My name is Darlene. I'm am a 55 year old familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)/Gardners Syndrome patient. I had my colon removed in 1986 and was told I had taken care of my FAP and there was no follow up necessary since I didn't have a colon. In Oct. 2004, I had polyps growing on my stoma. I thought it was a hernia, but I did go back to my surgeon. He immediately ordered an upper GI and they found polyps growing in my duodenum.
On Dec. 29, 2004 I had my Whipple surgical procedure. It is a tough surgery. For several days I just wanted to die, not because of the pain or surgery but because I knew I was going to have to deal with this disease forever and it really depressed me. I spent 4 days in ICU, only because it was over the New Year holiday and the surgeon didn't want me on the general floor over the holiday. I had a morphine pump for the pain which worked very well. I had an NG tube for 4 days and not even a drop of water for those 4 days. This gives the stomach and other organs time to heal
After 4 or 5 days, I was taken off the morphine pump and given Vicodin for pain. My body tends to heal very quickly, and in 6 days I was released from the hospital. I was amazed at how quickly the human body heals and adjusts. I had no trouble with any food I tried. My ostomy worked just fine. I would have been able to go back to work within a month, but unfortunately got a staph infection during surgery. That wiped me out for 3 months. I had my incision cut open 3 times and ended up with a wound vac for a month.
One of the complications from the Whipple is pancreatic duct leak and biliary leak.I had a pancreatic leak and was given a shot that shuts down your pancreas (90%). Between the shot, the antibiotics, and the infection my appetite was 'AWOL'. I lost about 30 lbs. in the next 3 weeks. I couldn't eat anything even remotely sweet. I was eating only enough to survive. Once the infection was gone and the shot wore off (2 mo.) I got my appetite back. I have even managed to put some of the missing weight back on (not that I wanted to). I was actually down to my desired weight.
The only physical complaint I have 7 months post-operative is a vague pain across my abdomen that is helped by keeping something in my stomach. It comes on before hunger pangs even. I don't know why and the surgeon has been unable to explain it, but it's there. My stomach muscles have not completely healed yet. I try not to overdo it. I rest when I get fatigued and baby myself when necessary. Update 8/27/05: The vague pain across my abdomen, that only went away when I ate, turned out to be an ulcer where they sewed my stomach to the jejunum. I am on medication for 4 months to heal it.
Life is beginning to feel good again!