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Dr. Gruessner

Monday, January 30, 2012

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10150503352321691&set=p.10150503352321691&type=2

Click on this link and you will see a really GREAT news piece on the pancreas surgery! This man, Bruce, needs his life back. I am still waiting to see if insurance will pay for my transplant, although we have been told it is likely that they will since I have private insurance. My doctor who will be taking out my pancreas is featured in this!

24 Hour Prayer Group

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Kara Kissell is a friend of mine that I have known since somewhere right around pre-school age! We have had many "firsts" together including having the same first grade teacher, being in girl scouts, high school student council all four years, and living together in our college dorm. My life wouldn't be the same without Kara in it, that is for sure. She put together a prayer group for me so that I will have prayers every half an hour for the first 24 hours of my surgery. I still have crazy middle of the night hours from 1:30-3:30 am left- but I know people sleep and have jobs:-) My family can cover those, but if you are interested in any other time you can always double up with others! Here is the list with everyone who signed up. If you still want to sign up this document can be opened from the link below and you can modify it yourself. It will save as you do it and will show up on the link from then on. Pretty neat! That Kara, her mom taught computer class, that is why she is so smart on the Mac book.  You see, she had them way before they were cool, since like 1990! Love her, and here is my tribute to my KareBear!



Ashley Scobee and Kara and I on the boat in Coronado.  We were so sunburned that night when we went out, but we didn't know! We thought we looked so pretty and tan!
One of my favorite pictures. Holding our childhood "girl scout" buddies babies. Time flies and the cycle of life continues. Sweet Evan in my arms (Katie's baby) and beautiful Gracie (Jenny's baby) in Kara's arms. We whispered them right to sleep, their moms were impressed. 

Us in Vegas, pretty sure we were around 19 years old...our ID's said we were from New Jersey or Ohio or something like that :-) 
Dancing with the Bride, Katie, on her wedding night. Katie remembers it better than the two of us:-)
The girls from Agua Fria. We did everything together, missing a few here... 

DATE for TP-AIT

Here is the surgery I will be having, in simple man terms. I do not have a "pancreas tumor" but imagine that whole pancreas is going to be taken out along with a few other body parts in there. I am feeling very scientific tonight in explanations.  Amazing what modern medicine can do for us today. Praying all the reconnecting goes perfectly.


I labeled this post under "HOPE" for a specific reason. I finally have a date for my Total Pancreatectomy with Auto-islet Cell Transplant, which will take place February 16th, 2012. I keep asking my wonderful Mama when I will be "ready" for this and when this feeling will go away. Unfortunately, I don't think I am ever going to be ready and I don't think the feeling will ever go away until it is over. I have 18 days until surgery. 18...That will fly by and it will be here before I know it. I can't even say 18 more days without crying. At first I thought I had lost my mind, but I was reading some posts on my support group site from a lady who will be having this surgery right around the same time as me. She said something I am afraid to admit- Sometimes she feels like she is walking around spending her last two weeks here. I hate even admitting that out loud (and technically this isn't out loud), but I feel that way too sometimes. Then, I bounce back and know that God will take care of me. I can't help but have my mind go to these places that scare me so much, and I hate it. I was talking to a friend tonight and we decided that maybe it is the devil that makes you think these things. God isn't making me think them, that's for sure.

I know this surgery has been performed many times (around 600 times total since the 1970's) but when you really think about it, it is far from a routine surgery. I think many people upset me when they are insensitive and say things like "it's not a big deal" or "all surgeries are scary," which I have heard many times since I started talking openly. It's not like I want people to scare me and say how rare this surgery is, but I really think some people just don't know. I have even had friends compare this to the time they had their appendix out.  However, if you compare an appendectomy (appendix) at 75,000 a year in the United States you can start to identify how much less common a pancreatectomy (about 600 since 1978) can be. Also, the average laparoscopic appendectomy takes approximately 12 minutes total removal time and the more invasive approach takes less than one hour. My surgery will take up to 14 hours. You see my point? Can I win the medal before the surgery, kidding, kidding, but I hope you can understand why I am being a nutcase about it. This thing just doesn't sit well in my brain at night- no matter what I try to do. 

