What Does Life without a Stomach mean to me? 1.5 years post-op

Life is moving on. What else does being stomachless mean to me? It’s kind of like this quiet journey I’ve overcome in life. It’s been a check for myself from God to remind me of what really matters and just how lucky I am for everyday I live in good health.

I do wonder what it would be like if the CDH1 gene had been found in the early 90s and what that would’ve meant for my dad. I think how lucky I am that medicine has come so far that I can live a normal life and have beat this familial cancer that took my grandma, father, aunt and others. My brother is still frustrated trying to keep his weight up with his high metabolism and the need for 2500+ calories per day to hold his weight. He will be a year out from his surgery in a few weeks, and constantly eating gets very, very old during that recovery. But his dedication, focus and determination are holding his weight. He will be able to gain weight soon, I know and I pray. At the end of the day, we both understand this is the long recovery journey and that it is worth it.

My everyday is much simpler now. I don’t have to get so crazy about snacks. If I do run 5-6 miles in the morning, I’ll make sure I add more snacks that day so I don’t lose weight. I don’t really get that hunger pang, but I do feel weak or realize when my hands start to shake because I haven’t eaten enough. I can drink alcohol, can eat most everything in moderation. I still struggle with fatty simple carbohydrates, ie any crackers, potatoe chips, etc. I can eat them, but not a whole lot of them. The same goes for sugars… I can have sugar, but I have to moderate my intake of sugars.

I need iron and protein, and that is clear from how I feel. The more I focus on those (and B vitamins), the all-around better I feel. So my day-to-day is an attempt at healthy eating, but that certainly doesn’t always happen. I find it CRITICAL to start my day off with protein, so I lean heavily on scrambled eggs to start out. And I still love oatmeal. I can eat a GIANT portion of that (10% of your daily iron intake) and feel really great, not too full, not crummy, just really good.

So long as I’m eating well, I have lots of energy to keep up with my family. I’m motivated again to cook and enjoy the foods. Now that food isn’t such the central focus in my life, it’s more enjoyable. Although spending a year ensuring you eat snacks all the time almost makes you TOO focused on foods. So when you can consume regular portion sizes again, you have to actively reduce snacks because you are consuming a lot. My husband commented I’m now eating more than a lot of people and my portion sizes are bigger than some folks. I still have my high metabolism for sure. And yes I get no sympathy for that, but it was definitely a challenge during the first year of recovery plus my running habit. 🙂

My goals for 2015 include healthy eating, more home-cooked meals, a regular workout routine (been getting lazy), remembering to give my children drinks during meals since I don’t drink and eat at the same time, finding a general practitioner to watch my vitamin levels and trying to be a less snappy wife and mom. I do think my imbalances with nutrition have led to me to be more easily frustrated and more likely to snap during the day. I’m working on this, and I think balanced nutrition is a critical element.

So, that’s life 1.5 years post-gastrectomy. I had the pleasure of meeting someone 9 years post-gastrectomy the other day. He’s completely normal and just picks and choses what he eats in a sitting. He commented that he asked the waitor to take his water away during a meal because that night he was going to have wine. And when there’s only so much space, you just have to make choices what you will consume. The waitor did give him a funny look, but most people don’t think like someone without a stomach.

So that’s all for me for now. I might not be a regular blogger now that life is busy and less about recovery. But I made a promise to myself that I’d maintain this blog for the long haul since there was a lack of folks posting about multi-years post gastrectomy.

Taco soup dinner is ready, so I’ll upload photos later.

9 thoughts on “What Does Life without a Stomach mean to me? 1.5 years post-op

  1. Hello, I do appreciate your blog. I just had my 4 month post op date pass so this is all still very new and with my symptoms i am reminded that I’m still in the healing stages. I agree when you said that your imbalance with nutrition get you easily frustrated and snap, I have a 2 and 5 yr old and work full time so time management when it comes to eating is pretty difficult so I try to not take it out on my husband, but he totally understands. Thanks again for sharing

  2. HI, I read your blog and found it helpful I try to read about the experiences others have had. May I as… it sounds like from your past post that after 1 year, you were able to start eating larger portions again. Is this true? Rick

    • Hi Rick,
      Yes! My portion size has drastically increased when compared to my initial post-op. It slowly crept up. Noe my husband commented I’m eating normal portion sizes again. So that makes it easier to hold my weight and eat good foods rather than just calorie dense foods.

  3. My husband will be un undergoing the surgery soon and I am scared. I would love to be able to let him know that there’s hope but it’ll be nice to meet you Skype maybe?

  4. Thank y what’s taking the time to share with us I really enjoy reading this I’m going through tough time right now I’m only 6 months left in my head stomach removal thank you

  5. I read your blog about yourself and your accomplishments have some question I’m underweight and I’m very fatigued all the time I wanted to find out when did you start jogging and what suggestions do you have for protein aside from eggs and when do you think I’ll be able to put some weight im 7 months after my surgery please advise me thank you esther

    • Try nuts (peanuts, almonds, cashews) and whatever else will stay down. I had a feeding tube the first 8 weeks and was only able to mitigate my weight loss in the beginning. I started running about 12 weeks post op.

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