An Instant Remedy for Bile Reflux…Soda!!

During a family camping excursion, I unintentionally discovered the most effective and almost instantaneous remedy to get rid of bile reflux!!  I have been getting bile reflux quite often, the kind that wakes me up in the middle of the night. And quite frankly, I’ve lost quite a bit of sleep because of it. Once I get the reflux, I’m not able to sleep well afterwards because the burning in my throat keeps me awake.

During camping, the only drink we had left inside our tent was, ironically enough, diet Pepsi. I knew I would have an issue before we went to sleep because I’d eaten s’mores (graham cracker, chocolate and marshmallow) and pretty soon after, we went to bed. We forgot to pack pillows, so I was basically laying completely flat on the ground. Both of these meant I would wake before sunrise to that burning bile feeling in my throat. So, at 5:00 AM or so, I was woken up by that exact feeling and tried drinking the only beverage I had available.

To my amazement, it turns out diet Pepsi completely got rid of the bile reflux, and it happened in approximately 5 minutes or less. Since then, I’ve done a little trial and error at home with this. If I wake up with bile reflux, I go and grab a Coke Zero (my personal favorite) and I take 5-6 giant gulps. Somehow the soda shoves the “knot feeling” down and gets rid of the burning feeling.

I’ve been so flabbergasted by this discovery, I just had to share it as its own unique blog post. I hope it will help those of you who also have this issue. On a side note, my stomachless brother does not have bile reflux, so he’s never had to try this.

Hope that helps! Have a good night.

Celebrating two years post total gastrectomy!!

Today marks the two year anniversary of my total prophylactic gastrectomy. It’s been a journey, I think about food differently now, but I’m so happy with where I am today. I sat down for lunch on Monday of this week with a table full of people completely unaware of my gastric reconfiguration. I remember just smiling thinking how far I’ve come. Two years ago, I’d had my stomach removed and couldn’t eat more than 500 calories a day. Now, I can eat with folks who just think “Oh, she has really good self-control around her portion size at meals.” Oh, little do they know!!

So what do you do on the weekend two years post-gastrectomy? Pretty much whatever you want. Hopefully the journey to get here serves as a reminder to savor the moments and love life. We did just that today! The weather is hot and the pools are warm, so you have to soak up the sun. Early in the morning we played a little top golf. After that, we took a short break at home before hitting the neighborhood pools: my son really loves the diving board and then the other pool has a beach as well! This basically meant we spent 4 hours out in the hot sun swimming and enjoying family time together. And tonight we got to attend a friend’s birthday party. Adults got to chat; kids got to play. It was great!

What did I eat today?
Started out with a tortilla with peanut butter, also a coffee with cream
Then some beef stew
Had a grilled cheese at the pool, along with some watermelon
Started getting a little shaky given all the energy output swimming, so I ate some pirate booty and a slice of cheese in the afternoon.
In true Texas form, the birthday dinner had BBQ. So I enjoyed some turkey and sausage, along with some potato salad.
Over the course of the evening, I was able to have a slice of cake and peanut butter M&Ms. I also had chips and hummus.
All that, along with some drinks.

When I type up a list of all the food I shoveled into my body today, I have to say it was pretty awesome. Good thing I’ve kept up my running habit because otherwise I’d probably be gaining a lot of weight at this pace. It’s crazy to compare my food log today with what it looked like 2 years ago. Thank God for the feeding tube that helped me hold my weight the first 7 weeks after surgery!! The pair of pants I bought post-gastrectomy when my weight was at its lowest is now too small for me. Nice to be stomachless and have pair of pants that’s too small on you!

Over the past two years, as I’ve shared my story with others, I’ve been amazed at just how many people are impacted either by stomach cancer or stomach/gastric issues. It’s amazing how many people have a relative who has passed away from or battled with stomach cancer. Others have undiagnosed stomach issues that they’re going from doctor to doctor about. You can’t be part of this community and not recognize that you are your own best advocate.

I call this #stomachlessrunner …

Keep it up my stomachless friends!

Vacation to the Bay Area!

So I had my last post sitting in draft mode for quite some time, so this is a bit of a double-post evening. I wanted to highlight a wonderful trip I got to take to San Francisco.

Most importantly, I got to meet my blogging friend Steve! He managed to run into every setback in the book the month preceding my trip, so I wasn’t sure how on earth he’d be able to meet me for dinner. Steve actually emailed me before I arrived about how great it is to have spent 6 nights in a row at home, not revisiting the hospital! I can’t believe they made it after all of that!

Here we are. And the best part was having a stomachless friend who also took a to-go box. The “EAT” sign in the background was completely unintended but so very appropriate. Steve has really embodied the positive spirit of people I want to surround myself with in this world; to be able to meet was so exciting!

