TYLER, TX (KLTV) - It claimed the life of famed actor Patrick Swayze earlier this week, and now NCAA President Myles Brand died at the age of 67 after a hard fought battle with pancreatic cancer. Though, doctor's say if you're diagnosed with this cancer, chances of survival are slim. But, one East Texas cancer survivor is defying all odds with every day he lives.
"I've told this story a million times, but it's still an emotional story," said Dale Golden.
It's emotional because when Golden picked up the phone more than nine years ago, and a nurse told him he had pancreatic cancer life as he knew it was now on a deadly course.
"It was kind of difficult to hear," said Golden. "She said, 'Let me read the CAT scan report to you,' and so she read the report to me, and I thanked her and hung up the phone."
Three weeks before receiving that life changing call, Golden says he fell seriously ill. He had severe abdominal discomfort and indigestion, and, being a registered nurse himself, he knew he needed immediate medical attention. His wife Cheryl drove him to the emergency room, where tests revealed he had pancreatitus, an inflammation of the pancreas.
"My tumor had grown large enough that it cut off my pancreatic duct that feeds enzymes into the small intestine," he explained.
Though, at the time, doctor's didn't see the tumor because Golden hadn't undergone a CAT scan. That happened a few weeks later, just days before he received that fateful call.
"Everyone is looking for hope in this situation because generally with a pancreatic cancer diagnosis - it's a fairly hopeless situation," said Golden.
It's hopeless, unless caught early.
"You have to look at the things that are important and embrace those and embrace what God has for you," said Golden.
And, in Dale's case, God's will is life.
See your doctor if you experience an unexplained weight loss, abdominal pain or other signs that bother you. Many diseases and conditions other than cancer may cause similar signs. But, a medical professional will check for these conditions as well as for pancreatic cancer.