Michelle Lykokapis (Potter)
Gastrectomy Connections Site Manager and Page Creator – Melbourne, Australia
Hi, my name is Michelle. I was diagnosed with stomach cancer in March 2011 at 39 years old and had my total gastrectomy on 19th July 2011. After surgery it was discovered that I carry a genetic predisposition to gastrointestinal cancers called Lynch Syndrome also known hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC).
During my recovery in hospital I was given extremely basic nutritional support and left to ‘work it out’ for myself when I was sent home. Unfortunately, it seems we fit into the too hard basket for a lot of practitioners. I really wanted a place where I could meet others in a similar situation so I created Gastrectomy Connections, formally known as the Support Page for Partial & Total Gastrectomy Patients in July 2012. Here I have been able to connect to others all over the world to swap stories and share information.
Since 2012 the Facebook Page grown to over 2000 members and has taken on a life of its own. This website is an extension of a wonderful global network that have all come together to share resources and information to potential and current gastrectomy patients.
Welcome to life without a stomach!
Liza Withda-z Pequeno
Facebook Page Administrator – St. Louis, Missouri
My name is Liza and I had stomach cancer (adenocarcinoma) in 2015. Doctors told me that I wouldn’t survive due to the tumor was attached to my artery and Liver. I entered a trial study and by October I was able to get my Partial Gastrectomy of 80% removal of my stomach. I am thriving, living my best life. Learning to ride a motorcycle and being a mother raising my youngest child who has Autism. I look back and think of the times that I wouldn’t make it and see that I made it through and so can you.
Facebook Group Administrator – Saskatchewan, Canada
I’m Summer, I’m a stay at home mom & farm wife to three beautiful children and supportive hubby. I carry the CDH1 gene mutation and had my prophylactic total gastrectomy on March 12 2015. My pathology came back clear with no trace of cancer. I love to bake and cook and plan to load up delicious protein packed, tolerant (for me & hopefully you too) recipes & ideas!
I run a Facebook Page called The Gutsy Housewife https://www.facebook.com/thegutsyfarmwife and a Facebook Group for those wanting to discuss pregnancy post op. https://m.facebook.com/groups/262870400860370 I look forward to connecting with you all and hopefully helping you through this journey as well!
Melani Flockhart Vincelli
Facebook Group Administrator – Brick Township New Jersey, United States
Hi! My name is Melani Vincelli. I am a wife, mother and grandmother. If you ask about my grand daughter, be prepared to sit and stay for awhile… I am a 9 year stage 4 stomach cancer survivor. In the beginning of my battle, I was given 6 to 9 months to live. In 2009 after 6 rounds of chemo and a total removal of my stomach, I have been cancer free. Through my cancer fight, I discovered that I am also a carrier of the BRCA2 gene and had a proactive double mastectomy in 2014. I am the South New Jersey founder of Debbie’s Dream Foundation: Curing Stomach Cancer. http://www.debbiesdream.org/portal/home
Rachel Israel Zetooney
Facebook Group Administrator – Eatontown New Jersey, United States
Hi. I am Rachel. I am a stay at home mom to two boys and a former trial attorney. I had lap band surgery in 2005, which caused damage to my esophagus, resulting in a severe swallowing disorder. I had numerous dilations, stents, Botox and exploratory surgery to try to open my esophagus. When none of these worked, it was recommended that I have an esophojeojunoctomy, which would allow me to swallow using gravity. I had my surgery in March 2013. I was unable to find any support groups and the idea of complete stomach removal was very frightening. I found a few women on line who had gone through this and we started a small chat. We discussed vitamins, food, diet plans and life. These chats have formed lifelong friendships. Over time more people were added and I started the support group, Stomachless Living – Support for Total and Partial Gastrectomies.
I found that helping others in their journey has helped me in mine. Having swallowing issues is very scary and people just simply are unable to understand. I have met the most amazing people through my stomachless journey. One of those people is Michelle and I am so happy to be a part of this website.
Facebook Group Administration – Belleville, Ontario
Hello my name is Terri and I am very excited to be back as an administrator to this amazing Support Group. Sept 1 2011 at Mount Sinai in Toronto Ontario Canada I had my Total Gastrectomy to remove my stomach and eliminate any chance of future cancer reoccurance. I was diagnosed with Signet Ring cell Adenocarcinoma and with it being in the middle of my stomach a Partial Gastrectomy was not an option. Since then I had to have my gallbladder removed. Looking forward to supporting others where I can with my personal experiences.
The information provided on this site is meant only as a general guide. Any information found here should not replace any directions or instructions provided by your doctor. If you have further questions, please contact your physician or Registered Dietitian. References may include third party links.
The Story Behind the Seahorse Logo
When the original Facebook Page started in 2012, Michelle was searching for something that would represent the Stomachless Community. During her search of Stomachless creatures she came across the Seahorse. Symbolically Seahorses point to the importance of friendliness. Everyone needs a friend, and you can be one to others just by showing kindness, compassion, and generosity. She loved how this represented the intention behind what has now evolved into an amazing community.
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Gastrectomy Connections Community Support
Gastrectomy Connections is not a registered non profit organization, therefore any donations to our site are not tax deductable. We rely on the kindness and generosity of the community to assist with the associated costs of running our social media platforms. We are administered by a group of volunteers who generously donate their time, resources and experience to the gastric community.
News & Updates
Hello, my name is Dale Tarrant and I currently live in Anderson, South Carolina. I am a US Navy and Army National Guard Veteran. My story begins in late September – early October of 2014. I was 53 years old at the time and had been experiencing some abdominal pain for...
Art of Survivorship Speech
I was asked by Missouri Baptist to be a speaker for their Art of Survivorship night back in October 2015. Here goes my first time to speak publicly about Cancer and how I feel about it. Survivorship…Surviving…coping Liza’s way. I find myself jumping into the deep end,...
Taking Her Power Back
After Heather’s mother passed away at age 44 of gastric cancer, and losing her grandfather to this disease, she wanted to do everything in her power to be proactive about her health risks, especially for her husband and daughter. At the age of 30, she was referred...
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