Help Support Sharon's Journey

Way back in March 2017, our mom started trying to seek help for what was presenting as “chest” pains. Her cardiologist assumed it was related to her stents and ran many blood flow tests, etc, and came up empty handed. Instead of investigating further, he said that eventually Mom would hear from another cardiologist to further investigate. Jump ahead to July, and many emerg visits later, and mom finally had a doctor who wanted to explore further and get to the bottom of the pain. This resulted in a diagnosis of Pancreatitis and enzyme levels of 27,000, normal being in the hundreds. She was put on a bland diet for a few days and sent home. It is worth noting that her family doctor was on maternity leave and the locum hadn’t arrived yet. This meant emerg was her only option, time and time again. She was lost in the system in a big way. Time went on and there were definitely good days, but the pain was still there and definitely aggravated by eating anything at all. It was clear that something else was going on. When her family doctor returned, things started to be looked at more critically. Many specialists were seen. We went to Kentville, Moncton, Halifax (repeatedly) and Bridgewater for various scans, tests and eventually a biopsy. On December 15, 2017, 9 months after she started asking for help, Mom was diagnosed with Advanced Pancreatic Cancer and immediately told that because of its size and location that it was inoperable. They went so far as to say that had it been diagnosed earlier, that it would have been easier to remove, since now it is obstructing an artery. In trying to get this diagnosis, three different referrals were “lost in the system”. It has been an absolute comedy of errors for almost a year now. Since this diagnosis, we have been to and from Halifax. We have finally met with an Oncologist who deemed chemotherapy to be too hard on her heart. She has been in and out of the hospital with pain that she says is a 12, out of 1-10. The doctors are struggling to find the right medication “formula” to help her, without making her sleep all the time and also something that works, but keeps her lucid. Saying it has been a hard journey would be a deep understatement. An aside, but important, we also found out, at her Oncology appointment, that she has 3 active records in the system, all spelling her name slightly different. No wonder referrals and test results go astray. The system here is clearly hurting. The most recent meeting was with the radiology department in Halifax. She has been approved for Palliative Radiation Therapy. Its sole purpose is to improve her quality of life, for what time she has. Her goal is to have the summer with our family and get up on her paddle board and we are doing everything we possibly can to see that it happens. The road ahead is unclear and definitely difficult. I have left the workforce to be mom’s primary caregiver and my brother is moving here to help as well. We didn’t want to admit that we need help and Mom is deeply private about what has been happening...but this is no time for pride.  Your contribution will help ease the financial pressure of the medications, travel, accomodations, etc. Mom has lived on a well controlled budget and certainly never planned or accounted for fighting this terrible illness. Her treatment is set to start right away and so will a list of new expenses. Thank you to those who have helped in a variety of ways so far. We couldn't have done this without you. Thank you for caring about us, especially Mom, and for sending so much love and good vibes her way. It means the world to us. Please keep her in your prayers as she goes through this process.  Please note that she is not currently able to have visitors, but if anyone would like to send her a card, we will make sure she gets it. She has loved the ones she has received so far.


Jacqueline Belliveau
Bridgewater, NS

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