Sunday will mark 7 straight weeks of basically only liquids. This week I was finally able to incorporate some additional flavors by pureeing up an egg with some mayo, mustard and salt & pepper or having refried beans with a ton of Frank's hot sauce. It was wonderful, but still had to be the consistency of applesauce. I'm really looking forward to Monday when I move onto soft foods. Although my diet will still be very limited, I can actually chew! You don't realize how much you miss it until you go this long without it!!
Things continue to go really well for me - - at least for the most part. My incisions are mostly all healed up and cause me no issue at this point. Physically I'm getting around better than I have for a long while - helped along by the fact that I finally hit a pretty major milestone for me on weigh in Wednesday when I finally dropped down under 400. My knees are becoming more and more happy by the day. Physically I'm feeling great. I just have a couple of issues that have continued to bother me. The first is this gross/metallic/disgusting taste I have in my mouth constantly. It doesn't matter how many times I brush my teeth - I can't get rid of it. I may have finally gotten to the bottom of it - - more to follow on that in the info below about my talk with the nurse.
The second is the liquid protein I need to drink. I am not a milk drinker. I hate milk. I tolerated it during the 3 week liquid diet portion leading up to surgery. It was a lot easier to mask it when I had regular taste buds, and a regular stomach. I mixed chocolate things with it, and it was OK. I was warned by the nurses and my dietician prior to surgery that my tastes would change after surgery. They warned me that sugar would likely be an issue. This may have been the biggest understatement they uttered. My little baby sleeve cannot tolerate anything sweet - at all!! Actually, that's not completely true. I've had some zero calorie beverages - Powerade and LifeWater that don't bother me much at all. But all protein options I've tried - my regular chocolate protein powder, the couple of Cellucor options (Peanutbutter, Cinnamon and Red Velvet), my Premier Protein shakes - - all bother me. I've tried watering them down with skim milk, unsweetened almond milk and even using only water - it does no good. I feel nauseous the whole time I drink them, and usually about a half hour or more after. I'm miserable. I dread drinking them, and basically just pissed that I have to.
So I called my nurse yesterday. I had to get the low down on the rules for the next phase of my eating - soft foods anyway - so it was perfect timing. It sounds like she and I might be really similar. She's now 5 years post-op, and has many of the same issues. Does not tolerate sweet well at all, and hates milk. She asked me to try FairLife. She said it's lactose free, so won't upset my stomach like regular milk will, and it doesn't cause her to gag like many other options (I was getting to that point, too). I tried it yesterday. I don't love it. It still tastes kind of "milky" to me - which is the issue. I'm going to see if I can find something - possibly just mixing in a little bit of their chocolate milk (which I loved prior to surgery) and see if maybe that can work - just to give it some flavor? I'll keep you posted on that. Wish me luck.
If there is a positive to this situation, it's that staying away from sweets appears to have just gotten a whole lot easier - - I don't enjoy feeling like crap, and am unlikely to put myself in that position again. And eventually I should be able to get the majority of my protein from actual food - - but that's a couple of months down the road. For right now, I have to consume such small portions while I heal, that I need to get protein through liquid in order to maintain muscle. There just doesn't appear to be much for other options right now.
I was also going over the approved food list with her for this next month - yes, MONTH - of soft foods. It went a little something like this:
Q: Can I have _________ (baked chicken breasts, string cheese, pickles, etc)
A: No - I doubt you'll be able to tolerate that very well at this time
Bummer! But there are still some bright spots to this new eating phase. I get to have the following - which I love: cottage cheese, berries, melon, baby bells (cheese!), taco meat and even chili. I'm looking forward to getting in some additional flavors and mixing things up a bit more. My dad also made me pickled eggs - and I can't wait to bust into those babies!
The only other weird thing is that I feel like I have a super-human ability to smell. Seriously - everything stinks! Maybe it is just me and my damn breath? But I swear if anyone has even looked at garlic or an onion, and I can smell it. The hallways at my apartment building are a minefield! Hopefully that will lighten up with time as well.
I have my one month follow-ups Friday the 20th with the dietician and the nurse. Hopefully I'll be able to get a more solid plan for dealing with the couple of kinks that are causing me issues, and also get cleared to start working out again. Fingers crossed the soft food phase gives me enough energy to do that too!