Father dies after showing cancer symptoms on daughter’s 16th birthday

A daughter shared her grief over losing her father to pancreatic cancer after he was diagnosed on her 16th birthday.

John Strutt was just 47 when he died after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer two years earlier.

He started feeling sick while watching a concert at the SSE Arena. A few days later, on Tuesday 21st November, his daughter Rosie’s 16th birthday, John went to see his doctor, who noted that he “wasn’t in good color” and sent him straight to Antrim Hospital.

In an all-white room, they noticed that John was a luminous yellow color, which they compared to Home Simpson.

“The pros thought he had a blockage somewhere,” Rosie told BelfastLive. “Since it was my birthday, we were supposed to go out to dinner at Deane’s Meat Locker in Belfast. I didn’t expect my dad to be unable to come. I figured a few days in hospital would do the trick.

“It never occurred to me that he might have cancer. He was healthy and rarely got sick.

“Ten days later, on December 1, 2017, at the age of 44, my dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, I felt silly not noticing any symptoms because I spent so much time with him.”

In January, John had the Whipples procedure, a surgery that took over seven hours, at Mater Hospital in Belfast, followed by seven months of oral chemotherapy.

A CT scan in April 2019 revealed that John’s cancer had returned and was incurable. A period of intravenous and oral chemotherapy followed before he was referred to palliative care.

Rosie, who is now 20, was 18 when her father died. She is one of several children and young people participating in NIPANC’s #TimeMatters campaign for Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month who have lost a parent to pancreatic cancer. They are sharing their stories so other families don’t have to face the trauma they have.

“Our parents promised us from the beginning that as soon as they found out the information, we would be the first to know,” he added. “Their communication kept our family strong. When the CT scan came back the second time, I was in the middle of my freshman year A-Levels. My parents kept it a secret so I could stay focused, so they told us all together on the day I finished.

“For the last few days he has been admitted to hospice in Northern Ireland. I was at Uni in London at the time so I came home for what I thought would be two or three days. He stayed for over a week, as did I. and my mother.We took turns sitting with him, but every day his body weakened.

“He died late at night after a long struggle.”

Rosie says she had never heard of pancreatic cancer before as it was not a diagnosis many people were familiar with.

“My brother is an avid reader, and when he found out the diagnosis, he researched it. I learned from him and ended up researching it myself. I was shocked at the low survival rate, often due to misdiagnosis and late diagnosis. Jaundice is one of them. of the main features. I scolded myself for not noticing it earlier. We also thought he had a stomach ache because certain foods didn’t appeal to him. Pain when eating is another common symptom. Now I’m well informed about the symptoms, but I had I knew at that time time that there would be a better chance of survival.

“I wanted to spend as much time with him as possible. Sometimes just sitting with him or making cups of tea or coffee. Making tea always reminds me of Dad. He was particularly fond of two digestive biscuits crushed together with a bunch of butter.

“About six months before he died, he told his mother that he would really love another dog. My mother doesn’t like dogs. I will always remember when she said, “John, if that’s what would make you happy, we can get one. It was all part of my father’s master plan. Little Frank the staffy arrived in July 2020 and he is mommy’s best friend. Grief is a funny thing. One day I cry over everything, pictures, songs, things that remind me of him. Other days, I laugh at the good times, memories and characteristics we share.

“When I found out my father’s cancer was terminal, I was furious. Why us at all? Why my father? But death doesn’t work that way, it doesn’t discriminate. I learned to channel my emotions into things that would make him proud.

“I worked really hard to get into my top choice university in London. I got a job and took my freshman exams eight weeks after he died. I want to make him proud. I’m participating in this #TimeMatters campaign for NIPANC because I believe it is Importantly, if even one person understands the symptoms and severity of pancreatic cancer, it could save a life.

“Knowing the symptoms could mean a wider range of treatment and a better chance of survival. If I only knew some of the more common symptoms, maybe my dad would still be here or maybe he’d have a little more time. #TimeMatters.”

Father dies after showing cancer symptoms on daughter’s 16th birthday

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