Robin’s Story

Robin Schroeder – Whipple Survivor May 22, 2020

Whipple at age 53 –

“I believe attitude, persistence and determination help in this journey.”

I had my first attack of diverticulitis in August of 2019.  Prescription worked in 24 hrs.  Fast forward to January 2020, another attack.  This one didn’t go away.  Instructed to go to ER where CT scan was done.  Dr. Said, ‘diverticulitis’…I responded with ‘how bad can this be?’  That question made this doctor actually read my scan and started asking “had I ever had pancreatitis?”  Never.

Advised to eventually contact family doctor for follow up.  Next day, I went to my family doctor (16 years I’ve been to this doctor).  He accused me of heavy drinking and smoking and said how disappointed he was with me.  Said, “You used to take good care of yourself- you ran marathons”…I said, I still do and do not drink that much.  He wouldn’t hear any of it.

Scheduled MRI; confirmed diagnosis.  Requested gastroenterologist and dietician – refused then dietician and gave me a 1 star rated doctor to call.

I sat in my office, stunned.  I called the University of Michigan.  They were able to get me in ASAP.  Met with dietician there, complete labs and genetic testing.  With a plan to re read all scans and rescan in August.

In March, the re read of scan actually found a 1” tumor on pancreatic head.  Felt it was PNET and was quiet.  Met with surgeon on 4/27 and had two options: Wait and watch or surgery.  I opted for the surgery.  Confirmed PNET.  In scan they found 2 small spots on lungs – Inconclusive right now.  

They expected complications due to the atrophy of pancreas but all is great so far. 

The photo is from day 12 post op. I walked 3.1 miles today, I feel amazing! I am on one dose of Tylenol and one dose of Advil. Hoping to be rid of those soon.

Keep smiling and know you can do this! I treated this the like I would a marathon. I sat in silence and gave total focus. I believe attitude, persistence and determination help in this journey. I just want to give hope to all getting “Whippled” soon. I was scared to death of the outcome. I am thriving!