I am a guest blogger tonight (Spence) because Louise thinks I'm better at explaining technical medical situations. Louise has a new medical situation that will effect her eating habits from now on. These new eating habits will keep her feeling well and hopefully will stabilize her weight a bit. It better because otherwise I can't afford her anymore. She has had two complete wardrobe changes since Christmas. She has lost so much weight that she has to give away all of her new clothes every two months and buy new smaller ones. All the charities love us. Every 2 months they get brand new clothes with the store tags still on them. Anyway, back to her medical update.
We were starting to get very concerned with Louises sick feeling she would get after eating meals. Within 10 minutes after eating she would feel very full and bloated. She would be nauseated, feel hot, shakey, very fatigued and just generally rotten. It was happening now almost every day. So we went to the GI doctor that she, in an earlier blog, threw under the bus. He ordered the endoscopy and next week's pet scan because he was so concerned that it might be cancer back. As you already know, the endoscopy proved that her new esopha/stomach looked "as good as it could look" (in his words). He then told us her problem was caused by a situation called "dumping syndrome". He was sure of it and told us to go research it. On Friday we saw the oncologist but we met with the cancer dietician before that visit. When we told her that the doctor thought Louise's problem was dumping syndrome, she was sure also that it was. She described the symptoms to us and they were exactly what she was having. She knew exactly what foods were causing it. They were the same foods I had already guessed. Any food that was high in concentrated processed simple sugars was the culprit. Every time Louise would drink an Ensure, Boost, Carnation Instant Breakfast or milk shake (all of which are high in concentrated sugars) she would have the symptoms.
Here is what dumping syndrome is: It happens with over 80% of the people who have had recent surgery of the stomach where they have cut out part of the stomach and especially with people like Louise who have no more valves to prevent undigested food to escape too quickly to the small intestines. And that is what happens, certain foods with high simple sugar (not natural fructose from fruits)leave the stomach too fast and overwhelm the intestines. They are not easily absorbed from the intestines. The body then pulls fluids from the body's cells to dilute the undigested food so that it can be absorbed. The robbing of fluids from the cells then dehydrates the body and fouls up the blood sugar chemistry in the body. The body releases too much insulin into the blood stream also. All of these changes caused by this "dumping" of the stomach to the intestines causes all of the symptoms that she has had. 10 days ago, when we stopped making her drink the Ensures and the milk shakes to help her gain weight, her sick symptoms ended. The dietician said that complex carbohydrates and high fiber, high protien type items will help prevent this dumping syndrome to happen. She can also lay down for 30 minutes after a meal so that gravity doesn't also cause the dumping. Louise picked up quickly on that. She loves to lay down any chance she gets.
Her new diet will be to eat things such as pasta, breads, nuts apples, pears, carrots, spinach, meats, butter, mayo, salad dressings, salads, eggs, fish, yogurt, cheese and peanut butter. She will not eat Ensures, etc., soda, jams, syrup, cakes, pies, candy, doughnuts, cookies (cookie dough). How will she ever survive without eating her own famous cookies. I can't imagine not eating some of those sweet things. I might choose to live with the symptoms if it were me. But you know what, she has had no craving for any of those sweet things since her surgery. Her body naturally retards her appetite for things that will make her sick.
So that's it. That is what has made her sick and now we feel so confident that we have solved that problem with diet. My biggest question in all of this is why the surgeon or the GI doctor never warned us of this happening. You can read it and understand it so easily from the internet. If it happens 80% of the time to people like Louise who have had this type of surgery, you would think that would be on some of the documents going home with you from the hospital or it would be the first guess the GI doctor would make after hearing the symptoms. Why put her through an endoscopy when the situation and symptoms point exactly to "dumping syndrome." Ya know, my new profession is going to teach medicine and doctor's bedside manor to doctors. I don't need 12 years of school. I just need experience with patients and google and I am set.
Anyway, after reading this blog, you too are an expert on dumping syndrome. We are so pleased with Louise's much improved health!!
Thanks for reading, Spence