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Foods to eat after surgery

cobolca
Posts: 12
Joined: Jul 2010

First a quick update. I'm 72, have EC stage 2B or 3 and have finished 38 days of radiation and chemo at a 5 day twenty four hour treatment with a 2 week rest in between treatments. Surgery for removal of the esophagus is in 2 weeks.

I will be alone when I get home, so I need to stock up on things that I will need to eat before I go into the hospital. I'm allergic to dairy products and eggs, although I have been eating them during my treatment stage in order to put on and maintain the massive amount of weight that I had lost from my Cervical cancer and original loss of ability to eat with EC. For some strange reason I have had no reactions to my allergies during my treatment.

Can any of you share what you have eaten after you got home. The doctor said that he would not send me home until I could eat at least jello. I've managed to put on 30 pounds, so I have something to work with. And yes, I had fun putting it on. ;o)

Yehudit

BMGky
Posts: 666
Joined: May 2010

Glad your treatment is going well and good luck on your surgery. There are several forms of surgery. If you are having the minimally invasive surgery, great as your recovery will be less complicated. If you are having a more invasive surgery, as my husband did, recovery is quite challenging and food can be an issue. He needed a jtube in order to get in enough nutrition. He needed a lot of pain medication. Hopefully, you will not. I think it would be difficult for you to be alone if you have an invasive form of surgery. Please contact your oncologist and/or surgeon to see what their thoughts are. It is very important that you speak with a qualified nutritionist familiar with ec patients and see what recommendations he/she would make. You are wise to plan ahead as nutrition is key to regaining strength. Several hospital websites that have esophageal cancer programs have reference pages on what to eat after the surgery. However, each person's experience is individual and you need to have a game plan. I would encourage you to have a Plan B if perchance the surgery team feels you cannot be alone. There are others on this site who have greater knowledge and great suggestions. I am sure you will be hearing from them as well. Again, good luck and keep the EC discussion group informed.

Donna70's picture
Donna70
Posts: 920
Joined: Aug 2009

Hi,
I agree with BMGky that you need to talk to the surgeons about post surgical care. If you have the open and not the MIE, you will definitely need someone with you. I have seen sometimes people with difficulty having someone have gone into a rehab place for at least a month. It is impossible for you to take care of yourself without help. The j tube and just trying to fix food would be too taxing. Glad that you gained the 30 lbs. You are very weak when you come home and usually they assign a home care nurse to come and check on you several times a week till you are accustomed to the j tube and other issues. My husband was there full time with me and I could not have done it without him. I could eat soft foods when I came home so that was eggs, puddings and even crab meat, mashed potatoes and anything that was easy to swallow. With your allergies, I don't know about that but you said you could tolerate those foods too. Some people have problems with dairy, I was lucky and didn't. Also soups were my mainstays and Chef boy ar Dee products because they are very soft. Good luck and hope someone sits down with you and makes a good plan. Let us know when your surgery will be. take care prayers for all,
Donna70

paul61's picture
paul61
Posts: 1105
Joined: Apr 2010

Hello,

I agree with the other people here. It is not a good idea for you to be alone right after surgery. It may be best if your doctor recommends some kind of step down care facility for at least the next three weeks after you leave the hospital. He can and should arrange to have a visiting nurse come in to help you with your feedings and to change dressings. I am not sure what kind of surgery you are having but if you have anything other than a minimally invasive esophagectomy you will need help with preparing even simple meals for a while.

When it comes to diet I found in the first few weeks that soft and easy to swallow was the key. I ate lots of pudding, apple sauce, rice, puréed chicken, mashed potatoes, squash, soups, and diet supplements like Boost. One warning about high calorie supplements like Boost or Ensure; you have to drink them slowly (as in not all in one sitting) or they will cause “dumping syndrome” AKA diarrhea. But if you drink a few ounces at a time, over a few hours, they are a good source of extra calories.

Also do not drink a lot of liquid with meals. Drink liquids an hour after meals. Chew everything until it is almost liquefied before you swallow. That will make it much easier for you to digest.

