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pancreatic Cancer

Kat11's picture
Posts: 1931
Joined: May 2009

I have a friend just dx with this and they are talking about the whipple procedure. She will be having this done in a chicago hospital. Can someone tell me what kind of recovery she will have, like how long before she would be on her feet. Can someone maybe explain what they will be doing.

Posts: 20
Joined: May 2009

My husband had a mini Whipple April 29, 2009. It involved removing part of the pancreas, the gall bladder, spleen, part of the small intestine. A regular Whipple also removes part of the stomach. Recovery is different for everyone depending on age, physical condition, mental attitude, and any complications. Len didn't have complications, and he was back to his regular routine in about four weeks. It is a very serious surgery and should only be done by VERY experienced pancreatic surgeons in a large hospital. The surgery is anywhere from 5 to about 8 hours long. Recovery in the hospital is usually from 5 to 10 days. Follow up will include a lot of medications. Enzymes for digestion will be needed as well as pain medications. There will be a very long scar from under the breast to the navel. There will be restrictions on driving, lifting, etc. For more info, you can Google PANCAN or the Johns Hopkins pancreatic cancer discussion board. Very informative.

Kat11's picture
Posts: 1931
Joined: May 2009

Thank you so much nancy. I will forward this information on to my friend. I am on the Breast Cancer boards, but I new someone would be able to help with my questions. Again Thanks for all the information.

Posts: 5
Joined: Dec 2004

I had Whipple surgery in Nov. 2002 at age 50. Was in good health before diagnosis and the tumour was caught very early stage so I did not have follow up chemo/radiation. From what I know, people can respond very differently to this surgery. I was in surgery for around eight hours. In ICU for three days following (had bad reaction to anesthesia) and in hospital for a total of 11 days. Returned to work eleven weeks following surgery. I take prescription strength enzymes with meals and snacks. I became diabetic following surgery, but am able to keep everything under control with diet and exercise. Food can be an issue at first following surgery. Your friend may not have much of an appetite. To keep from losing weight, I ate even though I didn't feel hungry. Eating can be a big challenge but it's very important to provide fuel your body needs for healing. With time I recovered strength and energy. Today I have good quality of life.

I hope your friend has good luck with early diagnosis and recovers quickly.

Posts: 4
Joined: Sep 2009

I was so happy to have read your post.Iam 14 months post op and have been wondering about life quite a bit.You have given me a great lift Im telling you, 7 years post op is great.I know there are others out there that are living quite well after the whipple but you dont get to hear about them.So again thank you for some positive new.

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