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post total gastrectomy nutrition

Posts: 5
Joined: Dec 2007

My wife (age 66) was diagnosed with Stage 4 gastric cancer in Spring, 2007. She went through 3 cycles of chemo followed by total gastrectomy in Summer, 2007. The cancer has returned twice in lymph nodes in her adominal area. Currently undergoing chemo. She has lost considerable weight and can't seem to get it back. She gets severe cramps when she eats, takes oxycodone to relieve the pain. I'm trying to convince her to eat smaller meals or snack throughout the day, but she is a picky eater. Would like some nutritional advice or reference material on high calorie content foods that she would be able to snack on throughout the day.

Posts: 10
Joined: Aug 2010

My dad, though cancer free, used Champion brand weigh gain products to gain weight, and they worked really well. I'm trying to find some for my mom,who does have cancer, but it looks like I may have to order online.

Posts: 39
Joined: Dec 2009

Like Boost, Ensure ... ... Sip it through the day!

Good luck!

Posts: 21
Joined: Aug 2010

Hi there

Small meals/snacks throughout the day is essential until she feels able to eat more substantial food. Soft food like soups, pastas, tender moist casseroles - don't go for steak or dryer meats until other food is tolerated well. Tinned/fresh Fuit with custard & cream or ice cream (no need to worry about calories now, as they are what is NEEDED!)

After most of my husband's stomach was removed, I set the clock to go off every hour & gave something to eat & alternated that with a drink. My theory was to keep a constant supply of snacks & 'value add' where ever possible to every snack or drink. So I would add cheese to biscuits & nibbles, cream & cheese in the pasta sauces, make smoothies and add custard, sustagen, proform, cream & egg (also vanilla to make it taste better) with fresh fruit to it.

Even when he didn't feel like eating, I sort of made him eat - telling him to hold his nose to 'not taste it', if he had to - which he did a few times.

He gained a few kgs after leaving hospital, then lost a couple, now back to 53kg and maintaining it, so that is good. Luckily he only had discomfort a couple of times, when he overate & had dumping episodes. We are hoping that after he finishes chemo, that he will slowly regain his lost weight. Only time will tell.

Nibbling on nuts like Pistachios & cashews could help - they must be WELL chewed tho (ALL food needs to be really well chewed after this surgery.)

Hope she gets back to eating without discomfort soon


Some good post op eating information here




Posts: 23
Joined: Aug 2010

My husband will be having surgery on 9/21 to remove cancer from his stomach which means of course a partial gastrectomy unless it has spread then a full gastrectomy. I will be using this information. Thank you so much. Anything else I should know? This is all new to me and I'm trying to prepare so we'll be ready when he gets home. "C"

Posts: 21
Joined: Aug 2010

Hi Little C

I hope your husband's surgery has gone well & that he is recovering well. I hope he only had the Partial gastrectomy - There is no script for the journey you are both undertaking. Initially, my husband didn't want to tell people, but that put HUGE pressure on both of us, as I had to pretend that there was nothing wrong at all, whilst he had had surgery & was recuperating. So I made the decision to tell all our friends (both at home & abroad) and it has helped us both, as they give encouragement, recipes, laughs - and everything is out on the table, so you don't have to pretend any more! You will find that some friends don't know how to cope with it, most just continue contact & support!

I send out a joint email every 3-4 weeks, to fill them in on what is happening. Many of our friends (unbeknown to us) were also cancer survivors - so were able to assist with information in different areas.

If your husband has chemo & takes Xeloda tablets as a part of it, buy in some cornflour (you may call it maize flour) as it will give great relief to any skin reaction to the chemo. The chemo kills off the fast growing cells (including cancer cells & skin cells) so the skin can get red raw & very itchy & burning. The cornflour (NOT wheat flour) used to be used on nappy rash in the old days, so has been around for eons!

Just keep feeding him in small amounts - my husband now can eat pretty well whatever he wants & his surgery was just in mid June 2-10!! I am amazed!! We were told it could be 12 months before he could eat a full meal. I still don't give him much steak, but he eats pretty well every thing else! Only about once a week (if that) do we have salads with out meal, as they are basically 'empty calories'! Just remember to 'value add' to everything, to 'up' the calories, as you don't want him to lose any more weight than what he left the hospital with.

Take care, stay strong together!


Posts: 27
Joined: Oct 2010

I had a complete gastrectomy along with 2/3 of my small intestines removed last febuary, then went through seven rounds of agresive chemo and lost almost 70 pounds. Small meals very often is key. I've also found that eating good organic yogurt everyday (go for the highest fat/cal possible) helps regulate whats left of my digestive system and helps with the weight gain. Also, take a teaspoon of good quality fish oil (I buy Carlson's Cod Liver Oil) everyday...the good fatty acids help with caloric uptake. I also live in a state where medical marijuana is legal and available...it greatly helps with the nausea and appetite. I recomend checking into it if possible. Never give up.

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