We got to chat about what we’ve gone through, ask family history questions, laugh about some stuff and realize how great our spouses have been for supporting us through this whole crazy rollercoaster. Keep on recovering Steve! You’ve got this!

Now onto some touring we did…
I do still love me some coffee. Here we are at Olea in San Francisco enjoying (for the first time) french press coffee. This coffee was coupled with my breakfast of huevos rancheros. (I do separate food and drink at most meals still. Restaurants that are slow enough to allow me to drink first before the food arrives are my favorite!)

I did get to eat a lot on this trip. Here were some fabulous dinners.

I found that I can eat quite a bit of seafood very easily. Here’s Mr. Crab. Messy but so tasty!

The trouble with extended eating out is there tends to be a general over-abundance of fat and not enough protein and iron. So, to shore up that issue, I enoyed a center-cut prime rib. Amazing!! The photo is of the delivered steak, and I was able to eat most of it because I didn’t get any appetizers.

And finally a non-food photo! Here is Kyle checking out the Pacific ocean. I believe this was the first time I’ve visited the Pacific ocean. 🙂
Pacific Ocean

I wanted to add a bit more to the blog, but I’m too tired. I’m signing off and hope you have a great night.

Pretty lucky, Pretty Normal – 18 months Post Total Gastrectomy

So, the Houston heat is finally on its way out. And I made it out this morning for a run. It was foggy and probably 99.9% humidity. So much moisture in the air that water droplets formed on my eyelashes while i was running. I was jogging in the dark with streetlights to light the pathway, thinking I’m pretty lucky. Here I am, doing life, getting my quiet time in the morning, just running the block. (A little voice in the back of my mind was also thinking my pace has slowed since I’ve been taking it easy.)

I am still able to keep up with life. My concerns now are the same as anyone. Am I spending my time the right way, with the people in my life I love? Am I focusing on what really matters? Am I taking care of myself: extra iron, plenty of protein, enough sleep, exercise, time for rest and relaxation?

Life at 18 months is good for me. I do snack all the time because if I eat too fast or too much, certain foods can make me feel bad.

Foods I take my time with (consume half, wait 15 min, consume 2nd half):

  • greek yogurt
  • 6 oz glass of 2% milk
  • lunchable
  • really fatty foods – think nachos with loaded greasy queso

Foods that just go well

  • Spaghetti with sauce or meat sauce
  • Lasagna
  • Non-processed homemade meal (meat + veggie + starch)

Foods that go ok, but chew well

  • hamburger
  • tomatoes or veggies/fruits with skins

Hit or miss foods

  • Reheated chicken (no clue why I’ve had problems with this. It’s the reheating…
  • Rice – Can go ok or can get stuck
  • Chugging water really fast – just gets stuck (this is when I forget I’m missing a stomach)
  • Raw bell peppers
  • Pickles – the skins

I’m sprucing up the blog a little bit, adding categories and trying to focus on what will help fellow CDH1ers or folks who have had or are going to go through a gastrectomy. Since life at this point is so far from gastrectomy, I’ll likely focus on food, exercise, health & living life to the fullest.

Have a great night!

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!

Early Morning Susceptibility to Sugars

So you’d think that at almost 10 months post op, I would’ve figured out this whole post-gastrectomy diet thing. But my husband and I were discussing my sugar crash this morning…

It seems that for breakfast, I can’t have anything sugary at all. But later in the day I can handle some sugar. His argument is that when your body has fasted all night, it instantaneously absorbs whatever you eat in the morning. This morning I had my regular English muffin with butter and scrambled eggs plus a little jam. But I finished off 4-5 bites if my son’s Kellogg’s strawberry something sugary with milk and it threw me into a mild sugar crash for 10-15 minutes.

So that’s my assessment for today. I truly feel that my body had adapted really well so far. I can eat small meals, life is good. I’ve found that one protein shake in the morning with 2 scoops of muscle milk is the only big supplement I need with my kids multivitamin at night.

It generally keeps me at my crazy energy level (distance running included) and I try to eat well and incorporate some protein at every meal. Just watch out for the first meal of the day. Also water seems to get the whole digestive system going first thing in the morning.

So happy Sunday without a stomach. Clearly God didn’t want me to have a stomach. I’m not sure why, but He is good and my life is beautiful.


9 1/2 months post op

Eating just about everything!! As long as I chew a lot, most everything agrees!!

For my friend Steve, here are my grilled mahi mahi tacos with raw cabbage and fresh tomatoes with a cilantro lime sauce!! They were awesome and I could eat both in one sitting!! I forgot to take the photo until after I’d eaten the first one!!

And all this after some winery touring!