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"It's not a cure, it's a tradeoff"

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

 Throughout this entire process friends have been saying things like "I can't wait until you are cured" or "once this is over you will be better". I just smile and say thanks...but unfortunately many normal people who have not been down this road, which is mostly all of you, thank God, do not understand what is really happening. There is no cure in known medicine for hereditary chronic pancreatitis. Everyday I have been here talking with different parts of the surgical team they have made one thing very clear, you will never be 100% better or cured. You will be trading chronic pancreatitis for a some form a diabetes, which the degree of severity will not be known until it is all said and done. There is no crystal ball to check out how this would work. Even if they get a TON of islets (the full amount in a normal panky is 1 million) they could still die in the liver because I guess our livers are hostile environments. Who knew? Not me, nor did I ever CARE to know:-) Even if you are not diabetic now you could have lost many islets along the way with each bout of pancreatitis.

Sounds so doom gloom, huh? Today I let all this get in the way of my thought process for a bit, but I think I can let that go now and move on. I got a little down on my luck and began thinking about this like: "-Wow, this stinks- I will go through all this pain just to trade one disease for another- Not to mention all the horrible complications they have been telling me about-." OH AND...GET THIS...The day after surgery I will be getting the same amount of pain medication that the whole hospital uses in a day (all the patients combined). Apparently, when this transplant program first began the trauma center got on the doctors case about the amount of meds being given. Now, they understand better and it is cleared up that these patients doing this surgery are doing the most painful surgery known to man! They told me the first two days are the most painful days of your life.  I hope they are also the quickest passing days of my life. The first week is when complications can occur, and they can be serious and require more surgery. Bleeding, bile leaking into the stomach, yada yada, lets not dwell. Of course I hope I don't have to worry about all of this! I guess I will be learning new meditation and breathing strategies, like it or not. Bring on the healing CD's!

After coming to my senses, which I think I have pretty good senses about me, I have decided that they (the doctors here) have to tell you about life after pancreas so that you don't run out the door thinking you are ready to go on the next pub crawl in Old Town Scottsdale with your friends! I get it, I get it, it just stinks listening to all the bad things that can happen after you have gone through a life altering surgery to try and get your quality of life back. So attention friends, even after this surgery I will still be on a long road to recovery. I learned today that I will still have surgical pain for a while, a year while, and I will probably still need my heavy medications for a while too. Thats okay though, because unlike the tunnel I am currently riding in, there is light at the end of the after surgery tunnel.

I have spoke to my family at great length tonight about my chance of becoming a brittle diabetic. I am going to plan on being some form of diabetic, considering 70% are after surgery. Even without the surgery I am at great risk of developing it throughout the progression of my disease. I already showed some abnormalities in my glucose test I had a few weeks ago and it will decline as years go on with CP.  I have decided that  more research dollars will be spent on diabetes since more are affected. Less than one percent of the WHOLE population suffers from what I do. Many more than that are affected with diabetes. My point is I believe more advances will be made in my lifetime with diabetes than with chronic pancreatitis. Also, my biggest factor (besides the fact that what I have now causes chronic pain) is that my genes make my pancreatic cancer risk very high (50% higher). Even though I will be trading one serious medical condition for another serious medical condition, I feel I have no choice. Ready or not, here I come!

2 comments:

  1. I was having a really bad night, just extremely emotional dealing with the week of Christmas and insensitive girls (totally thought I was out of high school, but grown women are apparently just as bad, boo) Anyways, your post really brought my spirits up. I hope that doesn't sound too weird, but even though we are going through completely different things I SO GET YOU! You are facing most likely the toughest time of your life, and you are handling it with such grace and faith! I could use a little more of that at times! You amaze me, and please know I will be praying my heart out for you! I have no idea the amount of physical pain you have endured or will in the upcoming months, but I do know that your faith WILL get you through! I know the only reason I have made it through the past couple years is by my faith & hope in Christ! I can remember laying in my hospital bed and deciding to grieve in a completely different way, I HAD to rely on Christ solely. Arie and my family would not be able to provide everything I needed in order to make it through the emotional pain I was about to endure. God literally carried me from that moment all the way through my babies' funeral. Something I never knew I had the strength to get through. Your family and friends are MOST DEFINITELY here to support you and pray for you too, but what we can not provide, GOD will fulfill for you! I hope these words help, even just a little! Love ya girl! PRAYING PRAYING PRAYING for you!

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  2. Wonderful post, Whit! You are truly an inspiration to us all... and touching lives of others with your positive attitude. You inspire and amaze me!! We will all be here for you through this road to recovery, no matter how long it may be. But, I just have a feeling, that your embracing attitude will carry you through this much quicker than you even imagine :) Ready or not, here we all come-- by your side through this journey!! LOVE YOU Whit!!! xoxoxo

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