Eat six or seven small meals a day. It is more like grazing than eating.

Here are some documents I found helpful:
____________________________________________________________________
Esophagectomy Diet

http://www.upmc.com/HealthAtoZ/patienteducation/Documents/Esophagectomy.pdf

Dumping Syndrome Diet

http://www.upmc.com/HealthAtoZ/patienteducation/Documents/DumpingSynDiet.pdf
______________________________________________________________________

Learning how to eat again with your new digestive system will take some time, but before long you will learn what works and does not work for you.

Have patience and stay positive.

We will be praying that your surgery goes well and you are feeling better soon.

Best Regards,

Paul Adams
McCormick, South Carolina

DX 10/22/2009 T2N1M0
12/03/2010 Ivor Lewis
2/8 – 6/14/2010 Adjuvant Chemo Cisplatin, Epirubicin, 5 FU
6/21/2010 CT Scan NED

sandy1943's picture
sandy1943
Posts: 883
Joined: Jun 2010

I agree with the others, you don't need to be alone after surgery. I did have an invasive surgery,but even after 14 days in hospital I needed help for another 2 weeks. I had to elliminate milk products from my diet after surgery because of dumping. Make sure you have plenty of soft foods on hand.

cobolca
Posts: 12
Joined: Jul 2010

Thank you everyone. What great ideas I now have to purchase my foods. I already have the J tube in and they had to operate twice to place it. The first was a leaker and I ended up in the hospital for 3 weeks with 1 week in ICU. When I was first diagnosed with EC I couldn't eat at all. After a week on radiation I started eating again, and I ate all through the chemo also. I just call it a miracle. I had spoken with the doctor about being alone and he said I would be in I believe it was transitional care after the 2 weeks in the hospital. It will be an open surgery. This is my 4th surgery in 13 months. I had cervical cancer with the radical hysterectomy and 4 months later the EC popped up in my life. I have been alone after all the surgeries, but I suspected that this one is going to be the worse. For a little old lady of 72, I think I'm doing okay. Thanks for the prayers also. I have to admit that I'm a little afraid of this surgery. Off to shop now.

Yehudit

GerryS's picture
GerryS
Posts: 238
Joined: Aug 2010

I had my surgery Mar 2010, I was a big eater prior to surgery, I've lost 60# and have 2 months of chemo after surgery. I fill up fast too. Small bites and chew, chew, chew! When eating meat I need gravy or something fluid to help in swallowing. I have found a new love of pasta. Eat slow and adjust to your new stomach. I cannot eat like I used to but am alive and plan to live for a long time. I was diagnosed T2N1. Surgery at Mayo, Rochester,MN.

good luck and God Bless
GerryS

sandy1943's picture
sandy1943
Posts: 883
Joined: Jun 2010

Welcome, I am also new to this site (july) .I had the Ivor Lewis surgery in May-2008, after being diagnosed in Nov 2007, with stage 3 es that also involved 2 lymph nodes in stomach.I had chemo before surgery and started it after but it had to be stopped. Even so, my test indicate I am cancer free. You have come to the right site. There are so many knowlegeble survivors and caregivers on here. I wish I had found this two years ago. I have lost 98 pds, but Not in the last two months,Maybe I've made a turn around. Even though I have a very good appetite,my eating habits are very much like yours. We have to learn a new way of eating. I've had trouble with swallowing because of scar tissue, but after my third endoscopy and dilation, I'm doing better.
Sorry I didn't mean to write a book. Like you I have grandchildren that have never stopped praying for me. They have been my greatest prayer warriors. My grandaughter-6 at the time prayed and thanked God fo healing granny. What a blessing!
Keep us posted and welcome
sandra

GerryS's picture
GerryS
Posts: 238
Joined: Aug 2010

I'm glad I found this site. Some comfort in numbers of similar circumstances. How do you know you need dilation? My wife thinks I do. I've had lodging of food numerous times especially meat. Its scary and uncomfortable. I return in Sept to Mayo, I think I will have them check it out. take care and I feel most welcomed.
Gerry

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