Monday, June 20, 2016

Feeling Almost Human Again

It's no secret to most that I've been having a rough time lately. The rules, restrictions, schedules...all of it...were breaking me down. So when my friend Mark, who had the same surgery I did about 2 years before me, asked if I was free for dinner I decided it was time. It was time to take my hammock out for it's first visit to a restaurant.

My first feeling was total excitement. I haven't been out to eat in 3 months. Everything has been shakes, and milk, and things I could make on my own here at home. It felt like such a huge thing to just be able to go out and get something to eat! That lasted for about a minute - - and then the dread kicked in. What if the food doesn't agree with me? What if I get sick in the restaurant? What if I eat to fast/don't chew enough/blah, blah, blah??

So I did what I could - I picked a restaurant that had an item made of things on my current "approved foods" list. I'd leave off the things I wasn't supposed to have yet. I knew if I went to Las Tortillas here in Rosemount, I'd likely be OK with the Chile Rellano, modified a bit. It normally comes with rice on the side, but there would be none of that for me. It's basically a pepper w/ shredded chicken, cheese and an amazing sauce of some sort. It also comes with black beans on the side. PROTEIN!!! It does come with a light batter on it - but figured I'd ask them to leave that off too. 

No chips, removed batter and still 2 meals left over!
When I arrived there were already chips and salsa on the table. My human stomach would have put down a couple of baskets without even batting an eye. I knew before I went that I was going to try and avoid them all together. With such limited space in my hammock, I didn't want to hog any up with chips - it honestly just didn't seem worth it. Now I've had really good plans before, and have failed miserably. Tonight I was honestly shocked at the fact that avoiding the chips took no effort at all! I wasn't even interested, which is great since they are most definitely not on my approved food list.

I ordered my main course without the rice, and asked them to leave off the batter. They do make them in advance, so the batter can't be removed. No biggie - I just took it off when my plate arrived. I ate pepper, chicken, cheese and black beans until I was content. Didn't over-do it, so I wasn't miserable. I waited 30 minutes after eating before I had anything to drink (the LONGEST 30 minutes ever). I followed my food list. I was more than satisfied with the amount I ate. Everything went great! Panic was for nothing! And I have leftovers!!

The best part - - I felt normal again. Yes, I made good decisions while I was there - which is pretty great for me - and I got to enjoy some delicious food - - but I got to go do something I had taken for granted not that long ago. And I needed to take a break - even if it was a small/modified break - from the non-stop rules/regulations/schedule of my hammock. My emotional state needed this the most, and I'm so happy to have my virgin restaurant run out of the way!

Now I go see my dietician tomorrow - and I think I get to add peanut butter and tomatoes to my diet. Things are really on the upswing around here!!

Thursday, June 16, 2016


The last week and a half has been tough on me. Not physically - but mentally. It seems like it's just one thing after another - - testing me. Fortunately, I have fear and my hammock (my new sleeve/tiny tummy) to help keep me in check - but I'm hopeful that things will ease up soon.

It started last week - - I spent the bulk of Monday just being pissed off. I wanted a diet coke and pizza. Whether it's that I really wanted a diet coke and pizza - or whether the fact that I have way more things on the "you can't" list than the "you can" has caught up to me. When you are told you can't have something, what is the first thing you want? Now imagine that your favorite thing is on the can't list - and it's been on that list for about 3 months, with at least another month before you can consider having it. For me, that's pizza.

It's not that I'm unwilling to make changes - I am very willing to make improvements to my diet. I've known going into this I would be eating a very low carb, high protein/high fat diet for the remainder of my days. I was also told that I likely won't need to completely edit things out of my life - at least for the most part. I will be able to have Mexican food and pizza - 2 of my faves. I likely won't be able to have another diet coke - and I'm OK with that most of the time. But what I didn't realize was that I'd be on an extremely restricted diet for so long. I figured my hammock would need time to heal - I just didn't realize it would need SO LONG to heal. And the 21 days of liquid diet before the surgery is making this whole phase just seem insanely long. I haven't had a carb (with the exception of the small amount of fruit I eat, and the milk I am forced to drink - gag) in....months. It's all got my mental/emotional state in knots.

