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Old 02-23-2013, 03:18 PM   #1
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Question for those who have had gastric bypass surgery

Hi, My poor Mom had 3/4 of her stomach removed in August 2011 due to stomach cancer; I would think she didn't have the same exact surgery as the gastric bypass to lose weight, but I think it's similar? She's lost 50 pounds since the surgery; fortunately, she did need to lose weight but now she's down to 120 and the doctor doesn't want her to lose anymore, yet she continues to. She's convinced she has a recurrence of the cancer, but her gastro doctor says her symptoms are not that of cancer. Can you tell me if what she's experiencing is "normal" 1-1/2 years after this type of surgery? She continues to have pain whenever she eats; sometimes it's so bad she has to lie down. Her gastro said on two occasions while he was performiing an endoscopy on her, the opening to her stomach from her esophagus spasmed and he thinks this might be causing the pain she's experiencing. He's tried a lot of remedies....injecting Botox, drugs, stretching the area....and nothing has worked. She also feels nauseous everyday and takes Zofran for that. For those of you who have had gastric bypass surgery...have you also experienced these symptoms or anything like it? If so, do you have any tips that my Mom may try to alleviate the pain? As I wrote, it's been 1-1/2 years since the surgery...I'm afraid she'll never have relief. I would appreciate any and all input.
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Old 02-23-2013, 08:49 PM   #2
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I'm so sorry for your mom. I have had an RNY gastric bypass and never suffered any of these symptoms. With gastric bypass not only is our stomach made smaller but a portion of our small intestine is bypassed. I would suggest getting your mother to a different doc for a second opinion since this is an ongoing problem and her current doc hasn't been able to help.
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Old 02-23-2013, 11:27 PM   #3
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I agree with Lisa. I also have not had these issues, and I had my bypass about two and a half years ago. I hope your mom can find some relief.
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Old 02-24-2013, 07:30 AM   #4
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Thank you both for the information. We weren't sure if her experience is typical of this type of surgery; now I see it isn't.
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Old 02-25-2013, 06:30 AM   #5
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Your mom's procedure would be more similar to the sleeve. Unfortunately in her case removal of 3/4 of the stomach WILL result in weight loss due to the decreased amount of food she can take in. The nausea is an issue - some WLS (mostly RNY) will get nausea if they eat certain things. High fat foods make me nauseous, even in small amounts so I can't eat them or I pay for it. Is her nausea with everything?

I would suggest finding her BMR (basal metabolic rate - you can get a pretty rough estimate from a calculator online) to see what she burns daily and then you want to try to eat that much at least. I would also suggest several small meals a day and a protein supplement as often as possible. Something like Boost would benefit her, it's a higher calorie supplement intended to help maintain or gain weight. You don't want the weight gaining supplements like you'd buy at GNC - those are mostly for body builders.

Some people will say just up the calories, but you want to make sure she gets adequate nutrition too. Is she taking vitamins?

Are there certain foods that increase her nausea? My friend with colon cancer swears by something called Queasy Pops and ginger tea. Ginger is a natural remedy for nausea. She's getting chemo right now and has horrible nausea all the time. Zofran helps, but the ginger really works for her.

Can she drink juice or smoothies? Getting a quality juicer might help, you can get healthy veggies and calories in without bulk, and you can add the pulp to soups or baked goods to add benefit there too.

Is her pain with eating or all the time? The spasming would seem the most likely culprit, as food would trigger the spasms and cause the pain - making her not want to eat. I'm not sure how to work around that if that's the issue - unless she tries the hot ginger tea right before eating to try to soothe the nausea AND relax the esophagus.

I'm guessing that they discussed a feeding tube if she couldn't stop losing weight - if not they probably will bring it up soon.

Anyway, while some people DO have these issues with WLS most do not. I would say that something is definitely out of the ordinary and she needs to find something that can help her find out what it is. It's probably not a recurrence of the cancer if the gastro didn't see anything on her scope - but it's still not normal.

