My Stomach Bucket List
Ok, for those new to the blog, I have biopsy confirmed cancer cells in my stomach due to a rare genetic mutation (CDH1), and I will need to have my stomach removed (total gastrectomy) sooner rather than later. This will hopefully ensure I live a long and prosperous life. Check out my guest blog, "Stomach biopsy results," and "genetics shocker- CDH1 pathogenic variant positive" posts for more information about this mutation. Just like in individuals who have gastric bypass performed, there have to be a lot of changes to the way I interact with, prepare, and eat food once that little old stomach is gone. Unlike gastric bypass, however, my entire stomach will be removed and my small intestine will be attached directly to my esophagus (If you want to know what that entails click here).
I have heard from other CDH1 carriers who have already had their gastrectomies that everyone's recovery is different. But, some of the main issues people face are becoming lactose intolerant, having difficulty swallowing different foods, having to eat frequent small portions, loosing a significant amount of weight, having a hard time gaining weight, having no feelings of hunger (so, having to set timers to eat every hour or two), being unable to tolerate sugar/sweets, carbs, carbonated beverages, being unable to drink alcohol, changes to taste and food desire, and being unable to consume enough calories in a day to maintain weight. With all of this to look forward to, I decided it might be a good idea to come up with a sort of stomach bucket list to pay tribute to the organ that has been very important in my life, and to help say goodbye to it before it goes.
Obviously, I would prefer to keep my stomach, but with those nasty little cancer cells growing at who knows what speed, and hereditary diffuse gastric cancer being extremely deadly, I need to have it removed for peace of mind. If the cancer remains contained within the stomach lining and at its current stage, a total gastrectomy is considered curative. If I wait and it spreads even the slightest bit, my chances for long time survival are not good. Considering there is no good way to screen for this cancer, it is a crap shoot when to make the call. At this point, I'm just not willing to risk it. Having already spent the last year of my life in active cancer treatment, I am not keen to do it again.
So, without further ado, here is a running list of the things I hope to eat and do before I have my total gastrectomy (in no particular order).
My stomach bucket list:
Enjoy tasting menus and multiple course meals- any and all (after surgery, I will have to eat very small portions and over chew every bite since my stomach won't be there to mash it up for me- tasting menus will likely be out of the picture)
Wine pairings (alcohol could be a problem, let's just say, without a stomach I could be a VERY cheap drunk)
Food & Wine tour in Italy
Enjoy not having to chew each bite a million times
Enjoy the feeling of hunger, listen to it, cherish it (people without a stomach say hunger is no longer present which makes it very difficult to remember when to eat)
Be grateful for all the things my stomach has done for me thus far in life
Say goodbye to my stomach and the cancer inside it
Drink milk, eat ice cream, and enjoy lactose in all forms
Get in shape physically; walk, run, lift weights, focus on building my core muscles before surgery (I will most likely have an open procedure as this is the current gold standard, being fit will help me heal faster)
Make a list of all my favorite restaurants and go there to have my favorite meals, followed by dessert of course
Enjoy low fat foods like vegetables and fruits (due to fiber contents and difficulty digesting, I may not be able to eat fresh fruits and veggies right away- I also have to try and consume as many calories as possible so low fat options aren't recommended, at least at first)
Eat as many cinnamon roles with cream cheese frosting from The Buttered Tin as possible
Eat a meal at one of Gordon Ramsey's Kitchens
Eat a meal at a Michelin star restaurant (I have already done this, but I would like to do it again, and again...)
Considering I will likely be having my gastrectomy within the year, I understand that this is an ambitious list, but a girl has to have dreams right? Feel free to comment with any suggestions you can think of (restaurants, foods, particular dishes, etc.), or if you have had a gastrectomy, what do you wish you would have eaten more of or done before your surgery?
I will likely be continuing to add to this list as I think of things or as suggestions are made, so check back often, or better yet, subscribe and you will get an email notification.
Follow my food journey on instagram #mystomachbucketlist