My name is Edie Cornell-Smith. I am a Pancreatic Cancer survivor. I would consider myself a quilter and bicyclist and I love to work in my Koi pond. I also love dancing and met my husband at a country/western saloon in California. We moved back to St. Louis fifteen years ago to spend time with my mother before we lost her at the young age of 92. I am glad we are still here!
My journey began in May 2012. I woke in the middle of the night with extreme stomach and back pain and chills. I thought I had food poisoning from what I had eaten at dinner that night, but after three days my husband was wise enough to say it wasn’t food poisoning, so we went to our doctor. She sent me for x-rays and CT where it was confirmed that I had a tumor. Since this was a Friday I had to wait through the weekend and I then was scheduled for a biopsy several weeks later when it was confirmed that I had pancreatic cancer. What a shock. It was even more devastating to my husband as he lost his father to pancreatic and liver cancer. My husband also had many skin cancers and cancer in his eye which had been dealt with at Siteman. Also his whole family had a lot of cancer and so we always thought he would be the one to get a major cancer. I on the other hand was very healthy, ate well and was very active. This doesn’t matter to cancer!
When first confirmed in June 2012, I was not a candidate for surgery as my tumor was wrapped around the portal vein and too close to the main artery. My oncologist, Dr. Andrea Wang-Gillam, put me on a specific chemo treatment. I started in July 2012 and had three months of chemo. An extra month was added so I could go to a quilt festival in Houston, TX. My husband thought I was nuts, but I did get approval from my doctor. I was so blessed and fortunate as my tumor shrunk 70% and I then qualified for the Whipple surgery. I am very grateful to my oncologist for choosing the correct chemo for me that was successful. I felt so comfortable and taken care of by all the doctors and staff at Siteman and throughout my stay in the hospital. I am so thankful for my surgeon Dr. Maria Doyle and her team for getting all the cancer out of me. I did have some follow up chemo and now to this day, I am cancer free. I can’t tell you how grateful and thankful I am for all that Siteman and the people involved did for me.
There are several ways I try to give back. One is riding for Pedal the Cause, which raises money for cancer research. I ride on the Pancreas Cancer Road Warriors team. I have been riding for the past six years.
The second thing I do is make pillowcases for chemo patients which I hand out at Siteman West County. I just want to pick up their day while they are having their treatments and share that I too had been in one of those chairs. I have also been doing this for six years and I enjoy sharing my story and hope that I can inspire a few people there.
I am so thankful we were in St. Louis when this all happened and that Siteman and all the doctors and staff were here for my journey.