Will I Ever Eat Real Food Again?

For those just beginning their search in to the world of Weight Loss Surgery, the concern about being able to eat “real” food post-surgery is their first big worry.  They hear stories about some insurers required 6 month diet, weeks long pre-op liquid diets, clear liquid diets, and protein shakes…and start to freak out a bit.  I’m hear to say, “WHOA, Nelly!  Reign that worry in a bit.”

The answer to this question is yes, you will be able to eat real food again.  Here I am at four weeks out from surgery and I’m beginning to eat real food.  Are those pre and post-surgery diets a pain in the proverbial behind?  Yes, they can be, but they can also be a learning tool.  You will begin to realize that you can do something you never thought you could before- doing the best for your body.  I’m here to tell you that post-surgery, you won’t likely be physically hungry.  Your brain will tell you that you want something, but use this opportunity to retrain your brain.  Tell your brain that it can no longer rule you and your relationship with food.  That head hunger will seem to be a monster at first.  You may find yourself mourning food, but I’m here to tell you that you CAN and WILL eat real food again and that it’s okay to mourn it for a while.   Your favorite foods are not forbidden, they are just postponed while you heal and you will be eating them in smaller quantity.

So, is it okay to be a foodie after Weight Loss Surgery?  Is it okay to want to eat food that tastes good?  YES, it’s okay.  In fact, you may find yourself wanting to experiment with food and try new things.  You may find yourself becoming a bit more discriminating about what you put in your body.  Prior to surgery, I was a bit of a foodie.  I love good ingredients and making food that not only tastes good, but looks good too.  I have begun to experiment with my favorite food and making them Weight Loss Surgery friendly without compromising on taste.

I am going to end this post with a list of some of the best Weight Loss Friendly foodies out there.  Try some of their recipes and you will see that you are going to be able to eat “real” food after surgery AND enjoy it too.

http://eatingwelllivingthin.wordpress.com/

http://rjsdadrecipes.blogspot.com/ (hasn’t been updated in a while)

http://theworldaccordingtoeggface.blogspot.com/

http://bariatricfoodie.blogspot.com/

http://www.foodnetwork.com/topics/low-carbohydrate/index.html (you may have to experiment with the fat and sugar content in some of these recipes)

http://hungry-girl.com/index.php (you may have to experiment with the fat and sugar content in some of these recipes)

http://www.thegastricbypassvegetarian.blogspot.com/

Chocolatey Heaven for 60 calories

Jello-Dark-Choc-Decad-6P1

Okay, I know I’ve been slacking with regard to that Jello Mousse review.    Well, here it is.  I noticed these while looking for Jello Dark Chocolate pudding and was intrigued.  I needed something to tame my chocolate beastie AND still be gentle on my new pouch.  There it was “Dark Chocolate Mousse”…AHHHH…backlit like an angel singing in a manger.  This angel has only 60 calories and beat back my chocolate beastie.  It was very chocolaty with a velvet like texture and beat back that nagging beastie like Michael crushing the head of Satan.  In fact, they were so good that the normal pouched menfolk (boyfriend- who is a freak about chocolate and my ex-husband) ate them and loved them too.  I highly recommend this for all of the chocolate fans out there.

Two Week Checkup and Other Things

Wednesday was my two-week checkup.  I lost 2.5 pounds and was slightly disappointed.  Then, Dr. G put everything in perspective when he hugged me and told me that I had lost 27 pounds in the last month, 20 of it was pre-surgery.  Okay, I can be happy with that.  I received clearance to exercise again minus weights and to move on to pureed food.

Last night I was back at the gym and walked the treadmill for an hour.  It’s hard to essentially start over again when I had done all of that hard work prior to surgery.  It’s extremely frustrating.  I have hope that my body will bounce back quickly.

You know, I never in my life thought I would be happy to move on to pureed food (essentially adult baby food), but I am.  I am tired of being so limited in my flavors like I was with the clear and full liquid stages.  The first thing I made was a yummy buffalo chicken dip and my pouch handled it just fine.  So far, my pouch has been good to me with regard to foods.  Hopefully it will stay that way.

