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Pancreas Removal-anyone?

Pancreas Removal-anyone?

Posted by gcomputes on Jun 3, 2020 9:06 am

My sister who was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer has just gotten the news from her MRI that the cancer is so small they can hardly see it. The doctor is recommending that she have her pancreas removed. She is excited that after 8 months chemo the cancer is almost gone. She has developed diabetes and is on insulin now. She seems to think that this is the answer and it really wasn't that bad.... .She continues to smoke and I wish she would value life and quit. Has anyone had the surgery to remove the pancreas? They told her it was a "big" operation and she would be in hospital for 2 weeks and then 3 weeks recovery at home. any thoughts would be appreciated. We are thrilled that she can beat this when there didn't seem to be much hope at first.
Thanks Gloria

Re: Pancreas Removal-anyone?

Posted by Lacey_Moderator on Jun 3, 2020 10:54 am


Such great news! I hope her surgery goes well, that does sound like a long recovery but it is good to know what to expect. 

I'm glad you have reached out here to hear about other people's experience. 

This is a great resource for people wanting to support someone to quit smoking: Help Someone Quite: One step at a time.

Do you live near your sister?


Re: Pancreas Removal-anyone?

Posted by Cynthia Mac on Jun 4, 2020 9:39 am

Hi, gcomputes‍ , I’ve never heard of a complete pancreas removal, but I have heard of a pancreas “resection” where they remove a part of it.

I hope everything goes well.
“When the root is deep, there is no reason to fear the wind.” - Japanese saying

Re: Pancreas Removal-anyone?

Posted by gcomputes on Jun 8, 2020 9:50 am

Hi Lacey,
I live about 20 miles from my sister. Her son has decided she is isolation and is only allowed to go the hospital for appointments. It's hard for her to live alone during this pandemic. She  is not allowed to go to a grocery store - her only option is to go for a walk. She is going to have a phone call with Sunnybrook about the surgery on June 15 but her son says he has a lot of questions about It. He may discourage her from having it.... We support her by phone and text. I used to be able to listen to the phone calls with the drs but now they are from home she can't figure out how to 3 way call.... I researched her going bankrupt which would give her so much less stress, but her son doesn't want her to because if she passes they might take the debts out of the insurance money.... I'm so glad there is this place where I can vent. Sorry just frustrated lately. Enjoy this beautiful sunny day!

Re: Pancreas Removal-anyone?

Posted by Cynthia Mac on Jun 9, 2020 8:09 am

gcomputes‍ , given the text conversation I had with a brother yesterday, and based on what you’ve written, it behooves me to ask if her son has a history of “bullying” his mother or otherwise influencing her decisions? Your post actually sounds as though you have justification to be concerned. If this is the case, are you able to have a frank discussion with your sister about what she wants? 

You might want to have a conversation with her as well about who she has named for power of her care and material possessions to be sure that it.    is someone who will act in her best interest, should the time come that it is necessary.
“When the root is deep, there is no reason to fear the wind.” - Japanese saying

Re: Pancreas Removal-anyone?

Posted by Joybell on Jun 9, 2020 5:19 pm

Hi I am glad it sounds like a possible solution. No one should be alone through cancer, i hope there is good supprt. Wishing your family a healthy outcome, stay in touch. People care. Hold Fast.

Re: Pancreas Removal-anyone?

Posted by Laika57 on Jun 9, 2020 6:04 pm

Hi gcomputes‍ ,
my hubby just had his whipple procedure done today. 7.5h after they had [implied] it would be 4.
estimated release from hospital is 5-10 days.
I recommend "surgeon shopping" unless you're confident in the one she has. The survival rates are much higher at hospitals that do these procedures frequently.
smoking is a big "iffy factor" though. Not sure she will even be considered for surgery if she won't quit.
a total pancreatectomy was on the table for my hubby, but luckily not needed. If your sisters cancer has shrunk that much, she may want to get a second opinion. Don't know.  It's a big surgery and long recovery. Lifetime need for insulin and enzymes.
hubby said he was doing it because I wanted him to - now I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. I feel it should be the patients decision, and the system ought to provide counseling without agenda so they can make an informed (considering both facts and feelings) decision...
Have you hugged your dog today?

Re: Pancreas Removal-anyone?

Posted by gcomputes on Jun 20, 2020 11:19 am

My sister has decided against the surgery. There was a 20% chance of dying in the operation. They have stopped the chemo and will possibly start radiation. They are tested her kidneys first to see if she can have a catscan because of the dye. She had kidney issues due to her years of bipolar medication.That will tell us more. She is happy not to have the stress of the surgery. She is still worried about seeing us because of covid. My Mum supports her by phone all day long. How is everyone else coping with all this craziness? I am working from home and frustrated I can’t be with my sister for her dr appointments. She used to go with her son and put me on speaker phone but now they will just phone or if it is in person no one can go with her. Take care everyone 

Re: Pancreas Removal-anyone?

Posted by Lianne_Moderator on Jun 24, 2020 6:04 pm

gcomputes‍  just checking in. How are you doing? Did your sister have her kidney test?
Are you still not able to see her? If she is going to appointments in person alone, you may still be able to be on speaker phone - doesn't hurt to ask.


Re: Pancreas Removal-anyone?

Posted by gcomputes on Jun 26, 2020 8:39 am

HI Lianne,
Yes Jeanne has gone for her kidney test. The doctor says her function is low because of the bipolar meds for so many years. He says she can have the cat scan so we will know more then. She is coming to visit on Sunday so that will be good. Her dr appointments are on phone now and she doesn't know how to 3 way call. If it an in person appointment she calls her son and he listens and relays it to me. They are waiting for the results of the cat scan and then she is to begin radiation. She is hoping that will allow her hair to grow back. This last round of chemo she lost not only her hair but her eyebrows and eyelashes. Looking forward to her visit, she will be with her sons and her 2 grandchildren.