3 Months Post Op (A couple Weeks Late Posting)

I just want to say that I cannot believe that 3 months has passed already.  It has absolutely flown by, and I am so glad of the positive improvements that I have been seeing over the last few weeks, though I have had some setbacks.

Monday four weeks ago I sure as heck didn’t plan on spending the 8 hours at the Hospital. It all started Saturday evening coming home from a bachelorette party, not feeling so great already and I start sneezing… Nearly 10 times and I am still having an issues. It hurts throughout my belly near the incision to begin with, on the last one I hear a pop in the left upper side of my belly. I thought the pain would go away like it had before, however it progressively gets worse into Monday where I was in so much pain I was crying. So, sitting in the waiting room for that long not being allowed to eat or drink was very difficult. For someone without a stomach waiting is not ideal. I started to get a headache and feel extra weak! At the end of it, I found out it was strained muscles. I spent the next week resting at home. I was also told I need to start some ab exercises to build on my core muscles.

The following week I started at full weeks of work. I can say that going to back to work full time has been extremely hard.  I have struggled with eating enough and with having enough energy at the end of the day to accomplish the tasks I need to and take care of my child and I. Eating has been a struggle as I work in a call centre and I am on the phone for most of the day, and it’s highly inappropriate to eat while on the phone, which means I am taking “personal time” which I am thankful that my employer isn’t harping on me about. It’s also hard when one is having a bad eating day and everything I eat bugs me. The work environment I am in isn’t ideal for obtaining a steady routine.

The last 5 weeks have been interesting I have had some losses but I feel more wins.

I can now eat bread at no more than one slice at a time.
I haven’t been retching as much as before (I have my bad days where food doesn’t want to stay down but they are less frequent than they were at the beginning.)
My B12 levels are stable with the sub lingual dose of 1000 units per day. (Yay for no shots!!)
I have recently eaten a whole vegetarian samosa, a mini Crunch ice cream bar, and had a bit of white wine.
I have been able to do more lengthy walks without having weight loss.
I feel so much more comfortable in my own skin now, a lot more confidence.
I had enough stamina to go to a rock concert (and the base and vibration feels a lot different in the belly than it did before.)

Unfortunately my hair continues to fall out at an alarming rate; I am getting more blood work to hopefully resolve why I can’t use a brush or it would be full by the time I am done)
I am extremely sensitive to sugar natural or refined and require a half an hour rest to get my body back to normal if I am having a bad episode.
As a precaution (and it was ordered in early June) I am having a barium swallow this week (I am not at all looking forward to this but I need to take care of myself and if there are issues they will be able to sort me out.)
My energy levels after a full day of work is terrible, I don’t have it in me to do the household chores or even cook without having at least an hour rest to regain my strength.
To name just a few…

My scar is still raised and very red, still itchy and in a little pain some times if I bend or twist in the wrong way but I go see my surgeon again in a couple weeks so maybe he can advise if I need to be doing something other then using Vitamin E oils and massage on it.

I have had many people ask about the surgery and such, and I tell them about weight loss and they always say “I should get that done!” My automatic response: This is nothing that you want to go through, the side effects, the eating issues, and the mental struggle to change the way you do things because you don’t have a choice is very challenging. The seem to (hopefully) understand that this wasn’t to lose weight or anything it’s to save me from getting stomach cancer.

The last three weeks have been rough emotionally and physically, I am currently acting as a single parent, and the struggles of being the only one to make sure the house is clean, the lawn is mowed and grocery shopping and cooking are done has been an extra strain on us. We are trying to work things out and are currently taking it day by day; and thankfully my parents have been amazing support for my daughter and I.

But here’s to hoping for easier weeks and no issues found in the barium swallow test. I am just looking forward to long weekends and days off over the next 4 weeks to try and reduce my stress levels.

Well bye for now,
Nicole

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Almost 5 Weeks Post Op Update

I can’t believe it’s been nearly 5 weeks since surgery, how time flies.

Last Friday was a busy day I saw my family doctor to get a base line for my B12, and am starting to take the quick dissolve tablets today (Tuesday) as I just got my blood work done this afternoon. Here’s to hoping that I don’t have to revert to the shots and the absorption orally is sufficient to allow me to continue this. I also received my pathology report. Good news, they didn’t find any cancer cells…phew one less thing to worry about now!! Here’s me doing another happy dance! However in my stomach they did find small foci of intramucosal hemorrhage and erosion and occasional tiny foci of mucosal necrosis. At this point I would like to chalk it up to 5 endoscopies with multiple biopsies. But I will follow up with my Surgeon just for curiosities sake and report back once I know more…

Needless to say I am relieved. I know that I made the right decision and that I don’t have to worry about getting stomach cancer any more.

