TP-AIT Surgery

Monday, October 31, 2011

Amongst the many other stupid things people have said to me along the way, one has been “why don’t you just get your pancreas out”. Unfortunately, the pancreas is a vital organ and it is not like taking out an appendix. The pancreas creates insulin and digestive enzymes. Both are important for survival. Removing it involves becoming a diabetic, going through a 10-14 hour surgery, staples up my entire stomach area, a 30 day hospital stay, and the 40% risk of complications and need for more surgeries.  However, the total pancreatectomy has been done with auto-islet cell transplants. The success rate has been good, but the long term research is not there. The surgery was first performed in the world in 1970 at the University of Minnesota but Dr. Sutherland. It worked and the lady lived another 6 years (I am not sure of her history or condition at the time of surgery). The idea is the pancreas is removed and the islet cells (insulin producing) are then take out of the pancreas and placed in your liver where they make a new home. If it was as easy as I am making it sound I would have had this done already. However, I am now praying that I get approved for this surgery at both the UofA medical center and the UofMN medical center. I would like to have options.
November 18th is my first appointment with the UMC in Tucson! I am so excited. I am also working on getting my first appointment with U of MN medical center. I can’t wait to hear what Tucson has to say. So far, an hour on the phone with someone who understands the severe pain was all I needed to be excited! I will be tested for three days at UMC where I will have a battery of different tests to check every possible thing! I can’t wait to get a second opinion and a better look at what is going on with the cranky panky! The talk of surgery and the research I am putting into this has been the scariest thing I have ever done in my life. Ever. I mean ever ever. I can not even express in words how scared I am for the future and for the surgery. Even with that being said, I pray every day that I get approved for the surgery and it truly becomes my option. After making around 30 trips to the hospital and ER in the past few years, I feel this is my time to do it! I am ready! I want to reclaim the life I love and make it a good one! HOPEFUL tonight!

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