Hello to everyone! I have not posted on this site for some time, but realize there are continually those folks who are facing pancreatic cancer, and wonder what post Whipple surgery is like. I know each of us gets over it in a different way, but will run what my last 1 1/2 years have been. I had surgery at Mayo in Rochester on 2/8/19. Made the mistake of eating too much when I went back on solid food ( I had not had any food by mouth since 1/3/19). Big mistake, but I survived. I started chemo about 9 weeks afterward (Folfirinox). After I got to the sixth treatment I was ready to quit, but my wife (God bless her) talked me into sticking it out. It was not fun.It beat the snot out of me physically, emotionally and mentally , but I finished the 12 sessions. It took me about 6 -7 weeks to get over the effects. I was told that this recover times varies greatly among people in treatment. Went to Vegas in December for the NFR and some concerts and felt great.
The main downside of the Whipple was, and still is in my bowel habits. Sometimes things go well, other times I only get ab out a 5 -10 second warning after the first urge until the movement. There have been some messy pants, and some tears were shed the first few times it happened, but with time, things have gotten better. I have started taking Gas-Ex, and it seems to be making a big difference for me. I also take Creon with my meals. No foods seem to upset me, and I eat like a horse. I had lost around 50 pounds during the illness and post surgery, but have been able to gain about 22 pounds back. Still working on another 10 pounds. I am semi-retired, working 3 days a week, and on my off days, keep as active as I ever did with the homeowner activities of owning an acreage and a number of horses. Only changes are I am not as strong as I was before cancer, and I have been know to take a nap now and then.
What I would like to say to people facing pancreatic cancer is that it will not be easy. I was so sick for the month before surgery that mentally I was a wimp. If I had to go thru it again, I would be in a more ready and positive state of mind. As far as the chemo, if I have to do that again, I will, only this time in a better mindset, and realizing it would knock me on my ass for a while.
When people ask me how I feel, I tell them that I feel really, really good, which is the truth. I have been one of the lucky ones when it comes to pancreatic cancer. 2019 was not the best year I have ever had, but I truly feel it was a blessing. For those facing pancreatic I can only say be as positive as possible. I know this easy to say and hard to do, Readily accept the prayers for you, and also to accept help when offered. It will be a rough road, but stay positive. Like my Doctor at Mayo told me “I was one of the lucky 20%”. I thought lucky hell! Then he added that I was one of the lucky ones who could have surgery. It sure changed my mind in a hurry.
Best to all who read this, and prayers to all.