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Dumping Syndrome

Posted Oct 06 2008 12:00am

This is another one of those “Too Much Information” posts, primarily intended for those anticipating a partial gastrectomy. When Dr. Burke removed my tumor, he took the top third of my stomach with it, along with the vagus nerve which regulates the movement of food through a healthy stomach. Without the vagus nerve, a condition charmingly referred to as “Dumping Syndrome” often occurs. Here’s a description that I found online:

Symptoms of dumping syndrome may include abdominal cramping, cold sweats, light-headedness, nausea and diarrhea. Eating foods high in sugar, eating foods high in fat, eat too much food, or eating too fast causes this set of symptoms. Before gastric surgery, food was gradually released in small amounts from the stomach to the small intestine. Now, undigested food can “dump” into the small intestine after quickly passing through the stomach. Consuming very large food molecules (like sugar) in your small intestine leads to the symptoms experienced in dumping syndrome. Symptoms can be “early dumping” (within 10 – 15 minutes) or “late dumping” (1 – 3 hours after eating).

So…..that pretty accurately describes the precarious situation that I’m in……trying to eat enough without making myself miserable. Today I ran some errands and stopped to get a Twister Wrap at KFC for lunch. I ate slowly, chewed carefully and ate most of it but it wasn’t long before I knew that I had a problem….and then spent two hours this afternoon recovering from lunch. I have a total aversion to anything sweet right now (Happy Halloween!!!). In order to maximize nutrition and calories, I bought some Ensure this weekend. Well…”Ensure is EVIL”…..it’s high in sugar and inspires an almost instantaneous response. I don’t eat anything sweet, I don’t eat dairy products (lactose also triggers dumping syndrome) and coffee and wine have lost their appeal. Instead, I find myself drinking lots of warm lemon water.

So…..aside from that, I’m doing pretty well. I’ve had more energy the last couple of days and actually got a few chores done around the house. I’m so far behind on so many things….but, for now….I’m focused on healing.

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