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A woman’s brave battle against pancreatic cancer

In June 2010, Leah Sardone was having trouble with her blood pressure. While doing online research about her symptoms, she found an article that suggested her renal arteries could be to blame. Sardone met with her physician and they determined she would undergo an MRA to look for problems in her renal arteries. She underwent the MRA and that afternoon, the radiologist called Sardone’s physician to report that Sardone’s renal arteries were fine, but she had a large tumor on the tail of her pancreas.

A life-changing diagnosis

“I knew that my life was going to change,” she remembers. “I was very terrified of what this was going to mean.” Sardone’s family was very concerned for her wellbeing, but Sardone remained optimistic and determined to beat the cancer.

Her treatment plan

Sardone underwent radiation therapy at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital, along with chemotherapy at the same time to enhance the radiation. She then had surgery, during which the surgeon removed half of her pancreas, her entire spleen, several inches of her colon and a part of her left kidney because the tumor was originally touching those areas.

Her continuous battle

Later in 2011, a CAT scan revealed that the cancer had metastasized and she had four tumors on her peritoneum, the lining of the abdominal cavity. “Peritoneal disease is a type of cancer that keeps wanting to come back,” she explains. Since then, she has been on and off chemotherapy continuously.

Finding Cancer Wellness

In June 2012, the disease returned and physicians told Sardone she should consider not returning to work because she was traveling frequently. “I applied for disability and quit my job,” she says. “I was at a loss as to what I was going to do.” Sardone began exploring the programs offered at Cancer Wellness at Piedmont Fayette and decided to volunteer as well. She currently gives her time at weekly cooking demonstrations hosted at Cancer Wellness.

In addition to her volunteer work, Sardone takes part in an array of activities offered by Cancer Wellness. “I participate in three exercise classes a week, a craft class, a pottery class, drumming and massage therapy,” she says. “It’s been a godsend. It has been the best thing I ever did. It really has.” For more information on classes and events, visit Cancer Wellness at Piedmont.

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