Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Special PanCan Post

Hi everyone!  I just wanted to thank every one of you that's left wonderful comments and have submitted your purple outfits.  If you still haven't and would like to send me your purple inspired outfits, please send them over to cindiwang (at) gmail (dot) com.  I'm taking pics until tomorrow! :)

As many of you know, my father-in-law, Claro, passed away from cancer of the pancreas last May.  Unfortunately, he missed out on our wedding, his second son's college graduation, and his daughter's high school graduation.  However, through all of these life changing events, all of us felt his presence with us on our special days.  This past Sunday for the PanCan walk, the forecast called for rain.  We were all set to brave it, and our family friend even brought ponchos.  However, the weather turned out to be gorgeous!  It wasn't even cold...and the sun was beaming!  We believe this is Claro and all the other angels up in heaven bringing us sunshine for our walk. 

Prior to last May, I've hardly ever heard of the word "pancreas".  I didn't know what it did and where it was located in our bodies.  Through some research, I found out that the pancreas sit underneath the stomach, which makes it very hard to operate on.  The pancreas helps break down proteins, carbs and fats and produces insulin to help regulate your blood sugar.  Because Claro had diabetes, his pancreas was not functioning normally, making it susceptable to disease. 

Claro first complained of back pain in December, for which doctors prescribed pain medication.  This dull pain continued to early April and during a regular check up with his regular doctor, they discovered a mass in his liver.  Upon further tests, they discovered that the origin of the disease came from the pancreas and he was officially diagnosed with cancer in late April.  At this point, the cancer has spread to 90% of his liver. 

Three weeks after his diagnosis, Claro passed away peacefully in a hospital bed with all his family by his side.  I took the ferry and rushed over to the hospital immediately after work, without having a chance to say my goodbyes.  To this day, Chris and I are thankful that the doctors told us he probably felt minimal pain and was quite comfortable during his stay at the hospital.

This cancer takes 95% of the lives diagnosed because it is typically painless.  By the time you feel some type of discomfort, it's already spread away from the pancreas.  Below are the symptoms:

--Pain in the upper abdomen
--Loss of appetite
--Jaundice (yellowing of the skin, eyes...urine)
--Blood clots

These symptoms aren't extremely specific, but if you and especially your loved ones, suspect something is deeply wrong, I urge you to push your doctor to perform further testing.  Research as much as you can with the vast of information online, books, and other sources.  I've heard that we're our own advocates when it comes to our health, and good doctors are lifesavers, but diagnosing a deathly disease sometimes takes trial and error, which can take a long time  If you feel something is not right with you, you have the right to push for more tests or go see a second physician. 

I mentioned that Claro had one kidney...and it was donated by his wife, Linda.  Their story is so wonderful, and their love is inspirational for Chris and I.  Chris has mentioned before that because of them, he has a solid view of what a marriage and love should be.  Growing up, seeing how great his parents' relationship was, helped form his own foundation for which to build a solid family. 
This picture was taken at the Seattle airport in the 70's...when Claro was picking Linda up.  Linda and Claro met in the Phillipines and Claro settled in Seattle, Linda in Arkansas.  They got married in a courthouse in Arkansas and Linda stayed there to finish up her nursing contract.  A year later, here, Claro picks her up from the airport and they started their life as a married couple.  Today Linda wears Claro's wedding ring, along with her ring, on her wedding finger.  The had matching wedding bands! 

Thank you for reading this long, but very important post. 


  1. Cindi, this has me choking up- my father in law passed away suddenly as well of a massive heart attack. It's still a very painful thing that lingers everywhere.

    Thanks for sharing this with us, such a beautiful story about Linda and Claro :)

  2. Cindi, I'm all teary! Your father-in-law, Claro sounds like an amazing man. Thank you for sharing his story and helping raise awareness about pancreatic cancer. I admit, I had no idea what the pancreas did or symptoms to look out for.


  3. Spiffy - I'm so sorry to hear about your father-in-law. When these things happen, it truly makes me value life and appreciate our loved ones that are still not take them for granted.

    Lori - I got all teary eyed writing it because there are times where I wished he was still with us. He would have been so proud of where his children are right now. He really wanted a grand daughter...and it just saddens me that he'll never be able to play with our kids. :(

  4. It sounds like you all have really great memories of your father in law. Claro and Linda's story is very heartwarming and beautiful and their love is inspirational. I'm glad your walk on Sunday turned out to be perfect. Thanks for sharing Cindi!

  5. Cindi, your father-in-law sounds like such a wonderful person. What a heartbreaking story! How wonderful and inspiring that you are helping to educate others about this awful, deadly disease.

  6. Great post Cindi! And what you said is SO true, we really need to be our own advocates in taking care of our health! My father passed away at the young age of 43 from colon cancer. He never got to see any of us graduate from college/high school, or get married. I cannot stress how important it is to TAKE CHARGE of your own health before it's too late!

  7. Cindi, what a heartfelt, wonderful post.

  8. What a heartbreaking story! He sounds like a wonderful man. Thanks for sharing with us. I love the picture from the 70's. They look so happy!

  9. Oh, Cindy, I'm so sorry for your family's loss and am so glad that your FIL remains a positive presence in your lives. My aunt also passed away from pancreatic cancer - it was really sudden and it just left us bereft. We miss her so much. Thanks for the great post.

  10. Hi Cindi! Thanks for posting such a heartfelt post. It's so great that your FIL remains such an inspiration in your life.

  11. Thank you so much for sharing this touching tribute to Claro, and I am so sorry for your family's loss. I can easily see why Claro and Linda's relationship was and continues to be such an inspiration in your life, and it is clear that Claro remains a powerful and guiding presence in your life. What a wonderful role model. Thank you again for spreading awareness about pancreatic cancer. There really is so much more research still needed and spreading the word is one of the first steps.

  12. Oh, Cindi, this post brought a tear to my eye. Such a sad thing to lose a loved one. I know what it must be like, as I have lost my uncle due to cancer. Thank you for raising awareness about this disease. I hope one day we can find a cure. There is hope!
    Good to see your dog involved in all the action as well!

  13. Cindi,
    I am a longtime lurker of your blog and have actually never commented on one before! But I had to leave a comment today - my dad died of pancreatic cancer 3 years ago, and your blog post really touched me today. I'm so sorry for your husband's loss! I'm involved with my local PanCAN affiliate as well. Thank you so much for creating this post and for helping to raise awareness for this awful disease!

    I love your blog by the way, you always have such great outfits!