Diann Robertson-Pick (second from right) left Nova Scotia for Edmonton, Alta. on Oct. 7 as she gears up for life-changing Islet cell transplant surgery—an operation that is still considered experimental in her home province of N.S. There was a send-off of sorts held Oct. 5 at the LWF Hall during Wing Nite. Posing with Robertson-Pick are friends Nigel Jez Thorpe (left); Bob Inglis who had the same procedure done many years ago; and Jeff Morrison. (Healey photo)

FALL RIVER: With two days before she left for Edmonton and eventual life-changing surgery, Diann Robertson-Pick was a mixed-bag of emotions.

Robertson-Pick was heading to Western Canada where she will shortly have Islet cell transplant surgery, and then stay in Alberta as she recovers and so her doctors can keep an eye on her progress. She wants to be back in N.S. by Christmas time.

“I’m excited. I’m nervous. I can’t wait. All of the above,” said Robertson-Pick when asked what she was feeling as the clock counted down to her boarding the flight to Edmonton. “I hope I’m back before Christmas. It’s unreal.

“It’s an excitement like nothing else has ever been.”

Diann Robertson-Pick gets a big hug of support from a well-wisher during a send-off type celebration on Lions Wing Nite at the LWF Hall on Oct. 5. (Healey photo)

In Dec. 2014, Robertson-Pick had the majority of her pancreas removed; however she ended up in constant pain following the surgery. Since then, she’s been referred to a specialist at Edmonton University Hospital who removed the remainder of her pancreas. The surgeon, Dr. Shapiro, can do the Islet Cell transplant surgery which will give Pick-Robertson her life back.

A send-off of sorts was held at the LWF Hall in Fall River on the weekly Lions wing night on Oct. 5, where community residents came by to chat with her and wish her well.

There were a few people asking Robertson-Pick to keep them updated. She plans to do that.

She said the whole journey has been stressful.

“Hopefully when I come back the pain is completely gone or somewhat gone, the needles are gone, and the sugars are settled,” she said. “I try not to think about it because it’s that exciting. I’m scared I’ll set the bar too high.”

Robertson-Pick said until she had everything done, there wasn’t a countdown. She is booked for Oct. 10, but has been told it could be one to three weeks before she has the actual surgery.

“That will be the longest one to three weeks of my life of course, but it’s so worth waiting for,” she said. “It’s such a big deal that it makes me cry thinking about it.”

She said she will fight to see that Islet transplant surgery becomes acceptable in N.S. so others who need it can get it in their own province.

“They (MSI) approved me, but it’s still considered an experimental procedure,” said Robertson-Pick.

Robertson-Pick said there are many people she wanted to thank.

“The Lions Club, my local community, my family,” she said. “They’ve all been a huge help.”

And the Fall River woman will have a piece of N.S. shining brightly in her hospital room—a small lighthouse on a tree branch, created by Jeff Morrison.