Medical question (not advice!) re gastric bypass

My husband’s daughter has pancreatic cancer. She’s in another state so we’ve been keeping in touch by phone (mostly texting, because she’s not up for conversation). She’s had chemo and radiation. She’s in the hospital now and she says they’re doing gastric bypass surgery because she’s nauseated and can’t keep anything down.

I thought gastric bypass was for weight loss. Why would they do gastric bypass if the problem is nausea?

It may be that the cancer is blocking the exit from the stomach - “gastric outlet obstruction”. If the cancer itself is not resectable, which is not uncommonly the case in this cancer as I understand it, then getting past that obstruction by bypassing it prevents the nausea that the obstruction would otherwise cause.

My best wishes for as smooth of a course as possible.

Thank you, for the info and the good wishes. :slight_smile:

You’re welcome.

How is your husband holding up? Having a child that ill is hard enough under any circumstances; not being able to be there on top of it …

Again best wishes that whatever is best happens.

He’s holding up okay, but I don’t know that he understands how serious it is. He didn’t run to the computer to read about pancreatic cancer like I did. I wish I hadn’t.

She’ll be in the hospital for at least a week for the bypass surgery. She said she’ll let us know when she feels up for us to visit. That was scary – hearing her say that. She’s always been ready for anything, and when she didn’t say “Come now, dammit!”, it was a sign of how sick she is. If she doesn’t want to see people, she’s really, really sick. She’s 42, nice husband, has three daughters and two grandsons. All we can do is hope for the best.

You may want to encourage him to insist on visiting her, soon, whether she feels up to it or not, and since you did go to the computer and read up on it, you already know why I am saying that.

Yeah, I think you’re right.

Although “gastric bypass” surgery is done for weight loss, it does have other indications, including deliberately bypassing the stomach and first part of the small intestine in order to correct blockages at the level of the duodenum (first part of the small intestine). This kind of bypass works for weight loss because (among other reasons) it interferes with proper digestion.

See this illustration for one type of such surgery.

The pancreas sits behind the stomach and the head of the pancreas sort of wraps around the first part of the small intestine (the area labeled “duodenum” in the image link above). If there is a mass pressing on the duodenum or other reason for blockage, the stomach won’t empty because its plumbing is not open, and the patient can get nausea or inability to eat.

If you look at the Roux en Y image link (and this is not the only way to bypass a stomach) you’ll see that the small intestine has been cut past the duodenum. The distal intestine is then pulled up and connected to the esophagus (or perhaps to a pouch made out of the top part of the stomach. The proximal (duodenal end) of the small intestine is attached to the rest of the small intestine so that any stomach, liver and pancreatic secretions can still drain.

The whole thing “bypasses” the stomach and the duodenum by allowing something you eat to pass directly into the small intestine.

Hope this helps.

Everything **Chief Pedant **said. I’ll add that the Roux-en-Y is a variant/descendent of a surgical procedure done for stomach and duodenal cancer.

VB, proud owner of a RNY. My gut is my cite.

I just wanted to pop in to say to Auntie Pam I’m sorry your family has such bad news. I also think it’s important for her father to visit her. I’m not an expert regarding pancreatic cancer, but I know enough to know that visits to people ill with the disease should not be put off for the future. I hope she beats the odds and is around for many years to come, but… Good luck to you all, and best wishes.

Thanks for the link – the photo and your description is very – descriptive. Innards are fascinating.

VunderBob, your cite is accepted. :slight_smile:

Broomstick, he doesn’t want to go until she’s out of the hospital, unless she changes her mind and says it’s okay. You’re right about not waiting, but we don’t want to add to her stress. Thanks for the good wishes.