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recovery after gastrectomy

Posts: 3
Joined: May 2010

My mother was diagnosed with stomach cancer at age 80, and while it had not gone beyond the stomach wall - a decision was made to remove the stomach (just a small area near the esophagus was left), but luckily as it was caught early enough - no chemo was necessary.
Dr. Vivienne Strong, from Memorial Sloan Kettering in NY performed the surgery - which took approx 4 hours because she did the procedure laproscopically. My mother was walking the day after surgery, and out of the hospital in one week's time. By day 3 she was no longer taking pain medication stronger than Advil. She adjusted to her new eating routine relatively well - but found that certain foods were very disagreeable (mainly anything with sugar - which include Ensure). The procedure was in December of 2009 (Christmas week), and she has her 2nd follow up with her surgeon on May 11th. She says she feels weaker now that she did 3 weeks after the surgery when she went for her first follow up. She's eating more, but has lost a total of 22 pounds - Went from 120 to 98. Has anybody had an experience like this? Could it be that the weakness comes from lack of strength in the core? Physical therapy doesn't seem to be top on the list of recommendations. Any advice is helpful

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

Hi Sophia,
Welcome. First I would like to congratulate your mom on a succesful surgery and recovery! Now on to the weakness and weight loss. This could have many reasons. I advise the best thing to do is contact her dr. It could be because she is dehydrated, a reaction to any kind of medication, these are also symptoms of diabetes. I am not a dr, so these are just my thoughts. The dr would be the one who could help you the most. Keep in touch.

Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2010

Hello Sophie: I had 90% of my stomach removed in 2001, no chemo or radiation because they
took as much as they could to make sure it cancer was contained. I went home without any
medications or instructions that made sense. My diet instructions was ham, meats and others.
I learned to eat foods that were easy to digest. I eat an egg daily, gives me energy. My weight was 118 ten years ago and it is 120 now. Steamed vegetables are good, mash potatoes or
apple sauce and sugar does not make sick at all. I drink coke and expressos, at least once
a day, but my meals are very small and I tried to eat six times a day. However, after many months I noticed that my energy was very low and I would fall sleep anytime I sat down. Not
only that at times I would become confused, could not sleep, my eyesight seem to be getting
bad. I was always a very energetic person, happy and ready to go. I was so concerned that
I thought I was getting small strokes and went to see my neurologist and he finally told
me what the surgeons, internists, gastroenterologists should have said to me. I NEEDED
VITAMIN B-12 FOR LIFE, NOT PILLS, BUT SHOTS. It made a world of difference and I almost
became what I was before the operation, a strong person. B-12 AND INTRINSIC FACTOR ARE
I urge to ask her doctor to give her a shot of B-12 and you will see the difference and I
am sure he would agree that B-12 would help her feel a lot better. I am not kidding myself
I know that I am very lucky and that I was given more time and I do not waste it and tried
to take care of my health as best as I can. Not even the doctors know everything that goes
on in your body but you and one should be very proactive and check every bit of information
that is available. I hope your Mom will feel better and I would like to know that.

Posts: 11
Joined: May 2010

I just read your post on titled "After the operation, most important to know" My mom had a total gastrectomy about 7 weeks ago, and has just started chemotherapy and will also undergo radiation. My mom was diagnosed with Stage 3A stomach cancer with 15 out of 22 positive lymph nodes. I am having a very hard time dealing with my moms diagnosis. I have been reading on the internet that for stage 3A a cure is still possible and I am praying for a cure for my mom although I am still extremely worried for my mom. I was very happy to read that almost 10 years after your gastrectomy that you are doing well. When I read cases such as yours it gives me some hope for my mom would you mind telling me what stage you were when you were diagnosed and what worked best for you. My mom is also getting monthly vitamin B-12 shots, is this enough or should she get vitamin B12 shots more often. Thank You for your help and I wish you the best!

Posts: 83
Joined: Mar 2010

Hello,Your mail was so reassuring.I am a caregiver for my 31year old son who is into his 12th month after diagnosis,Total gastrectomy and chemotherapy.I give him his monthly shots of B12 and he has been back at work for the past 5months.My husband and I try not to be weighed down by statistics.We see him working 9hours a day,going to the gym off and on,eating reasonably well and not losing too much weight.We keep our fingers crossed and hopes this lasts.I appreciate your attitude.Love and good wishes

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