Most of us rave and rant on how they wish they didn’t have a stomach, thanks to the over indulgence in the good life; yet, paradoxically there are a few in our world who regret the lack of a perfect stomach often requiring food at regular intervals.
For the uninitiated, Gastrectomy or removal of the entire or part of the stomach is much in vogue. While most do it for vanity and obesity control, others are forced to go in for this surgery to alleviate conditions like tumours, GI bleeding, stomach cancer, or severe ulceration.
Natasha Diddee is one such Puneite we met recently who underwent this painful procedure without even realising that she was soon going to be ‘Gutless’.
A passion driven, spirited full time foodie and culinary expert, Natasha now has an extensive instagram family on her aptly titled account ‘The Gutless Foodie’. While inspiring others with her experience was her primary motivation, Natasha’s colourful homemade healthy platters catalysed a huge following…
“Around 2010, I started experiencing severe pain in only one part of my shoulder, I never knew that would be a symptom of multiple stomach ulcers. Several experienced doctors across the country failed to diagnose that it has nothing to do with the shoulder and in reality was my abdomen that needed medical attention.
“Before meeting Dr Bhalerao, who for me is only next to God, I went through radiation and two shoulder reconstructive surgeries for no reason. I was a classic example of faulty diagnosis. I was barely 38 kilos then.
I wasn’t even able to drink water as there were holes in my stomach spilling over into my body cavity. Numerous sonograms by leading gastroenterologists couldn’t detect any abnormality.
“After being a victim of such medical negligence, I was introduced to a laparoscopic surgeon Dr SS Bhalerao of KEM hospital, Pune. On seeing me sitting in a crouched position, he almost instantly diagnosed my condition and opined that the bleeding ulcers and a possible tumour in my stomach were the cause of the intense shoulder pain” she recalls.
A 20 minute check-up then turned into a 9 hour surgery where the entire stomach was removed. For a couple of days post this, she wasn’t aware of this new reality of her life.
Her family disguised it as a minor operation and kept the trained chef in her in the dark on the fact that she will never feel hunger pangs anymore.
“Nine days after my surgery, when I was left alone for a while, I spotted a blue cardboard box, synonymous to the famous Kayani Bakery. Being a greedy glutton, I pounced on one of the biscuits as I hadn’t eaten anything orally since my operation. When I was on my second biscuit, my mother spotted me and the entire room soon turned into a TV serial set with everyone reacting sharply.
“Pandemonium broke out in the hospital and it was then, my mother finally told me. But I could see my stomach so I didn’t really understand what they meant.
“Coming to terms with it was a huge task. I had to relearn and readjust my body to my eating habits. Interestingly, even after recovering I wasn’t released from the hospital. This was because when my doctor came to check on me, I decided to lie to him.
“As standard procedure, they check on if someone has passed urine or excreta or flatulence. Lying in this condition with people around me, I denied any flatulence, which I later regretted,” Natasha added sheepishly.
Speaking about the root cause, she says, “The major cause for my tumour was basically stress induced, I was told. I was in an ugly relationship in the past, yet, I never realised that it was taking a toll on my health. No one really knows, what stress can do to them.”
Since her stomach was removed, whatever she eats gets ‘dumped’ down into the body necessitating her to eat at least 6-8 meals a day to remain energetic all day long. Her memory has also been severely affected, due to the lack of Vitamin B that is produced by the stomach. Five years have gone by since her operation, yet, she still needs to get her monthly dose of Vitamin B shots.
Natasha’s efforts, belief and the will to live beyond just existing truly makes her admirable.
She has also written a novel (which she started 10 years ago) and interestingly, it is not about food or her life. The book titled ‘Foursome’ is about friendships and the different facets of being a woman and is laced with wit and humour much like her. The book is scheduled for release this December.
#Images Courtesy: Varun Khanna & thegutlessfoodie (Instagram)
Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @KaurKaur18
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