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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Hello Again

How quickly time flies.

Already it has been five months since my last entry.

To be honest, I didn't write for a very long time mostly because I felt I had nothing to write. The month after my last entry was probably the least inspired month I've had in a very long time. I didn't do much at all except exist. I was tired of being the girl who had surgery, of constantly having to tell people how my eating was going. I am a person who defines myself very much by what I do, and I felt very lost just being the girl without a stomach.

Since then, my life has completely turned around in the best way possible. I moved away from home for the summer, working in a lab that studies HIV at Dartmouth College, with a mentor who is also probably one of my best friends. I roadtripped from New Hampshire to Boston, New York, Montreal, seeing old faces and new, including a No Stomach for Cancer cookout in July on the Cape. I made the decision to do my MD/PhD (eventually) at the University of Washington, and hope to do my PhD there with one of the coolest people ever (who just so happened to discover the breast and ovarian cancer causing gene, BRCA1). I then moved across the pond to a quaint college town with some more of the coolest people ever, studying something I love-- music.

So in short, life is treating me very well at the moment.

It's not perfect--life never is-- but it's about as good as I could ask for it to be. For the most part, I feel normal. I eat, I drink, I play. There are the days when something doesn't sit quite so well in my small intestine, but for all that I have ahead of me, it's worth it. I've learned what dumping syndrome feels like now. I've learned that taking a shot of hard liquor is probably not a good idea. Most importantly, I'm learning how to live life in the richest and fullest way possible, and all without a stomach.

I have many more thoughts to share, and this blog will probably turn into something not directly about HDGC or CDH1, but just about my life without a stomach.

For now, I'll leave you with this. I had the feeling before my surgery that that day--March 21, 2012-- would be the first day of the rest of my life. Finally, I feel like the rest of my life is here.


  1. Seattle is road trip-able from the Bay Area :D

  2. Hi,

    I have a quick question about your blog, would you mind emailing me when you get a chance?



    1. Hi Cameron,

      Sure. What email address can I reach you at?


  3. Hi Jenn,

    My name is Christina Dong, and I'm a high school student from California. I've recently discovered your blog and by now, I've read most of it. Your writing is captivating and thought-proking; I've really enjoyed it! You strike me as a strong and witty woman; a fantastic writer, too. I admire you for what you’ve gone through and how you’ve been able to process it all and come to terms with it emotionally.

    What first prompted me to check out your blog is a project on stomach cancer that I’m currently doing for my anatomy class—but your story stood out to me in particular because, aside from the stomach cancer, I felt like I could relate to you much more than I could to some Random Joe with the same condition. I, too, am Chinese (well, half-Chinese), so I couldn't help but smile when I saw that there was a young Chinese woman who I could talk to about living with the condition.

    I've learned a lot about how you've been feeling throughout this journey thanks to your detailed and well thought out writing. Something I'm now curious about, though, is how your first holiday season without a stomach has been going. Does your diet ever make dinner parties or other food-related gatherings difficult? Perhaps you can eat almost everything by now, but if not, you ever feel bitter or angry that sometimes you may not be able to enjoy the same food that others around you are eating?

    Realizing this post has gotten a bit lengthy, I’m going to sign off for now. But my hope is that you’ll be willing to talk a little bit about the things I’m curious about. Keep up the wonderful attitude you have! Same goes for your writing, because I really enjoy it. Have a wonderful holiday and I look forward to hearing from you.

    Best wishes,
    Christina Dong

    1. Hi Christina,

      I'm sorry I only just saw this post!

      To answer your question about the holidays, it was a little bit tough at thanksgiving to see my friends loading up their plates with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, the works. I just grabbed a tiny bit of everything (like 2 pieces of mac and cheese) so I could have a nice variety. Sure, I was jealous, but I still got to enjoy what I eat. It did make me miss overeating, though!

      Hope your project goes well! And do send along any other questions you have! I'll try to answer them the best I can!