Yesterday I was fortunate enough to have a nice conversation with Hanna (fellow CDH1 blogger) about having our total gastrectomies. Hanna had her surgery about five weeks after me. We started talking about our recoveries and we both still feel hungry. If we don’t eat for a prolonged period of time, we both have intestine grumbling. For me it feels like what your stomach would do if it was grumbling only it’s in the intestines.
If I think back to biology 101, I know that hunger is stimulated by a hormone called, “Ghrelin”. This hormone is produced primarily in the stomach. When the stomach is empty ghrelin is released and travels to the brain (hypothalmus). This causes a reaction in your body to increase hunger and prepares your gastrointestinal tract for incoming food. But what happens if you don’t have a stomach?!?!
I believe that this is where the secondary part to hunger comes into play….your mind! I am most hungry at breakfast, mid morning snack, lunch, and dinner times. I believe that my mind has been so conditioned to these meals for the past 29.75 years of my life that something creates the neurotransmitter to act on my hypothalamus. I don’t know if this is possible but that’s what I’m going with right now. I doubt there is much research out on prophylactic gastrectomies and ghrelin right now. Maybe I should start a research project? I think the closest research we have has to do with gastrectomies for weight loss but that is a different surgery then what I have had. I am hoping this feeling never goes away because it reminds me to keep eating!
Speaking of food, I wanted to give a brief update on what I have been these days since many questions surround, “what are you eating?”. I find one of the most difficult meals to figure out what to eat is breakfast. I used to eat a bowl of cereal for breakfast every day before work. I can’t eat fast enough to enjoy my cereal anymore and it just ends up in a big bowl of milky mush so I haven’t gone back to it. So this is what I have come up with so far:
- Scrambled egg cooked in butter – add cream cheese and lactose free whipping cream or cream (usually around 200kcal)
- Steel cut oats with 2% lactose free milk – stir in some chia seed jam for some sweetness
- Cheese omelet with bacon (but bacon can be hard at time to swallow)
Snacking is also an important part of my day and I have discovered these successful snacks:
- Banana cut into small pieces with loads of almond butter (start with only half banana)
- Egg, tuna or salmon salad
- Smoothies!! Loaded with good stuff
- Cheese and a few crackers
- Cashews and other mixed nuts
- Homemade granola bars
- Popcorn made from the popcorn machine loaded with butter
I have learned that bread (even pumpernickel) and some pasta makes me feel like I’ve hit a wall for 30 mins to an hour after meals. I relate the feeling to a ‘food coma’ that you can get with a stomach only you should multiply that by 100. Due to this, I have been avoiding eating too many carbs throughout my day. This afternoon, I am going to attempt to make a chia seed bread from my new cookbook.
Well after all this food talk, I’m hungry again. I will follow up with my surgeon tomorrow because I haven’t seen her since pre-dilation. I still haven’t heard back from the other doctor’s office about my next dilation appointment. I have a feeling there will be a lot of back and forth to the big city until I have my stricture problem resolved. No worries though, I’m alive!!