Jamie Presses on Through Pancreatitis

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As of late, I’ve found that when something traumatic happens in life, the story grows bigger very quickly, and becomes that much more difficult to tell.  So many questions to consider, and to address.  Where to start?  What should be shared?  What’s going on now?  What’s going to happen next?

Since the first week of August 2013, I have found myself wrapped up in the details of my own traumatic event; at times dreading the need to share, and at others very excited.  With so much to say right now, I feel like where I really want to start is with “Thank you!”  Thank you to so many people.  Thank you to the Baraka customers who not only offered your thoughts and prayers, but dropped off flowers, cookies and even said over and over again “There’s no rush on my jewelry right now.  Get better and call me when you can.”  Thanks to George for making runs to wholesalers, but more importantly, running me back and forth from the hospital.  Thanks to Mom and Dad Buell for getting groceries, visiting and checking up on me.  Thanks to Galen, Eric, Katelyn, Jen, Joanna, Michele, Eileen, and Margaret for making meals and cookies, and for doing laundry.  Thanks to friends like Greg, Wes, Harold, RD and Anna, Brian, Wade, Joanna, Mark, Robyn, Mary Jane, Sara, Aunt Julie, Aunt Laurie, people I’m sure I’m forgetting, and people in my building who’s names I don’t even know yet, for going out of your way to check in on me to see how I’m doing.  Thank you to Sara and Allison for becoming my “home care” nurse friends who volunteered off the clock to take care of my wounds.  And an extra special thank you to Rob who moved in with me for two weeks to make sure I lived instead of giving up.  To all of you…THANK YOU!  I hope I can call and count on you again, because I’m probably going to need to!

By this point in time, you may be wondering what happened.  Well, it all started with an attack of acute pancreatitis in the first week of August.

Triggered by a congenital birth defect, in less than three months I found myself going from a 6’3 255lb independent strong fully capable man, to a 6’3 198lb frail frightened shell of a man.  The first time I heard the word “pancreas” in relation to what I was going through, I immediately thought “Cancer.”  It wasn’t for weeks, and a second emergency trip to the hospital, that the doctors determined the true problem, and I experienced the comfort in knowing at least it wasn’t cancer.  That also lead to multiple cat scans, x-rays, endoscopies, ercp’s (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatograms), external drains, internal drains, an internal shunt, the loss of appetite and taste buds, and a personal 10 drug pharmacy that included everything from pain pills to a host of things that helped my digestive system process things the way it is supposed to.

After all that, I am both excited and nervous to say that I am doing much better.  After months of moving from my bed to my couch and back again, I am on my feet and rapidly gaining my strength.  I have told a number of people that physically I am now 4/5ths the man I used to be, but twice the man mentally and emotionally that I used to be.  Those who see death up close and personal often talk about appreciating life in a way no one else can.  Although I haven’t been that close to death yet, seeing it as legitimate possibility made the first walk around the block in three months one of the richest experiences I’ve ever had.  Again, thanks to those who helped me get back on my feet!

This isn’t over though.  My GI doctor and pancreatic surgeon said the biggest surgery is likely yet to come.  Although it’s possible, there is a very slim chance that my body will heal the rest of the way on it’s own.  It is far more likely that the surgeon will need to go in and extract as much as half of my pancreas.  Surgery will likely take place sometime soon after the first of the year in 2014.  I could be back down for a bit and just ask you my customers for your patience, and friends for your help, as I finish up this hellish process.

We’ll take the first of the year as it comes, and I’ll do everything I can to continue to assist all my customers as things progress.  If all goes well over the next two months, I anticipate the studio being open for regular hours (Wed through Sat 11-6pm) and appointments through the first of the year.  I hope and plan to be available to help you with all your holiday jewelry needs.

May you experience great baraka “blessings” this holiday season, and continually be reminded of the value in the life you are living.  I look forward to a joyous holiday season with you!

Jamie Jockwig
Owner and Manager

 

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