It has been 10 weeks since my surgery and two weeks since my last blog post. Week 9 was a terrible week as far as recovery goes. I felt sick for most of the week and had terrible episodes of “dumping syndrome” which contrary to popular belief, has nothing to do with my bowel movements.
What is Dumping Syndrome? scientist define it as a rapid emptying of mostly undigested food into the large the large intestine. In my mind, when I get dumping syndrome I picture my insides getting destroyed like Godzilla through Japantown. I’m sure there is a more scientific explanation for what happens, but quite frankly, when you get it, you don’t really care, you just want it to end quickly. Unfortunately nothing can really be done about it except riding it out.
There are a host of issues that are par for course post-gastrectomy (i.e. dumping syndrome, esophogeal spasms, spitting up, weight loss, fatigue, etc…) But despite the annoying parts of life without a stomach, such as the routine intestinal cramps I have almost every night, for me, it’s a matter of enjoying the good moments, the good meals, and riding out the bad ones knowing that good days are nigh. Stringing along good meals and good days go a long way for the spirit and the next thing you know, you find yourself being able to eat something you couldn’t eat before and even put on a pound or two! After week 9 I dipped down to 163, but this week I’ve been eating well and now I’m back up to 164/165 lbs.
So when I’m feeling good I’ve been going back to the things I love and restoring that sense of “normal”.
This past week I am back to motorcycling and even got to attend the monthly gathering of passionate Ducati owners and motorcycle enthusiasts! I even enjoyed a date with Kate sipping iced tea, and sharing a delicious roasted pork belly from Pizza Antica.
I even got to go for my first jog where I cranked out, to my surprise, 2.9 miles! Running without a stomach, I will say, is quite the adjustment. It’s an odd feeling when your abdominal muscles have been on vacation for a couple months. Every step makes my stomach fat and skin jiggle like Chunk doing the truffle shuffle… it’s a little embarrassing, but I’ve embraced it. By the way, if you don’t get the reference, it’s from one of the greatest movies of all time, The Goonies… who never say “die”.
This brings me to the second portion of my blog post… I’ve never been thin and I’ve come to realize that there are things that skinny people never tell you about!
1. I went to a baseball game with a couple of my co-workers… somewhere in the 3-4th inning my back started hurting and I couldn’t figure out why until I realized… my spine touches the hardback plastic seats in the stadium!WHAT?! I always had built-in padding in the form of “back fat”, so this new found pain is terrible!
2. Take this with a grain of salt, but I was born with a flat Asian butt (TMI, I know). Even when I was a big dude, I literally went from spine to hamstrings, but after 40+lbs of weight loss, my sit bones are weak sauce. I can’t sit in a hard chair or even in my car’s seats for very long before I need to stand up because my sit bones literally hurt. Perhaps this means that I need to resort to the dehumanizing “sitting donut”… and don’t even get me started about belts for pants, I’m not totally sure what they are holding on to.
3. I have to give credit to my good friend Andrew West for this one, it’s harder to be funny. I don’t know why, but when you are a bigger guy, it’s easier to make people laugh. When in doubt, a well-timed, well-delivered, self-deprecating fat joke can get a room rolling… It’s safe to say about 97.4% of my material is now gone and I am on a quest to find a new comedic source because apparently cancer is not that funny.
Either way, I’m enjoying life, the quest for new food and comedic gold.
A couple side note before I sign off: my recovery is going well. My blood labs came back indicating that I was only slightly low in vitamin D and iron, which is pretty encouraging considering the fact that my intestines have never worked so hard in it’s life. Secondly, as if the CDH1 community couldn’t get any smaller, on one of my follow up visits for my brother with Dr. Ford, I met Jen from “Gastronomically Speaking”, who happened to be visiting the Bay Area for No Stomach for Cancer! I have to say, the community of people with no stomachs/CDH1/HDGC is pretty awesome.