Questions about Whipple procedure

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    Hi Jim and I am so happy to hear you had such a good recovery from your Whipple. When we talk about walking, I forgot that before they released Teddy he had to show them he could even walk the stairs! You and he were in surgery about the same amount of time and in the hospital the same amount of time. Funny….we lived in an adult community in Phoenix and before he could walk too far he would get in the golf cart and just putt golf balls. He loved golf and measure his recovery on what he could do on the golf course!!!



    I had a Whipple on 03/26/12 at Sylvester Cancer Ctr/Jackson Hospital in Miami. My surgery took 8.5 hours and I was in the hospital 10 days after surgery. Ask your doctor for a Airlife breathing tube so you can get your lungs in the best shape for surgery. Also walk as soon and often after surgery. Lainy is correct that everybody heals at a different rate. I have very fortunate and I have had no problems from the whipple.

    Best of luck to you.




    Sorry you have to go through all this all over again.

    I had a Whipple in December 2009. My operation took about 6 1/2 hours and I was in the hospital for 6 days. I had a mid-line incision (some others have a chevron or shark bite). My scar has faded as has my memory of the immediate after effects of the Whipple procedure. It took about 1 year for me to feel back to my new normal. At almost the 3 year mark, it is like I never had the procedure and I feel great.

    What is most important is to get up as soon as you can after surgery and walk, walk, walk. That is what gets you out of the hospital and back to health fastest. Try and get yourself as strong as you can before your surgery if you have time. Keep a positive attitude, after all you are one of the lucky ones who is eligible to have surgery. Pay attention to when your body is tired and rest. Let people help you.

    I can be reached at if you have specific questions that you would like me to answer. No question is too personal, I am willing to answer anything you as based on my personal experience.

    Good luck to you Rachel. Don’t let surgery scare you.



    OMG, Gerry, you really followed what happened to Teddy. I never put 2 and 2 together. Aborted Whipple due to Pancreas, then real deal, then a “fissure” opening!
    Wow, I know what you went through! AND I am so elated youa re doing so well!!!


    Rachael, so sorry your cc has returned but so happy to hear you are a good surgery candidate. I will pray for a successful surgery.


    You have been through a great deal and I’m sorry to hear your CCA is back. I had a whipples in December ’09, which failed due to temporary pancreatitis but the 2nd attempt in May 2010 worked fine and I’ve been good since then. It’s a major surgery which lasts about 4/5 hours. immediately after surgery I spent one day in ICU and then back to the ward for about 2 weeks before I was released home. After about 2 months recovery at home I went back to work.

    Leakage from the cut line delayed my recovery in hospital, which I understand happens in about 20% of operations.

    Good luck.

    I keep you in my thoughts and prayers.



    Rachael-Welcome and sorry you had to find us. I have had 2 transplants, I am very sorry it is back and very interested in your story. I am curious how you recieved a transplant 19 days after being diagnosed, did you not do any chemo radiation… Please share more of your story with us.
    Lots of prayers-Cathy


    Thank you, Lainy. Marina is indeed doing well. She is back to work part-time, after a year on disability. I will say no more, as our next scan is coming up on Nov 2.

    Rachael, just so you understand. My wife spent one year on disability leave because she did chemo-radiation and chemo. Not because of Whipple.


    Eli, EXCELLENT POST! I re read it and Teddy really pretty much followed the same routine. His recovery was a little slower as he first had an aborted Whipple 3 weeks earlier then a double e coli infection and he was 73 at the time. I do remember how surprised I was to see him sitting in a chair the next morning. Hope Marina is doing well!



    Here’s a short explanation of Whipple done by Richard D. Schulick, Chief of Surgical Oncology at Johns Hopkins.


    Hi Rachael,

    My wife had Whipple surgery in July 2011, at age 44. I wrote about her Whipple experience in this post:

    If you have any questions – please do not hesitate to ask here or through email.

    Wishing you all the best,


    Hi Rachael,

    I don’t know anything about the Whipple other than I remember hearing about it on Grey’s Anatomy and that people on this site have had it done. I would just like to say I am sorry that you have been through so much and at such a young age. My daughter, Lauren has CC and she is only 26. I will pray that you will have a successful Whipple and full recovery. All the best to you.



    Dear Rachael, I too am so very sorry to read about the CC returning. My Teddy had a Whipple so I will tell you what I know then if you have any questions feel free to ask. The Whipple is a big surgery but NOT life threatening. Teddy’s took 8 hours, but depending on what the surgeon sees it could be 5 – 8 normally. One very good suggestion is to ask for an Epideral as that will numb you for the first day or 2 after and it really doesn’t hurt, I had one myself. His hospital stay was 10 days but he was coming out of an e coli infection when he had the surgery. Everyone heals at a different rate. It is a long recovery, could be like 6 weeks to 2 months before you start feeling your old self again. I am not sure what you want to know so ask away. Bad that the CC returned but good that surgery is an option! Be Strong and I am here to answer your questions.


    Rachael….I am so sorry to hear that the cancer has returned. The good news in all of this is that you are eligible for a second surgery.
    Until our Lainy comes around to answer some of the questions relating to the Whipple procedure, I thought to enclose a link from USC.
    Know that tons of support is heading your way and please, continue to share with us.


    My backstory:
    Diagnosed Aug 6, 2010 at age 28
    Liver Resection Aug 12, 2010- remaining liver failed
    Liver Transplant Aug 25, 2010

    Normal MRIs for 2+ years
    Fast forward to Oct 1st- I wake up in the middle of the night to excuriating pain that radiates from the center of my back to my sternum wrapping around my right side. Blood work, CT scan, 2 ERCPs later, it is determined that my CCA is back and in what is remaining of my native bile duct. A PET scan shows no evidence of metastatic diseases. My doctors have decided to do a Whipple. Surgery is scheduled for Monday Oct 22.
    Does anyone have experience with the Whipple? Also any literature regarding the Whipple post tx would be appreciated.

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