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Trip to the dentist saves a girl's life

A dental hygienist noticed something was wrong while cleaning 11-year-old Journee Woodward's teeth
Toothache saves Oklahoma girl's life 00:46

Most children dread a visit to dentist, but for Journee Woodard, a routine visit for her pearly whites actually saved her life.

Last week, the 11-year-old from Edmond, Oklahoma, was getting a cleaning from dental hygienist Rachel Stroble. Everything was going just fine until Stroble noticed something alarming that had nothing to do with the girl's teeth. Stroble was looking into Journee's eyes.

Stroble told the dentist, Dr. Michael Chandler, that Journee's eyes looked yellow. The dentist took a look and agreed that something wasn't right.

Chandler urged Journee's mother to take her to the doctor right away, and the yellowing of her eyes turned out to be a sign of something serious. After blood tests, an ultrasound, CT scan and MRI, the family learned their daughter had a large mass on her pancreas, and she would need extensive surgery to remove it.

Journee Woodard recovering after surgery Woodard family/

Her parents began documenting their daughter's surgery and recovery online:

"Friday she underwent a 9 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."

The family reports that Journee will be in the ICU for the next 7 to 10 days. Because neither parents have paid time off at work, they are asking for donations on, a crowd-sourced fundraising website. They will need money to cover her medical care and also help out with expenses for their other children, who thankfully are healthy.

"Thank you so much again for everyone's continued love, prayers, support and amazing generosity," Journee's mother Anna Woodard wrote on the website.

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