One thing that does make me feel better is the label that this blog post has, HOPE. You see, I have something that so many others do not. I have something to look forward to with my chronic illness. I have hope. I have a team of skilled surgeons and doctors who have promised to take care of me with everything the have. That is a huge promise and I trust my life with these men. I can't recall another time I have had to place my life in the hands of someone else for this long, but I feel confident that my life won't just be in their hands, it will be in God's hands. I pray for those who do not have hope for a cure every night, because even if it isn't a cure that we all know about I never underestimate the "miraculous healings" that I know can happen if we believe. 

I will leave you with this thought. Something my Mom used to tell me when I was younger and I try to remember it today. Sometimes it's okay to let everything go and just "be happy" no matter what. Drop everything and do something that makes you happy whether it takes 5 minutes or a whole day.

Purple Stride- Pancreas Walk

The shirts Ali made for the Purple Stride Walk!
Look below for a link to order today!


My friends planned a early birthday dinner for me since we were not sure when the BIG DAY would be... (We do know now, stay tuned). Ali went through a TON of trouble and work to plan a big birthday dinner and Kerri helped her plan a huge birthday surprise. They both worked together with my friends from all the different time periods of my life. If you know me, you know I have lots of friends. I generally make a friend and keep a friend for years. I have childhood friends, high school friends, college friends, teacher friends, San Diego friends, and the list goes on and on. I am not meaning to talk about all the friends I have, that seems rude, I just mean that they are all so wonderful and I feel really lucky. I guess when something like this happens people always say "you find out who your true friends are" and I am so lucky that I have so many true friends and people that want to be there to help. It really makes everything so much better and easier.

They had a big dinner and at the end I opened a gift from all of them. The box said "Faith" on it and inside was a purple pancreas ribbon. I was thankful, not too sure what it all meant, but thankful. They explained that they knew I had mentioned walking to raise money for pancreatic awareness and they had all signed up to do the walk. They didn't think I would be there, but they decided to make T-Shirts and walk anyways. I was crying, which is common these days, and so thankful. I love that I am now able to have a group of people helping me in my efforts to spread awareness about the understudied, under appreciate, and misunderstood PANCREAS. WOO! It is actually put on by the pancreatic cancer action network PANCAN but I feel any dollars towards research is a step in the right direction.

If you would like to sign up for the walk, or donate if you can't wait, click on the link below. To "join a team" sign up under "Team Whitney" or "Kerri Casa" who organized this. If you would like to donate, you can do that on this site too. Again, any money towards the pancreas will help. We need a cure!



If you would like to buy a matching T-Shirt that we will be wearing here is the link for that below:



The box I opened when I found out about the "surprise" walk! 

Some of the girls after dinner- missing a few.

Dinner at Olive and Ivy

Three Full Days

 I look
like I am holding Bell Rock:-) 
Three full days never seemed like a big deal. I can't remember the last time I had three full days of activities! I used to teach elementary school and couldn't wait to have two short days of jam packed weekend days to do fun things like dinner with my friends or relaxing with yoga and the T.V. For the past 4 months things have been very different and days seem to get interrupted by pain, doctors, hospital stays, and all these other negative things that go along with all that! This weekend I was out enjoying life and I didn't even get one blog post in! I should have, because so much is happening on the pancreas front. I don't even know where to begin, but if I posted all the things I want to tell the world I would be up all night- which doesn't sound too bad because I slept all day after my friend that was visiting left for the airport this morning! Before I tell you blog friends everything exciting that has gone down on the pancreas front, I want to show you why I was absent and didn't share the news right away! 


Being a poser in front of Bell Rock

Sedona



More Red Rocks... I am going back for jeep tours after I am pancreas free!

Dr. Rilo- AGAIN!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

I know I have talked about Dr. Rilo before- many times- because I love him, but I have posted a link so you can read about his accomplishments too and love him too! Please say prayers for Dr. Rilo and Dr. Gruessner. I don't know what they believe or if they believe, but I do know one thing. Praying for their hands and their minds to be sharp the day of my surgery can't hurt anyone! Dr. Rilo is not only an amazing surgeon, he is an amazing person. How can I say these things about a man I did't know until a few short months ago? I honestly am not sure, but once you meet him you know. He has spent so much time easing my fears. The other day he called me and spoke with me for an hour about my fears, everything down to answering my questions about death during surgery. He explained everything in detail and responds to my text messages in the ER as soon as he gets them! Dr. Khan is equally as wonderful. He spoke to my ER doctor at a different hospital the other day. Talk about going beyond the expectations of your patients.
Click here to read more about Dr. Rilo.  Check out his cute bow tie!

