Monday, August 30, 2010

175,000 calories

I had surgery on August 3rd and the doctor successfully bypassed my bowel obstruction. The problem was mainly radiation damage to a section of small intestine, rather than a bellyful of tumors like almost every doctor assumed. In fact, he couldn't find any new tumors in my abdomen. So now I can eat again!

115 Pounds (August 2010)
I am terribly thin, though. During the months of starvation I lost about 50 pounds from my previous weight of 165 pounds. And while on intravenous feedings I barely maintained what weight I had left. So the doctor's orders are to gain those 50 pounds back.

Since it takes 3,500 calories to gain one pound*, that means I need to take in 175,000 calories above and beyond the 2,500 calories per day it takes just to maintain weight. If the doctor wrote a prescription for all those calories, it might look like one of these:

  • 650 McDonald's hamburgers
  • 1,200 Stonyfield Farms Strawberries & Cream yogurts
  • 1,500 Quaker Chewy Chocolate Chip granola bars
  • 4,400 Thin Mint cookies

It's a bit of a struggle to eat all those calories right now. With the shortened digestive system and organs that aren't used to seeing food, whatever I eat tends to pass through quite quickly. Some meals seem to exit into my colostomy pouch in just 12 hours – not much time to absorb all the calories and nutrients. And my stomach has shrunk from months of disuse, so I can't eat much at a time to begin with.

But I'm tired of looking like a skeleton, so I'm working at putting on weight – eating whatever sounds good and getting some light exercise walking and playing Wii.

18 comments:

alena said...

You're looking so much better! Glad you're on the road to healing.

Mary said...

What good news!!! Glad to get a report from you. Wonderful news that there were no new tumors found!! Sounds like you are, as usual, doing all the right things! Hang in there...I know it is sometimes much harder to gain weight than to lose it, but you are such a fighter, I am sure you will be stuffing in as many calories as you possibly can! Good luck and I hope you continue to heal.

Peter said...

Glad to hear your news Rick! I was just researching data on weight gain--surprisingly little on it on Pubmed. I did find GOMAD: Gallon of Milk A Day diet
/

Essentially it involves drinking a gallon of whole milk per day + weight training. Claim is ~25 lb gain in 25 days. This sounds crazy fast, but lots of testimonials suggesting it does work well.

alena said...

How are you? Just stopping by to say I'm thinking of you. Hope you are continuing to heal.

Rick Wagner said...

Still having a rough timing eating enough. Lately the problem has been cramps for a few hours each day. I tend to get one good meal in and then have to skip or go light for the other two. So no weight gain so far. Otherwise things are pretty stable.

Anonymous said...

Hello there!
Very interesting blog (read it all in one afternoon)
How are you now? Hope better!

hugs

carry on, you're doing great :)

alena said...

How are you? Just checking in... hope you're well.

sacramento car donation said...

Thanks God your getting better now. I will be praying for your fast recovery. Just stay strong and have faith to HIM.

Mary said...

Contining to think about you and pray for you! Hoping you are feeling better. Let us hear...
Blessings...

jimmy said...

I hope you are okay. We haven't seen any new posts from you on this blog in a long time. My mother recently died from cancer, and now I have bladder cancer. I am wondering if it is worth so much pain and struggle and suffering, if I am only going to live a few years after all the surgeries, radiation, and chemotherapy. I have a lot of decisions to make very soon. I wonder how long I will live if I just do the palliative care route-- just pain medicine, and no surgery, no radiation, and maybe just some chemotherapy to slow it down a bit?

Anonymous said...

I had followed this blog when a cousin had cancer. Rick was so open about sharing his experience - it was a huge help for us. After this long period with no posts, I searched on his name and found that he passed away last week.

The stars in heaven shine a little brighter tonight. Thanks for sharing your story - your life made a difference to many here.

Anonymous said...

Rick passed away peacefully on Friday, July 29. His parents were holding his hands. I know it was important for him to share his experiences along this 7-year journey, and seek advice of others. I hope you continue to live passionate and full lives.
His sister, Terri
http://obits.dignitymemorial.com/dignity-memorial/obituary.aspx?n=Richard-Wagner&lc=7224&pid=152817329&mid=4761483&locale=en-US

Anonymous said...

Dear Rick, I was reading your blog and found it incredibly honest and insightful. I wanted to write and see how you are doing---

Anonymous said...

Just read that Rick had passed away. Though I only discovered his writings today, i felt such a beautiful, honest, open spirit coming across the internet. I'm so sorry to hear of Rick's passing and I offer thanks to his loved ones for keeping his writing and his images alive. I wish you the best- thank you.

WeWee said...

Thank you Rick.
Rest in peace.

ranger said...

Hi Rick, you are one tough guy. I like your picture; when I had an ostomy bag I never had that kind of honest courage.

peanut butter is really good for weight gain. PB and honey. nice.

thanks for blogging, and good luck with your health.

ranger

ranger said...

i'm sorry i just read that Rick passed away. sorry to leave a comment of encouragement. I guess that Rick lived this morning; he was alive for me till I read all the comments. May his family find peace. so sorry,, yrs
ranger

Cameron VSJ said...

Hi,

I have a quick question about your blog. Could you email me when you get a chance?

Cameron