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Just got my Surgery Date. Any advice for preparing?

Posts: 4
Joined: Mar 2010


My name is Tom I am 38 years old, I was diagnosed with Gastric Adenocarcinoma in November of 2009. The cancer is mostly in the top portion of my stomach but has also invaded part of my esophagus. Since my diagnosis I have gone through 3 rounds of Chemo treatments and the doctors have given me a surgery date of April 8th.

The plan for surgery is to remove my entire stomach and part of my esophagus. Worst case would be to remove my entire esophagus and stomach.

Does anyone have any advice for preparing for surgery? Should I change my eating habits now?

Posts: 6
Joined: Mar 2010

Dear Tom, I am 66 years old and was dx with stage 4 stomach cancer in late June 2009. I was advised immediate surgery within 3 days of dx. Since my Haemoglobin went down to 9 my doctor had to give me two bottles of blood to stabilze me. I was asked to eat well (vegetables and fruit and lots of liquids) for two days and till about 10 hours before my surgery. After surgery, I was kept on a liquid diet for about 12 days (fed through a tube, directly to my newly constructed stomach. After recurrence of my bowel movements I was asked to have clear liquids, water, tendercoconut water. then soups and blended food. I was also asked to continue to take a protein based food supplement, available as novasource peptide by nestle...which I still do take at nights.
i then begin to eat very little meals throughout the day.some fruit, rice gruel, breakfast cereals, soups and hi fibre energy bars. POst surgery after a break of about 28 days we started chemotherapy. I am down to my 10th Cycle as I write to you.

All the best with your surgery. Keep the faith and the hope.God is Great!This is a difficult journey to make, and I have been having my ups and downs but God has sent me so many people and solutions for everytime we were down. I pray that all goes well with you too. If there are any other details you would like me to share or you have some questions, I would be happy to help.

Best Wishes,

Posts: 4
Joined: Mar 2010

Thank you Maurice,

As much as I wish no one else had to go through this it is comforting to hear from someone who has.

Can I ask how long it was before you were up and moving on your own. I hate to admit this but I have a hard time with asking for help. My wife says im just stubborn. I am getting better at this as time goes by.

Posts: 6
Joined: Mar 2010

Hello Tom,

My apologies for the delay in writing to you, I have just taken my dose of chemo, a new regimen of carboplatin, Epibrucin and 5FU and have been 'down' with mouth ulcers that are huge and stomach cramping too.

To answer your question, post surgery, (the surgery took about 6-7 hours)I was taken to the ICU where I remained for 9 days. After two days of the surgery my surgeon, asked me to get off from the bed and sit in a chair. after (by the 4th day) that the nurse would help me walk a few steps about twice to thrice a day. There were ofcourse about 4 drainage pipes attached to my body (urine, operation fluid, gastric fluid and I forget the last one from the nose). A central line was kept for food and medication input.

These (output lines) were taken off once I was shifted to the normal ward. I was given some breathing exercises, steam inhalation and walking with the support of my wife from the 12th day onwards, I continued this for more than a month. I kept on doing the breathing exercises for almost 3-4 months after sugery. After the return of my bowel sounds, I was allowed to have only clear liquids, very little at atime. It took me about 3 days before i was able to eat little portions of solid foods.

I have been advised lifelong weekly injections B12 and iron. my surgery was done on 29th June 2009, I had my 1st chemo on 5th August 2009. I hope this information helps.

As to reluctance to asking for help, I can totally understand that. I always thought of myself as a person who would do service to others and now to be at the receiving end, is not the best of feelings. But I have begun to accept that God has a way and reason for doing things. Tell me if there is anything else I can do to help. Stay strong!

God bless,

Posts: 83
Joined: Mar 2010

Hello Tom,My 30year old son underwent a total gastrectomy with pre and post surgery chemotherapy.He is well and able to eat most foods.
After surgery you have to get used to frequent small meals so you start on that pattern now itself.Eating has to be ,as far as possible around the clock.Try and put on as much weight as possible now because you will lose weight after your gastrectomy.My son says deep breathing exercises(pranayama in yoga)helped him deal with the stress.Our thoughts and good wishes will be with you on the 8th

Tina Blondek's picture
Tina Blondek
Posts: 1566
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi Tom, Good luck to you on your upcoming surgery. I was a caregiver to my dad who has recently passed away from esophageal cancer which he beat, but had mets to his liver. He could not beat the liver cancer. Anyway....the esophagus cancer discussion board will be very helpful to you. Alot of these people have had the surgery to remove the esophagus, and reattach the stomach to the throat. Alot of people have the cancer at the junction of the esophagus and the stomach. That is where my dad's primary cancer was. Good luck t you, and keep in touch.

Posts: 39
Joined: Dec 2009


good luck to your surgery. I was dx Nov 2009 when I was 36. I didn't do any chemo before surgery. (I think yours might be a better choice). My surgery was done end of Nov and 85% stomach was removed with 2-3 cm of esophagus. Your tumor location is about same as mine. I stayed in hospital for 9 days, but was able to walk around after just 3 days. I believe you will be just fine. Hope is the best thing in life. There is not too much to prepare before surgery, but I would say, try to gain a few pounds if you can. You will not be able to eat like before anymore. Losing weight is almost certain for gastric cancer patient. If you want drop me an email, my ID at yahoo.com. We could even chat on the phone if you like.

Again, good luck on your surgery!

Posts: 4
Joined: Mar 2010

Hello everyone,

I hope everyone had a good Easter. I have been away from the site for a while. Might sound strange but needed to do a little mental prep and found I was getting a little negative. I wanted to thank everyone for your words of encouragement and advice on what to expect. I have my surgery in three days on 4/8. I will be sure to keep in touch.

Thank you to everyone again and may god bless each of you in your situation.

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