Saskia's Surgery Fund

Hi there! For those of you who don’t know me personally, my name is Saskia and I have been diagnosed with acute recurrent pancreatitis attacks as well as chronic pancreatitis. I have had 43 attacks in the last 6 years and I am having pancreas removed in April 2018. I started this Go Fund Me page to help raise money to cover medical expenses not covered by healthcare or insurance for my Total Pancreatectomy and Islet Auto-transplant taking place in a month in Edmonton Canada. I have also started this page to hopefully reach all of my family and friends across Canada and the USA to provide everyone with an update on my health, my journey and this final surgery and ask for all the love, support and prayers that they can give me <3. 

I would first like to thank everyone in advance for any contribution they make to my cause, whether big or small, anything and everything will help and I am so grateful for everyone’s generosity towards this journey. I will never fully be able to put into words how lucky and grateful I am to have had so much support and love and prayers over these last 6 years. To my family, friends and strangers, thank you thank you thank you <3. Secondly, I would like to answer some questions that I feel are important to know about my medical condition, the surgery that I will be having and what it is I will be using the money raised for on this page towards. Lastly, I have provided a little bit of a background on myself and my journey with pancreatitis on one of the update pages if you would like more information :)

What is pancreatitis and how do you treat your attacks?

Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas, which is located behind the stomach in the upper middle abdomen and responsible for the insulin production and regulation in the body as well as the production of enzymes to help with food digestion. An acute pancreatitis attack includes symptoms of severe pain in upper abdomen, extreme nausea and vomiting, headache and dizziness, fever and rapid pulse. Chronic pancreatitis can include those acute attacks but has the symptoms of constant pain and nauseas when not in acute crisis, losing weight without trying, and oily stools. To confirm pancreatitis blood tests are done to look for an elevated level called lipase and the other pancreatic enzymes (although they know now it is not the only thing to 100% diagnose an attack), my levels have always risen and proven my attacks to be pancreatitis. Treatment for my attacks is hospitalization for 3-12 days, hooked up to an IV pole, on copious amounts of narcotics like morphine, anti nausea medications like ondanzatron, anti spasmodic medications like torodol, and anything else needed to treat symptoms from the attack and reactions from other medications.

What is a total pancreatectomy and islet auto transplant and what is the recovery?

This surgery involves cutting the abdomen wall open to remove the pancreas and dissecting the islet cells (insulin cells) out of the pancreas and transplanting back into your liver through the portal vein. The transplant takes place to give your body the chance of not becoming surgically type I diabetic from having your pancreas (insulin provider) removed. This however is a fairly new procedure and is not 100% protection against getting surgical type I diabetes, it is simply a step to take towards preventing it as long as possible. During the surgery, the spleen is also removed and your stomach is connected to your small intestine. The surgery itself takes 6 hours and is done by a full team of surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologist, and transplant doctors and technicians. In Canada the only place to have this surgery done is Edmonton. Recovery time barring no complications is 2-4 weeks in hospital and 1 month in Edmonton. So I am planned to be in Edmonton for 2 months, praying and hoping for no complications and a fast recovery!

What will the money raised be covering?

This brings me to the whole reason for this page and the need to raise money for travel expenses to and from Edmonton and the accommodations for the 2 month stay, which is not covered by health or insurance. Travelling with me for the surgery will be my boyfriend Jesse (who will just be staying for the surgery a bit of the recovery), my mom (who will be staying the full duration with me), my grandparents (who will be staying as long as my mom and I need them, which will probably be the whole time) and my aunt (who is also just coming for the surgery part). The money raised on here will be used for the travel of myself as well as my family coming and the accommodations needed for the length of our stay in Edmonton, as well as any expenses that need to be covered during recovery from a major surgery like this. I don’t have an exact breakdown because we are still waiting on the date of surgery to book anything, but a researched estimate is as follows: airbnb house rental 2 months ($8000-$10,000), travel including plane and car ($1000-$3000), and other (?)

This battle has been long and hard, not just on myself, but also my mom, Jesse, and my family. My mom, Jesse, my grandparents, my aunt and uncle and other family members have been beside me through the worst of the worst with this disease. They’ve seen me scream in pain for hours on end and be so medicated I’m not coherent. They watched me have surgery after surgery, test after test, medication trial after medication trial. They’ve gone through it all, the ups and the downs, and its come time now where I can finally say we’ve waited long enough and gone through enough. This surgery is the only thing that will give me my life back and end these attacks and all of this pain once and for all. I am grateful for all of the support and love they have given me over these last 6 years and throughout my whole life and I am so lucky that they will all be there for me and for my mom in Edmonton. And I am grateful for this page helping to make that happen!

Please feel free to share this page and my story with your friends and family, through facebook, email, twitter, and any other means of social media networking or sharing. Like I said before anything and everything helps and I am so very thankful for the support! I will also post any updates as soon as I can and as much as I can along this journey, peace and love -S


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Saskia Clarke 
Winnipeg, MB
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