An Atlanta mom of two boys who survived stage 4 pancreatic cancer has a message for Alex Trebek: It doesn’t have to be a death sentence. Go kick cancer’s butt!
Elise Tedeschi, 50, who is currently writing a book about her cancer journey, penned an open letter in the The Daily Meal following the “Jeopardy!” host’s announcement that he had been diagnosed with the deadly disease.
“There was no way that I was leaving my little boys and no way that anyone else was going to marry my husband!” she wrote.
Tedeschi told USA TODAY that after six months of excruciating back pain, an MRI, visits to a chiropractor, an internal medicine doctor, an acupuncturist, blood tests and more “crazy stuff” ordered on the internet, a CT scan and a visit to a surgical oncologist revealed her pancreatic cancer Jan. 5, 2012.
“So I think it was right then and there that I made a choice. For me, it was here we go. I’m not just going to roll over. Whatever had to be done, I was going to do it.”
‘He’s not God’
The mom said she’s a positive person and wanted others around her to be positive, too. She wrote a letter to her co-workers in her marketing and public relations field explaining the “good news.” She finally knew the source of her back pain. She didn’t want them to feel sorry for her. She didn’t want them to grieve or talk about her dying.
Although her letter mentions a prognosis of 9 months, she stuck with the oncologist who said she could beat cancer and fired the Florida doctor who told she wouldn’t survive six months of chemotherapy.
“Not my doctor,” she said. “I turned to my sister on the plane ride home and said, ‘I’m not believing a word that doctor said because the last time I checked he’s not God.’ The sad part is, so many people hear that news and they believe it.”
‘If I could do it, he could it’
Tedeschi endured 12 rounds of chemotherapy, 25 rounds of stereotactical radiation, used a chemo pump 24 hours a day for five days week and then had a cutting-edge surgery called the IRE or NanoKnife.
It was nine months after her diagnosis that her oncologist told her the pancreatic tumor shrunk and was inactive.
This sounds crazy, Tedeschi said, and even her father said so.
“The year I was diagnosed, that year should have or could have been the last year or my life but it ended up being the most amazing year of life,” she said. “Even through the chemo, even through the pain and the bad things. But there was so much good. I’m thankful for having gone through this. Because when you live with your eyes wide open, you see miracles every day.”
No word on whether Trebek has seen the letter, in which Tedeschi tells the “Jeopardy!” host that she “beat the crap” out of cancer and invites him to “go kick cancer’s butt.”
Only 3 percent of people diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer survive beyond five years, according to the American Cancer Society. It also reports that about 57,000 people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year in the U.S., and more than 45,000 people will die from the disease.
“I felt compelled to write the letter. There really is not that many stage 4 cancer survivors out there. But I want him to know that if I could do it, he could do it. Of course he can.”
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