Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Praying for Aunt Jenny

James' aunt underwent pancreatic surgery yesterday. This is an involved surgery called a "whipple" procedure. It takes six to eight hours to complete, which is a long time to be under anesthesia. The pancreas is an organ in the middle of the body so getting to it is quite an involved process.

The procedure, the most common operation for pancreatic cancer, involves removal of the pancreas, a portion of the stomach, the duodenum, common bile duct, gallbladder and surrounding lymph nodes.

Then everything must be reconstructed and put back together. It is one of the most complicated and severe surgeries out there.

The news on Aunt Jenny is good. She survived the surgery, which, considering her advanced years (she's 78), was a worry. The doctor thinks that he removed all the cancer, which is also a good thing. Still, once she has healed from the surgery (in about 7 weeks) she will have to undergo chemotherapy and radiation.

Pancreatic cancer is the disease that killed my mother, so this has been somewhat traumatic for me. Lots of memories and thinking back on a terrible year of my life - the last year of my mother's life. It was a rough time; my mother did not fair well with the surgery and had complications that resulted in her spending that last year with a feeding tube. She could not eat or keep down food and her discomfort was great.

My mother's cancer was not removed with surgery, though at the time they thought they "had got it all," too. Instead it turned up in her liver and in her other lymph nodes and soon she was eaten up with cancer. She did not respond at all to chemo and radiation therapy. I remember my grandmother's lament that she knew the drugs weren't working because my mother's hair never fell out.

I am seriously praying that Aunt Jenny does not experience any complications from her surgery because it only makes matter worse.

Aunt Jenny is not my mother, and I am hopeful that this will turn out to have a happy ending. Aunt Jenny is a dear woman, someone who welcomed me into my husband's family with open arms and a hug and a kiss. Not everybody is so accepting and I have always appreciated that.

I also have known her since second grade, when she was a substitute teacher, and that is about 40 years. That is a very long time to know someone.

If you pray I hope you will take a moment and offer up a thought of love for Aunt Jenny. She is in a tough battle and can use all the good vibes she can get.

10 comments:

  1. I will, definitely, and for you as well, with all the stuff being so stirred up. What a blow, with all the other family illnesses you guys have endured the past few months.

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  2. Your Aunt is in my prayers and I am so sorry about all the sad memories this has brought back for you :(

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  3. I will add Aunt Jenny to my prayers as well. I'm so sorry to hear about all that she is going through and you and your family too. Please keep us all up to date on how everyone is doing.

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  4. I sure will, Anita. I'm sorry ya'll have to go through this. I hope that she will heal quickly and that she'll have even more zest for life than she did before.

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  5. I'm so sorry your Aunt Jenny has to go through such difficulties, and I'm sorry, too, that you've had to relive so many sad memories. My prayers go up for Aunt Jenny and for you and all her family.

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  6. Here's to a strong and speedy recovery for your Aunt. My mother also has pancreatic cancer, diagnosed in May. She is 80 with other complications so was not a good candidate for surgery. She also opted out of chemo, which we were told would likely only add a month or two. So far she's been strong. My brother and I have been pulling alternating three week shifts with her in NY so she can stay home as long as possible. It's draining, but I'm glad I'm in a position where I can help her. So, you hang in there yourself.

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  7. All the best and double prayers for your Aunt Jenny. That's a tough procedure to swing at any age, but it sounds like they found the cancer early enough since she underwent that operation. My mom was gone in three month's time from the pancreatic cancer diagnosis and the whipple wasn't even considered. Strange that her hair didn't fall out either from the treatments. I always wondered if HIP had "pulled a fast one" on us and never really administered chemo or something else.

    Stay strong, I know it's hard to relive something traumatic like this...

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  8. Jeff, I am really sorry to hear that about your mom. That is tough. I wish you the best and will add you to my prayers!

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  9. I am thinking of you and Aunt Jenny and keeping you all in my prayers. Thanks for sharing in this time of need.

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  10. Sorry, this must be very difficult. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

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