Pathology Report

My brother got his pathology report back, and he had 23 foci of adenocarcinoma (I had 4 foci). Since he’s older, this is exactly what you’d expect. Even though I knew his results would be like that, I still find this whole thing a bit crazy. You have the CDH1 mutation, go through this crazy surgery to remove your entire stomach and then the surgeon assured us no one with our mutation came back without something in their path reports. Pretty wild science. Our ticking time bomb stomachs are now our past.

I am continuing to do really well with my eating and my weight. I’m holding onto my recent weight gain and being able to get back to running regularly. I’m feeling strong enough regularly to be motivated to train. I’m keeping up my energy and now that my portion size is so nice, I’m much better able to stay hydrated. I’m able to drink my protein shake as well in between meals again without feeling like they’re so harsh on my gut.

For breakfast, my current favorite is a mini bagel with a poached egg, shredded cheese and some butter. Tastes so delicious. And it doesn’t seem to take me too long to eat it either…though I’ve adapted so well to eating slowly that I just might not realize that my “quick” is not very fast.

Hooray for being stomachless and cancer free!

The start of my brother’s recovery journey

So my brother had his gastrectomy a week and a half ago. Same surgeon, same hospital. Surgery went well, the hardest part is over! Now he’s gotten back home and is starting his foray into life without a stomach.

It’s interesting to compare notes since it seems everyone’s bodies react differently to the gastrectomy surgery. I never had any nausea directly related with the feeding tube running, but my brother said he seems to. Whereas I was hooked up to the feeding tube 24/7 the first week I was home from the hospital, he’s not been. Instead they’re cycling him on at night only to help him try to eat more during the day. But he said he feels nauseous/cruddy whenever the feeding tube starts up. The surgeon is having him try to start at 20mL/hr first and increase every 10 minutes to see if that helps. He thought it might have helped out somewhat.

He was able to enjoy half a ham and cheese sandwich, is digging some cheez-its, eggs and yogurt. He did throw up ( like real throw-up, not spit up) his last night in the hospital. He’s thinking he ate too much then. Post gastrectomy, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what causes problems because so much has changed! It’s a long journey and this is his beginning to his “new normal”. But he’s strong and I know he’ll do just fine. We’ll just keep comparing notes!!

I’ll continue to post about any differences he has from me. For my personal goals lately, I’m really trying to stay healthy and eat more quality foods. Since my food volume has gone up substantially, the focus can be on quality rather than just high calorie with small volume. I’ve been able to hold my weight steady at 110-111 even with my half marathon.

Also I want to do better at keeping up with my running. Luckily I’m signed up for a 10K in February. And so goes the saying, “you race to train.” Motivating myself to run tomorrow morning by meeting up with a friend!!

Stay strong and have a great evening!

My First Stomachless Half Marathon

It was a glorious success!! I took 3 Gus during the race and took water at each water stop. The Gus were much needed for energy and caffeine since I don’t shovel enough food in fast enough beforehand!

I ran 1:39:55, 7:37 min/mi. Clearly the removal of my stomach has not substantially impacted my pace! Awesome!! It was a beautiful day for a race. I felt really great my first 10K but was pushing my energy for the last 4 miles or so. I will need to continue to gain some lbs so I have some extra fat stores to burn during these races.

After the race:

Either way, today was a post-gastrectomy success; a race in honor of my brother’s journey to recovery and all my fellow stomachless friends out there! It IS possible.

Have a great evening.

My Brother’s Surgery Date

Deja vu … Now I get to see a total prophylactic gastrectomy from the supporting family member perspective. So the whole family is back in the same surgery waiting area as they were for me, except this time I’m waiting and my brother’s surgery is in progress. We’ve been discussing how the process around the whole surgery isn’t as daunting now that I’ve gone through it and we all know what to expect. Though I think waiting while the surgery is going on is harder than being asleep during the surgery.

His stomach was removed around 2:50, so they’re waiting to confirm all the stomach tissue is removed before they put his digestive track back together in its new form. We got an update at 4 that the diagnostic work finished, so they should be putting him back together. Estimated total surgery time was 5ish hours (mine took 6 because I so desperately wanted a small incision). Like brother, like sister now. We will have matching scars to show off in no time!!

I love my brother. I wish my brother didn’t have to go through this same surgery. But I know my surgeon is the best. I know both of us will no longer die from stomach cancer; we will both attend our childrens’ high school and college graduations and weddings. This is our bump in the road to continuing on our beautiful lives.

I’ve successfully tried some new foods lately:
A raw apple with the skin on (plus peanut butter)
Grapes with skin going better
Cooked tomatoes with the skins
A bit of lettuce on a salad
Steel cut oats with flax seed (Never realized how many good things were in flax seed) and I add two little creamers and a Splenda to it. So tasty!!
Red curry with rice from my favorite Thai place
Popcorn!! (I can eat a bunch!)

Foods still not worth my time:
The “healthy alternative” lettuce and chicken wrap at work. The quality of the tortilla is like eating rubber. It’s overstuffed with iceberg lettuce. And it just doesn’t taste good. Mark that off of my food list.
Rubbery green beans

Excited about my half marathon coming up this weekend!!