My Doctors

Interested in contacting the team who did my surgery? If you find yourself facing chronic pancreatitis please call them before you lose HOPE! These doctors will restore your faith and your life.  Below-----

To Contact: Call Renee at (520) 626-9911
Fax: (520) 626-7779

Dr. Horacio Rilo- Islet Transplant Surgeon (The BEST Doctor to date!)
hrilo@surgery.arizona.edu
Dr. Rainer Gruessner- Surgeon
Dr. Khalid Khan- Gastrointerologist
Robert Diana- Physicians Assistant
Kelli Yo Yee- Registered Dietitian

The link to the website:
www.pancreatitiscenter.com

Roses and Thorns

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Read the end to figure out what I am thinking! I must brag-
Casey S. on the show is my sorority sister and friend.
She is nice and classy- which is why she doesn't get much
screen time. No fun to watch a normal girl act normal I guess.
I love her though! 
 I looked into the eyeballs of my little 7 year olds and had a brief moment of sheer panic. One boy said, "What are we going to do today teacher?" I grew to love that question though, as time went on, because my answer usually brought so much excitement to the room, even if it was just a regular day to me. My tone of voice was enough to make them giddy and cheerful.

At our staff meeting that first week of school we were told to share our thorns and roses, positives and negatives of the week. At that time I am sure I had some thorns, being a new teacher, but I really don't remember what I said. That day stuck with me, that staff meeting at least. I've tried to use the strategy lately to help me balance the good with the bad. It isn't all bad...no matter what.

Today's Roses:
1. I met a new primary care doctor who was wonderful. She said she would help me with my after surgery care when I return home from Tucson and she would work closely with my surgeons on any issues that may come up. Not only did she help from a medical standpoint- she said she would be praying for me. She showed me human compassion and she reassured me that I was making the right decision. She went on to talk about her own life and her C-section, letting me hear her personal fears during that time and assuring me that my fears are normal. What a wonderful doctor, above and beyond what I expected.
2. I received so many emails and texts from friends letting me know that they read YOU, bloggy, and that they care. I am so amazed at how truly wonderful people are in my life. Blessed doesn't even begin to describe how caring people have been towards me and I am so thankful for all of the extra prayers and support.
3. I felt physically GREAT today! Can't beat that ROSE!
4. I may have helped a few other families suffering because of PRSS1-otherwise known as Diablo. I alwyas love hearing that my blog has helped some of those families who have been affected with Diablo,  the genetic mutation!

Thorns:
1. Fear is kicking in today! Don't know what it is about today in particular, but it's a fear filled day. I don't want to die- there I said it Bloggy. I don't and I fear it with this surgery:-( I am always positive, but its something I can't deny. I think about it and I worry. I have a LOT left to do here, like make a cute little baby to form a relationship with for the rest of my life. How special. Yes, please. Let me.
2. I had to go to the ER last night because I was having esophageal spasms from the scope I had a few days ago. A weird and rare side effect, and yep I ended up having it! I knew something didn't feel right and it got worse over the course of a few days so I went in and they helped me greatly. I got poked 7 times with a needle for the IV since I was major dehydrated. The medicine worked-major rose- but this isn't the rose section.
3. Big HUGE thorn- Listed under "causes" for my disease in the pre-made paperwork from the Mayo Clinic that they gave me last night upon leaving the ER dun dun dun....

  • drinking too much alcohol
  • gallstones
  • medicines
  • chemicals
  • damage caused by injury to belly
  • surgery
Does anyone see "Hereditary" in that list? How about "Genetic Mutation" or "Idiopathic" Nope, none. Give it up already people! Many other things cause this besides alcohol. ARGH! I want Mayo to change their pre-made paperwork and get their causes right. Thanks in advance:-) I will be requesting this to them tomorrow. And no, I do not have more important things to do!

Okay can't end the bloggy with thorns because that is just not right. Absolutely not.  What to say to make it positive again? Oh I know, tomorrow Renee (Dr. Rilo's wife, who also works for him) says she will be able to give me a better idea of what the date of my surgery will be. That is a ROSE. That actually deserves 2 roses. That might have even deserved the FIRST IMPRESSION ROSE! I feel like the bachelor, Ben, just handing out roses left and right. Such a pimp. He got lucky- a bad hair cut and some awkwardness yet the girls are just fleeing towards him. Only.On.TV. 

