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Oesophageal Patients Association
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New and looking for pre op advice

Hi

I’m 46 and was diagnosed with stomach cancer in August and have completed 4 rounds of FLOT chemo a few weeks ago and am waiting for scan/MDT meeting to get a date for my surgery, it will either be a full or partial gastrectomy.

I was fit prior to diagnosis, 9 stone 10 only 5ft 2 but was quite lean because of my gym regime, with stress and chemo I lost a stone and a half, however managed to gain a little weight back with each chemo and have now 3 weeks post chemo am at 9 stone 6, although feel very uncomfortable because it is just fat as I haven’t been exercising much due to exhaustion. My question is, should I continue to gain weight knowing I’m very likely to lose a fair amount after surgery? I just feel so unfit and wondering if I’m doing the right thing? I’m eating lots of fats and carbs (and sweet things) should I be eating more protein and trying to gain muscle, wondering what will be more beneficial to recovery? Many thanks for any advice.

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My then new husband (we married 2 weeks post chemo) brought me swimming and I ate as much as I could- it did stand to me - I had my total esopgagectomy in February 2007.

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Hi I had the Ivor Lewis surgery in January this year and I put on about 3 quarters of a stone in weight before surgery. I also continued to try and get as fit as possible doing a keep fit DVD given to me by the hospital. I think the most important thing from my experience is to get as fit as possible and put muscle bulk on. The surgery caused me to loose a lot of muscle bulk which I still haven't been able to regain yet as I haven't felt up to it. The surgeon told me that the surgery would cause my body to consume muscle in repairing itself and it certainly did. You will need all your strength to recover so stay as strong, fit and as positive as you can before hand. I am now feeling much better and stronger as I am sure you will also. Good luck and keep a positive mind frame throughout.

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I lost most of my weight after my surgery as complications caused me to have a much longer hospital stay and delayed start to eating. It was an esophagecomy rather than your op. From that personal experience I would say eat as well as you can in terms of balanced meals. However I also found the hospital dieticians really helpful. So maybe contact them. Also enjoy life as much and be as active as you can. Any weight you lose after the op will be fat and then after you recover you can rebuild your fitness and muscle. Good luck!

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Hi there you are doing the right thing to put on as much as you can. The weight loss is around 2 to 3 stone . I spent money losing weight to have to put it on for the op and I lost 3 stone. Your weight will level out after but some people never regain to there original weight. If you can go out walking it does help with the exhaustion.

I am 2yrs 8mths post op and enjoy the gym and walking . You will get back to gym after but have to be careful with weight exercises ,if you have Ivor Lewis ,as not to get a hernia.

Best Wishes

Debbie

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So sorry to hear of your diagnosis. My husband is now 6 months post partial gastrectomy for stomach cancer and doing incredibly well. He was also pretty fit and otherwise healthy before starting 9 weeks ecx chemo. At 6ft 2 and about 14 stone when diagnosed, I fed him so well that he was 15stone 6 when he had his operation at the end of May. It was definitely the best thing to do as he lost 3 stone after his operation. He is now eating almost normally again, with only 20% stomach left and is a steady 13 stone. He walked lots both pre op and post op - a perfect way to keep fit. He was determined throughout to fight the beast! All the very best to you and just enjoy food and exercise as best you can. Heartfelt thoughts to you. X

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Hi, I am 80 and had a total gastrectomy 6.5 years ago, had to have 2 ops and in hospital 7 weeks rather than 7-10 days and lost a couple of stone whilst there. Had a feeding tube when came home and on that for some weeks before went back to eating more solids and lost further 2 stone then. So yes would suggest keep eating while you can as it will come off again. You should speak to your Specialist Upper GI Nurse and dieticien to get the best advise. I was the same when had op didn't know if would be partial or all of the stomach, ended up with all of it out. Your still young and would expect recovery to be a lot quicker I knew another patient about your age who lost weight but then put it back on again and was back into his fitness regime very quickly. Everyone is different as far as recovery and symptens go so talk to your professionals. Best wishes

Rob

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Mrs 1972,

I could have the same name, just celebrated my 46th birthday. I was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer affect stomach Feb 2016, I was just over 14 stone. At 5ft 9 I was over weight but I am glad I was. After chemo, surgery, more chemo combined with radiotherapy and then 12 months later appendicitis I went down to 8 1/2 so try put as much weight on as possible, try not to let it be too many sweet things, I struggle now but I am slowly gaining weight, up to 9 stone now. I walk a lot, not a gym bunny although I did try yoga and must go back but an upset stomach made that embarrassing for a while.

