Can we live without a pancreas?

By grammy215 Latest Reply 2011-10-11 12:08:34 -0500
Started 2011-10-08 12:48:10 -0500

I have a cousin who is having her spleen removed and is waiting for a liver transplant. I'm not sure but I thought I heard that her pancreas is shot. If they remove it what will happen?

Tags: information

12 replies

GabbyPA 2011-10-10 19:23:32 -0500 Report

My heart goes out to you and your cousin. I hope that you will find ways here to be a support to her after her surgery. The advancements of medicine have been remarkable and she can survive without it and live a long healthy life. It will take adjustments for her and everyone around her, but with your support she will do so much better.

How did the surgery go? What was the final decision about her pancreas?

grammy215 2011-10-09 10:11:56 -0500 Report

Thank you for your kind replies and prayers. I"ve offerered to be a liver doner if I qualify, failing that I'll donate blood. I's good to hear that we can survive without out pancreas, I wasn't sure.

jayabee52 2011-10-08 16:09:28 -0500 Report

The long and short of it is that she will become a type 1 Person With Diabetes.
I have seen that there are other functions which are performed by the pancreas and she will likely have to start taking other meds to compensate for the loss of her pancreas.

Praying for your cousin.

kdroberts 2011-10-09 15:55:30 -0500 Report

There really is no diabetes type for this situation, some people call it traumatic diabetes or similar. It's not the same as type 1 since type 1involves specific antibodies that destroy parts of the pancreas, although the treatment is the same.

lacat87 2011-10-10 16:49:31 -0500 Report

When I got the information about this kind of surgery, the pamplet listed surgery of removing the pancreas in the "Other" category.The categories for diabetes are Type 1 and Type 2. Is this a new term, traumatic diabetes, for the same thing? My doctor says now that I am a Type 1 diabetic.

kdroberts 2011-10-10 17:13:05 -0500 Report

It's one of those weird things because its not really diabetes at all, there is no underlying disease (insulin resistance, autoimmune attack, etc) but the treatment is mostly the same as type 1. However, most people with type 1 have no or very small problems with the other functions of the pancreas while people who have it removed do. Likewise, people who have the pancreas can theoretically have a transplant with no worries additional to the rejection problems but a type 1 will still have the autoimmune issue and the insulin producing cells would get destroyed.

lacat87 2011-10-08 16:22:16 -0500 Report

I also had my pancreas removed and Jayabee is correct, she will be come a Type 1. I was also in the "Other" category where someone has their pancreas removed. I was later told that I'm Type 1 diabetic. She will also have to take pancreatic enzymes for the rest of her life. The pancreas is also involved with digestion of food. So she will probably, like I do, take them with meals and snacks during the day. There are a couple of different kinds so she will have to maybe find out what is the best for her. On my second kind right now because the 1st, Creon, gave me problems. Now on Zenpep. I wish her much luck and she will be fine. I was also told my spleen would be removed but it wasn't thankfully! Hopefully, they will be able to save the remainder of her "good" islet cells and have them transplanted to he newr liver. Praying for her.

sheriden 2011-10-09 16:57:53 -0500 Report

I was just wondering this same thing as at one point a doctor said that he thought I had a pancreatic tumor. He never took it futher so I thought that it was somthing that just was.

Kf6krc 2011-10-10 20:59:09 -0500 Report

Man you need to see a G.I. Doctor! I have chronic pacreatitis and my family doctor suspected but refered me to a G.I. Doctor to be sure. They ran a scope down my throat to my pancreas and that is the only way to be sure! I found out that mine will never work again but they said that it is not worth removing at this time, but that eventually it will need to be removed.

lacat87 2011-10-10 16:51:45 -0500 Report

And you settled for his anwer? It should be investigated further, apparently with a G.I. doctor. Was your doctor a G.I. doctor? And when were you told this?