Food as Work

At this point post gastrectomy, the best way to describe the day-to-day is that food is work. Junk food and sugary stuff can make you feel hypoglycemic and cruddy, but they certainly are easy to chew, swallow, and never come back up.

I’m at the point now where if I focus enough and eat constantly, I have the ability to gain weight. Unlike folks with stomachs though, I never really have the power to overeat. The best way I describe it is like when people gorge themselves on a big Thanksgiving meal, except I can get that full from a whole sandwich and side.

For my new stomachless life, I am choosing my foods on what I think I can chew and keep down, especially if it’s out in public. I think I even chew more at restaurants in order to not have to run to the bathroom to spit it out. These incidents are becoming less and less, but it’s still in the back of my mind.

This morning I was feeling a bit ‘gastrectomy lazy’, ie tired of my constant focus on food, protein, calories, etc. And since I don’t ever feel that outright stomach pang of hunger, I was thinking how easy it is to lose weight post-gastrectomy. Suppose at some point, you’d get weak enough that you’d want to eat, but skipping meals to go do something fun is pretty easy. Thank goodness almonds are picking up the slack for me.

I will say today was the first time since my surgery I actually had the desire to bake. I baked up some pumpkin spice muffins, and they were delicious. A bit sugary, but tasty. I’m finding my body is rather quickly adjusting to sugars in food. Of course, sugars offset by protein is better and important, but I’m able to enjoy my baked goods. Super sweet desserts throw me into my “sugar coma”.

In general, I’ve found my desire to cook has gotten better lately. It’s a challenge and motivation to have small children to whom you’re trying to instill good eating habits. It probably doesn’t help on the nights where I just want to down some peanut butter and call it good. So I’ve been making an effort…even baked up some acorn squash the other night. My kids will have no shot at knowing green beans for a long time though because that is still one of the most difficult items to eat, along with corn.

I tried a soup with lots of good vegetables in it this past week (zucchini, carrots, etc) and was able to eat them skins and all without them coming back up. That was a welcomed event. I will continue to try to integrate simple veggies into my diet.

I will say that an unexpected food to go down well has been pork products, when cooked right. I’ve had some very tender pork loin that I was able to enjoy with no issues. And tonight had some pork ribs that went down mostly fine. Since meats just pack in the protein and iron, I know that’s a good thing!

I will end this blog with a reminder that people take for granted what they have. Now that I don’t have a stomach, I think about how great and convenient it is to have one. But again, it’s nothing unmanageable. With the CDH1 mutation, I’d rather miss my stomach than have my family miss me forever.

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