Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Pregnancy sans stomach

At the end of my last post, over 19 months ago, I mentioned that I was pregnant, again, and that I would write all about it soon. Um well my son celebrated his first birthday a few months ago so it's an understatement to say that this is quite overdue.

I was kinda surprised when I discovered I was pregnant, only 4 months after I my gastrectomy and only nine months since I gave birth to my daughter.  I wasn't even sure that I would be able to have another baby let a lone so quickly. I was so skinny and worn out from the surgery and looking after a 5 month old.  I was certain that my poor body had taken enough punishment and would be keen on having a rest. Apparently not. I remember being at work eating pizza and thinking it tasted really weird and I thought 'Oh shit, I know that taste' a pregnancy test the following day confirmed it and boom baby on the way.

I guess I was lucky that I had already given birth and had a completely normal pregnancy with my daughter Haea so I had something to compare the 2nd (post gastrectomy) pregnancy to.

8 months pregnant with a stomach. Photo courtesy of Woman's Day

Friday, 3 August 2012

Cancer in my lymph nodes

It's been almost 4 months since I posted anything.
Sorry! I'm terrible at blogging, mainly because I never have anytime. Between work, my daughter and just life in general there never seems to time for much else. But I am trying to rectify the situation. Anyway, here is what's been happening...

Monday, 9 April 2012

If I exercise, will my insides fall out?

It's been nearly 4 months since I had my gastrectomy, 9 months since I had my baby, and a year since I've done any exercise.  Before the surgery and the baby I'd like to think I did  a lot of exercise.
Which included playing basketball and netball every week, karate (I have a black  belt in Kyokushin)  running and going to the gym.

I have been dying to play basketball since I had my insides chopped up, and since my stomach muscles have finally stopped hurting/burning/itching I decided it was time to get back on the court. I have to admit that the prospect of doing any form of physical activity was terrifying.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

I finally got my stomach back.

Last week, I went to the hospital Lab and picked up my stomach. When you undergo any type of surgery (in NZ I'm not sure about the rest of the world) you can request to have your tissue, or body part returned to you. All you have to do is sign a form saying you want it back and when you are discharged from hospital you should get a copy of the form, if you don't have a copy of the form the Lab won't hand over your tissue (you can request another one from the patient file place but it's a pain in the butt) You have to wait until the lab has finished doing tests on it etc. It took roughly 3 months for them to finish with mine. It has been preserved in formalin so I could put it in a jar and keep it forever if I want to, but it looks really gross and kinda creeps me out so I think I will just stick to my original plan of burying it. Here is a photo. Sorry if it grosses you out!

Thursday, 23 February 2012

8 week post Surgery Checkup

Now, I know it's been ages since I posted anything on here but what can I say,  I'm LAZY! And I have a 6 month old baby who generally takes up most of my time, but mostly I'm lazy.
Yesterday (13th Feb) I saw my surgeon for the first time since he removed my stomach eight weeks ago. Can't believe it's only been eight weeks, it feels like I have had no stomach forever.
The appointment was super quick.
He asked how I was feeling, if I have any light headedness after eating, any other symptoms of dumping, all of which I answered no. He was happy and jokingly said he should use me as an example of how well this surgery can work for someone.
He then checked out my scar, he said it looked like it was done healing, but was still quite raised, so hopefully it wouldn't become too hypertrophic. I asked if there was anything I could do to prevent that happening and he said it could be treated with steroid cream or injections. But I don't really care about the scar, I actually quite like it. I then told him that I have more problems drinking enough fluid (makes me feel sick) than I do eating enough food. He said that was interesting.
Now it was my turn to ask some questions...
Since the surgery I had accumulated so many questions to ask the doctor, but when I got there I barely remembered any of them, so I highly recommend keeping a notebook or diary or something to jot down any thing that pops into your head on a day to day basis.
These were the questions I asked him...

Can I take anti inflammatory medication like ibuprofen etc?
Answer: Yes, I wouldn't live on them but yes you can take them.

When can I start playing sport again, in particular basketball.
Answer: Now, just take it easy.

