He didn’t expect the diagnosis he received.
“They told me it was pancreatic cancer,” he says. “I didn’t know what to think.”
Harris then came to the UC Cancer Institute, where he saw Syed Ahmad, MD, professor in the Department of Surgery at the UC College of Medicine and surgical oncologist, who performed a pancreaticoduodenectomy, or a Whipple procedure (named for the surgeon who first performed it).
This procedure involves removal of the “head” of the pancreas next to the first part of the small intestine (duodenum). It also involves removal of the duodenum, a portion of the common bile duct, gallbladder and sometimes part of the stomach. Afterward, surgeons reconnect the remaining intestine, bile duct and pancreas.
This removed the initial cancer, but unfortunately, six months later, a recurrence was found at a follow-up appointment with Olugbenga Olowokure, MD, assistant professor in the Division of Hematology Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine, and a gastrointestinal oncologist for the institute.
“He put me on radiotherapy, where radio seeds were implanted into my tumor to shrink it, and I’ve been on chemotherapy as well, and I go for that two times a month,” Harris says, “but thanks to God and my doctors, I’m doing well and the treatments are working.”
Harris says his team at UC is helping him attack the cancer on all fronts, and for that he is grateful.
“The UC Cancer Institute has the most competent physicians and they’re helping me fight this while keeping me smiling and laughing,” he says, adding that he and Ahmad have a running joke about Duke vs. North Carolina sports teams, since Ahmad received his undergraduate degree from Duke and Harris is a North Carolina fan. “I gave my worry to God and haven’t allowed myself to have a pity party.”
Harris stays active and was able to attend the Opening Day Parade in downtown Cincinnati this spring. He also walked in the Flying Pig Marathon and has plans to eventually open his own business—Willie’s Chicken and Waffles.
“I’m still holding on, and I’m happy to be alive.”
Patient Info: To schedule an appointment, call 513-475-8500, or visit www.uchealth.com/cancer for more information on services available.