A lot of the questions I had before surgery were about what day to day life after surgery is. Now, of course, I am by no means an expert as I am only four months out, but I can tell you where I am at now.
One of my biggest frustrations is my diet. I feel silly admitting that because I know people who were able to eat far less for far longer. I had high hopes pre-surgery. I viewed this as a chance to re-think everything, including my poor eating habits. It is evidently en vogue to “cleanse” oneself before significantly improving one’s lifestyle. What better cleanse could their be than having not a bite of food for three months? My plan was to begin with juices and soups all fruit and vegetable based, and move on to purees of vegetables.
It was a nice thought….
Truth be told, my body can barely tolerate most food. I CAN eat anything. But, I feel best eating things that are not high on the healthy list… particularly starches, crackers, chips, instant mashed potatoes… and not much else. I press it of course, because I know that this won’t be doing my body any favors, even if the “instant gratification” of seemingly easy digestion is there. Raw fruit and vegetables? Forget it, I’ll be hunched over the toilet for hours.
My wonderful mother made five different delicious home made soups from scratch for me after I had my feeding tubes out, the week before thanksgiving. Those were probably the most sustaining foods I have had this whole time. That’s right. My mom is probably the only reason I have any hair left at all (another grisly detail I’m sure most of you didn’t want to know — but if you are preparing for surgery, be warned). Since then my diet has been spiralling. I eat a lot of canned soup. There are some lean cuisine meals I can handle. But it is touch and go. I try to drink one Boost shake a day. And I try to have either a smoothie or some eggs each day if I can bear it.
I’m still planning to revamp my eating, part of that will have to wait for me to be well enough to grocery shop and cook regularly again. I’m sure a nutritionist would be horrified by my current eating habits, but I’m pleased just to be able to taste food in general and I’ll take it as I can. But I do miss salads… so very much!
Exercise is the next thing that I wish I could stand. My sides ache when I am in a chair without arms to support me, my legs grow weak when I’m standing for more than 20-30 minutes. Of course my attitude on this topic was similar to the diet topic… but I severely underestimated how weak I was going to be, how hard it would be to stand the cold outside for a walk when shivering racked my healing muscles, how frightened I would be to attempt to work out when no one was around to help me if I collapsed. At a little under three months I was walking in a craft store when I fell into the shelves, it is a huge blow to realize– to admit to yourself– that you are that frail. Mentally of course this makes me more determined… physically, I’m afraid I’m not ready.