5 Months Post Op

I am 5 months today post op. The last 5 months have been the shortest and longest at the same time and they have not been without their struggles.

I have been feeling much better in regards to being able to eat without having food stuck and having to go to the bathroom at every meal. That has been such a relief. I have not been eating as much as I should be due to work limitations and I have had some taste bud issues over the last week or so and everything I eat tastes gross. I am trying out some new things to eat on a regular basis like chicken salad on crackers, new protein shake ideas. Right now I am not doing my self any favors. It’s been a lot better than it was and I have been trying many new foods to increase what I am able to eat and hopefully gain a few new options. I know that I need to do better, I am trying but there are days where I am struggling with everyday life and that doesn’t help at all either as I don’t get close to my calorie requirement of 1800 each day on the bad days. I find I am extremely tired physically and emotionally from work in the evening and don’t have to energy to make lunches and end up not bringing enough to work. I am down a total of 32.5 lbs so far, which is about 22% of my original body weight and still due to lose about 12 more lbs.

My vitamin and mineral levels so far have held stable and the b12 sublingual tablets are working well. Happy dance for no shots!

We are trying to live each day as there are not many left enjoy each moment and make the most of it. Trips out to the Rocky Mountains to hike the trails and see the beautiful sights. This winter will probably not allow me to get back out on the ski hill but there are other activities that I will be looking forward to doing like skating and maybe a hike during the warm chinooks we get so frequently.

Over the last 5 months I have realized many things; I have not been treating myself very well, I am not making the most of my life, I need to branch out, be happy and do more for myself. I need to take chances with life and that is just what I plan on doing. This process has enlightened me and it has given me that sense of morality that I previously hadn’t discovered. Thankful is not enough to explain how I feel about everything that has transpired over the last two and a half years.

I wish you many days of happiness, health, love and laughter!

Planning for the Future

Two years ago my family was presented with the news of a rare genetic mutation that causes stomach cancer. It was shortly after the passing of my maternal Grandma, she succumbed in her mid 80’s from complications of diffuse gastric cancer. I feel grateful that she was able to know her great granddaughter, whom she advised me would be a handful – and boy was she right!! I have read of many other people affected by this mutation that haven’t had the chance to get to know their grandparents and I feel so lucky. I know and cherish the fact that my Grandmother made an effect on her because it has been 2 years since her passing, and every other week she says she misses GG. It breaks my heart that she is gone.

With this mutation one has a 50/50 chance of passing on the mutation. You get 2 sets of genes one from each of your parents, the one from the mutation carrier can go rogue at any time. This mutation leads a female bearer to have up to an 83% chance of Diffuse Gastric Cancer by the time they are 80. This also increases the chances of Lobular Breast Cancer to roughly 40% to 60% life time risk as well. Scary odds when taking a look at the history of the mutation and the inability trace when cancer can show up. The percentage for males for Gastric Cancer is 67% by the age of 80.

Hereditary Diffuse Gastric Cancer (HDGC) is highly undetectable even with routine screening, and is commonly caught when the disease has progressed to stage IV. My mom received the news that she was a carrier in May 2012 and I in July that year as well. I felt that knowing was a no brainer so I can prepare myself and do what is needed to be here for a long time for my daughter who is so young. Before knowing my results I had that gut feeling (no pun intended) that I had the mutation and was fully prepared for the news.

Since January 2013 I have had 3 endoscopies and they have not located any sign of disease. My mom has had lobular breast cancer (before the mutation was known to our family) and went through surgery, chemo and radiation. She has also had her prophylactic gastrectomy this past October and they found nothing, I strongly believe this is due to the chemo that she had a few years back; though it’s not proven. I don’t know if I am playing with fire; but I feel at this time, it is the best option for my family and me to wait a bit.

The last little while I have thought more about surgery and when a good time for me is. I want to be healthy and I want to be strong before going into this, and I know that the younger I am (hopefully) the easier of a time I will have of healing. I think I have decided that surgery will follow in approximately a year. Having a prophylactic procedure there is a bit more involved and planning is required but that will come in time and in approximately 8 months I will need to contact the surgeon to say I am ready.

That’s a lot of time to prepare myself for the new journey I will be embarking on. In the mean time, I plan on keeping myself busy gardening, reading, crocheting, maybe playing ball and working of course.