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Depressed Survivor Help!

Posts: 2
Joined: Dec 2011

Hi my 77 year old mum had total gastrectomy in Feb 2011 and went through 6 cycles of chemotherapy. She was doing fine except for occasional low energy and weight loss. But recently she has difficulty consuming food and liquids and retaining them. Doctors did scans and barium swallow and found some part of her small intestine was kinked/narrowed while her bowel had adhesions. She had laparoscopic surgery 2 weeks ago where the Dr released the twisted intestine. She was better and could retain her food but not for long and she is now back in hospital. She is temporarily on a nasogastric feeding tube to address her nutritional needs which are low, while the Drs are figuring out if a stent can be placed through the lumen to overcome the obstruction. If not they may consider placing a jejunostomy tube in her small intestine. Has anyone experiences similar issues? I would really appreciate any help or sharing/information about all this. Thanks a lot.


Posts: 8
Joined: Dec 2011

My fiancee has the j-tube to feed. It was placed in his lower intestine. He has stage IV stomach cancer. His large instestine is compromised with the tumor. He could not eat or drink. Also, had severe nausea and vomitting. After his first chemo infusion, he became so ill that he was hospitalized for eleven days. He's doing better now. But it's hard because he'd like to eat normal food, and the liquid formulas only cure the nutritional need not the hunger or the desire for the pleasure of food. At one point he said "I'm Starving." That was so hard to hear. I was heartbroken. He now can eat very small amounts. If he has a small bowl of cereal and nibbles on a cookie, that's a great day.

He also has a G-Tube which releases the fluids from his stomach that cause the nausea and vomitting. He uses this when he feeds, and after chemo. Right now it's very, very hard for him. But one day @ a time. Hope this helps. Keep you head up.

Posts: 2
Joined: Dec 2011

Thank you for your sharing. Happy New Year to both you and your fiancee!

Lots of things happened to mum since my posting. (thats why I could not reply sooner) On 31 Dec, She had a stent inserted in her small intestine to overcome the obstruction/narrowing that Drs found from the barium swallow. About an hour after the procedure, her neck started swelling and she was in tremendous pain. An x ray showed that air bubbles seeped into part of lungs due to perforation in throat! She was rushed to the High Dependency Unit (HDU) and monitored. Witihin 2-3 days the swelling had gone and the air dissolved. Her stent was also fine but suddenly, her platlet and white blood cells dropped to a dangerously low level. The Drs were stumped! They tried medication etc and then told the family that her tumour may have spread rapidly and infiltrating the bone marrow. Her urin intak was lo and they said taht her kidnesy may be failing! It was all gloom and dhoom and they gave her plalet and blood transfusions. They said she was alresdy weak and had no reserves. She had not eaten for days her only nutrition came from the feeding through her chemo port. She was vomiting green bile. It was all so horrible. She underwent the stenting to enable her to eat and drink but now cannot consume anything orally because of what happened. So frustrating and a lousy new year!

Then the Kidney Dr came to have a look and changed her medications and miraculously, she was so much better yesterday and today! Apparently her condition worsened because of an infection. She is still in the HDU but much more stabil/ She has along was to go to nurse her back to health. Its gonna be a slow process but better this than the sad prognosis.

All I can say is that to trust your gut feeling. I never beleived that her tumour seedlings could spread so rapidly like the Drs said. I believe all the medication also took a toll on her already fragile condition. Also the power and faith of prayers cannot be overlooked. It played such a big role and continus so do so.

Ok enough rambling from me!

I am glad you have such a positive outlook. It is very important for the person going through this and their caregivers to have faith and never give up. I pray your fiancee's situation improves and he settles down with h routine of eating the way it is. Al least he still has his stomach! My mum had to take Vit. B12 shots every month to boost her energy level. She has to eat and pass wind through one passage i.e. intestine and this can be very challenging.

I am now figuring ways to help Mum stay focused on recovery and keep going despite the obstacles.

All the best & GOD Bless.


Posts: 16
Joined: Sep 2011

Read your post and this is how my husband 4 months ago. He cant eat anything due to the obstruction and cant do surgery because it was stage 4. after 4 rounds of Chemo, he now can eat double Cheeseburger fr Burger king. we would have some issues at times but nothing compared to before. He also has a J. tube and Im still supplementing his diet during his Chemo week because of the nausea that the Chemo brings. Stay strong and be there for him and keep a positive attitude. my husband said he drew all his strength from me when we was starving and so weak. Try giving him sweet candy to suck on- caramel candy. It helped my husband a lot.

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