!” A friend had stopped by, looked at me and confirmed what I didn’t want to believe; I was indeed yellow! My husband Marc and I went to the emergency room of a local hospital where I was told I would simply need my gall bladder out, even as I was becoming increasingly yellow! Fortunately, the doctors in my family had me moved to another hospital where I would have an ERCP the next day. Coming out of anesthesia, Marc had the most difficult task of delivering the bad news……I had pancreatic cancer. We were all shocked! I was 54 at the time, healthy, had no family history of it, was active and had two 19-year-old sons who still needed me! In the four months prior to diagnosis, I had an endoscopy, colonoscopy, two ultrasounds and blood work (just six weeks before diagnosis) which were all normal!
Luckily for me, I got an appointment with Dr. Wolfgang and team at Johns Hopkins Hospital, which I was told was the premiere pancreatic cancer team. Boy is that true! On Saturday June 14, 2014, I had a successful Whipple surgery. Recovery was so much more pleasant because of the caring staff at JHH! Aftercare with this surgery is almost as important as the surgery itself! Following recovery, I had 10 rounds of Folfirinox and radiation at Overlook Hospital in Summit, NJ where again, I was fortunate to receive compassionate, quality care.
At a post-surgical visit with Dr. Wolfgang and Lindsey Manos, they urged me to reach out to the Nikki Mitchell Foundation founder Rhonda Miles. Somehow, they got a vibe that I resembled Nikki in spirit and attitude, although we were completely different people in the way we lived our lives. My attitude was always positive, but I made it my business NOT to read the sad stories of this dreaded disease, so why would I reach out to Rhonda? Nikki had sadly and bravely lost her battle with this demon. However, I’m so glad I did! It’s enlightened me to the fact that this disease does not discriminate. There is no “stereotypical” person who is affected by this many time fatal disease. It’s brought about a renewed outlook on life and others. Just as pancreatic cancer doesn’t judge, I don’t either.
It is my privilege to work with both the Nikki Mitchell Foundation and Johns Hopkins Hospital to raise funds for the new Pancreatic Cancer Precision Medicine program which will enhance the patient’s experience. This will be THE place, for competent, caring, compassionate and cohesive treatment for those afflicted by this ugly disease!
I personally look forward to celebrating many more survival anniversaries but look forward to having a lot more company in the future!!
Donations for this event can be made HERE and select the campaign “Country Boots Cancer.”