It's been around 6 months since I had my stomach removed. Even though the staff at Peter Mac are truly amazing, I'll always remember it as the worst time of my life. After the surgery, they found blood clots in one of my lungs, and prescribed clexane to thin my blood. A day later my other lung collapsed. The doctors put in some tubes to drain my lung, but it was ineffective, so I needed another surgery to clear out my lung. Due to the fact that I was on blood thinners this was risky. One of the surgeons told me there was a small but definite chance I could die. Not something you really want to hear from a medical professional!
I was in ICU after the surgery for about a week, and I barely slept the whole time. A day after that I was overdosed on painkillers. I remember being aware of all the doctors and nurses around me and feeling really cold. I also felt detached from everything, like I was watching it all on a television. It was a bizarre and terrifying experience. The doctors managed to keep me calm, and they moved me to observation for the evening. The rest of the week was fairly uneventful, though I can tell you that pureed hospital food is about one of the worse things you can ever imagine. They had weird and wonderful dishes, like pureed lamb casserole, or pureed beef casserole. Not good.
I got out of hospital about a week after I left ICU. I was really happy to get home. I insisted my wife Jo and I go for a walk to our friends house down the street. I had to take multiple breaks to get there!
I am very fortunate to have a wife who is a yoga and pilates teacher (and who also happens to be a wonderful person!). We have a small studio (Garden of Yoga) at the back of our house where she teaches pilates and anti-gravity yoga, so she got me started off doing some very light yoga and pilates to help with my core strength. I also have a regular meditation practice and I think it helped me greatly.
I am also a fan of GMB Fitness so I started doing their Rings 1 course, which uses bodyweight exercises on gymnastic rings to help build strength. They have a beginners level course with very well structured progressions, and I could feel my strength coming back after just a couple of weeks! After a while of that I was able to start going back to yoga at Australian Yoga Academy. I should also mention that leading up to my surgery Mark Pheely of AYA was extremely generous and provided me with free yoga classes. I'm extremely grateful for that kind gesture. My first classes back were a bit of a struggle, but I'm finding I'm getting my stamina and endurance back. I'm starting to work on inversions - handstands, forearm balances etc. I know a lot of people post Gastrectomy struggle with even being horizontal, let alone upside down, so I feel extremely lucky that I can do these.