Joey’s Story

Site created on January 14, 2019

How do you summarize a complicated case like Joey's? In April of 2016, Joey was on tour when he felt very sick in the middle of the night and asked the bus driver to drop him off at a hospital in Louisiana. Within 24 hours, one little gallstone led to a severe case of pancreatitis that landed him in the ICU with sepsis and in kidney failure. 

Since then, we've been dealing with the fallout from this initial case. Among other things, it's led to: 

-5 major surgeries with 40+ staples each time and hard recoveries
-Over 200 days inpatient in the hospital 
-Over 20 drains in his abdomen
-Dozens of outpatient procedures

The problem that persisted is that his pancreas was still leaking since half of it was dead. No doctor had been able to contain the leak, and surgeries that attempted to remove the tail of the pancreas had been unsuccessful because of all the trauma his body has been through (the doctor described it as "concrete like adhesions.")

Major surgery #4 was 3.6.19 and removed the tail of his pancreas, his spleen, his stomach, and half of his large intestine to control the leak.

He started having complications a few days later, so on the morning of 3.12.19, he had emergency surgery where they discovered a perforated bowel due to a blood clot.  


In the emergency surgery, they removed more bowel, gave him an ileostomy, and left his wound in a very open state. 


Almost all of 2019 was devoted to healing. Eating was hard, and from July 2019 to March 2020, he had a feeding tube. 


The hope is to have the ileostomy reversed in 2020, but the pandemic may delay that. In the meantime, we're focusing on fixing some ongoing urinary issues (partially due to his lack of spleen....partially due to the toll that narcotics have taken on his body.) 

Newest Update

Journal entry by Bekah Eaker

Yesterday, Joey had his colonoscopy. This was the last diagnostic step to determine what his ostomy reversal surgery will look like. 

And good news: the colonoscopy went great His last colonoscopy caused him a lot of pain, but he recovered from this one much easier--probably because they gave him extra drugs. He was a bit sloppy for the rest of the afternoon, but I'll take that ANYDAY over pain. 

There were no surprises, and the surgeon said we are good to move forward with surgery. 

So, surgery is set for September 11th here in Nashville. Joey will be the surgeon's only case that day since it will be more complicated than your average ostomy reversal surgery. There's also a strong chance I won't be able to be with him in the hospital as he recovers because of COVID. 

Thank you for continuing to follow along with our story. Our hope is that we can effectively do this surgery, let Joey recover, ride out the rest of this year while we wait for a COVID vaccine, and then emerge in 2021 with all our medical dramas in the rearview.
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