How it all began

My name is Sandra, I am 33 years old and live in Northern California. A nice little town between Sacramento and San Francisco. I reside here with my loving husband who works at a local oil refinery and is my rock. He has stayed up all hours just watching me to make sure I’m okay. He also slept in a chair for 22 days while I was in the hospital. He continues to lift me up when I am down and without a doubt my soul mate. Together we have two amazing boys. First is Lincoln he is currently 17 and will be 18 in just a few months. He got his driver's license in October and since then he has completely come out of his shell. He is doing great in school and has a thriving social life. Currently he is at his high school Winter Ball. My youngest (8) Kodiak is in the third grade and loves school. He excels in every subject, but love science and math. He is so much like both of his dads. The things he says just has me tears from laughing so hard. Right now, he is sleeping soundly in his room that we decorated with new posters he got for Christmas. We also have three fur babies. First, we have Keylee a beautiful Snowshoe, she was at our house when we moved in. A stray, very thin and not very nice. Well, now she’s hefty and is a loving cat. She goes in and out when she wants but always shows up for breakfast and dinner. After dinner she lays on the couch or floor pillows and sleeps till morning. Our other cat Knuckles (Fatty) is a Bengal. I rescued her from the SPCA, the sweet girl just climbed right into my purse and I just knew she was perfect. WELL…… little did I know what I was getting myself into. This girl screams ALL THE TIME! Every time she hears a can open, she lets out this horrible ear-piercing scream. I shortly found out why she was at the SPCA (just kidding). But despite that she is very loving and just wants to sit in my lap. And finally, there is Pippin a chihuahua mix. I rescued him from the pound. I wandered around the shelter just heartbroken looking at all the sad dogs. I walked past a little chihuahua who was just lying in his bed. Not barking or whining, just quiet. I knew right then I had to bring him home. When we got him, they did tell us he had a broken rib and was found inside of a dumpster. To this day his rib sticks out. He has had to have two major surgeries in two years. But now he’s so happy! Runs all over the place, plays with his toys and is my little shadow.  


I’ve been fighting Pancreatic Disease for almost two years now (June 17,2017). At the time I weighed 154 lb. I was working out daily and ate healthy. All of this started with my gallbladder. I started having these awful pains under my right rib. The pain would drop me to my knees. I had to quit my job, one that I loved. I worked for an orthopedic doctor where I did wound care. I had several trips to the ER, and they couldn't find anything. My husband started researching and decided to request a referral to UCSF. After waiting weeks (which felt like a lifetime) we finally saw a GI Specialist. She ordered some tests and found out I had Pancreas Divisum. We were then referred to a Pancreas Specialist. We discussed different procedures and then decided to run one more test. After the test was ran, we found out that my gallbladder is extremely damaged. And once again we were referred out. This time to a Gallbladder Surgeon. She quickly scheduled to have my gallbladder removed. After the procedure they opened it up and found hundreds of little stones. From November 14th, 2017 after the surgery I was feeling great! I was 134 lbs. and was gaining my weight back, as well as working out again.


In April 2018 I started to get horrible pain again. This time it was right below my sternum and under my left rib. The pain was very sharp and would drop me to my knees. I started vomiting regularly and was laid up on the couch almost every day, all day. We called my GI Doctor and set an appointment for May to have an ERCP done. After that appointment I was admitted for pain control and further monitoring. Roughly a week after the procedure I was able to go home. In June however, I was back in the hospital. This time a total of 22 days. During my time I had several complications that ended me up in ICU, blood transfusions, internal bleeding and unfortunately a couple code blues. This was a very difficult time for myself and my family. I honestly didn’t think I was going to make it out of the hospital alive. The beginning of July I was able to go home. I was recovering very nicely. I was slowly going back to the gym, I was back at work, and eating foods I couldn’t have before. November rolled around and I was busy cleaning the house and getting things ready for the holidays. On the 17th my youngest called my husband because I was in so much pain. He quickly called the ambulance, they transferred me to a local hospital and then I was transferred to UCSF. Two weeks later I was back home.


After all this, trying different medications, and procedures we were given the option to have my pancreas removed. We are currently going through the process of this. First step waiting on the call from the surgeon.


I hope that I can shed some light to this disease, bring others comfort and to let them know they are not alone.