Just wanted to share how excited I am that I’ll be running my first half marathon without my stomach this weekend. I’m super excited; lots of folks are running that I know. It’s going to be awesome, a milestone in my recovery for sure.

And I’m even gaining weight. It doesn’t get much better than this!


7 Months and 1 Week Post Op

Why thank you Mr. Bathroom Scale…that is 3-5 lbs I’ve gained back!! And I’ve even been throwing in a handful of 5-6 mile runs as well. My sit down meals are slow and patient to make sure everything goes down, but I continue to keep much larger portions down. And I know when to stop (usually).

Now that my body is letting me take in more food, I have to say my “new issue” is gastric discomfort if I get a lot of food down that’s higher fat. Aka I ate a bunch of French fries and a half of a hamburger the other day…my gut was mad at me. It’s kind of like that feeling you need to go poop, but I know I just overdid it. You just wait in discomfort for your intestines to churn through the food until you feel better. This doesn’t happen often to me.

My other continuing issue is when I accidentally put myself into a “sugar coma”. I’ve noticed I’m generally able to handle more sugars now than right after my surgery (like my body is adapting). But if I eat a huge handful of peanut butter M&Ms very quickly, I can induce a sugar, feel-like-crap feeling. It passes within 10-15 minutes, but sucks when it happens at work. If it does, I have to walk it off because I don’t feel well enough to concentrate on a computer monitor.

Generally my issues are around when I eat unhealthy. And this isn’t such a bad thing. I’m able to snack now enough that I am putting weight back on. And that even includes my much increased activity level, including my 5-6 mile runs 3x per week ( with the hopes I’ll be motivated enough to increase my running frequency).

To note, I can drink my cup of coffee every morning! Hooray!

My brother will have his surgery this Friday. And this weekend will also be my first half marathon stomachless. This race will be a shout out to my brother and his recovery! On a side note, to stay true to stomach cancer awareness, I’m even presenting at work this week. It’s going to be a wild couple of weeks.

Our church lesson this week was around perspective. We’re in Romans. I found this incredibly relevant to someone like myself with the CDH1 mutation. It’s easy to question why me or complain about the challenges associated with the surgery and recovery. But you have to keep perspective. I have options my dad didn’t have. I have a blessed life, wonderful family. I can live a completely full life with or without my stomach. And maybe this was meant to be my life challenge. There is a reason for everything, whether I know that reason now or not.

The relevant verse I had to stew on was Romans 5:3:
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance character; and character, hope.

Have a great day!

An excuse to get some new pants

My weight is very stable now, and I think I can gain some pounds without as much work now. That leads me to my blog title… I need some new pants.

I got a few belts a few months ago, but most of my work pants look like they’re far too big (the belts are helping). This is another topic that you don’t get any sympathy for because you have the problem most people would love to have.

It’s ok because I have an excuse to go out and get some new clothes. I’d factor that into your post-surgery expense list!

Have a great day!

Movie theaters that serve meals – a Stomachless Person’s Delight

We went out to a movie tonight at a theater that has a waiter who brings you your meal. This movie watching setup is designed for the stomachless crowd. You have an entire movie to slowly devour your meal. I give it 2 thumbs up and just wanted to share.

No rushing to eat a meal, all enjoyment while you watch the movie. Awesome night!!

Having the Opposite Problem of Almost All American Society

Post New Year’s at the gym is always the same, everyone back at the gym to burn off their holiday calories and vowing to stick with the gym for the new year. I say kudos for them getting back out there. I thrive when I exercise and every time I get out of shape, I’m reminded how much better I feel when I run.

But as I chat with people about the lbs they put on over their vacation or their attempt to burn off the excess calories they consumed, I can’t help but be reminded that a full gastrectomy gives you the opposite problem from most of American society. It is a constant, forced portion control (at least for the first year from what I hear). And pretty much everyday, I’m reminded how I have the opposite problem from everyone else. But as I complain that most of my pants are too big, my husband mentions most women would love to have my problem. My retort is that they also haven’t spent the last 6 months having to spit up their food when they don’t chew enough. 🙂 This surgery let me beat my cancer curse, so the food adjustment is a small modification. And I can proudly say I was able to put on a pound over my vacation!! This 6 month marker is truly another giant leap in gastrectomy recovery.

TV does get old when every commercial seems to be food or weight loss. Liposuction or a medicine to melt away fat. I think it’d be funny to join one of our work weight loss teams sometime where you maintain or lose weight over the holidays. I’d be a sure thing for maintaining weight, and I think later on weight loss should be pretty easy since I don’t truly feel that hunger pang.

I’m thankful to read the support groups because I know there is a group of us out there. It’s so helpful to share ideas and experiences. (It’s the Facebook support group to total and partial gastrectomy & nostomachforcancer). And I have to remind myself that weight does not equate to nutrition. I figure you can easily be overweight but deficient in vitamins, minerals, etc.

I didn’t run much over Christmas. I just took some much needed R&R. I decided I do need to get my leg strength back up before my half marathon, and it’s not going to be pretty! 5 miles today, weather was amazingly beautiful. My speed is ok, but my endurance is kind of lack luster. I’ll need some extra cheering on race day!!

Have a great, stomachless evening!