When Journee Woodward, 11, when to her dentist for a routine cleaning, the last thing she and her family expected was that the visit would lead to her fighting for her life.
According to KFOR (Oklahoma City), Journee was in the dentist’s chair at the office of Dr. Michael Chandler, when the dental hygienist noticed something amiss – with Journee’s eyes, not her teeth.
“She said you know, Journee’s eyes look yellow. She asked me to take a look, I took a look and said that does look abnormal.”
The dentist urged Journee’s mom to take her to her family physician. After a series of tests, including an MRI and a CAT scan, doctors determined that Journeed had a grapefruit-sized tumor on her pancreas – a tumor that would require surgery to remove, according to CBS News.
“Friday she underwent a nine hour surgery to remove a grapefruit-size tumor. Surgeons performed ‘Whipple Procedure,’ a major operation that removed part of her pancreas, stomach, gall bladder and part of the intestine.”
Journee will be spending the next 7-10 days in the Intensive Care Unit. Her parents have set up a fundraising page, called Journee’s Journey, to help pay for her medical costs, and to help care for the family’s two children who are still at home.
“Neither of our jobs offers paid time off. We are completely without any income to cover expenses for our other three kids, and any other funds raised will go to scratch the surface of medical expenses that her insurance won’t cover, which has already exceeded the hundred thousand dollar mark.”
Dr. Chandler says that Journee’s plight has been hard on him, as well.
“I didn’t feel like there was anything I could do to help, which is one of the harder things. Journee’s mother has called the office a few times…she’s been very grateful, she’s posted it on social media.”
The dentist is also brushing off suggestions that he and his staff did anything more for Journee than they would have done for any other patient.
“It’s hard to feel like I’m a hero.”
On Tuesday, a KFOR production crew came to the dentist’s office to record a personal message from Dr. Chandler, just for Journee.
“You’ve got a lot of people who love you, a lot of people that care for you, we wish you well. I’ll be praying for you.”
As of this post, Journee’s family has raised just over $11,000 of their goal of $15,000.
[Image courtesy of: WRIC]