Protein powder

So I got a little behind on shopping and had finished all my GNC Wheybolic protein (both vanilla and strawberry). Both flavors were decent; I personally prefer vanilla because it tastes less fake to me.

So in desperation I started using the pure protein vanilla creme I’d gotten at Walmart a while ago. Can you say disgusting?? So gross. The powder wouldn’t break up in the blender bottle, and when it did, it was super frothy and disgusting to drink. Nothing kills a drink like a small chunk of powder in the middle…

I took Friday afternoon off (awesome!!) and got back to GNC. I went ahead and asked for one that tastes less sweet. The wheybolic one is so “over sucralosed”, it was just too sweet. So I’m trying the GNC 100% whey one and it’s slightly less sweet. It breaks up in the blender bottle perfectly!

Overall my protein shakes seem to be keeping me healthy, but it’s tough to drink them without a plan. I do 8-10 oz lactose free 2% milk with 2 scoops of protein powder. I have to sip on it. I can usually drink half pretty quickly, then break 5-10 min and drink the other half. If I don’t give myself enough time, I just feel downright crappy. Maybe protein overload to the gut, who knows.

I’ve found that integrating my shake into my schedule works well. If I go running first thing in the morning, I drink water before the run to get the gut moving and me hydrated. Then right after my run, I make the shake. If I can drink half, then shower, then drink the other half, it goes very well. And that way, by the time I go to work, I’ve gotten in 300+ calories and 50 grams of protein! (And as an added bonus, no chewing required!)

I’ve also has that purple jar EAS one in the French vanilla flavor. That one tasted great and broke up well, but I’ve never found one in a big bottle. I always feel like I’m getting jipped if I can’t buy in bulk. If I find a big bottle, I’ll let you know

I will say that I’ve also run out of milk before and water works just fine with the protein powder. It’s actually lighter and easier to drink since it’s less calories.

So that’s my current protein assessment. Today’s been a fun day so far. And I even had a few minutes to post my protein assessment!! I’m sure there’s other ones that break down well. I’ll try to add info as I try them out.

Almost 4 Months Post Op

So next Monday marks 4 months post surgery. I’d say life has gotten crazy busy lately, in a good way. I keep focusing on lots of protein with my meals and it seems to work. Life is pretty normal (my usual level of crazy), but definitely normal. You might say “normal with minor food modifications”.

I am able to keep up with life having my “spit cup” on hand at work and in the car. I can consume larger volumes of food now, and I push myself in hopes that it’ll continue to improve. I stay away from most raw veggies and heavy, thick breads. (But don’t fear because I can enjoy those foods when I crave them.) I strip the skins off stuff because it’s still not guaranteed those won’t come back up. Example foods I can usually do after stripping off skin: sausage, tomatoes, deli meats, grapes (spit out skins).

My biggest focus continues to be protein. It’s interesting to compare diet notes with a coworker whose child was just diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. As long as her son has foods with some protein in it, it’s ok. But anything that’s sugary without protein doesn’t work. It seems to be the same for total gastrectomy patients.

Last week, our office lost one of our own employees to stomach cancer. This very nice man left a widow and 2 teenage boys after bravely battling his cancer for several years. He was only 52 or 53. It shocked me to hear his story and how eerily it sounded like my family’s exact story back 15 years ago. It reminded me how hard people fight this cancer and how lucky I am to be able to proactively beat it, even if I do face some minor life adjustments. My prayers go out to him and his family.

One thing on my mind lately… I beat my stomach cancer. Then I walk by people smoking, and it boggles my mind. I’m fighting to stay healthy and live a long life, so I can’t understand why people still smoke when they know the results. For as crazy of a decision as my total gastrectomy seems to most, I think smoking might be crazier.

On a running note, I busted out a measly 3 miles Monday morning before work. It went well, but I tire as the week wears on (me and 5 AM don’t always jive). My pace is still not up to where it was, but every run goes better. I no longer feel my incision tugging during a run and don’t feel like I have to be cautious with it anymore. My goal is to get a minimum of 3 runs in during the week (should really be 3 weekday runs, plus one weekend run). I’ll settle for squeezing in 3 this week. (Glad I only signed up for a half marathon.) Last Saturday morning, I managed a little over 5 miles. It wasn’t pretty, but I did it! Hubbie asked me if I was going to be able to do the half in January. My response, “Oh I can do it. Might not be pretty, but I’ll get it done!”

I’m planning to leave early tomorrow to hit the gym before work. Note to self, remember amphipod water bottle thing, else it’ll be dreadmill time for me!

Have a great evening.

