Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Realities of This Surgery

(Originally posted to FB on October 30, 2011)

I have been doing a lot of reading and research on what to expect with this surgery. It won't be an easy quick fix by any means. But from what I've been told, one of the best things I can do to succeed without being totally overwhelmed by it all is to just get my mind prepared for the way things will be. Instead of dreading all the changes, I need to just accept them as the inevitable reality that I will face.

So, what are some of these changes and challenges? Well, the most obvious is that I won't be able to eat nearly as much as I do now. It won't be a matter of choice....I will physically not be able to eat as much. So I will have to learn to eat much more slowly, taking small bites, and paying close attention to portion sizes while getting the best nutrients that I can get in the small amounts I'll be eating. If I don't find the right balance of portion and nutrition I will regret it. I've seen videos of people complaining about the health issues they face when they aren't getting the proper nutrients. So, I need to be very aware not only of how much I eat...but what I eat. I'm already starting to work on that. When I went shopping today most of what I bought was fresh produce, lean meats, low fat dairy, and whole grain breads. I have also started taking multivitamins with iron as well as calcium. This is all going to be part of staying healthy once I have this surgery.

Now for the thigns I can't have once I have this surgery...and this is actually the more difficult part to adjust to, but so far I've been in a pretty good frame of mind about it. One of the big ones is that I won't be able to have caffeine anymore. That is something I'm already starting to ween myself off of, because I'm definitely a caffeine addict. I'm drinking fewer soda's per day. Even though I have only drank diet sodas for years now, I still need to cut them out of my diet. In addition to the caffiene, I won't want to be drinking carbonated beverages when my stomach is so much smaller. Ouch! Also, little or no sugary things. If I understand correctly, I won't want them anyway because they will upset my stomach. I will also have to limit things like breads and chicken. They evidently won't go down so well and will sit hard in my stomach. Fatty foods will also be something I will want to stay away from. Again, they will upset my stomach and leave me feeling bad. Yuck.

Getting enough protein in my diet will be a challenge, so I will be drinking protein drinks and adding protein powder to some of the foods I eat. I hear this can be a challenge, because it's hard to find a decent tasting protein drink. But I do have a couple of recommendations of some better tasting ones, so lets hope they are right. :)

For 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after the surgery I will be on a liquid diet. Before the surgery this is to help shrink my liver and reduce any fats that are on it. They have to move the liver out of the way for the operation and this makes it easier for them and less painful for me. I'm assuming that after the surgery, the liquid diet is continued to avoid any undue stress on the stomach as it heals. After the liquid diet, I will be on a soft foods diet for 2 weeks, and then eventually I will be able to eat "normal" foods.

I have heard that even going to the "normal" foods can be a challenge because your body has changed and you have to re-learn what your stomach can and can't handle. Even though most foods will be on the "allowed" foods list, that doesn't mean my stomach will do well with all of them. I know someone who a difficult time not being able to eat foods that she had previously enjoyed even though they were foods she was allowed to have. She's had to find the new foods that work for her by trial and error. I don't look forward to this process, but que cera, cera.

I will also have to drink 64 oz of liquids a day, but I won't be able to drink at mealtime anymore. This means I will be sipping water all throughout the day. But if I remember right, the literature they gave me said that protein drinks and other liquids allowed on the liquid diet count toward these required ounces.

There is a lot to take in whith this whole process. It won't be easy, but I truly feel I have to do this. As you can see, this isn't an easy way out or a quick fix. I will be foreced to make healthy changes, changes I have not been able to make and maintain in the past. But with the surgery, I won't have a choice. I will have to make the changes or risk my comfort, my health, and even my life. I hate having to go to such drastic lengths, but it will be worth it to be able to be around to enjoy my family!


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