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Input needed for post op diet

LauraandLarry's picture
Posts: 184
Joined: Sep 2012

When Larry was first diagnosed in September and had difficulty swallowing, it was diet adjustment #1. Mostly soft, alot of soups, alot of chicken casseroles, ice cream, jello, shakes etc. Then came diet #2 when the treatments started and swallowing became easier. This diet consisted of everything and anything we could get in him, all high calorie and high protein. The last 4 weeks Larry is feeling great having gained all 30 lbs back and exercising like a madman in preparation for surgery March 22nd. My question is this; As I prepare for his aftercare which foods or drinks seem to have worked for all of you? Which foods have most of you learned to avoid? I would like to start preparing, freezing, and stocking up on whatever I can ahead of time. For example, a friend of ours had his surgery over 1 1/2 years ago, he just recently is able to handle bread. He did however have many complications and had a feeding tube for 10 months. Your input would be greatly appreciated!

Posts: 42
Joined: Jul 2012

I am 7 months out of my surgery (T2N1M0) and I have found that soups, soft foods do not go down as easily as before.  I toast all my bread, eat popcorn, and Cashews, peanuts, chips. but am able to eat a tiny bit of beef, chicken. The Dr. should send you home a diet for post-op.  It is such a slow process so do not get discouraged.  They all tell me it gets better.  I had the Ivor-Lewis surgery August 1st at Mayo Clinic..I cannot drink up to an hour after eating.  I bought a wedge to sleep on because now with the new plumbing reflux is very common.  Some can just use extra pillows.  Aviod spicy foods.  I am able to drink 2 cups of coffee and have 2 Pepsi's per day.  I drink Apple and Grape juice...with no sugar.  Everyone's different, but I am happy for you and Larry.  I have found that probiotics help my digestion process immensely.  I take vit. B, C, D plus Mag. sulfate.  I can now eat a whole hamburger with cheese and pickles as long as the bun is toasted--weird.  My surgeon told me that he's not worried about the weight loss after surgery, but the most important thing is hydration. 

sandy1943's picture
Posts: 883
Joined: Jun 2010

Everyone is different. I could eat most any thing, but very little at a time. I lost 99 pds after surgery, but it wasn't my diet. The doctors seemed to think it was my metabolism. I was a skinny rail! I have gained back 15 pds over the last couple years. I am always wanting to nibble, so I guess it's a good thing I'm not gaining, because I am healhthier now than before surgery.

It's good that Larry is exercising. That will be very important to start back up after surgery. I was guilty of doing nothing to begin with and got very weak. My daughter took things in her hands and took me to the gym. That was when my recovery took a turn and I started feeling good again. 

My prayers are with you as you both go into the next battle with the beast.Positive attitude and the will to win ,makes all the difference in the world.


paul61's picture
Posts: 1261
Joined: Apr 2010


The doctor should send Larry home with a recommended post esophagectomy diet that looks like the one referenced at the web address below:


People who have gastric surgery often have dumping syndrome for the first few months below is a reference to deal with that:


I found that I was sensitive to dairy, sugar, and greasy foods initially. Three years post surgery I can eat just about anything in small amounts except items that are high in sugar content.

Best Regards,

Paul Adams

McCormick, South Carolina

DX 10/2009 T2N1M0  Stage IIB - Ivor Lewis Surgery  12/3/2009 - Post Surgery Chemotherapy 2/2009 – 6/2009

Cisplatin, Epirubicin, 5 FU - Three Year Survivor


South Side Steve's picture
South Side Steve
Posts: 28
Joined: Nov 2011

I am coming up on the one year anniversary of my Ivor Lewis surgery and I can eat pretty much anything I want to. I do avoid spicy and acidic foods. I have a good appetite and my biggest problem is remembering to cut back on my portions. If I eat too much or too fast, I suffer severe stomach cramping. I did experience some dumping problems after my surgery, but that only lasted a couple months. I don’t have a problem with bread or buns, but lean toward wraps so I don’t fill up on the bun. I drink apple and grape juice with my breakfast and have Powerade Zero with my other meals. During my treatments and right after surgery, I drank Boost, but I got tired of it and don’t drink it any more. I’m lucky in the sense I never needed any dilations and can enjoy an occasional piece of pie or cake without any ill effects. I lost about 35 pounds through my treatments and surgery and have gained about 5 pounds back. I don’t know if it was the weight loss or the fact I’m eating healthier now, but I no longer need my blood pressure and cholesterol medicine. 

I bought an adjustable bed and that is really working out well for me. I tried a bed wedge first, but I kept sliding down and it made my back sore. If we go visiting or to a hotel, I make a wedge out of pillows and that works well. 

Good luck in your surgery. It’s a major surgery, but be thankful you’re able to have the surgery. I agree with Sandy that a positive attitude and the will to win make a huge difference. I went back to my desk job two months after my surgery. Looking back, I probably should have waited another week or two, but I survived. It sounds like you’re doing a great job of exercising. That will be very helpful in your recovery. Feel free to contact me if you have any further questions. 


DX 11/2011 (T2N1M0 Stage IIB) Chemo/Radiation 11/2011 – 1/2012, Ivor Lewis Surgery 3/13/2012


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