Total Gastrectomy: What can I expect?

Posted by twocents @twocents, May 31 4:15pm

My husband was diagnosed with stage four gastric cancer in November. He has had chemo, chemo bath and a light dosage of radiation. The end of this month he will have a total gastrectomy. We have been to the mayo clinic twice and this is where the surgery will be. I’m wondering if anyone on here has had a total gastrectomy and what we can expect on recovery time and what the future brings. The surgeon at mayo says he will only be able to eat 3/4 of a cup of food at a time. We have been very pleased with the care we have received at Mayo clinic.

@twocents, I'm glad that you and your husband have received good care at Mayo Clinic and that you have confidence in the team. That said, it can be so helpful to hear from others who have first-hand experience with a procedure like a total gastrectomy to help prepare for what you can expect.

I'm tagging @freeflow @azcyclist2018 and @rred who can share some of their experiences and hopefully answer your questions.

In the meantime, you can read some of their experiences in this discussion:
– Gastrectomy and bile reflux https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/gastrectomie-and-bile-reflux/

The biggest adjustment will be eating. He'll have to eat smaller meals more often. Do you have an appointment with an oncology dietitian to help you prepare and give guidance?

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Thankyou for the info Colleen. Mayo is taking good care of us. We have appointments with three different dietitians a few Days before the surgery. The days before the surgery are full of tests, consults with the oncologist, radiation oncologist, and the surgeon. I’m overwhelmed already! I’m sure it will be exhausting. Thankyou for your help.

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@twocents

Thankyou for the info Colleen. Mayo is taking good care of us. We have appointments with three different dietitians a few Days before the surgery. The days before the surgery are full of tests, consults with the oncologist, radiation oncologist, and the surgeon. I’m overwhelmed already! I’m sure it will be exhausting. Thankyou for your help.

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@twocents I can only imagine how overwhelmed you must be. So many different people telling you so many different things and most of them “speaking a foreign language.” By that, I mean so many different words and procedures. My big suggestion to you (from my own experience), is to get a good size notebook and start religiously using it. When I got sick 3 years ago, my husband started a notebook and wrote Everything that anyone said or did. It was several months before I could really comprehend what was going on but he had carefully written it all down. I now keep my own notebook with sections for my PCP, the neurologist, the oncologist, physical therapy, etc. I hope this will help. As a former oncology nurse, we asked all of our patient’s caregivers to do this and it made such a difference to them.
Will you stay connected and let us know how everything goes?

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Thankyou so much for the tips. I will try to keep a journal from here on out. I wish I would have thought of that from the beginning. I have recorded most of our appointments at Mayo. So that does help. That way I can send it to family members and they hear what we hear!

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