Permission and Prayers

Saturday, January 14, 2012

I spoke with Kara, who laughed when she read that I didn't put her phone number, and anyways if you want to help out with the prayer group, which means so much to me, Kara said it would be great if you text messaged her your name and general time of day. I have you already if you called, emailed or facebooked so I gave those to her! Thank you so much. We almost have enough people to cover every hour and Kara thinks she can break it down to every half hour even! Our Lord will be flooded with prayers and He will have me in tip-top shape in the fasted time on record (really breaking records for that would be awesome). 

The coin and the Rosary, both given
as gifts by two very special people. 
Kara- (623) 206-7745 


When I was at the UMC the first time around for my testing I met a man in his 40's who was with his mom for some half yearly testing. He had already had the TP-AIT and was in for his 6 month visit. Larger than life Dr. Rilo dragged him into my room to ease my fears about the surgery. This guy was amazing. His name was Russ, and he was a husband and father of two little girls. He showed me a picture of both his girls on his phone and told me they were the reason he did this surgery. He suffered much longer than I, because he did not know about the surgery. He was never a part of a support group and I was the FIRST person he had ever met that shared this bond. That is powerful for some reason, when you meet someone who is "like" you, even when you have not met before. He was great, showed me his scar, gave me his cell number and chatted with me for a long time about recovery. The man's mom was the sweetest lady- and did the coolest thing. She kept looking at me and my mom with tears in her eyes. I knew why. I knew that deep down she could feel our pain, as six months ago she sat in my moms shoes scared to death and worried about her baby. She was looking deep into us, looking for something to say or something to do. All of the sudden she reached into her purse and asked me if I was a religious person. I said yes and she replied with "I could tell." She said something in her head told her to give this coin in her purse to me. It was a religious coin with praying hands and she kept it with her during her sons pre-op tests, his surgery, and his recovery. She said God wanted her to pass it along and she was waiting for the right moment to give it to someone. She chose me. I cried. She cried. My mom cried. Russ did not cry:-) And off they went, back to enjoy the life Russ missed out on for so many years.
 I will pass the coin on to someone when the moment is right and I do not need it anymore. I am looking forward to sharing that moment with whoever God wants me to share it with. 


My dear friend Jessi has a super religious Mama, and we both love her for it. She has been like this since I have met Jessica, in the fourth grade, and she has always turned her entire life over to God. She is one of those people who isn't afraid of death, because she knows how great it will be. I have not been able to turn it over that well, one day I will get there, but not yet. I admire her faith and her strong convictions. She wanted to make sure I had a Rosary and prayers too. She sent me this blessed Rosary and I love it so much! I have made a point to say it daily and try to be a little more like "the Jude" as we call her, with my faith each day. Above is the beautiful rosary she sent me in the hospital.

Masses for the Healing said for me...around the US and in Lourdes! 
One of my grandmas best friends (who also happens to be 92) sent me a card saying that a mass is being said in my honor. The coolest thing is that it is being said in Lourdes! At first I thought I was wrong, because it is from a Lourdes in Illinois. But, after reading it further, it says that two masses will be said, one in Illinois and one in Lourdes. It went on to explain the whole story about 33 miraculous heeling's that have taken place at Lourdes. These heeling's are recognize by the Catholic Church, meaning that they are heeling's that really happened without the use of medicine and cures. They are things that were not supposed to happen and had no way to happen, but did anyways. I was really excited to get this gift!

Chandelier

I think I am "nesting"- you know the thing women do before they have babies!??? I am not having a baby, I am having a surgery, and I have gone off the deep end wanting everything to be so pretty in my room! The room I probably won't be hanging out much in until I am well, or at least much healthier since I will be staying with my parents for a while. Anyways, here is my newest item! I love her mucho! I justify as I will "bring her with me wherever I may move to in life". So that's my promise... wherever I go, she goes!
Thanks Lamps Plus for robbing me...wait that was my own fault:-)
I have wanted one of these puppies for a long time and I figured I will be spending
lots of time laying in bed looking up...why not!?!

