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I've had 8 years of undiagnosed pain that occurs suddenly in my waistline and back.  One strong pain medication usually alleviates the problem for several months at a time but the pain was coming more often. Except for the occasional attacks I am pain free.  I was finally diagnosed with pancreatic and gall bladder stones stuck in my common and pancreatic ducts.  An ERCP was performed wth negligible success.  My gall bladder is in bad shape and I will be having it out soon.  My insides are not normal and are not where they are supposed to be which hindered the ERCP.  My pancreas is digesting itself and I don't have much left.  Although I am fairly healthy and very mobile, at 73 years of age I am not sure I can, or want to go through the horrendous operation involved in "fixing it".  Has anyone just left the pancreas alone, let it consume itself and lived with the results.  I am curious how much difference there would be in my lifespan and how much pain involved in just leaving it alone.  From what I've read on this website there is a lot of pain involved with the operation.  Either way I will no doubt become a chronic diabetic although I am not diabetic yet.  Thanks for your input.

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Health Ace
6495 posts
Hey nadine I'm sorry to here about your condition..... unfortunatly you caan not live without your pancrease. It produces insulin wheich mantains your blood sugar. You can take insuline for that however it also produces enzymes like trypsin and pepsin which digest protienes that you eat... in most people the enzumes are made in the pancrease in an inactive form however sometimes the enzymes become activated before they enter the intestines and start digesting the pancrease..... what has your doctor saidabout your condition
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We have't really discussed it at length yet. We're taking a wait-see position as he was able to open up the bottom of the common duct and is hoping the stones will pass in that area. I just want to get a little feedback so I'll be more educated when we do talk about my options. Thank you for your response.

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User avatar
Health Ace
6495 posts
Your welcome keep me posted good luck
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I have necrotizing pancreatitits, splenic vein thrombosis (can get very low blood pressure in an attack) and the surgeons don't know how much longer I have to live. I spent 6 months in a hospital bed, tube fed, in 2008. a year in a wheel chair. I take morphine and have for 20 years. I have no clue how long before I go back to the hospital and things get any wore. For now I just take meds, eat what I can. I am 56 years old.
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Hi there! I realize this is a somewhat old post, but I thought I should respond. You can definitely live without a pancreas. I had mine removed July of 2012. Also taken were my spleen, gallbladder, appendix, and duodenum. My insulin cells were transplanted to my liver. I was told I had a 70% chance of being diabetic. I was on insulin for 3 months and am now completely off. I take a boatload of enzymes (I had to take this amount before surgery). I'm not back to 100%, but I would do the surgery again in a heartbeat. I had the surgery done at U of MN. They have the most experience with this. I had to refer myself. It sounds like there are other factors for you to consider. I believe you can let the pancreas burn out, but it is risky. If you have a great doctor, I would ask them. Total pancreatectomy without islet transplantation can be done many places, but will result in brittle diabetes. Not fun. Any of these surgeries are huge and were the right choice for me (I'm 27). I did not want to live with a wrecked pancreas. I highly recommend calling U of MN to even ask questions or see if they can give you specific advice. Or if you want to research on your own, the procedure is Total Pancreatectomy with Auto Islet Transplant.
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You are so wrong you can live without a pancreas , I have been 6 years without mine . I'm a type 1 diabetic and us an insulin pump. I'm in great health watch my blood sugars daily and keeps things good. I also lost my spleen and gallbladder.
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