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Sean McBrien

On the August 3 2019, I was in the midst of a fitness event and had no idea that I was suffering from pancreatic cancer.

I hadn't been feeling very well for a few weeks. Noticing small signs of illness; fatigue, a lingering cough that I just couldn’t shake, and weight loss.

Doctors thought it was potentially gallstone problems. The thought of cancer never entered my head. I thought it was gallstones.

I was admitted to the Mater Hospital on August 23, 2019 where I had an MRI scan which confirmed that I didn't have gallstones but there was a tumour growing.

That tumour was later diagnosed as pancreatic cancer which can only be treated with whipple procedure – an operation which removes the head of the pancreas, the first part of the small intestine, the gallbladder and the bile duct.

I knew I was in the lucky being diagnosed so that surgery was an option. I was stage three when I was diagnosed, and they can’t perform the operation at stage four because at that stage it is too late. The operation took between five or six hours.

Following the procedure I began chemotherapy treatment which involved travelling up to Belfast to see a consultant, bloods checked and the chemotherapy treatment, twice a week every other week for six months.

I had a good week with it and then a bad week. I had chemotherapy on a Friday and then feel the affects of it the Tuesday after, the tiredness and cramps. After chemotherapy ended, I got to see my consultant every three months for updates on my condition.


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