Prayer Group Invite

Friday, January 13, 2012

Remember my friend I told you about, Kara? KareBear? Okay, well she is helping me with something we saw in another blog and since the docs are saying about 3 weeks till D-Day I need to help her get a head start on something. She is going to be putting together some prayer warriors for the day of surgery. The idea is each person who signs up agrees to take an hour. The surgery is anywhere from 10-14 hours and we will give you the EXACT date once that time comes. What Kara was thinking is that we could get 24 people to pray, covering every hour of the whole 24 hour day so the good Lord hears the prayers during the most crucial hours. This means some night owls would either have to take a midnight hour on a weeknight or maybe some night shift workers like you nurses or early workers (The surgery will be a Thursday- no matter what). Also, Kara would love if you got people you sit next to at work involved or your family and your friends....and wait for it...wait for it....take a PICTURE if you have a little group you are going to pray with! WOO!

To be clear, you would basically be volunteering to pray for one hour on the day of my surgery.

When I am doing so so well, which I know I will be, I can post that part of the day too on my blog. What a cool way to remember how great and generous my friends and also a great way to remember what is very much the scariest day of my life for me, my brother, and my parents. Kara is starting to work on this now so please comment on this blog post if you are willing to take an hour and if you would like morning, afternoon, or evening, or a middle of the night hour (even though we don't have an exact day) that way Kara will post a schedule of the prayers on here for me! You can email me, post it here in comments section, text me, call...or do the same to Kara if you know her. If not, I will pass it along to her since I don't know if its safe to post a phone number on a blog. HA! What if a stranger got a hold of it and liked Kara too??? I am getting excited just thinking about having 24 prayer warriors!

Necklaces that are pretty and for a GREAT cause!

Whitney-Stern...no ME! Wearing my Gold one.
Headless Whit 
Beth Stern. Howards Wife. So pretty.


Great shout out in either People or Us Weekly...
Not sure which one but COOL!
As you know from my Facebook account, I took pancreatic cancer research to an annoying level on my status updates! I was serious about it since awareness is low and cancer statistics are not good. Only about 3% of those with Pancreatic Cancer will make it, and that is even an unreliable percentage because many die within 5 years in that 3%. Not many can beat PC, for many reasons, which upset me so greatly and I promise PROMISE promise to make this a goal of mine once I am well. I planned to walk this year or at least get together a group of my girlfriends for a walk in February, but I just ran out of steam and energy and well I didn't feel well! Next year, and I may even take it to a new level. I want to help those who need help the most and PC gets very little national funding. Breast Cancer is only 1 step above PC as far as people affected and we all know about the boatloads they receive. Want to know why??? Because motivated women in a group cared a lot, like ME, and they did something about it. So I will do that too, watch out Susan G. Koman Foundation, once I am well there will be a new girl in the HOUSE!

PC is hard to detect early, as is any pancreas issue, hello 3 years of not knowing this was genetic, and many tests leading to dead ends. Obviously, if I was not blessed enough to find my surgery that I am confident will save my life and will save my current quality of life, I could have been facing the PC battle in oh I don't know for sure....10 years of so. I am not allowing that one to happen, sorry Lord, that one isn't in my plan and I know it isn't in your plan or you would not have given me Dr. Rilo:-) Anyways, bottom line, it takes the life of too many and it doesn't have to if we can dedicate more dollars and more research to the cancer. I hope and I pray my lifetime sees a change with these statistics. If it ever affects you, which I hope it doesn't, you will be sharing me in this prayer. That is the thing, and I get it, but you really only care when it becomes something that affects you or the ones you love! It is okay, you can still participate in whatever cool thing I come up with to do for fundraising.

Please check out these COOL NECKLACES! My Mom and I both wear the "Rich Rocks Tree of Hope" and so does Howard Sterns hottie of a wife. So you, if you are reading this, should order one too! They really are so cute and they help a great cause. Friends, if you want to make me really really happy...order one...and take a picture wearing it and post it on my Facebook wall! That would be an awesome gift for me and for you. Click on the link below. I got mine in GOLD for $45.00.
http://www.richrocksnyc.com/tree-of-life-necklace-for-city-of-hope-25-of-all-proceeds-will-be-donated-to-their-pancreatic-cancer-research-and-treatment-facility.html

Pajamas

Remeber how I said I needed 15 pairs of pajamas before surgery time. Well, lucky for me I am successfully on my way to this glorious goal of mine and thank goodness! I went to Nordstrom Rack- pictured below- and got many pairs of comfy yoga pants and PJ's and then I went to Gap Body in Tucson for a little pit stop and stalked up on comfy clothes. I figured for at least 3-4 months I am going to be in lounge wear and I just can't look like a little mess!

