Becky ’s Story

Site created on July 8, 2020

Welcome! We are using this site to keep family and friends updated in one place. 

After trying various treatments to remedy my acute chronic pancreatitis,  (I had  stent placements and two puestow's that failed along with many stays in the hospital) I was referred by my team at USC to the University of Minnesota transplant team for a (TP-IAT) Total Pancreatectomy with  Islet-Cell Auto Transplantation.  USC said there was nothing else they could do and had heard that this treatment was really revolutionary and would help.

After the MN team reviewed my medical records and I met virtually with different doctors on their team, I was approved!  Covid19 however, delayed the surgery and insurance caused undue stress by not approving until the last minute.  But now it's all scheduled, and I feel as though I'm finally going to be on the road to healing.

So this will be my story. The good, the bad, and the ugly.  My road to surgery, and the recovery after.  

I fly from LA to Minneapolis on July 22nd, and am all set at the hotel near the hospital.  Scott will be driving across country to be with me by 7/26 and surgery is set for Monday July 27th.  I have to have someone with me the entire stay (up to two months) so before I go any further, to the many people that are helping us along the way, THANK YOU. I literally couldn't do this without you.  You (Scott, Will, Liz & Ed, Taylor, Shari, Nikki, Britt) are truly life safers.

Surgery will start at 7AM and per the surgeon will go anywhere until 5PM, up until 2AM.  They will remove my pancreas and send it to a lab in another town to try and get as much islet cell yield as possible.  These islet cells are what produce insulin to help try and prevent me from becoming a diabetic, but because my pancreas is in such bad shape, we are not anticipating a very good yield.  They also will remove the spleen and the duodenum, and then after redirecting the digestive flow of everything, they will inject whatever islet cells they were able to recover back into by liver (hence, no chance of rejection because they are my own).  At that point it's off to the ICU for a few days, and then the transplant floor.  Eventually I'll be allowed to head back to my hotel where I'll go between the hotel and hospital / doctor's offices for frequent follow ups.  

Please feel welcome to send words of hope and encouragement; they are appreciated.

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Newest Update

Journal entry by Nikki Marlette


Surprise! It’s me!  After 6 long weeks, I am finally on my way home back to CA!  The doctors confirmed I was ready to return home and we are at the airport waiting to board. I am so excited.

But first a few thank you’s have to be said:

To my brother Will, amazing friend Shari, #1 son Taylor, cousin Nikki, and niece Britt  - you have all seen me through the worst of this and I couldn’t have even begun to thank you for all your love, support, energy, and exhaustion. You took a week out of your life to come to MN and you had sleepless nights that didn’t seem to end, you got me through the pain and then laughed with me when I was a total mess... Thank you.

To the crew at USC Athletics who have not only given me the time off to take care of myself and heal but supported me with a loving video before I left that left me in tears, to sending me strength throughout my time here... we last saw each other March 13th when Covid changed all of our lives, but I look forward to reuniting back on campus. Fight On.

To the MN TPIAT transplant team, doctors and nurses you have given me the best care and my life back - Thank You.

To my sorority sisters (especially Carla) who surprised me with a box full of cards, books, movies, gifts, the most beautiful flowers, and above all else, showed me the power of sisterhood - ITB means so much more to me than ever before. Thank you. 

To my family for their endless love and support - Taylor, Henry and Dane, I have missed you guys so much (even though Taylor spent the week with me); and Scott, my rock, I love you.  And Liz and Ed for always checking in on me, sending me whatever I needed, and just being there for me and so much more, thank you.

And to the numerous people who followed me along, let me share my last few thoughts:
Was the surgery worth it? Yes. My pain, after 20 years, is finally gone.  Now the long road to recouperating begins. I’m not going to lie, there were incredibly tough days; worse than I could ever imagine. But to be rid of chronic pancreatitis and know that it is now a thing of the past is relieving.

How am I doing now? My brain is a bit fuzzy; I have a hard time recalling words and memory issues are going to be with me for a while, but it’s a side effect that will eventually subside. I’m also exhausted and take a nap now everyday, but hey, what’s wrong with that? 

What am I most looking forward to when I get home? Seeing my family... and my crazy, cranky, obnoxiously wonderful loving dog, Charlie.

So, as they begin to call people to board, I want to share this:  Above all else, I believe strongly in the power of prayer and I believe it is the prayers of those I know and don’t know that has lead me to my journey home.  Thank you everyone... 

...Making friends for the world to see
Let the people know you got what you need
With a friend at hand you will see the light
If your friends are there, then everything's all right...
Friends by Elton John

Love you all and hope to see you soon!!!
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