Wednesday, November 7, 2018

2018 Stomachless Sisters CDH1 T-Shirt Sale!

It's here! The 2018 T-Shirt Sale for CDH1 Research is live!

Once again the wonderful Kristi Sasser has worked her magic and designed an awesome
shirt around the stomach theme. We are offering short sleeve tees, long sleeve tees, and a crewneck sweatshirt this year. They will be Gildan brand and available in Ash Gray or White. 

We will be accepting orders from now until November 30th and shirts should be ready December 14th. As always, local delivery is available in the Birmingham, Hartselle, Talladega, and Andalusia areas. We also offer domestic and international shipping using USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate fees. 

The proceeds from this sale will be donated to Dr. Perry Guilford at the University of Otago. Dr. Guilford is the researcher who discovered the CDH1 mutation and its link to hereditary diffuse gastric cancer. He is currently working on an oral medication to prevent HDGC in individuals with a CDH1 mutation, eliminating the need for a total gastrectomy. We firmly believe he is the biggest hope for Caden, Liam, and Andy if they carry this mutation. 

So how do you order? You can fill out the Google Docs Form below, comment on this blog post, comment of our Facebook post, message us through the Stomachless Sisters Facebook page or email

We are so grateful for the success of the sale over the past two years and we know this year will be even better!!

Much Love,
Jessica and Nicole

Google Docs Order Form
The Stomachless Sisters Facebook Page

Monday, September 10, 2018

We Hate Cancer!!

Nicole, Me, and Allison
Cancer sucks! I wish I could come up with a more eloquent way to phrase that thought, but that’s the cold, honest truth. It’s relentless, uncaring, and attacks ruthlessly.

This week cancer is one again attacking our family hard. On Sunday our precious sister-in-law Allison lost her beloved grandmother to pancreatic cancer. Mrs. Christine Paris fought so hard over the past few months and it was amazing to see her family rally around to care for her during this battle. Our faith tells us that even though cancer claimed her earthly life, she received the ultimate healing and stepped into the presence of her Savior for a joyful, pain free eternity. The Paris family is devastated over the loss of their matriarch and we ask that you lift them up in prayers as they prepare to say goodbye to Mrs. Christine, a strong, beautiful woman who will be deeply missed.

Over the past two months or so we’ve also been processing the news that our selfless, caring, funny, all around amazing father has prostate cancer. Dad will undergo a radical prostatectomy tomorrow, September 11th. His cancer is of an “aggressive” nature, but with prostate cancer even the aggressive forms are slow growing, so our hope is surgery will be curative and no radiation or additional therapy will be needed. For Nicole and I it’s been very emotional; we have every hope that he’s going to come out of surgery fine and that this will just be a bump in the road, but we remember watching what our Mom went through and it’s scary to even think of the possibility of anything similar happening to our Daddy.

Nicole, Dad, and Me
Our Dad has faced many challenges in his life; the sickness and loss of our Mom, losing both his parents, too many orthopedic surgeries to count, watching his daughters go through total gastrectomies, and watching me, his baby, almost die last year. He’s handled it all with so much grace and his signature sense of humor, so we know he’ll tackle this battle the same way. He also has our wonderful stepmom Rhonda there to care for him and push him to return to normal as soon as possible.

Please lift up our family, our sister-in-law Allison and the Paris family this week. Cancer is strong, but faith and prayers are much stronger.

Much Love,
Jessica & Nicole

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Pumping That Iron!

Let’s talk about heavy metal! And no, I don’t mean bands like Metallica!

We are officially well over the two year post total gastrectomy mark. When we first started planning to have our surgery in the spring of 2016 we asked numerous times about vitamins and minerals that we would or wouldn’t be able to absorb with our new anatomy. We were told by our medical team that B12 would be the only vitamin we’d never be able to fully absorb. No problem, we take a shot on a regular basis and bing, bang, boom, B12 levels stay up. One thing no one ever mentioned or prepared us for was that with a roux en y reconstruction comes an increase in the chance of iron deficient anemia.

If you have followed our story then you know we like to do things together, even subconsciously. Over the spring and summer we both started experiencing extreme fatigue. For the most part we passed it off as just a side effect of our busy lives working, chasing kids, and being involved in a million different things. Then we started having headaches, leg cramps, dizzy spells and a love for munching ice. Something was up, but we still didn’t worry much about it. Then within a few weeks of each other we had our 6 month labs to monitor certain markers. Both of our Ferritin levels (the measure of the bodies iron stores) had absolutely plummeted. The hematologist told us they like to see a number over 50, Nicole was 8 and I was 3. The nurse practitioner made the comment to me “I bet you feel like crap.” Why yes, now that you mention it, I do feel like crap. Thankfully the hematology team didn’t play around and we both did two infusions over the course of a week of an iron product called Injectafer and we’ve both felt much better since shortly after the second infusion. Now the plan is to check those iron levels every 6 weeks or so and when we see them start to fall we’ll do another round of iron infusions.

So the point of this blog post is really for our fellow “TG’ers” or those getting ready for a gastrectomy. Apparently iron deficient anemia is very common after a total gastrectomy with roux en y reconstruction. I’m not very anatomy savvy, but here’s my basic understanding: iron is primarily absorbed in the duodenum (the first part of the small intestine immediately past the stomach). With the roux en y reconstruction the duodenum is rerouted and food bypasses that area. There is secondary absorption of iron that takes place further down the small intestine, but it’s just that, secondary absorption, you’re not getting the same full effect as if it were being absorbed in the duodenum. Your body stores up iron and you usually have about a two year store, hence why ours crashed when it did. The way the hematologist explained it, we could pop all the supplements we wanted but our bodies would never absorb enough of the iron to maintain us.

So stay on top of those routine labs, listen to your body, if something feels off talk to your doctor. Luckily there is an easy fix for iron deficient anemia, iron infusions are quick, simple, and offer relief pretty fast.

So that’s our PSA for now on keeping a check on your iron. We will try to do better with our blogging as we do have some exciting things coming up! As always, thank you for all the love, support and prayers that have been poured out on us during this crazy journey. We are thriving in this stomachless life and we owe it all to God’s grace and the unending support of family and friends.

Much Love,
Jessica & Nicole