Written by: Amy Shaw
I haven’t written in a long while, pretty much since my surgery. For those of you who don’t know. I had the gastric sleeve done. That is a surgery where they take off a large portion of your stomach and leave you with the size of small slender banana. The surgery went very well. On that front it was wonderful, I had a great surgeon and I had (mostly) great nurses. The night nurses were the best, just saying. It was the recovery that sent me for a loop.
I will not sugar coat it. The recovery sucked. I had really bad nausea and I vomited about everything except water. Even drinking too much water made me sick. The pain was not too bad, it was like having a C-section. I have survived two of those—so on the pain front not a big deal. But the food front was a much bigger deal that I had anticipated.
I have always thought of myself as “Food Addict”. When it came to food, it was my first thought everyday and pretty much most other thoughts during the day. I ate and ate and ate. I ate to have fun, I ate to help with emotions, and I ate to just be. Looking back, I now see how truly sick I was with food. Am I cured because of surgery? Nope, but I will tell you what I am working on it. Because the other option is to revert back to who I was, and I never want to be that gluttonous girl ever again. I refuse!
If my head is saying I am hungry, I listen to the cravings it calls for. If it says Chinese buffet or Taco Bell—it’s my emotions telling me I need to eat. Which means I need to find a way to distract myself, because eating those foods will only cause me to vomit. And no one wants that, believe me. I have had to teach myself to really listen to my body and really pin point my emotions that I am going through. I have to work through them now, instead of eating them. That parts not exactly fun, but it’s way healthier.
I have had to learn to eat like a bird and as slow as a snail. Eating small portions all day long and drinking water in-between. I am still working on the eating slow part. I don’t always do that right, and then I get sick. I have had to learn that I can’t fit even the small portion that I am able to eat in my stomach all at once. I must eat my small portion in 20-30 minutes (depending on the type of food). The more solid of the food the longer it takes me to eat. I have learned that it is silly for me to order my own plate of food anywhere. I share, always now. I have had to train myself to not drink while I eat because that inhibits my eating. Due to the small amounts I am actually able to eat, I now think about the quality of the food I am putting into my body and not so much the quantity. Which is how a normal person would eat, right? I am training myself to be normal. (I laughed at that statement!)
There will be certain things I will just not be able to tolerate in my new tummy. Bread. Pasta. Rice. Flour tortillas. Some fresh veggies. I can’t eat a salad. I tried that the other day, made me sick. I can have homemade coleslaw, though. I am good with that. I can’t eat fresh tomatoes or really any kind of tomato anything. I can have tomato Sause is very small amounts, but it causes acid. That’s the thing with food, some foods cause acid reflux where others don’t. I have had to learn the foods that cause issues and I tend to stay away from them. I can pretty much each most veggies, if they are cooked well. I can’t eat green beans unless they are out of can. That used to be one of my go to veggies before surgery. Asparagus…forget it. Anything that is to fibrous my tummy doesn’t like, so if I keep it down I will have acid while my body tries to digest it, or I will vomit it back up.
I know I have talked about giving up gluten. I know it seems like a fad. I know it’s a hard diet to live on. I know. Believe me. I live it. Everyday. But let me tell you something. Since cutting out gluten and losing 70 pounds, I have never felt so good. My Psoriatic Arthritis has only had Psoriatic flares (only skin irritations). I can live with that. I urge those of you will auto-immune issues—become gluten free. It stinks in the beginning. But give it two months, I promise you will feel better.
Life Begins again:
I was telling my boss the other day, I can’t even remember when I felt this good. It’s true. All the changes I have made. All the weight that this surgery has helped me lose. All this energy that I have, and I have no idea what to do with! It’s amazing! At 411 pounds, I could barely keep house. Grocery shopping at Walmart—was intolerable. I had to use a ridding cart. I am now going to the gym with this excess of energy that I have. I am able to walk in a store without a cart to hold me up. My knees no longer hurt, my hands no longer hurt. I am beginning to not hate myself. I am doing more with my children. I am able to spend time with my mom and walk around doing stuff with her, when used to she would go do things by herself without me. I can keep up now. My life has changed drastically. And I couldn’t be happier! During my recovery time, I said this surgery was the stupidest thing I had ever done. Looking back now, I wouldn’t change my decision for anything. The surgery has saved my life. Literally. My kids now have their mommy back. My husband has his wife back. And my parents have their daughter back.
I am never going back to be that gluttonous girl ever again. And I could never be more thankful!