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Whipple Procedure

mickeynsal's picture
Posts: 3
Joined: Nov 2006

I am a 38 year old woman and because of a Gangliocytic Paraganglioma on my Pancreas I will have a Whipple done on Jan. 3, 2007. Any advise on how to prepare, what to expect, and how to cope afterwards? Any advise for my husband and kids?? Any help is appreciated. Thanks

Posts: 5
Joined: Dec 2004

I am a 54 year old woman. I had a Whipple Procedure at age 50. My suggestions are to listen and follow the directions of your Doctors carefully. You are young and because of that will likely recover from the surgery a little faster, but need to be prepared for it to take at least two months before you start feeling stronger. You will be very weak at first. Even at 50 and in relatively good physical condition, I was surprised how weak it left me. A Whipple Procedure is one of the most serious surgeries you can have. You need to take care of yourself and to let your family take care of you. I don't think you will be up to even light household chores or playing with the kids for the first two months. Don't know if you work outside the home, but I was able to return to work (office work) ten weeks after surgery.

Keeping good posture (standing up straight) after the surgery will be a challenge but I encourage you to keep it in mind. Otherwise your core muscles will weaken and this can cause lots of other problems. This is the one thing the Doctors did not warm me about, but I sure wish they had.

You will probably be refered to a nutritionist for help with proper diet following the surgery. I'm assuming a portion of your pancreas will be removed. You may need to take pancreatic enzymes with meals to help with digestion. In my case they thought I could get by without them, but I ended up needing them. Don't resist taking them if you need them. It was difficult accepting that I would have to take pills every time I ate for the rest of my life but they have made a huge difference in quality of life in my case. With them I am able to eat almost anything I ate before surgery.

Facing a Whipple Procedure was frightening, they usually only do these when it is the only viable option. I want you to know you can have good quality of life following a Whipple.

I hope your surgery goes well and you get good results. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

Nancytahoe's picture
Posts: 31
Joined: Feb 2005

I read your story about your whipple procedure. Just wondering how you are doing now, since your posting 12-27-2006. A friend of mine just found yesterday, he needs this procedure. He is about your age 54-55, and in very good shape. He has gotten jaundice, so this procedure will have to be done soon. Did you have chemo and radiation? Was their cancer in your gall blader as well? Did the doctors give X amount of years to live, or after the surgery did they expect you to make a full recovery?
I just learned about my friend yesterday. He is in Texas and I am in Calif, so I am trying to get as much information as quickly as possible.

Thanking you in advance,


Posts: 2
Joined: Oct 2007

Hi, My dad had the procedure 8 days ago. He just returned home and has this awful pain in his shoulder area everytime he starts to eat or is eating. Is this related to the procedure?

Posts: 2
Joined: Nov 2007

I had a whipple procedure on sept 27th and feeling pretty good, yet I have been very active for the past 3 weeks and just recently I realized I have been taking too many pain meds and doing too much. I am 40 years old and fairly active. I am wondering if anyone has had similar issues with the meds.

Posts: 5
Joined: Dec 2007

am about to undergo the Whipple Procedure. I am attempting to gather feddback from individuals that have undergone this procedure. Can anyone tell me from their experience what I will face? I have a 3 cm muscinuos cyst in the head of my pancreas. PET scan shows potential for caner around the outer rim of this cyst. I am a 56 year type 2 diabetic in outerwise good health
How has your recovery been and any advice you can pass on would be greatful

Posts: 2
Joined: May 2012

I realize that this was posted back in 2007, but in case anyone else encounters this issue and sees this post:

The shoulder pain I had post-whipple was related to gas.  None of the standard pain medications will relieve gas pain (even morphine won't).  What worked for me, and was suggested by an intern in the hospital was simethicone (not sure on the spelling).  It's marketed as GasX over the counter.  Taking a couple of these chewable tablets every 4 hours helped me to relieve most of the gas-related pain.

Posts: 2
Joined: Oct 2007

Hi, My dad had the procedure about 9 days ago. He is having a stabbing pain in his back, shoulder area when he eats, do you think this is related to the surgery. Do you think the pancreatic enzymes will help? Barb

Nancytahoe's picture
Posts: 31
Joined: Feb 2005

I read your story about the whipple procedure. Since your surgery was Jan 2007, wondering how you are doing. I have a friend that just found he needs this procedure done ASAP his pancreas ducts are blocked. Your reply as to how you are doing now, and what your experience was after the surgery would be greatly appreciated. Did you have chemo and radiation? What were the adverse effects of the treatment?

Thank you so much

Posts: 2
Joined: Sep 2007

I had a modified whipple in March of this year. They took my entire pancreas because the of the size and placement on the tumor. They also took my spleen, 30% of the my liver and upper digestive. CBS is right about the enzyme pills. I take 12-15 pills a day in order to digest my food and I am also now insulin dependant. I am 52 and it took months to recover, and I've had terrible back pain since the surgery. I've been doing chemo since last December. It does get better but it is a daily challenge and many things are different that need to managed in life now then before surgery. Mickey I hope your surgery went well, hope to have an update on how you are doing. BCS, how are you doing?

Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2008

Hi, I'm Michelle and I had the whipple back in July of 2004 and I have had problems ever since with nausea and vomiting and stomach pain. Can anyone give me suggestions on how to deal with this. I've exhausted options of going to hospital and my doctors don't know what to do with me since this is such a huge problem in my life.

Posts: 2
Joined: Jan 2017

I had the Whipple procedure in 2006 for a GIST.  I'm wondering did anyone have to wear compression items or a tight band on their abdomen after their surgery? It important for me to know.  Thanks for any help

Oneshot's picture
Posts: 91
Joined: Jul 2009


  I had the whipple in 2008 for pancreatic cancer.  In my case I didn't have to wear any compression items.  But ,when my  abdominal pains start getting more severe than normal.  I head to my bed and lay across it to put even pressure on my abdominal area.    But I do thank you for bringing that up. Since my Whipple . I have worn looser fitting clothing .  But, it has been brought to my attention that I (subconsciously I guess) tend to keep a forearm across my  abdomin area. Applying some pressure while sitting any length of time.  So, I might just try a compression item.  Just not sure if I can stand being restricted in movement more than I already am in that area.

hopeful in tally
Posts: 56
Joined: Apr 2010

YES...I am posting in every category I can find to help my brother who was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  Location of cyst blocking bile duct was a blessing because it gave him symptom of jaundice and itching which made the diagnosis happen faster and before it has spread.  We are hopeful he will be a candidate for Whipple and will visit Shands soon.  Can you please advise what and how to make this process a success?  I found a tremendous amount of support on this website when diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010 ... my brother needs your help and advice and support now.


Posts: 1
Joined: Apr 2017

I was diagnosed December 19 2016 with  blocked bile duct. I had the Whipple February 17 2017. I had to have another surgery due to complications, i spent over a month total im hospital with lots of complications. Home for 3 weeks now and start chemo Friday for a "just in case" even though they believe they got it all and it hasn't spread. I was told it will come back if i dont do chemo. PC is one of the highest recurring cancer. What did you want to know exactly and how can I help?

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