And that was it! Pathetic I know.
Other questions I should have asked.

Will I be able to have another baby and if so what will the complications be?
Although everything is going well at the moment could I have complications in the future?
Will I ever have a solid bowel movement again?
Will I start putting on more weight, or is my food processed in a way which prevents weight gain?
When will my stitches be dissolved?
Can I drink alcohol, or will I be completely wasted after one beer?
Do I have to have regular checks for cancer?
Did they lab find anything when they tested my stomach post surgery?
I'm sure there is more but once again I can't remember..
He said that doesn't have to see me again, but he will just one more time, maybe in 6 months, to see how I am doing. 
He then took me next door so he could tell some other doctors that I had a total gastrectomy with a hunt lawrence pouch and that I eat normal meals. They seemed surprised and my doctor seemed very happy about it, I think I am one of the lucky ones. The doctors he introduced me to were actually the ones I saw everyday during rounds when I was in hospital (they didn't remember me) One said he initially didn't recognise me because I looked so different.
Fair enough I looked like a mess when I was in hospital.
And that was my post opp 8 week checkup.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Throwing Up

Before I had my stomach removed I read an article someone had written about their experience living with a gastrecomy. In the article he said that since having the surgery he no longer had the apparatus to throw up and if he was sick everything just seemed to come out the other end. So naturally I thought that this was a normal consequence of having a gastrectomy and something that I would have to live with. However, much to my surprise when I was in hospital I discovered that I still have the ability to throw up! After surgery the doctors kept giving me anti nausea meds to make sure that I didn't vomit. They actually said that it was really important for me to try and avoid throwing up because it would put too much stress on the new digestive route that the surgeons had made me and the last thing I wanted was to bust a stitch. Not to mention the pain it would cause me, considering my abdominal muscles had been cut in half. Anyway a couple of days ago I ventured out of the house (a rare occurrence these days) to the mall with my sister. I felt like eating sushi which I've eaten a few times since my gastrectomy and had no problems with. To cut a long story short, I ate a piece of sushi while window shopping and I ate it way to fast and next thing I know I'm vomiting in a rubbish bin in front of a bunch of spectators that seemed like they weren't sure whether to look away or ask me if I was okay. It wasn't the type of vomiting where you make loud noises and there is so much force it comes out your nose. I just vomited once, the sushi came back up and about 30 seconds later I felt fine and carried on walking around the mall. Perhaps some people who have a gastrectomy can't vomit but now I know that I definitely can and it felt exactly the same as it did when I had a stomach. I'm actually really happy I can still vomit because as I said, 30 seconds after the sushi came back up I felt totally fine, just imagine if I wasn't able to throw it up. I would have just felt sick and not been able to do anything about it except wait for it to pass. Which would have really put a downer on my first real trip out of the house.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

An actual regular size meal!

I think things have finally turned a corner for me! Last night I ate a regular size meal, about the size of what I was eating prior to my gastrectomy, and it didn't make me feel sick, or give me any other unpleasant side affects. The only thing I felt was a little bit full which was actually a nice sensation. I had silverbeet, carrots, home made fries and a small piece of steak. I thought that maybe this was some sort of fluke or freak accident so tonight I ate another large meal and it's been nearly two hours since I ate and I haven't had any side effects yet. HOW EXCITING! I really hope that this continues because I was starting to feel a little bit down in the dumps about everything. I would find myself lying around wondering if this was going to be my life from now on, constantly feeling nauseous and tired and not being able to eat what I want. So as I'm sure you can imagine actually being able to eat like a normal person has really cheered me up and I hope that things will only get better from here, it has only been three weeks after all. Oh and while I am talking about eating I know in my last post I said I'd let you know how the cheese burger went down and I've got to say that I really don't think that cheese burgers are the type of food that were intended to be chewed so thoroughly. By the time I had finishing chewing, it tasted so gross that I didn't even want to swallow it. I find the same thing happens with meat, you have to chew it up so much that it ends up tasting similar to what I'd expect cat food to taste like. Lucky I am not a big meat eater.