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Life after Whipple

Posts: 1
Joined: May 2004

My mom has PC. She should be having her Whipple surgery within a month. She fears the recovery from the surgery almost to the point where she doesn't even want to have the surgery done. I was hoping to get some feedback on what to expect during the recovery period. Do the pain meds help? I've read 2-3 months for recovery. Is this accurate? She thinks life after the Whipple will be unbearable even though I have showed her many survivor stories. Thank you.

isletcell's picture
Posts: 68
Joined: Mar 2004

Life after a whipple is so much better than it was before. Because that tumor that was in me is gone and I feel great.

The surgery was scarry for me too. But I am 8 months post op and Yesterday i went for a 1.5 hour hike.

I am on no medication of pain meds now for months.

After surgery your in the hospital for about 8 days and then you go home with a bag on your side for about 6 weeks. You are tired at first and I had a perscription for oxycodone. I started feeling so much better at 4.5 weeks. I was going out of the house to lunch and dinner by that point.

Dont get me wrong this isnt a peice of cake,but Your mom should know that she will feel so much better than she does now within about a month or so.
The hardest thing has been the mental side of this disease that no one talks about. You can probably see that in your mom now. Its so hard emotionally to be told you may have cancer and then to have this major operation. And recovery. Oh my god. People really tried to be upbeat and positive with me and i just told myself that they didnt understand. In some ways it didnt really matter w3hat anyone said. What helped me was simple distraction. Having activities to do while waiting even if its playing cards or watching a good moovie. And having family and friends around was so comforting as well.
I hope all goes well for your mom. Ill keep her in my prayers.


Posts: 1
Joined: May 2004

I had a Whipple plus liver resection (2/3 removed) plus Portal vein reconstruction for a bile duct tumor exactly one year ago. My surgery was much more serious than a simple Whipple and many of the major hospitals refused to operate. I finally found Dr. Bryan Clary at Duke University who was willing to take my case. He saved my life. It was a twenty hour surgery which I am still recovering from, but I am here! I am 52 years old. In your Mom's case recovery will probably be a lot easier than mine has been. I was 2 1/2 months in hospital and still battle recurring infections including wearing an abdominal drain. Still I do not regret the choice I made. The support of family and friends, good doctors and pain medication (oxycodone) have got me through to this point. To be honest it has not been easy but the operation was successful and I now have a chance for a future. Last weekend I was able to attend my daughter's graduation from college. It is still scary when checkups are due. Next week I will have to remove and biopsy a couple of nodules in my right lung, but they not necessarily malignant. I will keep your Mom in my prayers. Keep us posted.

bblaske's picture
Posts: 4
Joined: Jul 2004

This is one of those things that she'll have to face one day at a time. For me it took about a year and a half to feel fully somewhat back to normal. Ten years later and I'm doing it all !

Posts: 3
Joined: Oct 2004

I am just so relived to see someone who has had surgery and is still here all these years later to discuss it! My Mum has just been diagnosed with cancer of the bile duct and I would love to hear from anyone who has recovered from it!

Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 2004

My Dad had Whipple done 6 weeks ago. He was in the hospital for 6 days. This is a very short time frame for this surgery but he met all the daily markers and was able to get up and walk the day after the surgery. I think he was bound and determined to recover quickly because he said he felt like a caged animal in the hospital! It has been 6 weeks now and he has had no complications except for lack of appetite. He will begin chemoradiation this week--a 6 month treatment protocol. We can only pray that he does as well with that as he did with the surgery.

Posts: 11
Joined: Aug 2004

My Whipple was 9 months ago, followed by 4 mos. of chemo and then a total abdominal hysterectomy 7 weeks ago with complications. I still feel better than I did a year ago - even 2 years ago.
But............................,the wake up in recovery up to 2 months afterwards was HELL! My sister stayed in the room with me in the hospital for 11 days, 24 hours a day and boy was she needed. I don't have any memory of some of those days, but my sis said my behavior was somewhere between an infant and an old woman who was completely out of her mind. Breathing was an effort due to the cut under my ribs and that darn morphine. Nausia is a big problem because the bile doesn't know where to go. Sometimes the bile comes up...and out. The nausia meds made me hyperactive so I had to take Benadryl to calm me down. Those made me depressed. Then there was the G4 tube with the ugly bag connected to it (my sis called it my purse because it had to go everywhere with me) filled with green bile. I was too obscene to be seen and wanted to be left alone. No visitors for me. It hurt to talk so I wouldn't speak on the phone either.
Then, after 2 months, I was fine. I went back to work and went out just like normal, only a little weaker.
This is rough surgery. The doc who did the fancy work said it is next to a liver transplant in misery during recovery. But I would do it again to feel as good as I do now.

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