The “Expanded” Menu

There has been quite a bit of discussion in our household over the past few weeks about the results of my surgery vs. the results of Lor’s. For the first two weeks post-surgery, Lor was unable to drink protein shakes consistently, had trouble staying hydrated, and was extremely uncomfortable. Heck, it took her three weeks of recovery before she was even able to finish a single container of yogurt.

I, on the other hand, have had no such restrictions. I was able to down a full yogurt container the day after I got home from the hospital. I am able to drink an entire water bottle in under 10 minutes (if I am not paying attention) without any discomfort. I even re-started several oral medications a few days early (with my surgical staff’s permission, mind you), again, without any kind of feeling of blockage.

Being myself, I developed a fabulous conspiracy theory: I had not actually undergone the surgery. They had just taken me back to the operating room, punched 5 holes in my abdomen, pumped me full of gas, and then left the OR for an early lunch. It was the only reasonable explanation for why I was having none of the diet-related side effects I had been warned about (and that Lor was experiencing.)

Silly conspiracy theories aside, it was obvious something was different between the two of us, so I went into yesterday’s appointment full of confidence and optimism. Maybe I wouldn’t even have to go through the soft foods phase since I was doing so well! They might put a little gold star on my chart and release me into the world of steak and lobster!

Turns out Dr. Tyner was not so impressed with my abilities to power through liquids like a boss. His theory was that I was being affected by luck, not extraordinary healing skills. People’s internal organs swell at a different rate post-surgery, and while he thought Lor had gone through a normal “swelling” phase, I had gone through a reduced amount of swelling, giving enough room in my innards for liquids to shoot right through the system, I was going to run into a serious roadblock the minute I tried solid foods, even soft ones.

I left the doctor’s office with the clearance to start on soft foods and a firm admonishment by our nutritionist to really bear down on protein intake – things had gone so easily for me up to this point, I was really going to have to change my thinking about intake. I left with my head held high, confident that my previous experience of the last 2 weeks was going to repeat itself, that no matter how much I ate, I would be able to handle it.

Turns out that there is a reason that I am not a doctor and Dr. Tyner is.

My first soft-foods meal, 2 tablespoons of scrambled eggs and ricotta, with a tablespoon of mashed banana, had the exact effect I anticipated – no problem ingesting, no feeling of fullness. I began to privately speculate about potentially ingesting more than the mandated “3 Tablespoon” meal size.

Then dinner arrived. 2 tablespoons of salmon, and 2 slices of avocado. I obeyed all the rules, putting the fork down between bites, chewing thoroughly, waiting at least a full minute between bites. I noticed immediately that the salmon had some texture and density to it that my first meal hadn’t. 2 Tablespoons took me over 20 minutes to eat. But I still wasn’t full! Gleefully, I dove into the avocado.

2 bites in, I suddenly had a problem. I literally felt as if someone had pushed a cork into my esophagus, right where it enters the stomach. I instantly was aware that, not only could I not have taken another bite, but it was going to take some serious focus to not revisit the last 20+ minutes worth of work heading the other direction. So, apparently, I had undergone the surgery after all. Bummer.

To complete my disheartening discoveries, I punched in my day’s intake into my Bariatastic app and found out some really bad news. My new “soft food” diet had resulted in only 35 grams of protein all day long. Epic fail.

I guess protein shakes and I haven’t broken up yet after all.

Not Entirely The Results I Was Looking For,

– Hawkwind

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