Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Hi, everyone! I'm Nicole, the other sister. This will be my first blog post...ever. It has been one month since my sister and I both underwent total gastrectomies in Houston, TX. It is definitely an adjustment, but we are both doing exceptionally well and getting better every day. This was definitely the hardest thing I've ever been through. It was physically hard, but I was an emotional wreck the first two weeks. No one had prepared me for that part. I think this was mostly in part because I had never been away from my children that long. As hard as it was, I know we made the right decision to travel to TX for the surgery. We had a wonderful surgeon and MD Anderson is a great hospital. A few days after leaving the hospital, we received our pathology reports. My sister had one spot of submucosal cancer and I had ten. So, technically we were both diagnosed with Stage 1 Hereditary Diffuse Gastric Cancer. They took my appendix, gallbladder, and ten lymph nods during the surgery and thank God, they were all clear. Our doctor said no further treatment is needed. Those first few days after surgery, I had questioned whether or not I had made the right decision, this was total confirmation that I had. Having my sister go through this with me has made the experience so much more bearable though. We text or talk daily about how we're feeling and give each other support and encouragement when one of us is having a bad day.
When they say everyone's recovery is different, they mean it. I had trouble with nausea the first couple of weeks, but have only had a couple of bouts of it in the past two weeks. Jessica was just the opposite. She had no nausea to begin with, but has struggled the last couple of weeks. She told me this morning that it was the first morning she hasn't been nauseous in a while, so hopefully she's getting better. We both have trouble eating very much in the mornings and find it much easier to eat after 11:00 am. The eating around the clock does get annoying, but I'm getting use to it. I am finding that the amount of food I can eat at one time is increasing and there are actually a lot more things I can eat than I had anticipated at this point. I went to the movies with my husband and our five year old the other night and ate six handfuls of popcorn. I really surprised myself and it felt great to think that I will be able to go watch a movie and have popcorn with my kids like normal! Maybe one day I will be able to have a soda too! I have really been missing my sweets and I haven't been brave enough to try anything with much sugar in it yet. I have found some great recipes that are made with Splenda though and I am starting to try those out. I am able to get out of the house for a few hours at a time now, but I do tire very easily. I have noticed an increase in my energy the past week though. I'm taking vitamins daily and I will have my vitamin d and B12 checked tomorrow. I also get my feeding tube out tomorrow and I am super excited about that! It has hurt way more than my incision site. My sister had some trouble with hers this week and got hers out a couple of days early. She said it felt better right away and the hole closed up in 24 hours.
I am starting to settle into my new stomachless life pretty well. I've heard someone else say this, but it is so true, the best part about life after TG is LIFE. We feel that we are truly blessed that God revealed this to us and that we were able to have the surgery and totally eliminate the cancer before it spread beyond the stomach. We were given a second chance that our beautiful mother didn't have and we are so grateful. We appreciate all the prayers, texts, calls, cards, gifts, meals, and support you have shown us. We have felt your prayers and God's hand throughout this whole process. Please keep praying our recover continues to go well.