As for other things, I’ve been bombarded with emotional situations beginning the day I was released from the hospital and found out a good friend had died.  Then there was some family drama, beginning homeschooling my son, career drama when I found out I can’t get a 2nd Bachelor’s degree to become a Registered Dietitian, as well as the ongoing financial issues.  I just need a break from all of this for a while.  I just need a break from all of this and some time to regroup.  In the past, I would have gobbled up my stress in food, but I can’t do that now.  It’s definitely been an opportunity to learn that food doesn’t need to be a comfort anymore and to find other methods of dealing.

I’m thinking that I might begin doing some bariatric friendly product reviews as I find and taste them.  Look for one on Jello’s new sugar free mousse in the next day or so.  Take care dear readers.

So, I am VERY fortunate to live in an extremely supportive household.  I really haven’t had to lift a finger since I’ve been home and my menfolk (boyfriend and ex-husband) really are doing a great job at taking care of me.  Now, the house is a bit disorganized as they both work full time and I haven’t had much energy to do much of anything.  I try to keep things clean, but hey sometimes you slip.  Sometimes you slip so much that you forget to put potentially embarrassing pre-surgery stuff away.  Cue foreboding music…dun dun dunnnnn!

What the hell is that on my desk!?!  Is that a box containing an enema on my desk!?!  Well, oh my yes, it IS an unopened box of poo inducing Fleet on my desk.  It’s been there since the night before surgery.  It was there when my friend M came over to use the computer.  I am somewhat dissappointed in M, because he of all people should have noticed and made a hysterical comment.  That man is slipping.

Moral of the story…don’t be such a neat freak and just roll with it.

Week One Post Op

Dr. Appointment:  I’m down 5 pounds since surgery and am on to full liquids.  For those who may end up going home with your drain tube, know that the removal isn’t a delicate procedure.  Breathe in deep and be prepared for it to hurt like hell.

Today was my first day alone with my son since surgery and wow was it a day.  It was like running a marathon.  You see, my son has a trifecta of developmental issues:  Autism, ADHD, and Sensory Processing Disorder.  He is higher functioning, but it makes for one crazy combo.  In addition to taking care of my little tax deduction, I had a one hour online orientation for his school (we do home online school), and a plethora of paperwork to get done.  Then, it was off to the doctor appointment and errands.  As I write this, I am exhausted and long for sleep.

One thing with this surgery, as with any surgery, you will tire easily.  In addition, you are essentially starving yourself on top of it.  So, be prepared and make sure you have the help you need to take naps and get to bed early.

Lastly, a pet peeve of mine: If I hear one more person say, “Sip, sip, sip. Walk, walk, walk,” I’m going to lose it.  It’s overused and gets annoying to hear with each and every post you make to an online board pre or post surgery.  I have literally had a post where that damn phrase was used five times…minimum.  It’s grating…stop it…please.

My Surgery Experience

9/1/09 Surgery
I woke up, took a shower, attempted to do something with my hair sans product, took a valium, and was off to the hospital. I arrived at the hospital 10 minutes early and had to wait outside the day surgery door with my boyfriend and all of my crap. Once someone got their I was given a gown and booties to change into, weighed, gave a urine sample and was off to go lay down and wait. They took some blood, started an IV (which took forever due to my tiny veins) and introduced me to everyone on the surgical team- that took about an hour and a half. My surgeon came in at at 8:00 I was wheeled to the OR. I got up on the table, was told to breathe through the CPAP like machine and woke up two plus hours later in recovery hurting like HELL. Apparently my liver didn’t shrink as expected and he had to move that sucker around a lot to ensure a laproscopic surgery. The anti-nausea patch they gave me prior to surgery wasn’t working either, so I got IV anti-nausea meds. I was in recovery longer than expected due to the nausea and pain issue. Once I was moved up to my room, I slept for a bit and got up and started walking- at least every four hours. I was shot up with Heparin (anti-clotting) that FYI burns like a mofo, more pain drugs. No ice chips, but I did bring some Ora-Moist disks: Don’t buy these, they didn’t work and just made this disgusting gel goop stick to the roof of my mouth. Definitely a wasted $10.

