If I could describe my first month of recovery, it would be akin to walking a tightrope on a roller coaster. How’s that for an image? 😉
In all seriousness, I am actually thankful that recovery has been fairly smooth. I’m keeping food down, have minimal reflux problems, and although my stomach is still quite vocal (seriously, stomach, shut the eff up), have been pain free for weeks and am generally doing okay.
The main challenge has been staying hydrated and getting my protein. Which is harder than it sounds. In fact, the only (slightly) major hiccup in this whole experience so far has been doing what I swore I wouldn’t do: I got majorly dehydrated over the weekend.
The challenge is that now that I’m actually eating (huzzah!), I can’t drink fluids for 30 minutes before or after a meal or snack. And I’m supposed to eat 4-6 times a day. And get in 80 grams of protein and 64 oz of water. You do the math. It’s not easy. Oh, and add on the fact that I’m supposed to be getting about 600-800 calories a day … y’know, to sustain life and all. I’m barely getting 400, if I’m lucky. Sigh.
So this weekend after I advanced my diet to semisolids/pureed, I had trouble balancing the fluid versus food equation and got behind on my sips. So behind that when I woke up Monday morning I felt like pure hell. I knew I wasn’t going to catch up on my own and I knew that if I didn’t catch up I was in trouble. So poor Steve got woken up at 6:30 am by a pitiful little voice begging him to take me to the ER. Two boluses of normal saline later and although I was still tired, I at least no longer felt like I was going to die.
The other difficulty has been protein. Ah, protein, you are an elusive bugger. I know 80 grams daily is a goal and I’m not expected to be there yet, but I also know how important it is to my healing and energy levels (and continued weight loss, so my body eats fat and not muscle). I was WAY behind on the liquids because I was just so sick of …. liquids. The PA at my postop appointment gave me some helpful pointers that I will share with you in a future post, and that has helped, as has advancing my diet.
Speaking of which, I advanced to soft foods yesterday! Woohoo! It’s been a fun adventure re-experiencing new (old) foods and new combinations. It’s funny because whenever I reintroduce something into my diet, Steve gets a text from me proclaiming that what I just ate was the “best thing ever”. But seriously…to put actual, real food into my mouth, and taste it (and then chew the hell out of it). It’s just a divine experience. I have 4-5 weeks of soft foods and then I can slowly add “normal” food back into my diet. As I’m able to eat more volume, I’ll also be able to add back in more cooked veggies and complex carbs (gasp). Once I’m further into this soft diet phase, I’ll share with you some of my favorite combinations.
So onward we go… I go back to work next week, start my final (!) semester of NP clinicals, and generally resume a “normal” life again. Whatever that means.