My name is Diane Macgregor, aged 70. My husband of 51 years and I have two sons and four grandchildren and live on the Isle of Wight.
My symptoms appeared eight years ago with an uncomfortable ache in my stomach after food and itching on my hands which spread within a week to my whole body. I developed jaundice, sleep became almost impossible. It was the worst experience of my life.
Gastroenterologist Dr Sheen (St Mary's Hospital I.O.W.) arranged a CT scan which revealed a tumour on my pancreas causing a bile duct blockage resulting in jaundice. The blockage was quickly relieved by insertion of a stent but the long-term outlook was not good. When the GP advised me to tell my children I really thought I was going to die.
Dr Sheen, after conferring with Mr Mohammed Abu Hilal (Southampton General Hospital), advised that the tumour could be surgically removed, offering the chance of a complete cure. This long and complicated procedure, involving removal of the gallbladder and parts of the pancreas and of the small intestine, was successfully carried out by Mr Hilal.
After the operation I awoke full of tubes and drains – a pretty scary sight. I was in no pain but had morphine on hand in case. I had very bad dreams, frighteningly real. The staff on the high dependency ward were marvellous and my care was exceptional. After five days I was moved to a general ward and began daily physio. The tubes were gradually removed. As all had gone well I was allowed home after ten days. The only pain was in my throat from the feeding tube but this soon passed.
I had wonderful care from my husband, specialist nurse Joya Morris and the daily district nurses. I also learned that I did not need chemotherapy, a great relief.
I now have a good life, travel extensively and enjoy the grandchildren which I thought I would never see. I will be eternally grateful to Mr Hilal and his team for saving my life.