Last week, I started a list of things to write about for my weekly update (last Friday), but then became so busy I didn’t have a chance to get around to it. So today, I’ll do a special two week update in one post. Some old news, some new!
Meeting Colin last week was a reminder about how far I have really come over the past five months. I had forgotten about all of the little things about recovery and visiting him reminded me about everything I have accomplished since surgery. I am not back to where I would like to be, but I am getting closer to that goal each day.
The biggest change over the past two weeks has been my eating. Big win! After having the dilation a few weeks ago, I have noticed a large difference in my ability to swallow. Since I am able to swallow more in one sitting, my small intestine has to adjust to the increased food intake. This means I have to be careful about how fast I eat because if I eat too fast, I pay for it 15-20 minutes later. Paying for it means anything from intense intestinal cramps to bloating to dumping syndrome and I must not forget – gas. Before, the stricture was acting like a sphincter – limiting food passage into my intestine. Now it’s mostly smooth sailing. Which leads me to my food update!
The past two weeks I have been able to eat a variety of foods and it has been fantastic. I got a lot of good food ideas from the gastrectomy book I bought off of amazon last month. Most of the recipes in the book have been a success which has been exciting. Things I am most excited about re-introducing into my diet are:
– whole wheat tortillas – filled with tuna, cheese slices, and hummus. Oh and sometimes for extra calories – spreading Philadelphia cream cheese between the layers when I roll it up.
– Apples – I used to eat one every day before surgery and I am so excited that I am able to eat them again. Especially because they are in season right now
– Whole wheat pancakes – with almond butter on top (I just eat 1-2 small ones at a time)
– A small slice of blueberry pie – this pie was home made with minimal sugar and it was fantastic!
Also, last Saturday, my friends threw me a surprise birthday party and one of them baked a special cake for me that was sugar free and made with Japanese sweet potato instead. I’m sure she spent hours researching the perfect cake and a lot of time to bake it. It was super thoughtful and I was able to eat it without any issues. Thanks Kiriko!
Last update, I wrote about trying a Mass Gainer. The idea was exciting but the outcome wasn’t that wonderful. After drinking it, I would feel like my head was in the clouds and feel extremely tired. The feeling took close to an hour to pass. I decided that the extra calories was not worth it and ended up returning it. I have a feeling the crash was due to the large quantity of carbohydrates added into it to bulk it up. Also, there are a lot of other ingredients in it which must be difficult to digest.
However, my mother in law gave me “Raw Meal” for my birthday. It is a very clean vegan organic protein that provides many nutrients and vitamins. I was excited to take it because I have issues drinking Ensure or Boost (other meal replacement beverages). But, I was a little weary of trying it because it’s third ingredient was “organic brown rice syrup” and the sugar content was 26 grams for 27 grams of protein. Until this point, I have tried to limit my sugar intake to 9 grams or less. I ended up mixing half a serving into a glass of lactose free milk and much to my surprise, had no issues.
I don’t know if this is placebo effect or anything, but I have noticed a large difference in my energy level since I started taking it. If you can get past the chalky and gritty texture, it isn’t all that bad and to be honest, I’ll do it for more energy! I am guessing it is so easy to digest because the ingredients are simple and pure.
In terms of my physical fitness, I am in rotten shape. I may look lean and small but I can assure you that I am far from being in shape. I feel the fatigue in my quads after climbing one flight of stairs. I get short of breath after power walking for ten minutes. I think about returning to the gym every day. A while back I had mentioned that my family doc told me not to run yet. Well, I have booked a ski trip to Calgary (Banff, Lake Louise) with my family for the end of February. I missed my baseball season, I’m not missing my snowboarding season. I’ll be physically ready by then…no if, and’s or butts. My gym membership re-activates Dec 12th. I will be back by then.
Tomorrow, my family and I will be participating in No Stomach for Cancer’s awareness walk. November is Stomach Cancer awareness month and this walk kicks it off. We will be doing a walk followed by a nice breakfast. I plan to do some fundraising over the month of November for No Stomach for Cancer. Their goal is to reach $75, 000 for research. Currently they are close to $30,000. If we could find a way to better screen or even cure stomach cancer, then future generations will not need to have the surgery that I have had. If you would like to donate – click here.
I am following up with my surgeon next Wednesday and believe it or not, I have actually been booked for my next dilation for Nov 12th. Unfortunately, both fall on Wednesdays and I am missing two more days of work. I am hoping that Nov 12th will be my last dilation. Fourth time’s a charm, right?
In closing, I want to wish everyone a safe and Happy Halloween! Everything is Awesome!