Jefferson University Hospitals

Sherry's Successful Mini-Whipple Procedure at Jefferson

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"The Jefferson staff was extremely kind, reassuring and compassionate"

Sherry, 59, an avid walker, was healthy her entire life, and even had 250 hours of unused sick time at her job as Administrative Assistant to the Chief Financial Officer of Trump Entertainment Resorts in Atlantic City. But over the course of a week in June 2006, she had a stomach ache that would not subside. When she awoke one morning with jaundiced eyes and dark urine, she drove immediately to her local hospital's emergency room. An ultrasound was followed by another procedure, from which she developed complications. She "coded," revived, and then was in a coma for a week before being diagnosed with a neuro-endocrine tumor on her pancreas.

Sherry was referred to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, where she underwent a mini-Whipple procedure, performed by Charles J. Yeo, MD, the Samuel D. Gross Professor and Chair of Surgery. This procedure is a modified pancreas resection, an improvement upon the classic Whipple procedure, which preserves the entire stomach, the pylorus, and several centimeters of the upper duodenum. This less-radical procedure can result in a shorter hospital stay and fewer complications.] Following the surgery, Sherry only remained in the hospital for six days. She comments that, throughout the entire process, "the Jefferson staff was extremely kind, reassuring, and compassionate." At one time during her recovery at home, she called Jefferson with a question and was impressed when Dr. Yeo called her back within five minutes. "That kind of quick, caring responsiveness is the Jefferson way," says Sherry.

Because a high number of her lymph nodes were cancerous, Sherry was also advised to undergo a series of chemotherapy sessions to eliminate any microscopic cancer cells that may have escaped into her system. After consulting with Dr. Yeo and two other Jefferson physicians, she agreed to the chemotherapy. However, it was not until she received the counsel of her new friend Larry Russo that she had piece of mind about the treatments. Sherry met Larry at a pancreatic cancer reunion Jefferson hosted for its patients in October 2006. After talking with Larry, who had received a series of radiation treatments, she was convinced that it was best to eliminate the risk now rather face another potentially dire situation five or ten years down the road. Sherry finished up her chemotherapy at the end of January.

Sherry has been back at her job working with the investors and analysts who cover the gaming industry and Trump Entertainment Resorts. "My boss and work colleagues were very supportive during this incredibly difficult time for me," she recalls thankfully. "My family was also with me every step of the way, which is so important when you are facing a life threatening illness." Having traveled the world over, visiting ports in the Caribbean, Spain, and the Netherlands, Sherry is beginning to plan her next cruise—which signals the extent of her recovery. Reflecting on her time at Jefferson, she comments, "While no one enjoys being in a hospital, the Jefferson staff made a tough experience much, much better and were really wonderful to me."