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!!!

Small but Perfect II

So I get a bit focused on what yummy breakfast to eat after an early morning run. And again, the focus is on small volume but super yummy foods.

I’ve been savoring English muffins lately. So this morning, I made scrambled eggs, grilled the muffins with butter, topped off with a slice of tomato, a slice of mozzarella cheese, a dollop of grape jelly and a dash of salt… Voila! The perfect stomachless breakfast for me. On a side note, I do like an over easy egg as well, but scrambled is the only kind my kids like. So I make a big batch of scrambled eggs and reheat on busy mornings for 20 seconds in the microwave.


On the exercise front, running is going very well. I just signed up for next year’s half marathon again!! My only battle now is laziness; getting up at 5AM seems to be the only way to incorporate exercise into my day. And I’m not much of a morning person able to hop out of bed! I never regret it when I do; it’s just the mental debate I go through while lying in bed and the alarm goes off so early.

I’m also trying to incorporate some Cheerios everyday in my diet to help battle what I think is a slight iron deficiency. (Cheerios have 45% of your daily iron. Not sure how much I absorb since my duodenum was bypassed and the majority of iron is absorbed there.) And I will try to take one iron supplement per week. I had noticed my nails bring more brittle than usual and believe it to be a sign of your iron level being low. I feel like I’m getting more energy as well. Will see how that goes.

Small but Perfect

I’ve found myself craving making complex tasty foods in the appropriate small portion sizes. I’d say it’s similar to Steve Dang’s post about beautiful food. (Shout out to Steve!) My food is certainly not beautiful, but it had all the wonderful flavors imaginable.

Here’s my hamburger slider with a creamy cilantro and a ketchup sauce, plus a slice of tomato and iceberg lettuce. I seasoned the ground chuck with Worceshire, garlic, salt and pepper. And I grilled the mini bun with butter…yum!

Here is my mini work of art! Specially sized for the stomachless crowd.


How to Eat Chiptole Without a Stomach! 11 months post op

I do love Chiptole’s food, and I can now eat a hearty portion. The weather here has been amazing, and they have a patio, so count me in!!

It’s easiest to order the bowl so you cut the tortilla out. And the pork/carnitas seem to have always gone down the easiest. Also, the bowl is easy to take your leftovers and to reheat. Their portion sizes are giant!!

Since I can now eat raw veggies without them coming back up, I added the mild tomato salsa and a little bit of lettuce for some crunch!! I prefer black beans and go with the white rice. For calories, I go ahead and add sour cream and cheese….yum! I like the spicy salsa too!

Here’s what I ate and then took the rest home! All stayed down. No discomfort.


Happy eating my stomachless friends. Remember, I’m almost a year post-op, so if you just had the surgery, this will be a bit much. This is just a sample of where I’m at 11 months after surgery!