Two weeks out from surgery and things are improving. My overall energy and stamina have risen to “merely weakened,” and I had my first post-op appointment with my surgeon, which went well. He informed me that I can start attempting aerobic activity this weekend. I’m honestly going to try, but I don’t have great hopes for extended duration at this point. Yesterday I drove thirty minutes to my sister in law’s house where she had three cases of protein water for me (in a flavor that doesn’t make me retch), and drove back home, stopping at a supermarket to pick up a few things for my wife. Walking through the store was fine, and when I got home, I crapped out and read for a bit, but it wasn’t the end of my day, as it would’ve been a week ago. Huzzah.
Yesterday also marks the first day of the “pureed foods” part of the new diet. I’ll spare you the complete list of allowed foods, but among other things, I’m now allowed to eat egg whites and pulverized fish and poultry. This was my breakfast yesterday morning:
That’s one ounce of egg white and one ounce of crab meat (that’s been to hell and back). Now that I’m allowed something a little more substantial, the rules for eating have changed slightly. I’m allowed three meals a day and two snacks, which sounds normal enough, but it’s how much you eat, and how you eat (the actual process) that changes things up a bit. Each meal I eat is supposed to be two ounces. Like, the whole meal is supposed to be two ounces. And it’s supposed to take me thirty minutes to eat it. My initial reaction to this was, “How the hell does anyone take half an hour to eat two ounces of food?” The answer is this:
You eat slowly, and intentionally, and you allow yourself the gift of experiencing the food you’re eating.
I say that like I know what I’m talking about. I’ve done it twice. But, for those who are curious, this is what breakfast was yesterday:
- I put a little of the crabby, eggy mess on my fork. Enough to cover maybe a quarter inch of the tines.
- I put that in my mouth, and I spread it throughout, getting it on my tongue, the roof of my mouth, and then I “chewed.” I tasted the egg. I tasted the crab. I tasted the salt. I tasted the pepper. Was there anything else I was tasting? No? Cool. Wow, the pepper’s actually kinda hot on my tongue. I guess I really have rebooted my pallet.
- I pushed the food around with my tongue a little more and then swallowed.
- Repeat. It took half an hour.
Who the fuck has that kinda time for breakfast? Starting yesterday, I do. And when I go back to work, it might have to be a protein drink, which is fine. But starting yesterday, my meals have to be selfish. They have to be me time. They have to be tiny celebrations of food and the immense good fortune I have to be able to eat it. That sounds pretentious as hell, I get it, but that’s literally the headspace I need to be in when I eat. Because if I’m thinking about anything else, especially work or some other obligation, I’m going to shovel it down my throat, not even realize I’ve eaten, and still be hungry. And that’s what lead me to needing surgery. No more eating in the car. No more shoveling. The way I live my entire life is going to have to change. Or maybe not, but that’s honestly what it seems like in the moment. But this is a bridge in the future.
Getting back to the present, you’ve seen my breakfast already. For lunch I had a Greek yogurt, and for dinner, I just had a protein water. I had a few other snacks during the day (two tablespoons of hummus, turkey broth, two tablespoons of low-fat cottage cheese, and another protein water), but those were my meals.
There’s no way to get enough protein with what I’m allowed to eat, so it’s expected that two of my snacks or meals are going to be protein drinks. Getting protein in is paramount, my new goal is 60-80 grams a day. I’m actually shooting for 80 because if you don’t get enough, your hair can fall out, and I’ve had just the right amount of hair loss at this point, so I’m good.
All this probably sounds horrible to most people, but you’re reading the words of a man who’s just come off two weeks of nothing but liquids. Two weeks of two ounce meals is going to be fine. And it’s not like there isn’t a payoff. Check this out:
That’s not nothing. 27 pounds in two weeks sounds like an unhealthy amount of weight loss, and it would be, I’m sure, if I hadn’t had most of my stomach removed, and if I weren’t strictly following my doctor’s guidelines. This isn’t long term, it’s just allowing my new stomach to adapt to a new way of living. My brain is going to need way more time to adjust than my stomach will. Anyway, that’s enough for now.