When you’re a new post-op there are a lot of emotions about food. First – when you’re a pre-op there’s a momentary panic because you know you’re gonna have to fast at some point in time before surgery. (With Dr. Baltasar, that’s pretty much just the actual day of surgery.) Then, of course, your mind goes forward to the fact that you’re gonna have to have a period of time after surgery when you’re only on liquids. (With Dr. B, that’s two weeks of fluids – they’re graduated, and honestly, a breeze.) Then, there’s usually a graduation to soft foods – and people get a little excited (usually about half way through the first week of liquids!) about the possibilities. (With Dr. B, soft foods is defined as anything you can cut easily with a plastic fork – lots of options!) THEN, you think, anything I want! Glory be! Hooray! etc…
Well, here’s my little montage to food and how I feel about it at the moment – at 25 days post-op.
a necessary evil
kind of disgusting, if you really think about it much
a pain in the butt
did I say boring yet?
and just generally all around annoying.
Why, pray tell? Oh, let me tell you why.
(I should probably interject here that all of the patients I’ve coached through this stage of post-op life in the past six years are falling off of their office chairs laughing!)
First – while I can pretty much have anything that I want to eat… there’s just really nothing that I want to eat.
Then, I have to factor in my own food allergies – there are myriad… Stuff like:
- Egg Whites
- Milk (and I’m lactose intolerant on top of it)
- Tomatoes and citrus – if they’re not completely vine ripened
Oh – and I hate peanut butter. And a bunch of other stuff. Okay – yeah, I admit it – I’m picky!
Some of my allergies are hit or miss. Like eggs… I can usually scramble an egg and eat it okay. If I haven’t had too much egg in my world in the preceeding days, that is. I can be mid-meal and have eaten two or three bites of a scrambled egg just fine and then as soon as the next bite literally touches my lips they’ll start to tingle and I’ll know – “Well, that’s the end of eggs for a while!”
And shrimp… I love shrimp – especially grilled shrimp with yummy spices on them. I can usually get away with eating – oh, on a good day (before this surgery, of course!) maybe five or six of them with no ugly raise of the ugly allergy head. But give me crab – or pretty much any other shellfish – and the room starts to spin, my airway begins to close, and I think, “Do I have an Epi-Pen with me or not?”
Strawberries are a definite anaphylactic response. Milk, and chicken, and bananas just make me throw-up – for hours on end. Makes me not want to include them in my world, you know?
Aside from the allergies, there are intolerances, of course. And then the stuff that I choose to not put in my body… stuff like HFCS, chemicals of all sorts, artificial sweeteners, etc.
I normally feel very good about all of this – I’ve learned to live my life in a very happy way with food by making wise choices about what works for me and what doesn’t.
So, back to why food is such a pain in the butt…
Little bites are hard to remember to do. My son – who will be 2 years post-LSG (lap sleeve gastrectomy) in March keeps giving me the eye. You know, the one with the raised eyebrow and the accompanying, “That bite is too big, Mom!” There’s nothing worse than getting nagged by your own kid – who also happens to be a patient that you actually coached through early post-op life.
Going slow is hard to do, too. Remembering to wait 2 to 3 – and sometimes even FIVE minutes between bites is really hard to do! And to be brutally honest – with my new stomach configuration, the 5 minute wait is really what I need to be doing.
Patients have been telling me this forever – and I know! I know it’s true. I knew it was true when I had my original DS. So this shouldn’t be a shock or surprise to anyone who is a DS or SG post-op… I just don’t FEEL hungry. I *know* it has nothing to do with how I FEEL. (Can I just have 5 cents for every time I’ve said that to a post-op, please?!) It has everything to do with the fact that…. (let’s say it all together)
food is FUEL
Yes, I know. I know! I teach this stuff!
But I don’t really care!
(Aren’t I a whiner?!)
Okay – and so, my next whiney complaint? There’s a whole heck of a lot of stuff that isn’t settling well. Like making me wish I could have someone reach a hand out there and take it out and throw it away! With my first surgery I only ever threw up once in the early post-op period (and only one other time in 6 plus years – when I had an incomplete bowel obstruction). I hate throwing up. But to be brutally honest – there have been many occasions in the past 25 days that I’ve longed for the ability to barf!
Aren’t I pathetic?
So – yeah – it hasn’t all been a joy ride. But… I will admit – every day is getting better. I’m actually learning from my stupid mistakes – for the most part, anyway. And trying to keep focused on the positive instead of the negative is really, really important for me. The thing that makes it doable for me is remembering to read my Bible, pray, and worship. I do a lot of driving in my cute little car – and I love that I can turn up the music really loud and sing at the top of my lungs – and no one else has to hear that I’m not quite on key – and know that God hears my heart first and foremost.
So I’m gonna make it.