Survivor Shares How Mesothelioma Impacts His Diet

Stories from Survivors

Shaun Bigbie first started experiencing an unusual feeling of fullness. Fullness after eating is expected, but when it’s extreme or very uncomfortable after eating can be a sign of a health issue. Shaun’s doctors originally thought he was dealing with a mild case of diverticulitis.

“Around the time I started having that feeling of fullness, I knew something was wrong,” he told The Mesothelioma Center at “Around that time I started eating a little better.” 

He added, “I had been eating fruit in the morning, but I started concentrating more on what I ate and I lost 20 lbs. in a couple of weeks and got down to 220 lbs.”

In July of 2023 Shaun was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma. Two months later he had surgery with heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy. A few months after his first surgery, he had surgery with heated intrathoracic chemotherapy. Both surgeries removed visible cancer cells and treated his internal organs with chemotherapy drugs.

“Of course when I had my first surgery and I got out of the hospital, I went down to 180 lbs. I got back up to about 190 lbs.,” he recounted. “But once I got out of the hospital for my second surgery, I came back down to 170 lbs. So in total I lost 70 lbs.”

Paying close attention to diet and nutrition for mesothelioma has helped. Maintaining a healthy weight can improve overall health and help patients keep up their strength during treatment and through recovery.

“I’m now back up to 190 lbs. again,” Shaun reports. “The hardest is eating healthy at night after working all day. I try to narrow it down to something healthy, but sometimes that doesn’t work. Overall I’ve done pretty good when it comes to nutrition after mesothelioma treatment.” 

Only one month after his second major surgery, Shaun returned to his job as a nuclear rigger, which keeps him moving. He works 10 hours a day, 6 days a week. When it comes to exercise, Shaun says with his busy work schedule he finds it difficult to find the time. But he does use an elliptical machine as often as he can.

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