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!

3 thoughts on “The start of my brother’s recovery journey

  1. Thank you for your encouraging blog. I read the whole thing this evening. I had lobular breast cancer 6 years ago and was tested for BRAC1/2. I had a double mastectomy with immediate reconstruction, an 8 hour surgery. The Genetic Counselor said to me when she gave me the results that I did not have BRAC1/2 but with my family history something is going on in my family. In October of last year my nephew was diagnosed at 23 with stomach cancer, he passed away a few weeks ago. It was found very very late. During his illness we found out he has the gene mutation CDH1. I was tested today and was told to expect it to be positive and that stomach removal is the “treatment” due to lack of accurate testing and detection. I am not looking forward to it, but I am thankful for this option. Reading you blog has given me a lot to think about and I thank you so much for being so frank about some of the details that we all who face this surgery need to know about. I am going to start getting healthier right now in preparation.

  2. hi i read your article and I really was taken by it thank you for sharing I want to ask you some questions I am really scared I am 6 months after my surgery and I was fun getting to 101 foun then I went down to 99 pounds now I wear 98.4 I’m really scared I want to know is it is it normal to go up and down and I’m having difficulty eating do you have any suggestion can you tell me when will you able to eat in large quantity and when you were able to gain weight and what is your best suggestion for food thank you

    • Hi Esther,

      6 months post surgery, I was fearful I was never going to be able to hold my weight. I just kept at it. And I credit legumes for holding my weight. If you’re struggling for calories, small volume, high calorie is what you need: peanuts, cashews, pistachios, almonds. I you can hold down a few handfuls, it’s a few hundred calories. I also eat a lot of peanut butter now. I’m lucky and don’t get the sugar crash or dumping syndrome. But adding peanut butter to things is a nice little calorie addition with protein. Another trick was adding half and half to my coffee every morning. Anywhere I can sneak a calorie in, I do. When I cook at home, I shamelessly add butter. And now, I eat eggs every morning, although they would tend to get stuck earlier post surgery.

      If you’re still really concerned about weight, give your surgeon a call. Make sure you don’t have a stricture. And beyond that, just keep trying everyday. It stinks when you’re throwing up food, but you just try something different. And foods that work one day might not work the next. The only drinks I can add calories without sugar are basically just beer and wine. Unfortunately, those are alcoholic, which makes it difficult to stay hydrated.

      If you look at my older blog posts, I detailed exactly what I was eating at 6 months post surgery. Honestly, it’s a lot of trial and error.

      Keep trying Esther! Gastrectomy recovery is a lot of try, try again.

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