Whipple survivor

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Whipple survivor

by onakay on Fri Jul 03, 2009 12:00 AM

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In answer to the question about eating after whipple surgery, etc. and what to expect.

I had Whipple surgery in April.  The hardest part while in the hospital was having no water to drink for 4 days.  I didn't mind not eating but got really thirsty.  Maybe would be helpful if family members could get a damp washcloth and wipe the patients lips with it a bit.  I did have one empathetic nurse who would come in every now and then and put a little water on some mouth swabs and let me swallow a teeny bit of water.

Amazingly, I had no pain that I can remember and the only real pain I've had was after I got home and my bowels "went to sleep" for a few days.  I'm not sure what that means but it's fine now.

You can probably expect for the patient to go home with a drainage tube in their stomach.  You will need to monitor the drainage and change the dressings on it daily or more often if necessary.

As for eating....please, talk to the dietician at the hospital before the patient leaves the hospital. My doctor just told me I'd have to change my eating habits but didn't bother to tell me how or how drastically it would change.  Whipple surgery is like having the surgery for obesity.  You cannot eat much at one time and need to eat several (every 3-4 hours) teeny "meals" every day as you can tolerate them.  It took me 2 weeks before I could eat a whole banana at one time.  I've lost 45 pounds since April.  Eat lots of high protien stuff, take vitamins and don't worry about gaining weight because you won't.  Not for awhile anyway.  Don't be afraid to eat when you feel hungry (I get up in the middle of the night sometimes and have a bite of something).  Let your body tell you what it wants.  Carnation Instant breakfast contains the same benefits as Ensure and may be more tolerable.

Don't push yourself.  If you want to rest, then do that.  Go easy and let your body heal.  Do what you can when you can and don't worry about the rest...it will come in time.  This is MAJOR surgery and it's going to take time for the body to heal and readjust to the changes.  Your energy level will be very low for awhile until everything starts to stabilize. 

I'm into my 4th month since the surgery now and some days I go for a walk, other days I haven't the energy to do much of anything.  Some days I can go shopping and walk through the store, other days I have to use the electric cart.  Every day is a new day but my weight is finally stabilizing and I can eat more now than I could at the beginning.  I still don't eat a lot at one time but it's getting better.  Just be patient.

God bless you all and I hope you're all as fortunate with your surgery as I have been.


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