Almost 6 month update – Everything is awesome!

Last week, I started a list of things to write about for my weekly update (last Friday), but then became so busy I didn’t have a chance to get around to it.  So today, I’ll do a special two week update in one post.  Some old news, some new!

Meeting Colin last week was a reminder about how far I have really come over the past five months.  I had forgotten about all of the little things about recovery and visiting him reminded me about everything I have accomplished since surgery.  I am not back to where I would like to be, but I am getting closer to that goal each day.

The biggest change over the past two weeks has been my eating.  Big win!  After having the dilation a few weeks ago, I have noticed a large difference in my ability to swallow.  Since I am able to swallow more in one sitting, my small intestine has to adjust to the increased food intake.  This means I have to be careful about how fast I eat because if I eat too fast, I pay for it 15-20 minutes later.  Paying for it means anything from intense intestinal cramps to bloating to dumping syndrome and I must not forget – gas.    Before, the stricture was acting like a sphincter – limiting food passage into my intestine.  Now it’s mostly smooth sailing.  Which leads me to my food update!

The past two weeks I have been able to eat a variety of foods and it has been fantastic.  I got a lot of good food ideas from the gastrectomy book I bought off of amazon last month.  Most of the recipes in the book have been a success which has been exciting.  Things I am most excited about re-introducing into my diet are:

whole wheat tortillas – filled with tuna, cheese slices, and hummus.  Oh and sometimes for extra calories – spreading Philadelphia cream  cheese between the layers when I roll it up.
Apples – I used to eat one every day before surgery and I am so excited that I am able to eat them again.  Especially because they are in season right now
Whole wheat pancakes – with almond butter on top (I just eat 1-2 small ones at a time)
A small slice of blueberry pie – this pie was home made with minimal sugar and it was fantastic!
Also, last Saturday, my friends threw me a surprise birthday party and one of them baked a special cake for me that was sugar free and made with Japanese sweet potato instead.  I’m sure she spent hours researching the perfect cake and a lot of time to bake it.  It was super thoughtful and I was able to eat it without any issues.  Thanks Kiriko!
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Last update, I wrote about trying a Mass Gainer.  The idea was exciting but the outcome wasn’t that wonderful.  After drinking it, I would feel like my head was in the clouds and feel extremely tired.  The feeling took close to an hour to pass.   I decided that the extra calories was not worth it and ended up returning it.  I have a feeling the crash was due to the large quantity of carbohydrates added into it to bulk it up.  Also, there are a lot of other ingredients in it which must be difficult to digest.

However, my mother in law gave me “Raw Meal” for my birthday.  It is a very clean vegan organic protein that provides many nutrients and vitamins.  I was excited to take it because I have issues drinking Ensure or Boost (other meal replacement beverages).  But, I was a little weary of trying it because it’s third ingredient was “organic brown rice syrup” and the sugar content was 26 grams for 27 grams of protein.  Until this point, I have tried to limit my sugar intake to 9 grams or less.  I ended up mixing half a serving into a glass of lactose free milk and much to my surprise, had no issues.

Raw Meal - I have only tried the natural flavour so far

Raw Meal – I have only tried the natural flavour so far

I don’t know if this is placebo effect or anything, but I have noticed a large difference in my energy level since I started taking it.  If you can get past the chalky and gritty texture, it isn’t all that bad and to be honest, I’ll do it for more energy!  I am guessing it is so easy to digest because the ingredients are simple and pure.

In terms of my physical fitness, I am in rotten shape.  I may look lean and small but I can assure you that I am far from being in shape.  I feel the fatigue in my quads after climbing one flight of stairs.  I get short of breath after power walking for ten minutes.  I think about returning to the gym every day.  A while back I had mentioned that my family doc told me not to run yet.  Well, I have booked a ski trip to Calgary (Banff, Lake Louise) with my family for the end of February.  I missed my baseball season, I’m not missing my snowboarding season.  I’ll be physically ready by then…no if, and’s or butts.   My gym membership re-activates Dec 12th.  I will be back by then.

Me at Whistler - March 2013

Me at Whistler – March 2013

Tomorrow, my family and I will be participating in No Stomach for Cancer’s awareness walk.  November is Stomach Cancer awareness month and this walk kicks it off.  We will be doing a walk followed by a nice breakfast.  I plan to do some fundraising over the month of November for No Stomach for Cancer.  Their goal is to reach $75, 000 for research.  Currently they are close to $30,000.  If we could find a way to better screen or even cure stomach cancer, then future generations will not need to have the surgery that I have had.  If you would like to donate – click here.

I am following up with my surgeon next Wednesday and believe it or not, I have actually been booked for my next dilation for Nov 12th.  Unfortunately, both fall on Wednesdays and I am missing two more days of work.  I am hoping that Nov 12th will be my last dilation.  Fourth time’s a charm, right?

In closing, I want to wish everyone a safe and Happy Halloween!  Everything is Awesome!

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