Laurie MacCaskill is a survivor. Almost six years ago, MacCaskill started feeling sharp pains in her back. Doctors told her she had gas, pulled a muscle, or that she was even imagining her pain. The 55-year-old woman was a picture of perfect health. She forced her doctors to do tests when the pain wouldn’t go away, and eventually was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
Watch Laurie MacCaskill on the importance of finding a specialty doctor and how she remains positive every day:
“We really need to heighten awareness … mine [cancer] was misdiagnosed and if I hadn’t been persistent, I wouldn’t be sitting here now,” MacCaskill told genConnect in an interview at BlogWorld 2011.
Since she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2006, MacCaskill has served as a tireless volunteer and advocate for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and was one of the founding board members of the Aspen Center for Integral Health. The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network lobbies each year in Washington and is currently pushing a bill in Congress that would encourage the National Institutes of Health to come up with a strategic plan to combat pancreatic cancer. Noting that 74 percent of those with the disease won’t live more than 12 months after diagnosis, MacCaskill added: “These are appalling statistics and very little has changed in 40 years.”
Watch Laurie discuss how she beat pancreatic cancer and how others can help support research for the disease:
She also stresses the importance of finding a good, knowledgeable doctor, since the disease is not one which many are very familiar with. MacCaskill still endures regular chemotherapy treatments, which she calls “very, very debilitating,” but treats it as “another thing to do on my calendar.”
“I really believe attitude has an incredible impact on our lives. I think it’s remarkable we wake up any day and we can embrace any kind of attitude that day. For me, my life is ten percent what happens to me and ninety percent what I do with it.”
For related stories on genConnect:
- Lisa Kolodny: Movember Supports Prostate Cancer Awareness Month
- Evelyn Lauder: Breast Cancer Awareness Advocate Passes Away
- 9 Celebrity Breast Cancer Survivors (SLIDESHOW)
- Breast Cancer Survivor Dana Cowin on Staying Positive (VIDEO)
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