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LARRY


My first brush with any pancreatic problems began in 1982 when I was just 29 years old. I had a very severe case of acute pancreatitis and was hospitalized for five days. Over the next several years, I would repeat this scenario with no real treatment plans or any real reason given for the episodes (I was on active duty in the Navy at the time).

Finally, in 1998, after I retired from the Navy, I went in to my GP to see if anything could be done. I essentially got the brush off and was told to take some fiber supplement everyday and I would be fine. Not wanting to accept this as an answer, I went to a well known GI doctor near my home for a second opinion. It is then that I was diagnosed as having chronic pancreatitis.

Over the next five years, I was treated very well and had many ERCPs for stent placements and pallative care. Finally in March 2003, my GI doctor suggested that I might think of surgery as an avenue for more difinative pain relief. I was referred to Shands Hospital at the Univeristy of Florida for the surgery. After a very lengthy discussion with the surgeon, it was decided that I needed to a have a Puestow Procedure done. Well, the long and short of it is that when I was opened up, the surgeon found an undiagnosed tumor hiding on the backside of my pancreas. A biopsy was taken and he removed as much as he could without doing any major cutting. I recovered very well from this surgery, but when I went back for my follow up with the surgeon, he said that the final pathology reports showed the tumor to be a mucinous cystic tumor which would no doubt grow back and most likely become malignant. The good news was that I did not have cancer, YET.

Three months to the day, I went under the knife again to have a Whipple Procedure done where I lost 1/4 of my pancreas, my gallbladder, my duodenum, my bile duct and part of my stomach. It was a very rough recovery. I was hospitalized for 14 days and at home recuperating for another two weeks before I was able to return to work. As I said, the recovery from the Whipple was very rough. I had lost 17 pounds and my appetite was virtually nill. When I did eat, it was very very small meals, mostly creamed soups and mashed potatoes. Gradually I gained weight and regained my strength.

At one year post-whipple, I am doing very well. I have been a distance runner for most of my adult life and I am gradually getting back into my favorite sport again.

If I had one thing to say about my ordeal, I would say when in doubt, ALWAYS go for a second opinion. For too many years, I was gaffed off by military doctors not wanting to take any interest in my true problems. When I was finally seen by true Doctors that cared, that is when I got cared for.




Posted 08/06/2004 11:45 am by Larry
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