Help and advice for my 75 year old mam 14 months post total gastrectomy

Hi, this is my first post to the online forum, I'm looking for some help and advice for my mam Brenda. Right now after a tough 18 months she is just over 12 month mark post total gastrectomy for stomach cancer. Recovery for her has been steady but good, her consultant is pleased with progress. She's managed to increase her food intake gradually and stabilise her weight, she's also managed to deal with the nausea, food sticking and morning cramps, overall her symptoms have improved gradually over time. She says she's definitely having more good days than bad now well over 50% good now. However when she still has a bad day she's tired and can't be bothered - trapped wind and cramp in her tummy is still an issue. She normally takes 2 buscopan it seems to calm things down a little we've also looked at her diet, at the moment trying to eliminate wheat and bread as referred to this forum for her for advice it's only improved a little. I rang this morning she isn't having a good one. Lots of wind and cramps, all she's had is a boiled egg for breakfast. I know from speaking to the nurses and her consultant it can take a while to heal and her system to re adjust, but it's 12 months for her now. I'm wondering if this is pretty typical for what my mams been through I'm wondering if anyone in the forum can help or offer us any advice at this would be much appreciated. Many thanks Darren x

  • Hi Darren

    Thanks for getting in touch and for telling us about what’s happening with your mam. It’s good to hear that she is having more good days than bad but not so good that she is bothered with wind and cramp.

    Recovery from this type of surgery is different for everyone but it can take six months to a year or longer for the digestive system to settle. Sometimes wind and cramps can be a persistent and difficult symptom to manage. Your mam’s team may want to look at a medication change to see if that will help improve her wind.

    Some patients report probiotics to be helpful in settling the digestive system but as with everything you should check with your mams team at the hospital before starting anything new.

    Your both doing all the right things to try and improve this. It may be worthwhile contacting The Oesophageal Patients Association to put your mum in touch with another patient who has had a total gastrectomy. Often the suggestions and support from someone in a similar situation can be invaluable.

    It might also help to call our Support Line on 0808-808-0000 and talk to one of our nurses about this further we are open every day 8am till 8pm.

    Best wishes and take care.

    Fiona Macmillan Information Nurse Specialist