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Elise's Story: A Present Wrapped in Strange Packaging

November 30, 2016

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Stage 4 pancreatic cancer survivor Elise says she would not trade her journey with cancer for anything. She believes cancer is a gift wrapped in strange packaging that arrived on Jan. 5, 2012.

After eight months of excruciating pain, doctors diagnosed Elise with pancreatic cancer, which spread to her liver. Determined to beat the odds, Elise didn’t accept the possibility of being a statistic when her oncologist explained that most patients only survive approximately nine months. Her sons were in elementary school and she could imagine not seeing them graduate and the thought of someone else marrying her husband did not sit well with her. Plus, Elise had a great job with Hard Rock International.

Elise underwent 12 rounds of chemotherapy, which she thought of as little scrubbing bubbles taking out all of the cancer cells. After three months, the tumor shrank by almost half, but eventually it didn’t work as well.

Elise then underwent stereotactical radiation with a 24-hour chemotherapy pump of 5FU and stayed at Moffitt Cancer Center for five weeks while getting a daily dose of radiation. Finally, she had her gallbladder removed and underwent a procedure with a NanoKnife or IRE that inserts prongs into the tumor and shocks it.

Elise has been in remission for four years now. She says despite the tough treatment, she wouldn’t trade it for anything. Elise says didn’t choose to get cancer, but she did get to choose her attitude and she chose to be happy and positive!