And that screwed up mindset is what I took into what I anticipated to be one of the hardest stretches of my year - Kath Family Fun Weekend. A 23 year tradition with my dad's side of the family that has every delicious snack/food our family makes, and plenty of booze. I knew it was going to be a challenge. I knew I'd have to separate myself at times. The truth is - most of it would likely not agree with my hammock anyway. But that doesn't keep it from looking and smelling delicious. It's also no fun to have to repeatedly separate yourself. By next year - I'll be fine. I can eat the meals - grilled chicken, pulled pork, tacos, etc. But not this year. So I packed up my own cooler of food, plenty of Powerade and don't forget my milk - and tried to get my mind right.

Right of the gates I had my first test - smelling fried chicken sandwiches in the car as we left town. I'm not going to lie - they smelled delicious - but I was fine. My hammock doesn't react to hunger/smells/etc the same way a regular stomach does. It is one major gift, that is for sure. Once we got to the resort I stocked my crap in the fridge and went on with our day. My schedule was way off - so I was going to have my final serving of milk right before bed. Because I am me, and life needs to be one gigantic test right now, I discovered at about midnight that our refrigerator wasn't working. All the stuff I brought with me had been sitting just above room temp all day. Gross. The next morning I pitched it all and did a little grocery shopping.

I was surprised by how easy it was to ignore the food. Well - ignore might be a little strong...but it was much less temptation that I had anticipated. The thing that made me drool the most? The fresh veggie tray. This may shock people - but I love veggies - especially if someone else gets them prepped for me! I can only have steamed to death veggies (ewww) right now. I cannot wait until the day I'm free to have fresh peppers and broccoli and cauliflower! And tomatoes! OK - enough. But you get the idea. And taco night was rough - because as you know, I love Mexican food. And the booze was a non-factor. I hadn't been drinking much leading up to surgery anyway - so I was fine with my watered down Powerade and Spark drinks.

It was impossible at times to stay on a schedule - I spent one entire afternoon at the pool - soaking up the sun, watching the mayhem and talking shit with my family. I didn't want to have to leave to go drink my milk and make my own food. It just reinforced how much I cannot wait to get to the "real life" portion of this whole process. I guess I should probably stop referring to it as a's my life. And I'm getting really tired of all the damn restrictions.

So I did what I could. I removed myself when needed. I didn't have so much as a Cheeto or chip. I avoided the homemade bread - not even a bite. No cheesy potatoes. Nothing. I at my food I made, on my approved list. The only exception was one meal of a small amount of ham salad and egg salad - both of which are made of things I can have. Otherwise I didn't touch a thing. I was pretty proud of myself. And I did have one non-scale victory - - I slept in a twin size bed - and I fit, sort of. Well - I fit a hell of a lot better than I would have 6 months ago!

Then I got home and stepped on the scale. I weighed the exact same as I had the week before. Exactly. Not even down a tenth of a pound. I couldn't believe it. I just stood and stared at it for a second. How in the fuck is that even possible!?!?! I did everything I was supposed to. I didn't even touch the other food and then lick my finger. How in the hell did I not lose any weight!?!???!!!??!?!?! Then the mind games kicked into overdrive - well, I guess I could have had some damn cheetoes after all. What difference would it have made if I would have made a meal out of cheesy potatoes. I could have used that platter of nachos as a pillow - I wasn't going to lose any damn weight anyway!!

That went on for about 10 minutes. Then I started getting the replies to my slightly insane update on my page. Thank you to all of you that were just nothing but supportive and reassuring and awesome. I know you were right. The fact that I stuck to my plan was huge. I have to take the victories where I can get them. Fuck the scale this week, as my friend said in her super-supportive text. Seriously - you guys are just amazing. I am so grateful for you.

So I'm back. I'm making a batch of chili for when I return to work tomorrow. I've got "soft foods" approved meals all set for the next few days. And I didn't go off plan - even during my tantrum, I didn't stray. For this girl, that is such a massive victory!

Next Tuesday I meet with my dietician for my 2-month follow-up. I'll still be on soft foods for another month, but I think I increase the amounts and I GET TO ADD PEANUT BUTTER!!! Woo-hoo!!! Just one more month until I meet with my nurse who told me "we'll meet at your 3-month mark and work on transitioning you into real life". I am trying to focus on that day....when I can be a little more human than I am right now.

Until then - let's hope I don't have to break the scale in half next week. Let's hope the tides are turning, so I don't feel like each day is a test my emotional state forgot to study for. Let's hope......