Try staying fit too, I know it’s is a struggle but any exercise you do helps you recover and I think it keeps you positive. Then eat, and try to enjoy it if you can, hard when nauseous I know but fight through it.

Hope you stay strong and positive.

Z

Xx

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Hi, my diagnosis is only a year past. I had radiation and chemotherapy from mid November until Christmas, put on 1 kg. Surgery mid February, put on 2 kg due to fluid which had built up. 4 weeks rehab, fluid went back. I'm now 10 months after diagnosis the same as before, 52 kg. That is not much, but in fact I didn't loose weight. I wonder when I read the post of fellow patients.

Go for it and best wishes, Monika

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Was the wrong wording: I read so much of people loosing weight due to this surgery. I myself wonder why I didn't loose weight.

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It sounds as though you are on top of this with exactly the right approach. I was a fit and active 21 stone before chemo and am now down to 13 stone after adjuvant chemo and surgery. I have a strict walking regime which has helped both physical and mental fitness. Your appetite will return and you should eat to fuel your exercise. Good luck tanktank

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Thank you all for your advice, I feel like I’m going in the right direction now. I will just keep on enjoying the lovely food whilst I can. I’ve been away for s few days and managed lots of walking and have bought myself a mini stepper and light weights so I can exercise at home if the weather is bad. It’s really hard to go from a carefree life to having cancer thrown at you isn’t it!

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Hi again Mrs1972

I’m the wife of the husband that’s gone through this horrendous ordeal over the last 16 months , but we always say we’ve gone through this together ! He even says he thinks it affected me more ....there’s been some really hard times , but keep positive! All of a sudden you realise that life is improving and you WILL smile again.

Hugs Deb

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Hi

I can remember the first thing the Consultant said to my husband after telling him he had Oesophageal Cancer was to eat everything in site that he’d been told not too ie Cakes Chocolate Cream Biscuits ice cream the lot !! He did pre op and while he could during Chemo ( the Chemo prevents really cold foods being consumed) but we could never have predicted the dramatic weight loss followed by having IL Operation.

Believe me although it must go against the grain at the moment, you really really do need to consume as many calories as you possibly can beforehand.

Good luck

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Hi

I'm 6 months post op. I put on an extra 4 pounds before surgery and had only lost 2 when I left hospital. If you have a jej tube you will be able to maintain your weight ok to get over the op. If you have a full gastrectomy a jej is unlikely so you may benefit from the extra weight but I'd go easy. The surgical team still have to lift and shift you and extra fat around the incision sites will make access trickier for the surgeon. My weight was fine for weeks then I had a couple of issues and it dropped again. The loss is slow but Im working on reversing it as I've lost nearly a stone since surgery.

I have a personal blog to track my progress and I hope Im ok to include a link here to my 10 tips for surgery which includes more importantly lung exercises to keep the lungs at top capacity to keep infections at bay and strengthening the arms and shoulders. You will need these to move in and out of bed post-op as your core muscles will be shot for a while.

oesophagectomylife.co.uk/20...

I hope all goes well for you. There are lots of people on here with advice and guidance for every step of the way.

X

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Thank you for taking the time to reply. I’m actually in my gown waiting to go to theatre. I built myself up and added about 7lbs to my pre Chemo weight so I’m confident I can lose a bit without it being too much trouble.

Thanks again will read your page when I’m on the other side.

X

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Oh my goodness. Well hope everything goes to plan. Let us know. X

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Well I’ve made it so far thanks! Total gastrectomy in the end but I’m happy that surgeon is happy with the margins.

Waiting for a swallow test today to see if I can go on to liquids.

Just a bit tender and sore but was done by keyhole so hopefully I’ll mend a little quicker. My surgeon told me to get up and about but there aren’t many staff on hand to help which is frustrating.

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