Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Eating through a straw

My wife thinks a good title would be "drinking my life away". There's probably a lot of good titles to be had on this one. Maybe I should hold a contest. All... what? 2 readers? 3? Chime in with a good title. The winner gets... the honor of winning?

This morning was my nutritional class in preparation for surgery. I got to find out some of the realities of life right after surgery. I knew already that I'd be on a liquid diet for a bit afterwards, but I learned more today. Not sure I want to know what I know now.

What caught my attention was what they called a grocery list - things you want to have before you do the surgery. Big on the list was chewable vitamins. Emphasis on chewable. For the first week after surgery the opening into my stomach will be approximately the diameter of a drinking straw. One good look at a typical multivitamin tells you why it's gotta be chewable -- there's no way it's fitting through otherwise. So for a good week or so, if you can't fit it through a straw, it's not going down the pipe.

Maybe that would make a good diet plan without surgery huh? If the food can't fit through a straw you can't eat it. It would be pretty effective. Of course, no one would stick with it either.

The area of my stomach that will hold food will, for that first week, hold about an ounce. Much of that (and the straw size opening) comes from the swelling that occurs after the poor guy's been manipulated around and banded. Once that goes down then I'm essentially working with about 4 ounces of stomach, so even then... that's not much food. Get out your measuring cups and look at a half cup -- and that will be as much as I can put down at a time. Believe me, I've already been staring at one of those and asking myself... what am i thinking???

Well, here's what I'm thinking. I want to be able to play basketball again someday without worrying about what all that's doing to my knees and ankles. I want to get on the floor and get up again without a major production. I want to not have to avoid booths at restaurants. I want to walk by kids without them looking at me wide eyed. I want to walk into places for a sales call or job interview or whatever without being self conscious about my size.

I did go through this thought process of, couldn't you do all the same things that would happen without going through surgery? I'm thinking that's a vague looking question -- what I mean is, the end result of the surgery is that it keeps the portions smaller, so couldn't I do that without surgery and just eat smaller portions? Yes. For a few weeks maybe. Or a few months. Been there done that got the yoyo. The difference being, now (now being then as in after surgery) if I eat too much or fall off course, I'm either puking or just feeling rotten. It restores a sense of self regulation that's gone right now. There's a real sense of being full again. There's a limit to how much food you can eat overall, and if you're not making good choices on what foods those ARE that you eat, you feel it because you're not getting the nutrients you need.

Remember the whole Seize the Day thing? You only have so much time, so make the best of it. It's a similar kind of thing in that you can only fit so much food through this tiny little opening -- if you choose to eat crappy foods -- bread, sugary stuff and such -- you don't get enough protein and nutrients that you really need and you start to feel it. So now you have to start thinking in terms of what are good food choices.

I used to look at this as the easy way out. I look at this one ounce thing and the kind of life long commitment you have to make to a whole new way of life and this is by far NOT the easy way out. It's going to be hard work. It's going to be tough at times.

So I just look at all those things I said I want. Right now that's what I'm thinking. All of a suddent eating through a straw seems pretty okay.

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