As dramatic as that sounds, it is true. I feel human on day ten of my recovery from gastric sleeve surgery. Ten days can go by slowly, but I survived it and I’m on the path to my new normal.
Since coming home from the hospital, it has been emotional, exhausting and awkward. Thankfully, my family didn’t send me back to the hospital or a mental hospital, which might have been appropriate. Changing my body, which also changed my way of thinking, has been one of the hardest situations I have willingly put myself in.
Learning to live with my small stomach is more challenging than I realized. I did the Optifast diet (only liquids and the random protein bar) for six months so I assumed this would be just as simple. Wrong! With the Optifast diet I supplemented the meager liquid food with Diet Coke. Really, healthy I know. Since my new stomach only holds one to two ounces, I can’t fill up on other food or drink. Physically, I don’t need the food or drink, but for the first few days my head believed it did need it. If the food smelled too good while my family was eating, I hid in my bedroom and moped. But I did try to remind myself that this is the liquid stage and, then pureed food stage is only for a month. I’m not proud to say I let self-doubt creep into my brain and let myself whine that a month was too long.
Fortunately I came to my senses today. A month really isn’t that long. July 3rd is not that far away. I really am starting to believe these statements, but spending the day outside with my kids changed my attitude completely today.
The guilt of putting my kids through one month of their summer vacation with their whiney mother finally got to me. We have amazingly gorgeous weather now. When you live in San Francisco, you know to enjoy every sunny day in the summer. The cold and fog creep in before you realize it and that is your summer. The kids and I have been out a bit this week, but I decided Friday was the day to truly enjoy it.
We went to many of our favorite places starting with Aquatic Park. We walked for over an hour enjoying the sun, the Hyde Street Pier and walking around the park. I avoided Ghirardelli Square like it was a leper colony. No need to torture myself with chocolate now. My daughter’s faithful internal snack clock went off and I cringed. Could I handle a trip to Starbucks? My first on my own without my ever supportive, and somewhat of a loving, food drill sergeant, there?
Yes, yes I did. The kids and I went to Starbucks and they ordered their Double Chocolatey Chip Frappuccinos. I paused and bravely ordered an Iced Tall Non-fat Skinny Hazelnut Latte. Goodbye Iced Grande Non-fat White Mocha No Whip. And you know what, I enjoyed it! I never even finished it. I sipped on for the next three hours and I not only survived, but thrived. It was a perfect treat and gave me the milk I need for my recovery.
My next food challenge came at lunch. The usual organic hot dog stand (this is San Francisco, what would you expect?) was not at Crissy Field so we went to the Warming Hut for lunch for the kids. My adorable little children smiled sweetly at me and asked for a blueberry muffin and mini donut. My first reaction was yes. A little treat for the summer would be OK. Then a huge light bulb went off. My kids already had one treat for the day, a “sometimes food” we call it, so what the hell was I thinking? I not only need to model good eating behavior, but I also need to give them guidance and direction.
After my initial yes, I quickly responded with no. I reminded them they had their drinks earlier and that was enough sugar for the day. Time for protein! They shared a low-fat milk box and a turkey and cheese sandwich and they were happy. They didn’t even argue with me!
Between enjoying the beautiful weather, the gorgeous city and my amazing children, it finally dawned on me, that I am living now. I’m not just waiting for a month to go by so I can eat “real” food again. I can do anything I want and adapt my eating needs to it. My moping inside the house has come to an end, although I’m sure self-doubt, guilt and pity will make a guest appearance again. This is a journey full of ups and down, successes and failures. Watch me go, my friends! I am on the path to a new happier and healthier me!