“Pancreatic Cancer” — A Short Story by Douglas Brouwer

Pancreatic Cancer

I had been hoping for another repair this time, something relatively easy to fix.

(To continue reading, click here. This is a short story, a work of fiction, published in an online literary journal.)

About Doug

I have been a writer ever since fifth grade when I won second prize in a “prose and poetry” contest. I am also a Presbyterian pastor, and for several years toward the end of my career I lived and worked in Zürich, Switzerland. I am now retired and live just north of Holland, Michigan, along the lake.

18 Responses to “Pancreatic Cancer” — A Short Story by Douglas Brouwer

  1. Angie Miller May 3, 2020 at 11:10 am #

    Blessings and prayers. Thank you for sharing this with us. Angie Miller

    • Doug May 3, 2020 at 11:19 am #

      I’m fine, Angie. The story is a work of fiction, published in an online literary magazine. I’m sorry for any confusion.

  2. Robert D Visscher May 3, 2020 at 11:31 am #

    Doug, you fooled me. I took it for real. It reminded me about an “April Fool” joke your daughter told to you when she was in Africa. At any rate I am glad it is fiction. Be safe, stay healthy. Looking forward to when we can get together again. Next time, think of something more uplifting. Bob V.

    • Doug May 3, 2020 at 11:34 am #

      Sorry for the confusion, Bob. The writing prompt from my teacher was “imagine that you’ve just been given some bad news.” So, I started writing, and that’s what appeared. As far as I know, I’m fine. I might have gained a few pounds on quarantine.

  3. Maio May 3, 2020 at 11:43 am #

    I’m glad it’s just a fiction. Have to say that I really like the writing… for a fiction, that’s quite a vivid description (from my perspective; never experienced it first hand)! Congratulations!

    • Doug May 3, 2020 at 12:26 pm #

      Never experienced it before either, I’m happy to say! Good to hear from you, Maio.

  4. Catrina Hamilton May 3, 2020 at 1:01 pm #

    I’m so grateful this writing is fiction. I began reading this before “virtual” worship and I ended worship early because I was so disheartened and could no longer concentrate. To reference Maio above, “… that’s quite a vivid description…” Pancreatic cancer stole my Dad in 1988, one of the hottest Michigan summers on record. Your stark description brought back memories of that hot, anguished summer. I was sitting and wondering how I would break the news to my son, William, that Pastor Doug who administered his confirmation, had cancer. This writing would definitely win first place against Randy Vander Mey. Thank you for sharing your writings, be well, and sty safe.

    • Lynda Kukla May 3, 2020 at 1:24 pm #

      I guess you will know you are loved by more than your wife and daughters when you receive many responses to this article by people like me, an ex-parishioner, who were devastated while reading your beautifully written article. Now that I know the article was a piece of fiction, I can say thank goodness.we are all better for being able to read your blog and are grateful that it will continue.

  5. Kathy Bostrom May 3, 2020 at 2:46 pm #

    I am grateful this isn’t you, but shows what a good fiction writer you are that so many of us believed you! I have a dear friend who has been fighting this particular beast for 4 years now. Sending our best to you and Susan!

    • Sue Brandon May 3, 2020 at 3:43 pm #

      Don’t scare us like that!! Great writing. However.

      • Doug May 3, 2020 at 3:48 pm #

        Sorry. I thought “Short Story” was enough!

    • Doug May 3, 2020 at 3:45 pm #

      The prompt from my writing teacher was “imagine getting some bad news.” And so, I wrote this in response. It’s not me. I am not really concerned, for example, about my drinking or about esophageal cancer. But apparently I have quite a reputation!

  6. Elizabeth Alwine May 3, 2020 at 4:00 pm #

    Doug, I am glad that you know that you are loved by God..and by humans far and wide… probably more folks than you imagined. I am sooo relieved to know that this is fiction……as I read it I kept focusing on breathing and hoping against hope that it might be fiction….but it was so real…sounding like my patients’ responses…my heart was breaking for you, Susan, your daughters , your Mom,and other family & the rest of us….
    Perhaps a loving action on your part could be to put a ” spoiler” or edit the header.. A short FICTIONAL story …PLEASE!!!!

    • Doug May 3, 2020 at 4:36 pm #

      Hi Elizabeth, it’s there. I thought a short story in a literary journal would be enough. But no. Anyway, that guy in the story is not me.

  7. Susana May 3, 2020 at 5:30 pm #

    I wish you had introduced your short story by saying it was fiction! Pancreatic Cancer is a terrible disease, my sister in law died of it at the age of 46. It was devastating and as I was reading your convincingly-written short story, I believed every word and my thoughts went back to a very sad and dark time for our family. All I can say is you achieved your goal of writing good fiction, I just wish I had known it was fiction before my heart went out to your lovely wife and beautiful daughters. Stay well!

    • Doug May 3, 2020 at 7:29 pm #

      I’m so sorry. I hope I didn’t diminish the seriousness of the disease. The writing instructor said, “Imagine getting bad news.” Pancreatic cancer was the worst I could imagine.

  8. Charles Scouten May 3, 2020 at 8:35 pm #

    Glad I took a look at comments before making a total fool of myself. It was really believable! Of course, I generally need no help making a fool of myself.

  9. Elizabeth May 24, 2020 at 8:46 am #

    What a relief! I too thought it was a real diagnosis. I’m so happy for you and your family that it wasn’t.