For Patients

From a survivor prospective, recovery is a two step process that can take anywhere from a few months to a few years. A few years is on the extreme end. We are all unique and respond differently; however, most patients recover to their ‘new normal’ within the first year. We don’t mean to scare you; only trying to be as honest as possible. With all this in mind one of the most important things to live by is to TAKE 1 DAY AT A TIME! It will help you get through the recovery process. Step # 1 is recovery from the surgery and Step # 2 is adjusting to the new normal. Particularly, learning how to eat again (when authorized by your healthcare provider) and regaining your stamina. The timeline to restart eating varies for each individual. Have PATIENCE! You will get through this. It will just take some time!

Another very important rule to follow is once you are allowed to start to drink and eat again after surgery, please drink and eat VERY SLOWLY taking super small sips and bites until your body gets used to your new anatomy. If you drink or eat too much, too quickly (particularly food with increased sugar content), you will have an issue called ‘dumping’. Effects of dumping can include: lightheadedness, sweating, fatigue, diarrhea, and just overall weakness like a truck hit you. The effects can last a few hours but there is no need to panic; it happens to all of us. The good thing is it goes away and hopefully you learn from your experience so it does not happen again. Of course, if you get into any worrisome situation please CALL YOUR DOCTOR OR NURSE ASAP. They know what is best for you. Don’t panic as many of these issues are common. In very rare cases, if you can’t swallow or breathe, go to the ER immediately. 

More advice is after you start drinking and eating again, keep a diary of what you eat, when you eat, and what happens after you eat. This will help when you discuss your issues with your doctors, dietitians, and entire care team. Keep as active as possible but listen to your body. If it is telling you that you are tired, stop and relax. Don’t over do it. You have been through a lot. Gradually build up your strength and stamina. Everything will return to normal in time.