A note of encouragement to those about to go under the knife (and one woman in particular)…

Iwas searching for something to write about this weekend, and then I read acomment posted beneath my last entry by someone about to go through her totalgastrectomy. It moved me. So, instead of writing about how I’m feeling thisweek (same old, same old), I’m going to respond to her comment.

Cindy,I’m happy to have been of some help. I know how scary this canbe. The good news: Two months post-op (to the day, actually) I feel likemy life is pretty much back to normal. Certainly, my eating schedule seemsbizarre to most, and I’m still suffering the weird throat bubble/goo thing I’vewritten about previously (as well as infrequent bouts of nausea) but I’m learning to cope. I’m still doing all the things I love—save gorgingon burgers and chips—and I feel about as healthy as I ever have, thanks inpart to my healthier diet.

IfI may make one suggestion: Record your experience. Even if it’s just a privatejournal. Then, whenever you feel like you’re having a bad day, go back and readyour earlier entries. You’ll realize a couple of very important things.

First,you’ll see that despite how you feel now it’s probably better than you felt acouple of weeks ago. This goes both for the pain associated with recovery andthe symptoms that go along with having no stomach. Those symptoms may persist,but they’ll either get better with time or become something that you learn todeal with and incorporate into your routine.

Second,and perhaps more importantly, you’ll come to understand how strong you were forhaving made it through such a trying ordeal. This is one of those things thatmost people can relate to only through movies and television. It’s awful tohave to go through it yourself, but once you do you’ll realize you have astrength that most people never discover. Trust me on this. I speak fromexperience.

Oneother thing: Don’t assume that everything that happened to me in the hospitaland after will happen to you. One thing I’ve learned from corresponding withothers who have gone through this is that everyone’s total gastrectomyexperience is different. I’ve done pretty well, but I know of one woman—one ofthe founders of BeStrongHearted, actually—who is almost completely back tonormal less than a year post-surgery. She wrote in her blog last fall that shecan eat a Lean Cuisine meal in about 15 minutes (lucky her—it takes me about anhour) and that she almost never suffers nausea caused by dumping syndrome.

And,of course, should you ever need someone to talk to, feel free to contact me,either through a comment on this blog or, if you prefer something less public, viaemail (I can be reached at chadsapieha@yahoo.ca).

Goodluck with your surgery. You’re lucky; it’s early enough in the year that you’llstill be able to get out and enjoy the majority of the summer. Personally, I’mlooking forward to a little golf. J


One thought on “A note of encouragement to those about to go under the knife (and one woman in particular)…

  1. Dale Schaan says:

    Hi Chad,, Iam very proud of you and your family,you are a great sposkesmen for this surgery.your Mother Iam sure, is smiling on you for this. She made sure that you would not have to suffer this cancer and that you could have a long life and enjoy your family.Take care my son.

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