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UMC- University Medical Center

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I leave on Sunday for the UMC in Tucson. This is the hospital that the University of Arizona has and it is a level 1 trauma center. It is where Gabrielle Giffords went after her horrific ordeal when she became a shooting victim and it is where they saved her life. These doctors at the UMC are doing unbelievable things with technology and medicine today and are always learning for the future.

My stay with include 4 full days of post-op testing at the UMC. No matter how many pins and needles I have had to endure, it is still not normal for me! I used to be the little kid running around the doctors office screaming about shots or blood work and now it has become second nature, but I still don't like it! So anyways, this week will be a long one, but it's funny because I only thought about that tonight. I have been so busy thinking about the surgery that I have not even had time to think about these tests. Below are the tests (for those of you thinking about TP-AIT or in my situation)

  • MRCP with contrast- Basically an MRI where they will be checking not only the pancreas, but also the liver to make sure the islets can make that their new home. Prayers please for a healthy liver. 
  •  A Gastric Emptying Test- This will involve a radioactive food substance that I will eat and the docs will watch as it does through my body. They will be able to tell what my body does when I eat and how well it gets rid of the food.
  • Labs- Believe it or not, this is the part I am the most freaked about! It is 27 VIALS of blood! Yea, you heard me, 27. Never had that many before, and I hate it as it is, so I will be asking about taking a relaxing medication before hand to get through it:-(
  • Upper Endoscopy- This will be a camera down my throat while I will be sedated. Also worried about this one because normally they put me under general anesthesia for it and this time it is just a sedation...let's hope a heavy one! 
  • Dietitian Meeting- I will be meeting with a dietitian to discuss what to eat up until the surgery and possibly what a diet to manage my diabetes will involve. I now weigh 125 pounds, a first for me, as I am almost 5'10"! But I still look fine, not too skinny, although I would like to gain about 10 pounds since you can lose up to 30 after surgery. YIKES. 
  • Psychological Evaluation- I will have to be mentally evaluated for the surgery. All patients must go through the process. They will be making sure I can handle a surgery of this magnitude. This means they will make sure I have family support, caretakers, mental stability, and understand fully what I am going to be like after surgery and how to care for myself. 
  • Surgeon Meeting- I have already met Dr. Rilo, who will never leave my pancreases side once it is out of my body. He will begin his work on that monster from the time it leaves to the time the islet cells are transplanted back into my liver. I will be meeting Dr. Gruessner, who will be "holding the knife" as my pancreas is removed (unless we do robotics, more on this to come). 
  • GI Meeting- I will be meeting with my GI doctor to discuss my results and talk about what each thing means. 
  • Neurological Evaluation- Oddly enough, I have had migraines from a young age, I mean young, 2nd grade! So they want to study this and make sure they are just headaches and not a form of seizures before they put me through a very long surgery. 


Dr. Rilo is confident that I need this surgery to live. He told me at our last meeting that as long as this study comes back "normal" with no surprises, he will proceed with the transplant. He said he was looking at end of January or beginning of February. He also asked me to begin researching and thinking about robotics. Robotics is a new way of doing surgery, not laproscopic, but it uses a robot to do the actual cutting. Doctors are "manning the machine" from a screen that magnifies everything x 12. It is still  very new and has only been preformed on total pancreatectomy with islet cell transplant a few times! My heart is pounding just writing this! I would be the first ever at the UMC and they would be bringing in a doctor who had experience with the robotics machine and TP. If it did not work after they began, they would change it and go to the normal old-fashioned way. There are positives to doing it this way: less risk of infection, faster healing time, shorter hospital stay, and a much small wound/scar. We will see, I am still thinking about it. I am a prime candidate because I am skinny and small in the stomach area. I will probably be in a medical journal if we chose to go this way!

1 comment:

  1. Wow! So much information and I would expect nothing less than for you to be incredibly knowledgable about all of this! Lots to take in...thinking of you tons as you go through each day in Tucson.

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