Dr. Moore said that this would be life-changing surgery. I am only beginning to grasp this. Eric struggles to eat. He often avoids eating as it is uncomfortable. Swallowing is easy and painless. His small volume stomach seems to accept the foods he has been willing to try so far. After two or three bites, Eric is full. He breaks out in a sweat shortly after eating, though, and seems to feel quite uncomfortable. I am learning to offer small amounts of higher calorie foods. It's like feeding a toddler who is a picky eater. And I have to humor him and cajole him about as much. Hopefully this will get better with time. Candace
Eric sat in front of his computer for the first time today. It is my hope that he will tell his side of his experiences one of these days. Today was an interesting day with ups and downs. On the bad side, after a trial of eggs for breakfast, Eric vomited. He felt shaken and a bit ill. He gradually felt better sipping Gatorade over the day. For dinner, he chose tuna salad. It made no sense to me but I am willing to humor him. It may be a vital part of his diet from his Norwegian heritage. In any case, the tuna perked him up a bit. So the experiment with food was mixed today. Maybe more fish tomorrow? Candace
5/8/2001 Eating continues to be a struggle for Eric. Today I understand why that is so. We went to see Dr. Moore today for a post surgery visit. Eric had a chest x ray made about three days ago in preparation for this visit. Dr. Moore reviewed the x-ray with me explaining that the shadow I saw in Eric's chest was his stomach. His entire stomach now sits in his chest next to his heart and ends about his diaphragm. It looks like it would get crowded in there when he ate. Eric complained to Dr. Moore about the lack of appetite and was reminded that it would take six months to learn how to do it. Dr. Moore was very encouraged about the results of surgery and the possibility of a cure for the cancer. He reminded Eric that recovery would take six months and that it would take effort on Eric's part. There is no magic, he said. Eric will start taking Megace, a new medicine, to help stimulate his appetite. Eric struggles a lot with depression about losing the joy of eating and about his now scarred body. The depression is so uncharacteristic of his usually upbeat nature that I hardly recognize my own husband. And I hardly know what to do for him. We need to do something about the depression. Candace
There is a little improvement today. Eric saw a psychiatrist last Thursday May 10th to deal with the depression. He began taking an antidepressant called Remeron. We were told that it would help stimulate his appetite and help him sleep. Last night Eric finally slept through the night. Side sleeping is still too painful and may be for quite some time. But he has learned to sleep on his back propped up on a pillow fairly well. Today he nibbled and ate intermittently all day. I have hope that he may finally start doing better. Sometimes after he eats, or even when he eats, Eric will start to gag. He doesn't vomit, but the gagging wears him out. He's learning to leave the table, sit in a comfortable chair and relax to let his stomach settle. It is upsetting to the rest of us to see him gagging, I am trying to just accept this as a phase Eric needs to get through as he learns to eat. It goes against reason, though, to sit by and just watch. I've learned that he won't vomit but only gag. Again I am at a loss for what to do. Other than being sure the refrigerator is well stocked with tempting things, I am unable to help him. He has been walking a little. I push him to increase the distance by a little bit every day. He is progressing by baby steps now. Candace
Eric seems a bit happier today. He says that he doesn't feel any better, but the moaning and sighing has stopped. He even smiled during dinner tonight. He is trying new foods. Some settle well and others do not. There's no rhyme or reason to the pattern of what agrees and what doesn't. His new stomach didn't like cottage cheese but did well with a MacDonald's cheeseburger and French fries for dinner (his request). He was very happy to be able to eat all American fast food. Eric says that it makes him feel normal again. I'm starting to find humor in this food experiment. It is like feeding a toddler---you never know if it will be accepted or not. It's a game of "Will Mikey like it?" I've also discovered that I do much better if I continue on with my work and outside activities. When I get all wrapped up in Eric's recovery, I am as unhappy as he is. It's too easy to get caught up in the miseries of the moment and forget the long term goal. We are both recovering from his cancer. Candace
I guess it's time I made a reappearance here. Candace has done a wonderful job updating the page and I am very thankful she took on that job. Not sure there is much I can add to what she has already said. Recovery is a long, slow and painful process. Learning how to eat is very frustrating and difficult. Things do improve but at such a slow rate that it is not easy to see any progress. I just want to thank Candace for all her love and support. I don't think I could have done this without her.
Progress is very slow indeed. Frustratingly slow at times. Eating is getting a bit better. Eric has a cough that leads to gagging and retching. He is developing a routine to minimize the cough making eating a bit easier and more enjoyable. He uses Ventolin before meals to ease his breathing. He also takes Delsym twice daily. Eating has finally settled into a routine of three meals a day. It's probably not enough total calories but it is an improvement. And he allows me to take him for a walk once a day. He never was enthusiastic about exercise (something about allergic to sweat), he is willing to get out a bit. We looked at pictures from Christmas and from after surgery. The contrast in his appearance is striking. The weight loss is dramatic. How I long to have the pre-op Eric back again. Candace