Maureen Stowell and her husband, Richard, reside in the quiet Florida town of Ormond Beach, where she enjoys spending time with their sons and grandchildren.
If she is not in the kitchen baking, you can often find her in the garden tending to her fruits and vegetables.
After retiring as an apprenticeship representative for Flagler County Public Schools, Stowell got a part-time job in retail. When she began to experience fatigue and lost 35 pounds, she wrote it off as a side effect of her new job. However, her body began to tell her that something was wrong with her digestion, so she sought an exam from her doctor in Port Orange.
A few tests and an endoscopy, or nonsurgical procedure used to view the digestive tract, revealed Stowell had ampullary cancer. This type of cancer is found in a very small section of the bile duct.
Stowell’s doctor was quick to recommend surgery to remove the tumor and treat her cancer.
“What kind of surgeon do you want?” her doctor asked. “Good or the best?” Naturally, she said “the best!” Her doctor then referred her to Ziad Awad, M.D., the medical director of minimally invasive surgery at UF Health Jacksonville.
Upon first examination, Awad recommended the Whipple procedure.
For UF Health and Awad, the fully robotic Whipple was a first. It is one of only a few surgeries of its kind performed in the state.
To read more about Stowell’s Whipple surgery, click here.