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putting weight back on after partial gastrectomy & chemo - has anyone gotten back into sports, eg athletics, triathlon?

Posts: 21
Joined: Aug 2010

Hi all

As you probably already know, my husband is recovering from a subtotal gastrectomy where most of his stomach was removed & also had 12 weeks of ECX chemo treatment that he finishes the final course of tablets on Oct 26th.

He has been eating pretty well normal meals now since about 2 months post op, which was in mid June 2010. His weight post op was 50kg and he has fluctuated betwen 50 - 53kg ever since.

He was a very fit triathlete prior to the cancer & weighed in at around 60kg & I'd like to get him back up to that weight again before he starts trying to train again, as I am pretty sure, he will try to get fit enough to compete in triathlons again! However, he can only do this if he regains the weight & can then metabalize the food well enough to give him the energy he will require to train & compete. I am not sure if he will be able to make & store the glycogen required for sustained energy use.

I'd love to hear from anyone who has managed to get back into any sort of physical sports - running, swimming, biking, baseball, etc

He has a 'sportsman's' mind & won't eat full cream milk products, creams, high calorie nibbles like crisps etc - it just isn't in his nature. I can only shove 'so much' food down this throat without him rebelling - but I want him to be aware that training & competing without full body weight & sufficient nutrition could only cause other problems further down the track.



Posts: 27
Joined: Oct 2010

It sounds like your husband and I are in about the same boat. In febuary this year (just before my 36th birthday) I was diagnosed with stage 4 stomach cancer, had a complete stomach removal along with 2/3 of my small intestines and partial removal of my large intestine. This was followed by 21 weeks of rough chemo, durring which I lost almost 70 pounds (I only weighed 190 before all this). I'm, at least for now, cancer free and am in the process of re-building my body so I can get back to enjoying some of my previous activities. Since I had complete removal of my stomach I can't eat much at one sitting, so my meals are small and often. Eating has become my full time job. I've been supplimenting my diet with fish oil. This was recomended by my sister-in-law who is a licensed nutritionist. It apparently helps with the uptake of calories. I also have been trying to maintain a fairly high protein diet (fish and chicken mostly as I have a difficult time digesting beef and pork) with lots of fruit and veg to balance. As far as activity goes, I'm starting out with light free weights everyday to get some muscle mass back and trying to get some yoga into my week for joint/muscle flexibility and also help balance some of my inner energies (sounds wacky, but it really makes a difference). Any sugestions you have for me as well would be greatly appreciated. Best wishes to you and your husband.

Posts: 21
Joined: Aug 2010

Many thanks for that Dustmagnet7. You are doing well, given the extensive surgery that you had!

My husband is just back from the 4 month 'check up' with his surgeon & it went very well. The surgeon was quite surprised that he hadn't lost any weight since the surgery & extremely happy that he had gained 3kg & kept it on.

Now that he has finished his chemo regime (ECX) we are anticipating his skin getting better & not itching and that he will enjoy his meals more. The surgeon even said that after he has put on some more weight & 'stabilized', then he can get back into some LIGHT training, so long as it doesn't make him lose weight again! So it will be a bit trial & error from now on, but he will be happy when he can get out & about again!

Really happy with the report - he has another CT scan soon & will see the oncology Dr in a couple of weeks, so hope to get a clean bill of health from him, too.

All the best - his next appointment with the surgeon is late in Jan 2011


MrBBarc's picture
Posts: 3
Joined: Dec 2010

Hi lllaussie,

I had my total gastrectomy in Feb 2010, and underwent chemo until the end of Sept. Im 34, and sport was my life before this. Since first getting sick, I dropped about 30% of the body weight, but since June, when I was at a low of 55kg, I have put on 11kg by just managing the calories. Im like a cow, constantly grazing. Muscle is coming back, and the energy levels slowly getting better. Slowly slowly, but getting there, and will commence with more active training soon. I want to take it easy until I reach a satisfactory goal weight before upping the exercise.

Touch rugby is my sport, and im still holding hopes of playing in the worldcup for Austria (although im a kiwi - long story!) in June next year. We see. No matter what happens, i intend to live life to the max, and to do things that "normal" people cannot do.

Im keen to network with anyone re this topic. You can find me on facebook by running a search under "Bretts recovery from gastrectomy & stomach cancer".

Hope to chat soon,

Posts: 83
Joined: Mar 2010

Hi Brett,my son was diagnosed at 30years in July09,had 3 cycles of chemo prior to total gastrectomy and again 3 cycles of chemo that ended in mid-Jan10.He got back to a full working day in Jan itself(copywriter in an advertising agency)and since August10 has got back to playing badminton.After his initial 13kg weight loss his weight is steady at about 71kg and like you he's a cow-always grazing!!That you could put on weight after a total gastrectomy is amazing.Hats of to you!Like you my son's attitude to his cancer is inspirational-as if it was a bad cold;a blink in the continuum of life.
Love and "ahi"(blessings).We live in Poona,India.I am a doctor,a breast cancer survivor and a trekker

Posts: 21
Joined: Aug 2010

Hi Brett

Congratulations on gaining back 11kg & getting back to exercise again! My husband is also back running, swimming & biking already - not TOO much (he tells me) & I am keeping an eye on his weight to make sure he doesn't lose any!! Like you, he grazes on & off all day, tho manages normal sized meals OK too. We see his surgeon again in late Jan. I think he will be pleased with the progress that he has made.

He is 'filling his skin up' again, after being down at 50kg, and now happily sitting on about 58kg. (He used to be low 60s.) He attended his first Triathlon last weekend - only for giving out the prizes and everyone was really pleased to see him back & looking good. His hair is growing back again slowly, so feeling less 'obvious' as a cancer survivor.

Funnily, we lived in NZ for many years (even tho I am an Aussie), returning to Aussie in 1999. Don't they love their Rugby!! I hope you achieve your goal of competing in the World Cup this year! I think Aussies are more into the Touch Rugby tho? Somehow, I don't think my husband will be doing Ironman again (he was supposed to compete in Dec in Perth) - but if he can get back to Olympic Distance again (after starting at Club races sometime this year) I am sure that he will be happy.

......i intend to live life to the max, and to do things that "normal" people cannot do....... hey! Live every day as if it is your last - and one day you'll be right!! Don't overdo it tho!!

Hi Liveinhope - so glad your son has got back to playing Badminton - I used to play A1 Comp Squash & reckon you need to be even fitter to play Badminton! Well done to him!!



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