My story started 5 years ago on my 30th birthday. Myself and my family's life were turned upside down , little did we know how tough and scary things were going to get.
I was rushed to hospital in dreadful pain with no idea what was happening.. In that week in hospital I was told I had a gall stone stuck in my bile duct, this had caused some irreversible damage to my pancreatic duct and I was referred to the ulch in London to see dr Webster( an absolutely awesome dr I owe a lot too).
At the uclh i was informed I have pancreatic divisuim a birth defect where the two tubes in the pancreas don't fuse together. although this meant my pancreas was working backwards it was still working until this. It was explained to me that because of the damage caused by the stone my pancreas was now forced to drain through the other tube which unfortunately was too small to drain.
I have spent the last five years in and out of hospital with acute pancreatitis, and having multiple ercps to keep my tube open so it can drain when I eat and drink. This has meant that at the beginning off every year I have been able to eat a reasonable normal diet and gain some weight for a short time but Unfortunately i cant have these procedures done any more because of the damage they have caused. I am in a difficult situation the problem with my pancreas is not only rare but very complicated and no surgeon will risk operating. With out intervention my tube remains almost closed causing chronic pancreatitis and necrosis (death to the pancreatic tissue due to chronic pancreatitis) Being unable to eat and in constant pain is life altering, no help for your future is terrifying.
This I why I have started this charity to raise awareness of the pancreas and its huge function in the body, too raise money to fund research into the pancreas to help people in the future , if I can stop one person having to go through what I am going through it will be worth it.
Fast facts on the pancreas
Here are some key points about the pancreas-
The pancreas is located in the abdomen and is a gland organ.
It is an important part of the digestive system, producing enzymes and hormones that help break down foods.
The pancreas is a 6 to 10 inch organ and is located behind the stomach.
It is fish shaped and extends horizontally across the abdomen.
A healthy pancreas produces the correct chemicals to effectively digest the food we eat.
The endocrine portion of the pancreas is made up of several cells that secrete hormones straight into the bloodstream.
Insulin is a hormone secreted by pancreatic beta cells in response to a rise in blood sugar.
Acute or chronic inflammation of the pancreas could signify a presence of pancreatitis.
It is possible for cancer to develop in the pancreas.
To help keep the pancreas healthy and functioning, a balanced diet must be maintained together with an avoidance of smoking and excessive alcohol.
Acute pancreatitis- The digestive chemicals (enzymes) that are made in the pancreas become activated and start to 'digest' parts of the pancreas. They are normally only activated after they reach the part of the gut just after the stomach (the duodenum). This leads to a range of chemical reactions that cause inflammation in the pancreas. How the above causes actually trigger this sequence of events is not clear.
In most cases (about 4 in 5), the inflammation is mild and settles within a week or so. Symptoms may be bad for a few days but then settle and the pancreas fully recovers.
In some cases (about 1 in 5) the inflammation quickly becomes severe. Parts of the pancreas and surrounding tissues may die (necrose). Pancreatic enzymes and chemicals may get into the bloodstream and cause inflammation and damage to other organs in the body. This can lead to shock, respiratory failure, kidney failure and other complications. This is a very serious situation which can be fatal.
Chronic pancreatitis- Chronic pancreatitis is a condition where the pancreas becomes permanently damaged from inflammation.
It's different to acute pancreatitis, where the inflammation is only short-term.
The most common symptom of chronic pancreatitis is repeated episodes of abdominal (tummy) pain, which can be severe.
Other symptoms tend to develop as the damage to the pancreas progresses, such as producing greasy, foul-smelling stools.
Complications- Living with chronic pain can cause mental as well as physical strain., stress, anxiety or depression caused by chronic pancreatitis.
Diabetes is a common complication of chronic pancreatitis and affects about a third of people with the condition. It occurs when the pancreas is damaged and unable to produce insulin.
People with chronic pancreatitis also have an increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer.