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  • Last modified 21 days ago (Oct. 25, 2018)

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Pancreatitis patient low in strength, high in faith

Staff writer

After going to the hospital June 15 for abdominal pain, Terry Holt was not given hope to live.

After a few days at Newton Medical Center, Holt’s heart stopped, and he was brought back using CPR.

“The odds of being brought back using just CPR are slight at best,” he said.

Holt assumed it was kidney stones when he first experienced abdominal pain, since he had a history of them. Instead, he was diagnosed with an aggressive case of pancreatitis and spent 103 days in the hospital.

Pancreatitis occurs when the pancreas is swollen and inflamed. It can be caused by a variety of factors, from gall stones in the pancreatic duct to high triglycerides, St. Luke physician Randy Whitely said.

In Holt’s case, it progressed to the point that doctors made a 10-inch cut along his abdomen because the pancreas was attacking the other organs and they became necrotic.

Early in the process, he was moved from Newton to Via Christi St. Francis in Wichita. During that time, his heart again stopped and he was brought back with CPR.

The day Holt’s heart stopped the first time, his granddaughter Grace was born in North Carolina.

The impact on the Holt family was severe, but it also brought them closer. Their closest children live hours away, with a son and daughter in Cleveland, as well as a son in North Carolina with the new granddaughter, and another son in New Zealand. All of them made trips back to see Holt, as did siblings throughout Kansas.

“I could have easily left this world,” he said. “They had do not resuscitate orders for me, they never saw them. A hand kept them from seeing those DNR orders.”

For two and a half months in the hospital, he was in a medically induced coma. While in a coma, Holt’s abdomen was sewn back up. The medical staff and his family often spoke to him, but he recalled no memory of that time, except an awareness when people were nearby.

“When I came to, I was very foggy,” he said. “I had a sense of some presence occasionally during the coma. I could sense people around me some of the time.”

By the time Holt came home, his body had grown weak to the point where he found it difficult to pick up a cell phone.

While Holt lacked physical strength when he woke up, he had a new sense of faith.

“What I came back with was this message that was ingrained in me,” he said. “Other people need to know how precarious life is. We live moment to moment and don’t realize it.”

Local churches are holding a benefit Nov. 4 at Holy Family Parish Activity Center, which will include a taco bar and silent auction. The proceeds will help with Holt’s medical costs, which he is grateful for, he said.

“I don’t see occasions when members from many of the churches in Marion get together,” he said. “I am quite humbled to think there are people from Eastman, the Baptist church, or the Catholic church all rooting together out of love for me and my family.”

Holt hopes to be back on his feet by next year. In the meantime, he plans to share his story with whomever he sees.

“It is isolating because I can’t yet get out,” he said. “My body is so weak that if I were to catch the flu or a cold, it would be touch and go. Even though I’m stuck here, I’m trying to get my message out.”

Last modified Oct. 25, 2018

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