Whirl-Wind Week

I have not posted in a while because I have not been well at all. I wanted to post the two before because they are fun and uplifting. Who doesn't love two darling little redheads with huge smiles or a cool new bedroom set? Maybe some people who don't love cool stuff and cool little people. Anyways, I am going to keep this short and do a better job on a later post, maybe when I am feeling better. I am sick. Very sick. My pain is bad and I feel I should be back in the hospital, but to be honest, I am bruised on both of my hands and I am plain sick of the hospital. I know I will be back in for a while and I sort of want to enjoy this time if I can get away with it and not suffer with too much pain.

I was in the hospital for 5 days this week. I went in with horrible pain and I had an outstanding group of doctors. I only had 2 bad nurses, out of 2 a day so that is pretty good! One came in and lectured me on the use of the pain med and decided she would cut the dose my doc prescribed in half. Not sure why she felt she went to med school that day but okay. Kara came over, my sweet sweet Kara, an old and dear friend. I believe we went to St. Peters Pre-School together, if that gives you any idea of my Kara. Oh and we lived in the dorms at ASU together. Oh and we went to high school together. You get the idea. Another long time girlfriend. She marched out and got the doctor and MADE me tell him what was going on. I am so GLAD she did this! I probably would not have and she really encouraged me. Once I did he talked to the nurses and instructed them to give the meds he prescribed. Thanks KareBear!

I really needed to get the heck out of the hospital because I needed to get down to the UMC in Tucson by Wednesday for another procedure. It was the scope with the stomach biopsy that we needed to complete the pre-op testing and to get the insurance approval submitted. This was the final step. I had to go under general anesthesia which is why I asked for prayers. It was a simple thing, but anytime I am under general anesthesia I like prayers:-) It makes me nervous no matter how big or small they procedure is that they are doing. I think I worried friends on Facebook and I feel bad. Some people thought I was having the actual TP-AIT since I said "surgery" and "OR" so if I did I am so so sorry! I wanted to keep friends up to date since many of you have been so supportive of me. I love it and am so THANKFUL for all the prayers. Keep them coming if you will! Do I sound greedy??? I hope not, I just love knowing others pray too. I want to continuously pray to the Lord for his help in my biggie, scary, surgery coming up.

Docs said my approval will take 2 weeks max! WAHHHOOOO! They said I am first on their list since I can't manage to keep my butt out of the hospital. I am hoping that I get in first week of February or last week of January, but that seems like pushing it (and I have a really cool new friend coming to visit at that time and would like to be able to do fun stuff with my friend- but want surgery nonetheless so I will cancel if need be). God will do this on his time. I hear this all the time. Remember when I posted about my journey with God and how I still thought I had work to do? Well I do still have work, but things with God have changed so much since even writing that. I pray to Him day in and day out. I feel close to Him. I feel protected by Him. I feel blessed by Him. My spirituality has become so much stronger during all of this and that is one thing I will always make time for in my life even when I begin to fill it back up with fun activities.

Below are pics of me in the hosptial this last time! I tried to walk with my mom everyday since I want to try and stay somewhat in "shape" for surgery. I think it will help when the day comes. I try stretching a lot too. Streches are actually easier and sometimes feel pretty nifty on my back.

I had some mix-ups at the UMC today that caused me tears and stress. The operating room was supposed to be booked at 8:30 for me but they made a scheduling error that I did not find out about until I was already there for check in. After lots of phone calls they got me at 12:00. It opened up a giant box of worries for me! I worried about the docs competence, I worried about the communication between transplant surgeons and hospital...things of that nature. Not just this one thing caused me to think this...there have been a few mix ups. But I am okay now. I think a big place gets mix ups from time to time. We are human beings and so are hospital staff. Okay now I am trying to make myself believe it:-) Hopefully my next post will read "Insurance approved my surgery and it is Feb 2. Who knows???? God knows... Love Him.
Walking in the halls with my Mom

5 days of no shower,gross I am aware.
I am pretty proud however my careful hairdo
that masked dirt:-) Oh man- no dignity!







