MANY people have aches and pains.
But when Darren Mulqueen woke up in agony 18 months ago, he decided a trip to the GP was in order.
The 34-year-old London doctor was told the pain was in the muscles and was discharged – told to take paracetamol.
He went back and forth to his GP for months and his condition did not improve.
Earlier this year, Darren had returned from the army and spent his first vacation in Grenada.
But once back in the UK, he ended up in hospital because of the pain.
Darren soon underwent a CT scan and doctors revealed he had pancreatic cancer.
There are approximately 9,600 deaths from the disease each year and it is the tenth most common cancer in the country.
Since his diagnosis in July, doctors have said Darren’s condition is terminal and he has only two months left to live.
His sister Michelle Vassell said the whole family was in shock.
She told MyLondon: “You trust your GP and think you have no reason to question their diagnosis; they are the experts.
“So we never thought it would be cancer.”
The family learned that Darren had become so ill that chemotherapy was no longer an option.
In July, Darren underwent a second ultrasound, where he discovered that the disease had spread to his liver.
Since his diagnosis, he has not left the hospital and is hooked up to a morphine pump every two hours.
Unfortunately, cancer has prevented Darren’s intestines from functioning properly, so he is unable to eat much, causing him to lose weight.
The family are now struggling financially and Michelle said her brother is worried that he won’t have enough money to leave behind his two young children.
What are the signs of pancreatic cancer you need to know?
Pancreatic cancer is known as the silent killer because it’s hard to diagnose early – it doesn’t cause any signs or symptoms in the early stages.
This is why it is so important to be aware of the symptoms to look for as soon as they appear.
The most common symptoms to look out for include:
- stomach pain
- Back ache
- unexplained weight loss
- loss of appetite
- changes in bowel habits: this includes steatorrhea (pale, smelly stools (poo) that may float), diarrhea (loose, watery stools), or constipation (problems opening the bowels)
- Jaundice: The most common signs of jaundice are that your skin and the whites of your skin are yellow. It also causes dark urine, pale stools and itchy skin
difficulty swallowing: some people may have difficulty swallowing food, or may cough or choke when eating, bringing food back, or feeling food stuck in their throat
- Newly diagnosed diabetes: The pancreas produces insulin, which helps control the amount of sugar in the blood. Cancer can prevent it from working properly, which means it could not produce enough insulin and cause diabetes
- extreme tiredness (tiredness)
- feeling abnormally full after eating
- blood clots in a vein
Before his diagnosis, he was lent a bicycle but is no longer able to pay for it.
“He can no longer pay his phone bill, which is our main way of keeping in touch with him when we are not visiting the hospital,” she added.
Michelle said that although she wants to help, she cannot as she is currently on maternity leave.
After his diagnosis, with the help of a Macmillan nurse, Darren applied for Universal Credit, but has yet to hear back.
The family is now trying to raise funds so they can give Darren the best possible send-off and potentially leave money for his children in his will.
The family have raised £3,040 of the £7,000 goal so far.
Michelle said in her last conversation with Darren, he urged people to check out if they’re feeling pain somewhere that’s not right for them.
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