Life Without a Pancreas Five Years Post TP/AIT

May 19, 2016

Julie BernalToday is a special day for me. A day worth celebrating. 5 years ago today I spent 14 hours on the operating table while one of the best surgical transplant teams performed the complex, life-saving surgery and transplant called TP/AIT. My entire pancreas and spleen were removed along with part of my stomach and intestines; cells where transplanted into my liver. Fewer than 1,000 had been done in the world at the time. I can still remember how severely sick and in pain I was the months before the surgery and how I was not sure I would even make it to surgery or let alone survive it. But I did! And I’m still here 5 years later! Recovery – it was and has been the scariest, hardest, unpredictable (but rewarding) jobs I have ever done. I can only feel humbled and filled with gratitude for the second chance at life, and for the lessons I have learned these last 5 years. I am here today because the team at University of Minnesota hospital, and because of my amazing family and friends. So I just want to say thank you to all who have been such a big support in my life. You all mean more to me than you will ever know. Each day is a gift and there is always a reason to smile. Truly – what an extraordinary life!

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