A close friend had a whipple procedure done for stage 2 pancreatic cancer. They removed the tumor at the head of the pancrease and re-routed all her other organs. She did have to have her ascending colon removed also. Total of 22 lymp nodes removed, and they were all clear. She now has a fistula along with her open stomach wound. Do fistuals ever heal? Shouldn't this a major concern? She arrived home yesterday after 2 weeks in the hospital. She feels ok, no pain just uncomfortable. But what about the fistula?
I had a whipples 21 years ago (my 40th birthday present) butI do not recall having the fistula with the open wound. Not sure why this is the case but perhaps new technology requires this.
I also had the changes to the "plumbing system" with major changes to the stomach, loss of most of the pancreas etc etc. I was home after 13 days and back at work within another week. This was due to being positive all the time and doing everything I was told to do. I led a normal life.
Approx 8 years ago I had chronic pancreatitis and had to have a major pancreatectomy which took basically all of my remaining pancreas as well as gall bladder and spleen. This led to becoming a typel 1 insulin dependent diabetic.
The point of my comments are that this is major surgery which only 3-5% of us survive so your friend is in good company.
Life will be slightly different but no need to go into cotton wool stage or be scared. I have just developed agressive prostate cancer which I am finishing radiation and hormone treatment and I believe I will beat this with teh same positive attitude that has got me this afr. Life has been nearly nromal.
A fistula is an abnormal channel that carries fluid from one place to another. They sometimes form after surgery when fluids secreted by the injured tissue seek a place to escape. Those fluids can escape to the outside through a fistula, or they can stay trapped inside and form a cyst. Small fistulas can heal over after the fluid secretion slows or stops. In your friend's case, a fistula may be preferrable to a cyst forming inside if the fluid contains digestive enzymes from the pancreas. Otherwise, a cyst could rupture and release all those enzymes into the abdominal cavity causing a lot of pain and problems. The fluid draining now can be caught with a dressing, and should eventually slow down and stop, perhaps in a couple of weeks or so, depending on the size of it. Your friend has been through a serious, major operation, and I wish her and you well as she recovers.
Bontranz1, Your surgery years ago sounds like everything was on your side...good for you. Did you have constant pain with your chronic pancreatitis? Was it always imflammed? How about your blood work. Sorry for all the questions but just trying to learn. Also sorry about your prostate cancer. I certainly hope things work out well for you again.
Ladybud. Thank you for your input. Yes it is a very difficult surgery but we are glad that they were able to operate. I know PC is diagosned at late stages and nothing can be done. I hope they find a cure or at least something to slow down the progress of this disease. I understand about the fistula now. My friend is still doing well considering but might need more chemo when she is on her feet. Thanks to both of you and any other info you can remember, please post. Stay well Linda
My first signs of the cancer was some pain but the timour blocked all the ducts etc and I just started turning jaundice as the system shut down. I was sent for biopsies and there was much tooing and frooing until the specialist ran his own biopsies and confirmed major damage.
Pancreatitis pain was very chronic. I have a very high pain threshold but this was terrible. I was in and out of the public hospital and no-one would do anything. I lost 13kg in 13 weeks and my GP finally said enough and sent me to an amazing surgeon who is a professor and teaches medicine as well. Once advised of the risks again we went ahead and all is good now. I have been fortunate to ahve some amazing dedicated people look after me so I was always keen to repay their efforts by doing everything they said I shoudl do and remain positive. It is hard but I beleive there is always someone worse off than you. It is the hand you are dealt for whatever reason and you must deal with it. Pity wont help. I have too much to do for this to beat me.
My situtation is simular: i had (back in may) pain i thought was another kidney infection, went to doc,10 days antibotics,back to doc for follup,found white blood cell count above 4000 so to the er i went.
Two days later they removed my gall bladder (lyposcopic) and found the tumor by the ampula tube, took a biopsy (witch i didnt know about at the time) , sent me home on a friday.went back to work monday good as new!
Then that friday 3 pm got a call at work :We found cancer during you surgery and you have an appointment for monday morning 8 am in St. Louis (150 miles away).
30 day later had the whipple (7 hours surgery),sent home after a week and developed a fistula, during those couple of weeks of healing it drained normally.
Fast-forward, I'm on Chemo treatment number 11 of 12 and it's been rough.
I get 3 hours at the center and they send me home with a pump that delivers small amounts of 5-FU for 46 hours,my wife un-hooks me and 12 days later do it all over again. After the Chemo they want me to do 25 rounds of radiation and my problem is they know the numbers are high (normal smoker 5, mine 9 and hasn't gone down) but cant find where it's coming from. So there solution, radiate the whole surgery area?
My diag. Type 2b with possitive lymp nodes.
Thanks to ladybud, I did not know that is what they call it. When I talked to people about it, I told them I was leaking!
Thanks for your story bob IIb. My friend just got out of the hospital after a 2 week stay regarding the fistula. It is almost healed, so they say, and I sure hope so. So also had a lot of fluid around her lungs so they put in a chest tube. She has a wound care nurse treating her at home now. This operation is one of the worst I have ever seen but if can cure you or give you 10 more years or so, then it is worth it. She had no nodes includes but she did have her ascending bowel removed because the tumor was wrapping around it. She did have 3 months of chemo to shrink the tumor before surgery and after surgery she will a few more. This has been going on since August 2012. Is it almost over? I sure hope so! Thanks for sharing you information bob. Many things are alike between you and her. I don't know your age but she is 45. You and her are very lucky to have found the cancer soon! I know that you probably know how fast these nasty things grow. I wish they can come up with a specific pancrease blood test, besides the usual so all people can catch it early.
Hope things continue to get better for you and always stay upbeat! Linda
Last edited by NJLinda; 01-21-2013 at 05:48 AM.
Reason: post more
My situtation started in june 2012, I was 41 when i had surgery.
Before surgery i weighed 190 , and now 6 months later 135 !
Started chemo in aug. , wensday is number 11 and if medicade
doesnt kick in feb. 1 , then all my treatments stop till i get it !
thanks for the responce , i thought no one read my stuff!
You are way too young for all this crap too! You sound like you are doing well and I hope it continues and you can be cancer free. I will be praying for you along with my friend and all of the others who are suffering! Linda