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Routine trip to dentist saves 11-year-old girl’s life

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EDMOND, Okla. (PIX11) - An 11-year-old Oklahoma girl went to the dentist for a routine teeth cleaning, never expecting that the hygienist would save her life.

Rachel Stroble was inspecting Journee Woodard's teeth when she noticed something wrong -- but it had nothing to do with Woodard's mouth.

"She said 'You know, Journee's eyes look yellow,'" Dr. Michael Chandler, Journee's dentist, told KFOR.  "She asked me to take a look, I took a look and said that does look abnormal."  Journee's mother had no idea just how serious her daughter's condition would prove to be.

According to a website the Woodard family created after receiving a doctor's diagnosis:

“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.”

Chandler, who has seen Journee for much of her life, is now invested in her recovery.  "I didn't feel like there was anything I could do to help, which is one of the harder things," said Dr. Chandler.  "Journee's mother has called the office a few times . . . she's been very grateful, she's posted it on social media."

"You've got a lot of people who love you, a lot of people that care for you, we wish you well," said Chandler, who is praying for her.  Meanwhile, Journee's family is waiting to hear more about the results of the surgery, and have created a fund online for donations.

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