My name is Marley C., I am in my 20s and live in West Virginia. In October 28th, 2022, at 6:30 in the morning I was in a bad car accident. The injuries resulting from this accident were kidney lacerations, grade 5 liver lacerations, and grade 3 pancreatic lacerations with duct injuries. All the other injuries got resolved within the following months and I began to heal over time. A couple of months into recovery, I realized the pain in my upper left side was still active. I went to get a CT, and MRCP, the discoveries from these tests were that my main pancreatic duct had been severed in half, causing a very large leak in my pancreas. This led to fluid collections, severe pain, acute pancreatitis, which eventually led to chronic pancreatitis.

My family searched high and low for answers and was told we would have to do a distal pancreatectomy, along with a splenectomy. The leak was so large and fast, the surgeon wanted to place a feeding tube also known as a NJ tube to decrease the size of the leak before performing this surgery. At this point we felt extremely disappointed with this news, but thankful there were answers. We didn’t decide to give up there, we reached out to the National Pancreas Foundation, and searched their website and found many doctors all over the United States that were familiar with the pancreas.

Having a pancreatic injury from blunt force trauma is a very rare case to have, and many doctors are only familiar with cancerous options. We found a surgeon (Dr. William Nealon from North Shore University Hospital) in New Hyde Park, New York, who proposed to us a surgery that we had never heard of called  a “Roux-en-Y Pancreaticojejunostomy” (also known as a Puestow procedure). This surgery is used for people who suffer with chronic pancreatitis. The surgeon wanted to do a few updated tests, so I went on with another MRCP after three months. I had also had pancreatic stents placed by ERCP in those three months to help reduce the pain, there was too much scar tissue to fix the severed duct by stent.

After the final MRCP result, the findings were the same about the break in the duct, and leak except now only larger. My pancreas was beginning to atrophy in the tail, and the fluid collections had doubled its size. We had time to think about this second opinion surgery and chose to do this one.

Choosing do the Puestow procedure, I was able to save two major organs in my body, and freely eat what I want with some moderation. I am now a few months post op, and living a healthier life. Currently, it seems like the future will be very bright for me. To say this surgery was easy, I would be lying, but it’s something I had to make a choice to go through and did. I was only in the hospital for five days after this operation, and had moderate pain. I am not on daily enzymes, the fluid collections have already decreased in size, and I’m feeling brand new. I can’t thank the NPF, the pancreas support groups, and God himself enough for the guidance throughout this journey. I hope my story inspires someone else out there when times feel hopeless to not give up, don’t stop there, keep finding answers. Educate yourself in your injury, or the  disease and advocate for yourself.