As Randy faces his prognosis, thoughts about his final days come to mind. "I'm not keen on the process [of dying]," he says. "Not only is this not the cancer you want, it's probably not the last couple of weeks that you'd want."
Dr. Oz says pancreatic cancer erodes into the back and invades the nerves, causing a lot of pain, and it blocks off the intestines. "It's not pleasant at any level. The things you want to do in life, you can't do in life. That's a very reasonable thing to fear," Dr. Oz says. "You're often in chronic pain, and you can't eat. If you take away the ability to move and to eat, that's a large part of the human experience."
Randy emphasizes that medical improvements in pain management may make his last days of the disease easier to bear. "I've certainly heard from lots of people who have given me great encouragement, and they said, 'My dad died of pancreatic cancer and he was visiting with friends until eight hours from the end,'" Randy says. "So it's not like every case is going to be this sort of nightmare scenario."
As his cancer progresses, Randy has made a living will in order to make life a little easier for his family. But aside from planning a small ceremony, Randy says he isn't spending his days making funeral preparations. "I don't think that's a particularly great use of my time. I think spending just a little bit of time is the right way to do it. I'd rather, while I'm healthy, spend time with my kids and doing things that are helpful to other people while I'm still fairly vigorous."
While his priorities have not changed drastically, Randy says a lack of time is a major motivator. "There was a sort of logistical rush, because the analogy I use is that my family's about to get pushed off a cliff, and any good father says, 'I want to be there to catch them,'" he says. "Well, I'm not going to be there to catch them. But I'm spending my limited time sewing some really good nets to cushion the fall."