On January 28, 2010 Ronda Ayala, R.N., had a Whipple, also known as the Granddaddy of all surgeries, at the Universtiy of Miami by Dr. Joe Levi for a Neuroendocrine Tumor on the head of her pancreas.
After being in the hospital for almost 2 weeks post Whipple, she was discharged and sent home to recupperate. This seemed like a simple task however, she soon found that it was not as easy as she thought. She was having cramping, diarrhea, nausea and was having difficulty eating. She tried to manage these symptoms as well as she could using her nursing knowledge. During this time, she developed post Whipple Pancreatitis and began having post Whipple pain attacks which left her almost breathless with pain and exhaustion.
She looked around the internet for help, however, there was nothing she could find for post Whipple care. There was no where to turn to for help and advice from others who had a Whipple. She was alone.
Being a Christian, she knew that God had given her a second change at life. It could have been so much worse. She kept asking God what he wanted her to do with this chance. One day while she was in church, she heard God talk to her in her heart. He told her to make a Facebook group, create a Webpage and write a book for Whipple patients. So on May 15, 2010 she did as she was instructed. The Whipple Surgery Survivor Group was founded on Facebook. Soon, her page was found by Whipple patients that she believed were led there by God. He was in charge of this and because it was him, it would be successful. It has gone on to become the largest group of Whipple patients in the world.
Since people who had the Whipple have gone through so much, she started to call them Warriors and the name Whipple Warriors was born. As the Whipple Warriors grew in numbers, she soon knew she needed more help so along with Michelle Toth and Jasmin Bayer they developed a webpage and started the Whipple Warriors Non-Profit whose aim was to educate, advocate and support Whipple patients. The goal was to give support before, during and after the Whipple. Patients even started to bring their computers with them to the hospital to communicate with the group.
Now that the group has grown to the thousands around the world, there is always someone on the page to turn to for support no matter the hour. Distinction had to be made that the page and site is not inteneded to give medical advice but only to communicate with other patients and discuss shared experiences.
In 2016, the Whipple Warriors have decided to take another turn. The medical world of today has allowed Whipple patients to live much longer. We are committed to work along side of researchers who are interested in the study of the post Whipple patient and the long term effects of the surgery. This is the reason for this new Whipple Warrior.com site. This site will be used to keep Whipple patients up to date on the latest changes that the medical world has for Whipple patients.
The Whipple Warriors of today are paving the road for the Whipple patients of tomorrow!