I think I'd have to be pushed! However it's sure to be absolutely amazing! Laura is planning to jump out of a plane (plus parachute!) for OOSO on Saturday 22nd July, over the beautiful City of Salisbury, taking in incredible views across to the Solent and Needles of the Ilse of White, and the nearby Salisbury Cathedral, possibly joined up there by one of the local Peregrine Falcons, who knows! (see 'live cam' for a preview: Falcon1 - Salisbury Cathedral ), before Laura lands gently and most gracefully upon the grassy runway of Old Sarum airfield.

Laura suffered with a disease called Achalasia for nine years, seriously affecting her ability to eat and drink, and recently had a life changing oesophagectomy under the inspiring care of our very own Nick Maynard. Laura says "the compassion and comfort I received from OOSO was no different due to the nature of my surgery - to have had the support from OOSO has made my recovery just that little bit easier and for that I wish to sincerely thank them all by completing a sky dive in Salisbury on 22 July 2023."

So please, dig deep! and support Laura by making a small donation via her Enthuse funding page and this link:  https://ooso.enthuse.com/cf/lauralittrell

We'll keep you updated and post the best pics - THANK YOU!!


We hosted our 22nd zoom session earlier this week, with 39 guests dialling in, a healthy attendance of current and former patients, OOSO reps and clinicians. Because of this mix, we enjoy really informative and upbeat discussions, helping everyone on the call to benefit in one way or another. We all leave with something positive to think about.

Our two former patient guest presenters, Kevin and Deborah, reflected upon their own experiences with managing energy levels and dietary choices soon after surgery, and throughout the first year of their recovery. Here's some of the main points raised:

Kevin: hitting the wall

  • Energy levels can crash at very short notice, coming almost 'out of the blue'.
  • This is closely linked to diet and what we eat, especially sugary foods.
  • Blood sugar levels HbA can seriously affect how we feel.
  • Too much sugar in the diet often leads to episodes of "secondary dumping", which doesn't always mean rushing to the loo! Feeling really tired, hot and sweaty, a bit shaky and headaches are common symptoms, sometimes lasting for up to 2-3 hours isn't unusual.
  • To help reduce these episodes, carefully consider your diet, work out a routine of meals and snacks that suits you, avoiding snacking of chocolate bars for example, which you think might otherwise provide energy but instead can cause problems.
  • Contact and speak with your local Hospital based dietician for more detailed advice.
  • GPs can monitor your blood sugar HbA through blood tests and provide them back to you graphically via the Patient Access App or NHS App - if you're interested talk with them about this.
  • Kevin's recommendation: A High Viz Flag - patients to be made more aware of this important side effect before discharge so they are better prepared.
  • Top tip: if you do 'hit the wall', for a quick fix, take 2-3 Dextrose tablets which within a few minutes, quickly ease the nasty side effects of a secondary dumping episode. Keep a pack of tablets close to hand - in the house and car. Better still, take care to establish a diet that suits you best. 

Deborah: more dietary top tips
  • Ensure your main meals are balanced with protein and carbs, notably starch, e.g. potato.
  • Eating only protein slows down digestion and can leave you feeling bloated and lacking energy.
  • Try eating carbs off the plate before protein, this will help to enhance and ease digestion.
  • But add in your greens! it's important to have fibre in our diets too, but early on in recovery the calorie count is very important.
  • Whilst a routine is important, within reason 'eat what you fancy'.
  • Many of us struggle with enthusiasm to eat, so eating what you fancy is an obvious way to build up a routine that suits you.
  • Our bodies are fairly good at telling us what we need, so don't ignore the food we hanker after.
  • In a snap poll of 30 former and current patients the most popular main meals are: fish pies with soft mashed potato, egg dishes - scrambled or poached with smoked salmon or spinach, cottage pie with minced beef, soft saucy lasagne, lentil and chicken based soups. Basically soft, tasty and nutritious dishes.
  • Favourite snacks include: cheese, energy bars ('Nature' and 'Deliciously Ella'), wholemeal toast and toppings, nuts, crisps, Greek yoghurt, and black herbal ginger tea - to help with nausea during treatments.
  • After the first year of recovery it's important to transition to a more healthy diet, especially lower saturated fats, thinking ahead for a long and healthy life.

We hope you find these notes interesting and helpful. Our next zoom session will be held on Tuesday 2nd May at 7pm - details to be circulated by newsletter nearer the time - we hope you can join us then.

Café Catch Ups

Thank you to everyone joining us at Hillier's in Little Marlow this week. We had a great turn out of exactly 30 guests, with a very friendly chat all round and a pretty decent lunch too!

Feedback suggests it'll be helpful if we plan our café lunches up to three months ahead, so you can put one in your diary and hopefully stand more chance of coming along. So here we go - this is where we plan to be over the next three months:

  • Tuesday 18th April, 12:30pm:  Frosts Garden Centre, Woburn Sands, MK17 8UE
  • Tuesday 16th May, 12:30pm:  Dobbies Garden Centre, Swindon, SN2 7SE
  • Monday 12th June, 12:30pm:  Waterperry gardens, Oxford, OX33 1LA

And whilst we're listing dates, our next three Zoom sessions will take place on:
  • Tuesday 2nd May at 7pm
  • Tuesday 13th June at 7pm
  • Tuesday 25th July at 7pm

Photo Op'

Finally, please join our annual photo competition and email us 2-3 of your favourite pictures here. We've just one "anything goes" category, so your photos could be of anything or anyone, taken at any time. We'll award the winner and two runners-up with a nice on-line prize of their choice. There's no rules and no fuss, just send us your picture that makes you happy! Deadline = May Day.

Above is a lovely early morning view across North Brecon - thank you Anne!

Stay well, keep in touch, onwards and upwards.
Matt Carter
Chair of the Trustees
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