Hugs for your mommy and I hope that they figure this out and she gets relief very soon.
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Old 02-25-2013, 09:58 AM   #6
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Myyellowstang, thank you very much for your very comprehensive response. You brought up great issues; some of them we have addressed. We could get not get her to drink Boost or Ensure...she downright refused. We tried Ensure pudding but she threw it out. She does have a juicer and uses that. We told her that eating just jello or cheese puffs (which she says doesn't hurt) is not nutritious and that she needs to eat foods with protein. She will eat high protein bars (one bar lasts for days) and snacks on nuts throughout the day, so that's good. She can tolerate some foods better than others. The pain is when she eats; when she hasn't eaten in a while, she's like her old self. The situation is the absolute worst when she gets up in the morning. She's miserable for a couple of hours every morning before she starts feeling better....the issue is nausea in the morning. Her routine is to eat something light when she gets up, then takes her meds, and then she always goes back to bed for a while. The ginger is a good idea....I'll talk to her about it. She does not take vitamins, only Vitamin D (which her oncologist told her to take after a blood test showed it was very low), and she also takes eye vitamins because she also has macular degeneration; once a month she gets a B12 shot. Her gastroenterologist has scheduled her for a Barium Esophagram to rule out Accalasia (sp?). Also, when he examined her, he said she has a lot of hard stool in her intestines which can be causing pain so he prescribed Lactulose (along with the stool softeners she currently takes), but it hasn't really kicked in yet. The gastro had also prescribed Marinol (synthetic marijuana) which makes her want to eat more, but it doesn't help with the pain. He's tried many other meds to try to help with her symptoms (Imdur for the spasms, Reglan for the pain and nausea) among other meds, but they didn't help. Right now she's wearing a Fentanyl patch for pain. Her oncologist brought up the feeding tube issue but she flatly refuses. She said if the pet scan shows there is cancer, she will refuse all treatment. She told the gastro doctor, "If I die tonight, it'll be fine". I hate to hear her talk like that. She was always a negative person (I'm thinking that's because she's a Holocast survivor and lost so much when she was a child), and now she's even worse. At age 84, she seems to be giving up. Thank you again for taking the time to respond....I'm definitely going to talk to her about the ginger. I hope your friend with colon cancer does well.
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Old 02-26-2013, 12:32 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by myyellowstang View Post
Your mom's procedure would be more similar to the sleeve.
My thoughts exactly! Related to the nausea, I have a VSG (sleeve) and I MUST take an acid reducer every day... the thing is... the stomach is much smaller, but the body may continue to pump out the same amount of acid as it did before... this can feel like hunger, or it can cause nausea.


I do have a friend that has esophageal spasm after the sleeve, but of all the people here and on youtube that I know, no one else does have this issue. My friend takes an anti-spasm medication for it. She is also not very far out.

I am three years out on March 17th and I can eat more, and have more hunger than I did at a year and a half... from my experience, and what I have seen in others, the one and a half year mark is actually a really common turning point for most people.... that is when they start getting hungry and wanting to eat more... so, it could happen soon for your mom too!
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Old 02-26-2013, 01:02 PM   #8
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Thanks, Maryposa, your post has given me more hope. Do you know the name of the anti-spasm med your friend takes? I can ask my Mom's doctor about it.
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Old 02-27-2013, 04:59 PM   #9
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ok, my friend got back to me about the medication, so you can ask your mother's doctor if he/she feels it may help her. It's a dissolvable tab taken every 6 hrs as needed. Hyoscyamine is the name of the med. Again, my friend is not far out from surgery and I don't believe her doctor expects her to be on it long term, so you might also want to ask her doctor if there are side effects / risks of taking it long term, in case that is what your mom needs (sounds like an ongoing thing?). I hope this helps! Below is the short description of what the med does.

"Hyoscyamine is used to control symptoms associated with disorders of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. It works by decreasing the motion of the stomach and intestines and the secretion of stomach fluids, including acid."
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Old 02-27-2013, 05:07 PM   #10
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Maryposa, you're amazingly kind to ask your friend the name of the med she's on. Unfortunately, my Mom was on that drug a long time ago and she said it didn't help her. It's amazing how individuals respond so differently...or don't respond at all.... to the same med. The good news is, my Mom has has two good days in a row since the gastro gave her the Fentanyl patch, so maybe that's helping (I hope). Again, thank you. And I have to tell you that you look beautiful in your picture.
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Old 02-27-2013, 05:26 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Ronnie51 View Post
Maryposa, you're amazingly kind to ask your friend the name of the med she's on. Unfortunately, my Mom was on that drug a long time ago and she said it didn't help her. It's amazing how individuals respond so differently...or don't respond at all.... to the same med. The good news is, my Mom has has two good days in a row since the gastro gave her the Fentanyl patch, so maybe that's helping (I hope). Again, thank you. And I have to tell you that you look beautiful in your picture.
Actually, my friend wasn't sure how much it is helping her, either lol hmmm well I am glad something seems to be helping! Yay!
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