Life without a stomach

Today it's six and a half years since I had a total Gastrectomy. Though I've lead a healthy life; non smoker, non drinker and been actively fit all my life, to learn I had cancer came as no surprise. Nothing much has shocked me in life, though of late I've discovered hidden facts about the parents and family I never knew somewhat shocking.

Whilst caring for my late wife in the final stages of Alzheimer's I wheeled her into my GP on a number of occasions and complained with stomach problems and was informed I suffered with irritable bowel syndrome. After she passed away I insisted a through check-up be done. The result; I has an endoscopy, after which I was informed I had cancer. The specialist remarked: "I've being doing this for many years and I have no need to await the biopsy test." Later I was informed :"I'm surprised your not in a wheel chair." I was then seven weeks short of my 70th birthday.

It took a period of time before treatment was decided. Visits to my local Hospital at Hereford, Cheltenham Hospital and finally Gloucester Hospital for medical, physical and mental tests prior to the decision to operate. Before the operation I had keyhole surgery to the lower abdomen and woke up bleeding from my throat. The surgeon about to carry out the operation wanted to explain the procedure but I was not interested, I wanted it over and done with.

The operation did not go as planned as I was in hospital six weeks, three weeks of which I spent in Intensive Care. When I arrived home I was on my own and left to 'get on with it'. It's taken a long time to get to where I'm now at, but I've learned a lot of lessons along the way. The only medication I have is the B12 injections every 12 weeks and a daily dose of Levothyroxine tablets.

I'm pleased to say things are looking up as my times over my 4/5 mile morning runs are improving and I'm enjoying my food. In just over seven months time I'm looking forward to my youngest granddaughter's marriage the day before my 86th birthday.

From the age of two I was raised like a mushroom: kept in the dark and fed on compos. At age sixteen I was released into the light of the outside world to enjoy its beauty and wonder. I've lived life my way and am still discovering what the human mind and body is capable of. capable.

7 Replies

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  • Sorry, a mistake end of second paragraph should read: 'I was then seven weeks short of my 79th birthday.'

  • Bully for you!

  • So well done you!

  • It's a sad tale..so glad you are a strong person. Thanks for telling g your story

  • Bernadette,

    Some might consider my story sad, but I like to view it as the hand of life I was dealt. Informed I had stomach cancer, my initial reaction was: 'here I go again, another of life's challenges'. I plucked up the courage to research my background and that of a family I had been denied contact with. From the vast amount of information from official record I've collected, to put it mildly I'm shocked and amazed at the revelations. On the plus side my detention in detention as a child made me my own independent person.

    Up until cancer struck I lived in denial of my early life, ashamed of having spent my entire childhood in the Irish Industrial system. The first shock was to read my record on admission to an all boys schools, (children in cots) and boys up ten years old. My entry record reads: Age: 2yrs 3 months. Charge: 2receiving alms, Sentence: 14 years. Judge: Cussen. State if Illegitimate: Yes. That entry is untrue as my birth certificate proves. At age ten I was transferred to a School in Dublin: Artane where I provided free labour on the farm and poultry farm for the Christian Brothers. On my 'Ultimate Disposal' at 16 I was released into a strange outside world to make my way alone. Uneducated, emotionally barren and physically underdeveloped I was free to do as I wished. At age 17 in 1949 I made my way to the UK and managed to be accepted into HM Forces as a Messing Orderly. I'd found a home with cloths, three meals a day. Best of all I was paid! In my travels I found a young 18 year old factory girl in the North East of England to love. Three years later we married. The power of love drove me to achieve the dream I promised her: a home of our own in the countryside. I retired in my mid fifties to a large six bedroom home, two bed room cottage and other building set in some acres of countryside.

    The point I'm attempting to make is, I had little option but to live life on my terms and never stop learning from the challenges life presents. It brings a wry smile to my face when I consider the final post I held with Lockheed A/C International as a Superintendent in charge of a multi national force.

    Presently I'm learning lessons to live without a stomach and hope to complete writing my story of a very strange family and society I emerged from. Each day is precious and not to be wasted.

    The University of Life is a very exciting experience.

  • Lonestray

    Thank you for sharing your story. I often wonder about the stories behind the stories. We very rarely get to see behind the curtains on the internet.

    Thank you.

    Bruce

  • Lonestray as I said you are a very strong person. You made the most from a very bad start in life. I am Irish decent and it fills me with horror what I am reading about Tuam (and no doubt other places). You say you are writing a book that would be a marvellous achievement. Good luck with that.

    Please keep us informed.

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