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Stanford Medicine

Cancer

Good-bye cancer, good-bye stomach: A survivor shares her tale

It’s well-established that cancer leaves physical and emotional scars, and this weekend a New York Times piece highlighted how the disease can even, at times, permanently deprive a patient of her hobby and passion. In case you missed it, stomach cancer survivor Anna Stoessinger – a real foodie – shares how the removal of her stomach affected her:

With nothing but a small intestine left to digest food, my gastronomic future would hold only small, frequent meals, consumed slowly and deliberately, without my characteristic gusto. Without abandon. Without — there would be a lot of without.

“You can live without a stomach,” my doctor told me. I have often thought about what I could live without, if I had to: a savings account, an extra bedroom, the new Prada suede platform pump in burgundy. But a stomach never entered my mind. And food? It was so much more. As a little girl, sharing food with my mother was a solace, a joy, and a way of communicating. Sharing it with my husband has been as intimate as anything I’ve experienced…

Stoessinger goes on to say that she recognizes she is “unspeakably lucky” for surviving her cancer. And, she writes, “I would give up all of my organs for the possibility of many more years with my beloved husband.” But you still can’t help but feel for her for her loss, and her piece is well worth a read.

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