9/2/09 Leak Test
This was the bane of my existence that day. The dye made me wicked nauseous
and it took a while for the dye to work its way down. I had to drink 2 oz of this crap and my pouch was not only riding the vomit comet, but was FULL. I was shuffled back and forth between my room and x-ray about 4 times. Once they determined there was no leak, I was given more anti-nausea meds and Lortab. I HATE LORTAB. Lortab made me puke…violently…TWICE. Thanks to Lortab, I was going to be kept in the hospital an extra day. Thanks to Lortab, I got to find out what crushed up Vicodin tastes like- note to self, take anti-nausea prior to drinking Vicodin water. Today I also realized that my taste buds no longer liked fake lemon flavor- tasted like Pledge…either that or the hospital was making the Crystal Light WRONG. Also, bringing your own pillows to the hospital WILL NOT ensure comfortableness. I was given Valium to deal with spasms and pain in my neck and back from that crappy hospital bed. Hell, I STILL have a kink in my neck that we are trying to get worked out.

9/3/09
Woke up feeling good. Took a shower and did my hair. Walked more than I had in the past two days. No more nausea and only took pain medication once. Was told I was going home the next day. My IV had blown and was infiltrating, so the attempt was made for another one, but after 8 attempts and 7 more blown veins (they even called people in from other areas of the hospital to help), it was decided to just remove it as I was doing well getting fluids in on my own.

9/4/09
Release day. I was told I was being released in the morning, so I had myself (hair AND makeup) ready by 10am…and the waiting began. It was a good thing overall to wait as my nurse realized that my other nurses weren’t paying a damn bit of attention to the flaming red band on my wrist that said, “TAPE ALLERGY” or the large red note on my chart (they were using non-satin tape, but not paying attention to the adhesive). He was not amused and changed my dressing, making sure to use hypo-allergenic tape and to send me home with some. Turns out…it still messes up my skin. Finally after my nurse calling Dr. G’s office and my boyfriend calling Dr. G’s office, I was released around 1pm. I came home and within the half hour received word that one of my dearest friends, mentors, and teachers had passed away that morning. Emotionally, this has been one of the hardest processes of my life. I can’t believe that the greatest woman I have ever known (outside of my mother) is gone. She would have been right by my side and I would have been right by hers had I known she was ill. The strangest coincidence is that she passed as I was being released from the hospital.

So, there’s my experience thus far. I’m getting in about 80g of protein thanks to my samples of Nectar and my minimum 64 oz. of fluids. I’m walking a lot. Hell, I even went to Target on the 5th to get groceries. I would say that my main issues have been tape- literally blistering and peeling my stomach, the soreness from my drain tube, and trying to not overdo it. Today I have been in bed A LOT due to the memorial service yesterday- outside, backyard, in the sun, hot, and the emotion of the situation. I survived the food deluge that resulted and good things are coming from my friend’s death. I just wish it wasn’t her death that brought us all back together. I’m sad, angry, and hopeful all at the same time.

Thank you to everyone for the support, energy, and prayers over the past several months. Tomorrow I get my drain out and I know I will feel a bit more human after that…it’s totally grossing me out. Damon calls it the “goo grenade.” How romantic, eh?

PS. Weight Loss Surgery IS NOT THE EASY WAY OUT! I lost 75 pounds prior to surgery. I worked my ass off and changed almost everything about the way I eat and perceive food. If you are considering it. Start losing weight NOW. Make your lifestyle changes NOW. To show you it ain’t easy…here’s a few pics of my body shortly after surgery. The bruising is actually worse now.

Surgery and Lotus Blossoms 001

Surgery and Lotus Blossoms 003

Surgery and Lotus Blossoms 004

Surgery and Lotus Blossoms 005

Surgery and Lotus Blossoms 006