Eating in the morning

The Facebook total and partial gastrectomy group posted about what do you eat first thing in the morning and mentioned how it seems hard to get eating right away. That first meal sometimes seeming like the most difficult. I’d tend to agree. I’m no doctor, but after your body goes into fasting mode overnight, it seems like it takes a little while in the morning to get your guts moving enough to want to eat something.

This morning, I’m at a hotel looking at these wonderful breakfast options and settling for oatmeal. I know it goes down well and is quite tasty. But part of me would like to have the courage to try eggs again, but that can wait until another day. (My last eggs and bacon meal that scorned me turned into a Sunday morning of trying and spitting up all my eggs and bacon. I can only figure a piece of bacon that was too big went down at the beginning and nothing would stay down until I spit up that one piece.)

So breakfast this morning:
Oatmeal with Splenda
Protein shake with 2% lactose-free milk
Coffee

This is odd for me, an early morning post. I guess I’ll say it’s finally gorgeous here with pleasant weather. Go out, enjoy the world, and live your stomachless life to the fullest! Don’t know about you, but I sure am trying.

Another Run Down

Today I took a mommy day. I got to catch up on everything I’ve been wanting to get done, enjoy a breakfast with the kids without having to rush off to work. It was very pleasant.

I was able to get another run in. This run was pushing it because I forgot my water bottle I run with and even though the physical temp is dropping here, the 99% humidity is quite brutal when coupled with early morning sunlight. But God must’ve been watching over me because when I was really needing water, I found a water fountain! Thank you!

I’ve been trying to catch up on my hydration all day. That’s tough to do with as long as I spend eating and chewing. And since I can’t chug water immediately post run, it’s more of a chore.

Then I bought me some new pants. I’ve found myself swimming in a lot of my old clothes, so to get some that fit absolutely made my day. Then I cleaned out my closet, and I couldn’t help but thinking I have no clue what size I’m suppose to be. My current pant set had gone from post college, through 2 pregnancies and now a gastrectomy. Maybe this is what I used to weight. To be honest, I’m not sure anymore.

So, a happy day here. I feel like I got a lot of random things accomplished that I’d been wanting to do for a while. To get everything done, I even ate some cheese-stuffed raviolis in the car….I call that creativity. And I don’t like wasting all my time sitting at home eating when I could be en route to task 132 while eating on the way.

Hope you had a good day. Have a great evening.

A Bit of Anger

During my second return to running, I was jogging on the treadmill during my lunch hour. (Did I mention I’m a crazy runner? Somewhere during all the months spent marathon training, answering the phone while running became ‘normal’ to me.) My brother called and I asked him if he’d heard the results back on his genetic testing. Turns out, he came back positive as well. On paper, the odds are 50/50 to inherit this CDH1 gene mutation. But at this point, every descendent of my grandmother has inherited the mutation. A few expletives might’ve left my mouth at some point about this situation.

Anger is where I head to initially. This is where running is my therapy, my coping mechanism, my outlet, my method for mentally reconciling my life and all the crazy stuff that goes on in this world. When I’m upset, I make myself run faster until the only thing I can think about is breathing. When I’m not mad, running lets me float away in my thoughts. So my second run post gastrectomy from a pure running perspective was good because I pushed pace quite well.

I was supposed to be the only one to go through this crazy surgery, not both of us. We were supposed to move on with life as a family now that my surgery is over. That’s how it should’ve been. We needed to be done with this whole ordeal for the next 20 years until I have to get my kids tested. But this gene is the gift that keeps on giving; it’s just a gift you don’t want. It reminds me of reading The Lottery. This gene mutation is now responsible for me losing my dad at 16, losing my aunt in my 20s, then my surgery,now my brother and later our kids.

But I remind myself, at least I have an option. At least I can test for the gene. My kids won’t lose their mommy when they’re 16. They’ll have me around for a long time. So, for as easy as it is to spiral down the anger tunnel, I will keep my head in a positive place.

So we’ll be there supporting my brother as he starts his journey through a total prophylactic gastrectomy as well. Apparently my family was never meant to be anything other than skinny minnies.

Have a good night. Keep your head in a positive place. Enjoy all the good this world has to offer.

Foods that are working well now

I am 14 weeks post total gastrectomy.

Here’s some foods I’ve been sticking to lately. I’ve ranked them by chew factor. The bigger chewing requirements mean I have to be more careful or some of it might come up. My no chew items haven’t caused me any issues, woohoo!

