Ivor Lewis post operation : Could any... - Oesophageal Patie...

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Ivor Lewis post operation

Carisbrooke-24 profile image

Could any body help with ideas on how to gain weight after an Ivor Lewis now 16 months post operation. Weight is still very low but my husband is eating well small and regular.He’s lost about 2 stone in weight .Would be grateful if anybody has some good advice to give .

15 Replies

Hi, When I left hospital my dietitian gave me a list of high calorie foods to eat like cakes, pastries and sauces to add to things. Having been quite a healthy eater before my op it felt wrong but I understand it is necessary to keep my weight up because I can’t eat the quantity of food I used to. Early days I lost 4 stones but gained half a stone back. Almost 10 years on and I have stayed at that level. I have to say I needed to lose some weight as although I was quite a healthy eater I was also a big eater. I’ve had to buy a whole new wardrobe of clothes but it’s a small price. Best Wishes, James.

Hi there. I’m now six years post-op. It took me a very long time to put weight back on. I assume he still has a dietician to see or speak to as part of his follow up? They can always prescribe some calorie dense drinks, though personally I struggled to drink those. The weight is never going to come back on like it does on a person with normal plumbing. I’ve probably only put on about 2.5 kilos in all those years, so don’t worry too much. There’s tons of advice on here and elsewhere of what to eat, so no point in me repeating it. I don’t have any magic recipe or trick that will suddenly add pounds. Just keep going. He’s doing amazing.

Hi - sounds like your husband is doing really well - wouldn’t worry to much as it’s very hard to gain the weight back but may come in time - I’m nearly 7yrs post op and only weigh 7 stone - can’t put an ounce on and I used to get really worried about it but doctor and consultant told me not to - I eat well and look well - all the best

I always ate well and focused on high protein. That didn't cut it for weight gain post op. What made a difference was going for good fats (eg avocado, nuts) and having good quantities of these daily. I also switched from low fat to full fat diary. All the weight came back in time. Good luck.

Hi.. I returned to a healthy weight about 8 months post op by eating protein rich and ‘full fat’ foods. Particularly yoghurts, cheese, milk. I also became generous with butter particularly in sauces or mash and on crackers or toast.Full fat Greek yoghurt has been particularly handy as by adding in to the dish it’s allowed me to have small curries . I avoid cream though as I find it a bit too rich..

I know everyone is different but it helped me gain over a stone quite quickly and my energy levels improved greatly and now 3 years post op I’m

Back to my normal for me weight of 10 stone. (I’m 5ft 6)

Hope this is helpful

Hi it's a slow process but go with full fat foods and add calories where you can. Ie use cream in mash, make cream sauces for food, ie leeks softened in butter then add some stock and cook down. Add cream simmer for a few mins and serve. You can add cream cheese instead of cream or as well as. For meat cook the meat in a pan use butter to cook with where poss add sherry, port, wine, cider or such like, you can use apple juice with pork or Malibu or coconut cream with prawns. Then add cream and reduce down. Very quick and adds some calories and makes meat easier to eat. Cakes and pastries are great and if you are going to do something that uses energy eat something sugary or fast GI release to give you a quick energy boost rather than make your body use up and convert it's fat store. Graze in between meals and don't make eating a chore. You are from the sound of it doing really well. I was told not to worry about eating healthy but eat what I fancied and make sure I had calories in every mouthful. Also I had little nibbles in the fridge things. Like sandwich fillers. Egg mayo, Prawn cocktail. Smoked salmon. Etc. used to eat it without the bread or toast as a snack, if it was there and I didn't have to make it or cause someone else to make it I would nibble away all day. Still not as heavy as I was originally but I have put on 18k since the op 12 years ago. At 16 months if you are maintaining weight you are doing great.

Thank you for your reply , cream and butter are my go to in cooking . As you say it’s a long haul no quick fix . The weight just does not seem to want to increase . He is 9.st 7lbs use to be 12 st at 5 ft 11 so he looks very thin now .But have to be positive and hopefully in fullness of time the weight just might go on slowly . It’s a very challenging time . The reflux and the coughing are testing as well thanks again . Chris

I am 4 years post op . I lost 60 pounds and have not gained any of it back. I was overweight when I started but I am thin now. My doctors and I focus on maintaining the weight I am rather than trying to increase my weight. Eating is a chore bexuase as soon as I start to enjoy it I end up with dumping syndrome. I would not worry about increasing the weight just try to maintain and not lose more. Best of luck.

Thank you for your reply .

Hi , my husband lost 5 stone after surgery, but is now maintaining steady 10 stone 3 years post op. He really hated the Fortisip high calorie drinks, so gave those up.

Things like a one egg omelette, enriched with cream, butter and a little grated cheese.

Jacket potato, butter and cheese

Pasta withe a creamy mushroom sauce/ spaghetti Bol

Tinned ravioli

Cheese on toast

It has taken a while and some things that don’t work , try at a later date.

His dietician , also suggests wholemeal and high fibre which is slow release and is supposed to help with ‘dumping syndrome’ although it didn’t quite help my husbands symptoms.

Also worth remembering not to drink just before or half an hour after eating.

Good luck it all takes time

Ps, a bit of chocolate if he can tolerate is good!

Your so right about the drinking bit can have a real bad effect .This is a game changer and a steep learning curve . Fortunately dumping syndrome is not to much of a problem. We will get there in time !! Yes he does do chocolate and offers me some as well !!! And I shouldn’t eat it !!

😂 good to hear! Good luck and slow but sure progress is good! 🤗

Hi I’m 18 months postsalvage Mckeown and have the same problem. My dietician gave me some fortified juices to try. I liked the Altrajuice strawberry and the Blackcurrent. 300 cal a carton which I drink in the evening and night as I was getting hungry around 11pm when I can’t eat. They need mixing with some water and chilling and are quite nice. Good to have in too if you feel Ill and can’t eat much. Good luck.


Excerpt from the link.

"Gaining weight

Often people have lost weight prior to surgery and it is quite common to continue losing weight after leaving hospital, maybe for some months, and many people never return to the weight they were prior to their illness. You will establish a new “fighting weight” in due course.

It may take a long time – a year or longer – and by eating little and often you should be able to maintain a good calorie intake. However, if you feel that you need to gain weight there are ways of adding calories to food. See appendix."

From your text it looks he was slim pre-surgery. He seems to have coping well with his current regime of intake. That's good.

Unless he is extremely skinny and there is clinical concern to any sustained diarrhoea dumping personally I would not too worried of looks post surgery weight. He is still 16 months and still recovery adjustment ongoing. Any experimentation comes with its risks and rewards, how much to do it is individual choice.

Dietic experiments should be handled one at a time and spaced good enough between these attempts.

In theoretical view a patient tries to put on weight pre surgery and post surgery to survive the surgical anomalies and diarrhoea dumping related (sustained, severe) respectively.

However managing expectations as to the looks will be borderline conflict of accepting New Normal, if one may.

I am nearly 5 years on fron Ivor Lewis. I put weight on before the op, as encouraged by the dietitian. Was nearly 9st at surgery and since have not been able to get much past 7st 7lb. Don't worry too much

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