Frank Discussions between Stomachless Siblings

Yes, this post will explore some of the discussions my brother and I have had about how his recovery is coming along compared to mine. I have to say, no one’s recovery is exactly the same; but we did have the same surgeon & hospital here.

First difference, pre-surgery my brother read the directions correctly and drank half the bottle instead of the full bottle of the stuff that “clears you out”. Apparently I got rid of both good and bad stuff in my digestive tract, which we’re guessing is why I got thrush. Score one for my bro for reading directions correctly.

Second difference is he’s a boy & boys burn more calories. We both have high metabolisms, but just like when you exercise, the “calories burned” calculation gives men more calories burned for their exertion. My brother was tall and thin before surgery; now he’s tall and thinner. He’s actually slowly losing weight still because we’re thinking he needs 2400 calories a day. Having gone through gastrectomy recovery, my jaw drops thinking about that number. I struggled daily to push to a full 2000. I just don’t know if 2400 is possible. He’s at 4 months post op, but I saw most of my food portion volume gain around 6 months. At 4 months I could just eat a tiny bit faster. So we can only assume 2400 calories is the result of our family’s high metabolism and his gender.

Third difference was best quoted from him. Read aloud in a sarcastic tone: “Not everyone can have a gastrectomy and run a half marathon 7 months later. Some of us can’t add exercise at 4 months because all that extra movement means more food has to be eaten.” My brother loves me. He also knows I’m crazy, especially about running. And in most aspects of my life, I don’t tend to take no for an answer.

Fourth difference (might just be timing) is that if I eat close to bedtime and don’t prop my head/torso up for a while, I get bile creeping up in my esophagus….and it burns, is uncomfortable and wakes you up. My bro hasn’t had this yet, but his food volume hasn’t gone up enough yet. I’m wondering if he’ll have to watch out for this later on. Oddly enough, if I eat just oatmeal before bed, no reflux. If I eat most anything else (pirate booty, dry Cheerios, milk, chips, crackers…), I’ll have issues with bile. And I have no idea why…

Similarities include nutrition focus. Post gastrectomy it seems everyone is focusing on energy and nutrition. I still don’t feel full energy everyday, and sometimes after I eat something that disagrees, I’m down for the count for 15 minutes. Since I am trying to ramp up my running, I need to monitor my iron levels and general vitamins. I had iron-deficiency anemia during my pregnancies, so that is not new to me. I continue to strive for 60 grams of protein daily.

Our scars look pretty darn good. At a year out, my scars are fading. My brother’s scars are less red now and the feeding tube hole closed up completely a little while ago. We chat a lot about how it’s going for him. When people ask, my response is along this line…”He’s doing really well. He’s in the worst part of recovery where you’re tired of eating all the time, but you have to in order to hold your weight.” Then I describe calories and time…. “You know those lunchables, the small ones with just the meat, cheese and crackers? Well, that’s only 240 calories and after my surgery, it’d take me an hour to eat one. My bro needs 2400 calories, and when it takes an hour to eat a lunchable, you can imagine how often he has to eat.”

Those are my thoughts for the day. And also that June marks one year since my surgery. Crazy!!!

3 thoughts on “Frank Discussions between Stomachless Siblings

  1. DUDE! Happy 1 year anniversary! It’s so crazy that’s gone by so fast and you’re doing so well! I have discovered the night reflux of doom just last week! It’s terrible! Note to self: no food an hour before bed. So glad you’re brother’s recovery is going well, I can relate to the worst part about recovery and having to eat all the time. I’m down to 160 this week after a rough 5 days. I saw somewhere that you were at the DMB concert a little while ago, seriously, one of my favorite bands growing up. Cheers!

  2. Marne– absolutely love the feelings behind this post! Everyone’s recoveries are so different and there really are no rules. I will say, reading about you running that half marathon 7 months post op is what prompted me to start training for my first sprint triathlon (coming up just about 7 months post op for me in July!). You’re an inspiration! 🙂

    • Cool!! I always like to have a crazy goal in mind. Gastrectomy surgery recovery will test your strength, mentally and physically. And sometimes your body will yell at you when it doesn’t want to do what your brain is pushing it to do.

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