One of our amazing middle school students this past Wednesday gave me a hug, but thought removing my stomach would leave me without a torso. This is hilarious, but I definitely see the confusion. We often refer to and think of our torso’s as our stomachs rather than the organ itself. The two most common comments as I’ve returned to the working world are: 1. Wow, you’re skinny! 2. I’ve been doing research and never learned so much about stomach cancer! It’s been really cool to bring awareness to stomachs, stomach cancer and even torsos through a question as simple as, “can you live without a stomach?” And the answer is: totally.
Rachel posted this link on her blog that explains what exactly CDH1 is, what it does for your body, and how it effects those of us with the mutation. It’s a great read and worth looking at if you want to find out more. The article is scientific and still accessible, my kind of language. Check it out here: “Holding it all together with CDH1”.
If you get a chance to read the article above, you never really appreciate everything your stomach does until you don’t have it anymore.
6 weeks out of surgery and life is starting to get back to normal. This week I was able to work full days a few days in a row, but I’ve discovered that I need to pay closer attention to my eating schedule. On Sunday I woke up and had a protein shake, but didn’t get a chance to eat anything until 2 PM which started a new symptom I haven’t had since the hospital. I started getting “esophageal spasms” which literally feel like a heart attack. It’s like a leg cramp in the center of your chest. I would have these spasms intermittently for the next 4 days! Trust me, I’ve learned my lesson. I’m also learning that waiting until my hands start to shake is probably not the best way to find out I’m hungry. So now I’m eating like a machine and ensuring I have snacks on me at all times.
A major part of the recovery process for me has been getting back into a routine and getting out in public, so Kate and I decided to take her parents to see baseball game. It was our first game of the season, Josh Donaldson bobblehead day, and what a game it was!
The division leading Oakland Athletics were facing the Houston Astros and going into the 9th the A’s were down 3-1. The A’s tie up the game with a home run by Lowrie, followed by singles to Cespedes and Callaspo, but with 1 out and two on base, struggling Josh Redding walked off a hero with a single into deep center to drive in the winning run. You can see video of this glorious moment by clicking on the picture above.
I absolutely love baseball and especially the Oakland A’s. Yesterday I found a new reason to love the game: food. Baseball is one of those sports where you find yourself snacking all game which is perfect for those of us with no stomachs! As if the day wasn’t perfect enough, I was even able to eat about 3/4’s of a polish sausage! So 6 weeks post-gastrectomy, I still have a torso, I’ve leveled out at 170 lbs, I’m eating more than 1500 calories, I’m back at work, and this week I start training for triathlons again!!! Our first game back from beating cancer and I’m not sure there is a more perfect metaphor to this stage of my life than a come back win… all on Easter weekend? Too perfect.
Here’s to come backs, cheers!