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  • Writer's pictureKate

Don't Mind Me, I'm Just Over Here Shrinking

Updated: Sep 12, 2020

Hey All. I can't believe it has been so long since my last post! I've just been over here living life, eating, physically shrinking, and figuring out how to balance everything since going back to work. I am still working part-time, and am grateful for the flexibility and support my employer is affording me as I continue to transition back.

Let's see, eating, hydrating, and my overall energy levels are getting better day by day. I still have days when I feel crummy, or tired, or am dealing with the dreaded bile reflux, but these days are getting fewer and farther between. And, most importantly, I am learning how to combat these unwanted symptoms and figuring out what works for me. For those new to the blog, because I no longer have a stomach, or any remaining stop valves in my digestive system following surgery, bile from the common bile duct can flow backward up my digestive tract and cause anywhere from mild nausea and burning sensations all the way to the green bile juices ending up in my mouth and causing intense burning, coughing, vomiting, aspiration, pain, etc. Luckily, the worst of these symptoms seem to have diminished since about my fourth month post-op.

Andy and I took a quick trip to Mexico over valentine's day. We picked an adults only, all inclusive resort in Cancun because of the ease of travel getting there, and having food available 24/7 is a must for me now. It turned out to be just what we needed. A little R & R, and I felt like I got to eat constantly! It was amazing. As a seahorse (seahorses don't have stomachs), I strongly recommend an all inclusive, because the buffet options were wonderful and I could take my small portions of a variety of foods and no one looked at me weird. Also, eating every few hours, it was nice not to have to go to restaurants and pay out the nose for a bunch of food I would inevitably waste. On our trip, I learned I can have some sweets, as long as I pair it with protein. I learned I can drink small sips of water with my meal and it not only helps the food go down easier, but it helps me stay more hydrated in the long run. I learned I can increase my physical exercise and still feel ok, and I learned that snorkeling worked out just fine even though I was a little worried about the position and the potential for reflux. Overall, I gained confidence with traveling again. I guess I don't have to be so afraid that I won't have a good time, or that I will feel horrible the whole time, or I won't be able to find the right foods, because #nostomachnoproblem. We have many more trips in the works this year, and I am really looking forward to it.

So, the shrinking thing. I have been making do, for the most part, with the clothes I have and all those clothes in the back of my closet in smaller sizes, I have been saving for who knows how long, thinking I would eventually fit into them. Well, I have officially outshrunk all of them! I can barely believe it! I guess it makes sense since I have lost nearly 40 pounds now, but it is still weird to see myself in the mirror. I have been reluctant to buy anything because I am not sure how much more I will loose. It was a must the other day though, because the last pair of work pants that fit, suddenly became too loose. So, I went to Macy's and found some work paints and shirts on a sale rack. Then I went on a bit of a shopping spree at an outlet mall because literally everything was too big, from my underwear, to my jackets. I have to admit, it was quite fun trying things on and having them fit and look good!

Dressing room selfy

I am not sure if I should just get rid of the clothes that no longer fit? Or, keep them? I don't think it will be possible to gain a bunch of weight back, but my brain hasn't quite switched over to thinking this could actually be the size I am now. I am still used to that whole, yoyo weight thing, where you loose some, you gain some, and you need to keep ALL your clothes, in ALL the sizes, just in case! For now, they will remain in bins in the basement, and we will see if I end up purging them this summer.

I don't say all this to worry you, yes mom, I'm talking to you. Because, I am still at a healthy weight, and the amount of weight I am loosing has been steadily declining. It should slow/stop soon, and I am not too worried about it. As I said before, eating is getting easier, and I am able to eat most everything now, so I am getting a good amount of calories and protein in every day. I haven't started loosing hair, often after gastrectomies people start loosing hair because of lack of nutrient absorption, but mine is holding on. From other seahorses, I have heard it starts to come out around the 3-4 month mark after surgery, so fingers crossed I have jumped that hurdle. My hair has actually been growing really fast lately. I have even started putting it up in a ponytail, which I am pretty stoked about!! I am taking this as a sign that I am getting good nutrition despite the weight loss.

My 2-year cancerversary was last month. Totally forgot about it, but in a way it is kind of awesome that I did. I am finally moving on, and not constantly dwelling on it! I still can't believe how much has happened in those two years, until I look in the mirror, or count all of my scars or missing body parts.

I am trying not to worry too much about the global pandemic happening right now, because as a cancer patient for the past two years, I have had lots of practice avoiding people, washing my hands every five minutes, and being paranoid about germs. Without an immune system, it was a must. Luckily my immune system has rebounded just in time for all this nonsense. Please make sure to be extra sensitive to those around you though, because you never know what others are dealing with or worrying about. I constantly got the comments, "you look so great, I never would have guessed you have cancer," and the like, but that is exactly it. People don't always look sick, even though they might be. So be careful out there, and wash your damn hands!


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