Like so many other things – parenting, for instance – weight loss surgery is one of those situations where people tell you, “You’ll see,” in an ominous, knowing tone.
“I would NEVER let my kid throw a fit like that in the store! MY children will behave when we go out.”
“Yeah, well, you’ll see…”
“There’s no way my kid would say that to me! No way!”
“That’s what I thought, too. You’ll see…”
“Seriously, I’m supposed to chew this bite of chicken, like, 25 times? That’s just gross!”
“Well, yeah, it’s a lot, but you need to. You’ll see…”
“You don’t miss coffee? Oh, I would DIE if I had to stop drinking coffee!”
“No, I don’t miss it that much. It’s different now. You’ll see…”
And indeed, I did. I found out that eating (I’m still on soft solids, progressing prudently) is different from what I remember. Eating or drinking too quickly, or failing to chew adequately, has its consequences – and they’re immediate. One – you’ll wonder how that quick drink of water solidified into a chunk with sharp edges as it fights its way down your esophagus. Ow! Two – being full used to feel like, ‘yeah, I’m full, but I can eat those last couple bites of lasagna — bring on the cheesecake!’ Now, when I am getting full, my tummy feels like it’s already stuffed up to here (points at Adam’s apple), and I’m swallowing like mad to keep it from rising further. Full means ‘up to my neck.’ And there isn’t any more room.
I’ve found that the best remedy for that full feeling is to sit back and give that little tummy some room; usually, the discomfort is gone after about 15 minutes. Other sensations I’m becoming familiar with? Hiccups. Bloating. Burps. Seriously. Unwelcome and uncomfortable. I realize this is due to my body adjusting to the foods I eat, the air I swallow as I eat, and the medications I take, which now include a fiber supplement. I hope that these things settle down as time goes on. (Nobody told me that I’d be able to compete with my sons in a belching contest. At this point, I might even win!)
I’ve noticed that I’ve been having a lot of painful leg cramping lately, more than usual, so I’m probably low on potassium. Didn’t expect that. Time for a banana. Which reminds me — nobody told me I’d have monster breath, either. I can’t chew gum (I bite my cheek every time), so I have to keep some mints handy so I don’t scare people away. (If I’ve scared you, I apologize.)
Crushing my pills and taking them with water is still working out pretty well, except for my @#$&*^$#@ vitamins. Mr. Stuck reminded me that if I don’t take my supplements, my hair will fall out. He’s right, of course, and I rather like my hair, so I once again tried to figure out a good way to take these powder-filled capsules. (The Omeprazole caps are filled with granules, which present their own challenges, but I digress.)
The first (and last) time I tried, I opened the capsules, poured the powder into a 1-oz medicine cup and added water, much like I do for the rest of my meds. Big mistake. The powder and water repelled each other, in some sort of strange electrostatic dance, and the powder would not mix. Instead, it adhered to the sides of the little plastic cup, and floated mockingly on the surface of the water. When I swished it, it stuck to the cup. When I stirred it, it stuck to my finger. When I tried to drink it, it stuck to my tongue and the inside of my mouth. I don’t know how much water I had to drink to wash it down, but it was a lot, and it turned into chunks with sharp edges as it went.
Mr. Stuck’s next idea was to put the powder into my daily protein shake. Sounded like a plan, so today I gave it a whirl. Um, no. Again, the powder sticks stubbornly to the side of the Blender Bottle ® and no amount of monkey gyrations will shake it down (yeah, I tried). So now I’m drinking a chunky, funky-flavored protein shake (oh, yum) with bits of dry, bitter powder suspended in it. What do these people expect me to do? I guess I need to try the powder in a spoon of applesauce or something, even though I don’t want to. Sure looking forward to the 3-month mark, where I can finally swallow my pills whole again.
My tastes are changing, too. I drink cocoa or tea as much or more than coffee now; when I do have a cup of coffee, I rarely finish more than half. Even the 12-oz mocha I ordered this weekend sat untouched after I drank less than a quarter of it. The broccoli-cheese soup that Mr. Stuck thoughtfully bought for me was horrid when I tried it. The clam chowder I had for lunch last Friday must have been too rich for my baby tummy, because I had to throw most of it away. I suppose some of it will come back as time goes on, but for now, things taste different.
Since surgery, I’m down over 20 lbs. It’s coming off fast. I’m sure it will slow down now that I am actually eating food I can chew. It’s easy to lose weight on a liquid or almost-liquid diet. I’m glad to be eating food again, even though I’m not quite to the raw vegetables stage, which will be the final part of the post-surgical diet. I am sooo ready to eat food that doesn’t have to be soft, pureed, or pre-chewed. I am ready for some stir-fry chicken and veggies, or a fresh, crisp salad, or even an apple. It can be tough to get through these first few weeks of restricted eating, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
photo credit striatic