Bashas

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Bashas is a grocery store here in Phoenix. Sounds exciting huh? Well turns out it really is! My best friend in the WHOLE word, Kater Patater, aka Katie K. and I like to go and spend a few hours. See Bashas is the perfect spot to go when you feel like blah and you still want to get out of the house. And Kater is the perfect friend to go with. She brings the CUTEST kids on the earth (until I birth my own children, that is) and we go for a few hours. We get coffee at Starbucks, donuts for her donut loving 2 year old, and usually some sort of breakfast for us because they have a grill there. If we go late we love their made to order sandwiches. I know LAME huh?? We are kind of enjoying our little trips, and Evan (the 2bee) says "do-nuttttt" when he sees the Bashas sign. Yes, it has gotten that BAD! HAHA But look at them below. I know you are all jealous that I get to hang with these two sweeties at Bashas:-) 


Redecorating the Recovery Room!

Bathroom again with my Ross and Marshalls finds!
Sitting area in my room, added the new pictures
today...found them at Marshall's for 14 bucks!

Dresser where the funky mirror will go.
Even though I will stay in Tucson for 7 weeks after surgery and then will return to my parents house until I am stable, I did something fun this Christmas! I redecorated my room at my own condo so it is so nice when I decide to return to my own place. I am still not done though, I am doing a chandelier over my bed, still waiting on some more cool pillow I order for the bed, and a funky mirror over my dresser, but I have some pictures of now! The pictures don't show it off as much as I would like since I took them with my phone (I think it looks better in person:-) Most importantly I LOVE it!

This is a dark picture! Darn camera phone!
But my lamps very pretty and you can't tell;-(
Also, I took the pic from my parents garage and it
matches perfectly:)
I need to get better at layouts so this pic lines up with the pic below it and so my blog is so cool like others! I just can't figure these things out. Maybe when I am a little better I can put some time and research into developing a really cool layout for "mi bloggy"! I read on another girls blog (who has not really blogged in 3 years since her surgery) that you life fills up with other activities when you feel good and you don't just sit around anymore! OOOOhhh LLLAaaa LAaaaa so beautiful that thought it. I want to scuba dive, something I never thought I would want to do, and I want to go to Italy, something I have done and have anyways wanted to do again. Maybe Spain this time! And maybe, just maybe, I can get a very cute boy to go with me. Oh what fun!

My bedding that I major splurged on and my
new chandelier! Love them both. 




Shout Out to a New Blog

Monday, January 2, 2012

Stole this video from a fellow panky bloggers blog! Love the below blog and I feel like I have had so MANY of the same thoughts as this beautiful girl. Her pre-surgery "to do" list cracked me up and made me remember that I have so MUCH to do...I mean I need at least 12 pairs of pajamas for this bad boy.

Here is another great video. Enjoy. This is my surgery to a T! Please watch so you know where little Whitters will be coming from for a while. Cut and paste in a new page!

http://youtu.be/xeRS9N1aV84

Hmmm I thought I was on to something so rare, so unique, and so new with my blogging! But...tonight while I suffered from insomnia partly due to this aching back and ridiculous pancreas pain (I feel an ER trip, but am trying to wait until at least 6 am before I make that wake up phone call to poor Mike and Janine- love them)! I stumbled across a blog by a girl who I think may have been related to me in another life. I was so into her blog, crying my eyes out during parts, and loving every minute of it. She had some major complications after surgery (trying to block that part out for my own sanity), but her story ends with a happy ending. Check it out fellow pankies! She is a HUGE inspiration to me. You think you are having a bad day??? Think again before saying how bad it is or how bad you feel. I actually heard a friend say that she had the WORST Christmas ever, I won't even tell you why. That is a bold statement, and I am sure before all of this I was guilty of such things too. Be aware that those around you may be actually very sick and very tired or very sad! Check it out, you won't regret it.

http://theabundantlifeblog.com/?p=779   <-------- Picked out a page
http://theabundantlifeblog.com

A Week Off From Work!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Out enjoying my "week off" with a non-alcoholic
beer! Doesn't it look so real? I get tired of hearing
"why aren't you drinking"




Update: 
When you have an organ that is failing it is not easy to forget about it. I try, but it reminds me. I always wake up saying that today will be the day I won't think about it, and then I end up forced to think about it. This week was different! No one heard from me this week on my blog or in my Facebook group because I was busy enjoying life:-) I had very little time to sit around! I told my friend I wanted to HAVE THE BEST DAY EVER the day after Christmas and now we say it everyday when we talk about what we did each day. That day we did have the best day ever, we went to lunch, went to Fashion Square Nordstrom (my favorite), redecorated some things in my room and enjoyed the day away together. I feel like I was so lucky, like I got a week off from work! Even though my work is so flexible now, I feel this pancreas has become my crazy, out of control job! One I hate, of course:-) 

