My name is Elaine. I am 58 years old and live on the central coast of California. Since I was 14, I have suffered from bleeding ulcers. In my fifties, I developed gastroparesis in my stomach and upper intestines for which the doctors never found a cause. A year and a half ago, I had a rather large ulcer, which would intermittently bleed. My doctor gave my ulcer seven months to heal before he referred me to a surgeon.

When I heard the term “partial gastrectomy, vagotomy”, even though the surgery itself was explained to me, I had no idea what life changing challenges I would be in for.  After the surgery, it started with the explosive diarrhea, which I was later told by my doctor that it was the “dumping syndrome”, a predictable complication of the surgery.  I discovered by trial and error that my stomach could handle eight ounces of liquid or food, but staying in that range still wasn’t the answer entire answer. In my case, the anti diarreha medications weren’t working, my bowels became incontinent so I was prescribed a powder to bind food together and then I was tested for lactose and fruitous intolerent of which I am both.  I also had bouts of being low in sodium, potassium, vitamin D, iron and I am waiting to see what comes next. I was eventually referred to a dietition.

From my first appointment with my dietition, I have kept a food journal that not only keeps track of the food I eat, but what symptoms I have afterwards. I eat every hour and a half…small meals. Still with a high carbohydrate, high protein diet, I still seem unable to gain weight, especially with the lack of fruit and dairy, but I am becoming creative. I am 5’4″ and weigh 94 pounds. Trial and error… There is only so much I can eat in a day with my limited stomach, so I am learning to make the most of it and hopefully, I won’t have the predictable diarrhea to defeat my purpose.

I have asked allot of questions of my health care proffessionals and gastric bypass surgery is not all that different from the surgery that I had, except that they are left with more of a stomach and they are basically healthier to start with, but some struggle with the absorption problems that dietary supplements cannot solve due to the stomach’s lack of ability to digest.

There is so much more to share and even more to learn. Talk to you soon.

Elaine