Minimal chewing required
Mangos
Avocados
Lactose-free milk
Sandwich thins slathered with peanut butter
Processed cheese slices
Crackers
Addition of protein powder (have to sip slowly because of fullness)
Oatmeal
Yogurt
Cheerios
Spoonfuls of peanut butter straight from the jar

Some chewing, but goes well
Those frozen tilapia filets baked, add butter
Jasmine rice
Peas (over green beans b/c of their skin)
Strawberries (over grapes b/c of their skin)
Bananas (but filling. Usually just do half at a time)
Box Mac n cheese
Peanut butter crackers
Cashews (high calorie, easiest nut to chew, kind of sad by the protein count)
Cooked beans
Soups in general (not necessarily high calorie, but soup contents are soft and easy to chew)

Diligent chewing, but I consider it worth it
Chicken (fried stays juicier and therefore easier to chew, baked also & probably healthier)
Sausage with skin peeled off

With the exception of the fruits and clear carbs like rice/pasta, all of the above have great protein content. Amazingly Mac n cheese shows 12g protein. I focus on chicken because I can get 40g protein. Since I’m trying for 75g per day, I need a lot of protein!!! Between my morning protein shake, peanut butter and chicken, I’m able to hit my protein goals.

Have a good night!

Oh, Poop

Talking about poop is quite embarrassing, but as my post-op nurse said, “Around here, we celebrate poop.” (If you’re a friend or family member, please don’t read forward or just try not to mention this to me. As much as I might love you, a conversation about poop isn’t on my list of appropriate conversation topics.)

After your surgery, you have to poop for the doctors to let you go home.

So, what does poop mean to me 3 months post surgery? Well, think of it as a rough gauge to how well your nutrition is going. I’ve been told to make sure it’s not light colored, is solid and should sink. Basically when I’m not getting enough protein (yes, I’m a carb-a-holic), my poop starts failing the unofficial toilet bowl test. Some potential issues identified by poop are fatty food intolerance and some other nutrient absorption issues. Pretty much, post gastrectomy, your body screams at you for consuming too much unhealthy food.

On a separate note, I went for my first outdoor run this morning at 5AM. It was fabulous to be out there again, but equally sad to hear my runkeeper app remind me of my pace. I saw my fellow running peeps out there and that always makes me happy. I’m trying to figure what works best with food and water for my morning run. This morning, I laced up and headed right out with one of those water bottles that straps to your hand. It worked well to sip water as I went. (It’s 80 degrees with 90+% humidity here, so think dripping sweat.) Since chugging water doesn’t really work, keeping water on-hand during running works perfectly. The good part of an early morning run is that nothing in the day can get in the way; the hard part of an early morning run is the end of day tiredness sinking in. But I am feeling stronger and healthier everyday. My incision didn’t bother me during my run, and I was able to bust out 3 miles this morning. My cardio & leg power certainly isn’t up to snuff, but it’ll just take training to bring it back.

Given the title of this post, I’ll sign off with “Happy Pooping”.

No better time than the present

Well, I wasn’t sure when I’d be completely ready to startup running again, so I just packed my workout clothes today and went for it. It’s too hot outside with my slow rehydration abilities, so I had to opt for the dreadmill. Plus I figured with my first return to running, if I passed out or something happened, better to be at a gym where someone could help. Luckily, nothing bad happened. No need to call the gym staff!

I was able to just start running. It wasn’t overly pretty, my legs are probably the weakest I can remember. But it was great! Slow, but great! I have a lot of building up to do, so it’ll take some work to get back to full strength. Plus I’m being careful around my incision. I’ve been coddling my incision area for quite some time, so I’m still a little leery about getting too crazy.

Now I’ll just have to see if I can compensate for the calories I burn during my run. We’ll see. Today seemed to go ok. Exhausted as usual, but my run added a burst of energy!

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My First Post Gastrectomy Margarita

Here’s another silly post.

So, alcoholic drinks do seem to “hit a little harder” since I bid a fond farewell to my stomach. I hadn’t been brave enough to try a margarita, so tonight I’m trying one. Let’s call this a dry run before a fun bachelorette party I’ve been invited to next Friday. My goal for next week, to drink a margarita there and pretend that I have a normal digestive tract!!

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And if I can enjoy a margarita tonight at our favorite TexMex restaurant, I will feel like I’ve returned to normal. This restaurant is a family favorite. My kids ask for it by name, and they’re preschoolers!! It’s yet another step towards my return to normal.

Feeling happy to pretend I’m normal tonight! Plus I rocked my caloric intake at work today. I pretty much spend all morning consuming to get there: protein shake with lactose free milk, sandwich thin w/ peanut butter, Greek yogurt…

Have a blessed evening.