I received an unexpected call from the dietician on Friday as well; she was asking how things were going and I told her that my appointment with the surgeon was moved a week and that I was still on a full fluid diet (I also fessed up to sneaking a bit of solids because I was getting real tired of soups and pureed things.) She said she would call/page my surgeon to see what he thought and would call me back.  A half hour later I get great news that I can start eating solids…I cried a little (as you can see I am an emotional person though I think anyone would be when they can start eating some normal food.) I ate chips the last couple days (I know bad calories but I am down to 128 lbs from 147 lbs so far) I had to eat something crunchy and I am really looking for different textures to satisfy the need of the palate.

Otherwise, I have been trying to fill my diet with easy to chew fish and chicken, well cooked veggies, puddings, yogurts, smoothies, still a bit on the soups because regular food freaks me out; but I have been able to eat peeled hot dogs and chicken apple sausages; bananas with peanut butter, pasta and scrambled eggs with cheese. It’s getting easier and I try something new each day.

I have no regrets about having the surgery, don’t get me wrong I have moments when I am hugging the toilet retching for the second time in a day (like today) because I didn’t chew something enough or ate it too fast and I think what have I done. Though I quickly remind myself that this is a learning process and it will take time to do things right; don’t despair.

I have been having a hard time getting a good calorie count, especially on the full fluid diet but now eating solids the most I’ve been able to reach is 1100 so far. It’s a work in progress as I have to avoid bread as it gets stuck EVERY SINGLE TIME and will have to make an adjustment to be able to intake milk products so I am not calcium deficient.

It’s hard to get enough nutrients and feel energized, as the healing process it takes a lot out of you and I am still trying to pace myself and not get discouraged or over do any activity. I am still pretty tired often and waking up after a nap I find my entire body is pretty sore and takes a while to get straightened out again. Though doing some walking to get groceries or just a stroll makes my back sore, so I’ve booked a physio appointment for next week, and we will see how things improve from there to try and get some relief.

Overall, things get easier bit by bit, just don’t lose hope that things will get better. I know this is a long road at about 12 months to really get back to the way they used to be, but I am one month down and the skies are a little bit clearer and closed to riding the beautiful old school cruiser bike I got for Mother’s Day and I can’t wait to be able to ride it.

My Mom and Dad came over this past weekend and planted/weeded my garden for me. Thank goodness for them, Rob and Chloe, without their support I wouldn’t be able to do much of anything. They are my rocks and without them I don’t know what I would do! I am so thankful! And for all you lovely people and your kind words thanks to you as well! A great support group is important!

I hope you all have an amazing evening and until next time all the best!

5 Days Post Op

Well it went off without a hitch and I was in my room around 6 pm. 

The epidural is only working on the right side but the pain management team here is taking good care of me. It’s only been at a 2-3 level. On Friday, the day after surgery my pain pump stopped working, those were nearly the worst couple hours of my life! I was so close to tears and was exhausted the entire day because of this. I still got up 2 times and walked on Friday. 

Saturday was a much better day, had a few visitors walked the halls 3 times and my pain pump didn’t crap out. 

This infor is TMI for the men but I felt would have been good information Prior to getting in here…I didn’t realize that surgery could make a lady have her monthly cycle early..not great! 

The hydro morphone makes me itch and meds can be given every 2 hours to my relief. But it doesn’t really help that my incision is starting to itch like crazy! 

I have been walking but not enough sometimes it’s really important that as the days go on you are walking every couple hours to ensure bowel activity stays. 

Today I get my swallow test and hopefully start with a liquid diet then tomorrow epidural and catheter out (which is super annoying for me because I have never had one before) but YAY!!! 

I was really scared about pain after the surgery, and how it was going to cope. But it’s been not as bad – everyone eesponds differently to pain and meds but I am glad for the ease. I Feel quite tight throughout my belly sometimes and it’s uncomfortable but not unbearable. 

Be prepared to be woken up every hour for the first night (the nurse practically stays in your room until morning) and so long as everything is going okay it drops down to 4 hours after that. It’s usually clockwork they come in (and if you are what I call lucky) you might wake up right before they get there. 

Well it’s tiring you will spend a lot of time in bed but again make sure you are getting up 

The incision

  

my coworkers bought me puzzle doesnt fit on the try but its a difficult one

 

My coworkers are amazing they sent me off with some games, cards from each of them, puzzles and a doctor who blanket and pillow. Also some nail stuff for at home. I had a great day on Wednesday because of them! 

Will update with the swallow test results and getting back to eating. 

Have a great day!