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My name is Barbara, and I had a Whipple surgery Sept. of 2005.
I had spent the summer of 2005 not feeling well. I was tired all the time
and my appetite was very poor. Eventually, I was unable to eat anything
without terrible indigestion. Due to the fact I was 30 lbs+ over weight, 62
years old, I thought that it was not such a bad thing not to be able to
tolerate most foods. My husband hounded me to go to the Dr. to find out what
the problem could be. I figured it was my gall bladder. I finally went the
Friday before Labor Day. I walked into my Primary Care Dr., and she said the
following thing, 'You are yellow'. Did I not notice? I had a 'stat'
bilirubin test and it was off the chart. The Dr. immediately sent me to the
hospital that afternoon. I protested that it was a holiday weekend, and I
had a ton of company coming. She said let them barbaque their own food. I
needed to find out what was going on in my body. The Dr. thought it might be
a gall stone stuck in the bile duct. I went to the hospital, had an ultra
sound, it showed nothing. Then the battery of tests started. At the end of 5
days and many tests later, it was discovered that I had a tumor either in the
main bile duct or the head of the pancreas. I was told how lucky I was that
I was a candidate for the Whipple surgery. The surgery was scheduled for 3
weeks later. I then proceeded to have 2 more opinions at very prestiges
medical facilities. They all had the same conclusion. Tumor and 95% that it
The surgery was performed Sept. 26, 2005. I tolerated the procedure very
well. It was in the head of the pancreas. The one complication was the tumor
had grown onto the portal vein. A vascular surgeon came in at that point and
resected my portal vein. Now I had what is called 'positive margins'. I
spent 9 days in the hospital. I went home with a feeding tube and various
drains. I had raging diarrhea. The drains eventually came out, and the
feeding tube was dicontinued after 2 weeks. The diarrhea still persisted. I
started chemo in Nov. of 2005. It was Gemszar. I had 2 rounds. In Jan. of
2006, I started IMRT radiation therepy in conjunction with 5FU chemo. This
lasted until March 2 of 2006. Since that time all my CT scans have come back
'clean'. I have my diarrhea under control. I am taking pancreatic enzymes.
My level of energy is not what it use to be, but I am getting use to the
'new' normal. The main 'leftover' is fatigue. I am told that is caused from
the chemo and radiation, plus having such a major sugery.
I recommend that anyone who has any kind of cancer seek out other people
experiencing the same thing. It helps emotionally. It is a relief to know
that you are not alone in your struggle.
My main caregiver was my husband who was the best ever. I could not have had
a better caregiver. He has done everything. My family and friends supported
us in every way possible. You can not manage this disease alone.
Posted 11/27/2006 02:39 pm by balex
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