As I write this and think back on my life, all I can say is, it didn’t turn out as I expected.
I had been almost 35 years a vegetarian and had just spent 8 years in university when I graduated in 2008. Armed with my dreams and a lot of ambition, I began to teach, first in a small rural school northeast of Calgary, then in a First Nations school just south of Edmonton. By 2010 I had gained massive amounts of weight. It seemed as though my satiation button was broken. I could eat and eat and eat and never feel full. That and constant heartburn gave me reason for concern.
Having finished my teaching contract, I thought I’d return to Ontario and have the symptoms checked out. Thanks to a very thorough doctor, I was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma, half way up the lesser curvature of my stomach. The team of doctors urged gastrectomy, stating the higher up a cancer is in the stomach, the harder it is to treat.
It was six weeks after the gastrectomy that the news changed. Oooops, said my surgeon. I didn’t have adenocarcinoma. I had GIST. 1 cm in cize. 2/50 mitotic rate. And had they known that before my surgery I may have had the tumor cut out, leaving healthy margins and most of my stomach. Now I have extreme fatigue, can’t handle stress (even a vivid dream wakens me vomiting or in bowel spasms), nausea, vomiting, heart palpitations, etc. common with the after effects of having one’s stomach removed.
So, here I am coming up on 5 years post TG, applying for welfare.
My reality has changed. I am redefining myself and my abilities due to the new realities post gastrectomy.
I’ve changed my friends. I’ve redefined family.
And I’m moving towards fulfillment and happiness in new ways.