This new years was much different! For one, I was not drinking bubbly, which has been a continuing trend for my last few NYE celebrations (big boo), but also that I have a lot coming up and no specific timeline for it. I really wish I had my final approval and a surgery date, but I should be hearing next week more about how the insurance process is going and what all my tests looked like. I know I have to go back and redo the scope that I had done the last day of testing. I was under, but not a general anesthesia, a twilight sleep. Since I am on bunch of medication the sleep did NOT knock me out all the way and I ended up chewing on the doctors scope and apparently talking to him. My mistake:-) Needless to say, I will be returning to the UMC this week or next to have the scope under general anesthesia.
Shelby and I enjoying NYE
Aka: Gloria and Gloria


The UMC told me to expect to hear from them the second week of January regarding approval, but all surgeons involved said they were 99.9% sure this was what I needed and that they would be able to help me. They even told my dad that if this was their own child they would do this surgery. I also heard from another "pancreas friend" who went to see Dr. Rilo and his team. She said he told her he was not confident in doing the surgery on her as he did not know if her daily life would improve, or at least he was not sure. With me he said "this is your light at the end of the tunnel" and expressed his 100% sure attitude towards me. The other doctor and a PA both said similar things and feel very confident. I was glad to hear that he told my friend this, even though I wished he could help her, but my gladness came from the fact that he did not push her into a surgery and that he was willing to say he was not sure he could fix her problem. I feel like that is a good sign and that he actually believes I need this, not just so he can do another one. 


I want a DATE! The docs said they could get my surgery done the last week of this month, but I am starting to feel like that is becoming less of a chance each day. This surgery is always, always, always on my mind and I am so sick of this little cloud following me around everyday! I am ready for the rain already. Crazy, but I know once I find out a date it will be a fast process from then on out. I am sure I will try to back out the day of- and probably have to medicate myself the night before- hope that's allowed! 

A major concern of mine- my mom.I worry about her during the 14 hours. It KILLS me to think about. She is my best friend and mom, the kind of best friend you call at least 2 times a day and she calls about the same amount. Some people think our relationship is weird since we talk so much, but I have other girlfriends who do the same thing with their moms. Anyways, I just hope that God makes her fearless and trusting that day and takes away all of her uncertainty. If the roles were reversed, it would be a very mixed day for me emotionally, as I know it will be for her. The thing I am most looking forward to in my life at this very moment is waking up from my surgery and coming out of the sleep to see my Mom and Dad and Brother. I wish we could just fast forward life to that moment, and let it all be over!  I am hoping God sends two ANGELS down that day. One for my operating room and one for the waiting room. We are all going to need them:-)

New Year- New Hope

"Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." -Isaiah 40:31


My new roommate is moving in at just the right time in my life and she actually sent me a little message regarding the above verse. She sent me a video from a minister who is pretty famous. It was a powerful 18 minute segment on HOPE. The man said many people come to him saying "The doctors say there is no cure, there is no hope, nothing we can do etc." He says if you HOPE anything can happen. Anything, even if science proves it otherwise. Anything. This reminded me of the same principle as the book "The Secret" but used God as a focus instead of universe.  I am a huge "science" person. I know what is realistic and what is not, which is partly a problem when dealing with an illness without cure or even treatment for that matter. But my new years resolution is to allow science to take a back seat and start asking the Lord for miracles. Miracles happen everyday in the medical world and they amaze doctors:-)


I chose to "Hope in the Lord" each day last week and what a week I had! Christmas Eve was amazing and my pain was gone. I did not take any of my medications (which is probably not going to happen again for a while) for 4 days! I went out for a birthday, for New Years Eve, and for many dinners and lunches. I was feeling on top of the world! My friend Jessica told me if this continued she would take me to Lourdes, a place where us Catholics believe is a pilgrimage spot for miraculous healings! We cracked up and then talked about how incredibly cool it would be if one day we were successful enough to make that actually happen. All kidding aside- this week reminded me of my old life and I loved it! I was going strong until today actually, but I won't let it disappoint me. I refused to say "I knew this would happen" or to believe that a total healing medical mystery thing could not happen.






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