First, the good news! I’m down 11 pounds since surgery and 32 overall! Woot woot! Recovery continues to go well overall and I’ve been lucky enough to avoid complications (knock on wood). I’m taking it one day at a time and letting myself move slowly.
Now, the less-fun news…
This is hard as shit.
Not that I was kidding myself – I knew it would be a long road and I’ve barely gotten started. But the full liquid diet is exhausting. It literally feels like a full time job to sit there and time myself while I sip fluids like a baby bird and try my damndest to squeeze in as much protein as I can each hour. My caloric intake is so low that I am tired and weak, although I’ll be damned if I let myself get dehydrated too.
My mom was here for a blessed week and went to work making delicious creamed soups packed with veggies. We bought some unflavored whey protein powder and started adding that to our soups as well, which has helped. My aunt had the genius idea to freeze the soup in ice cube trays, so our freezer is stocked with ice cube sized portions of soup (two cubes = two ounces=one serving).
There is enough variety here to keep things interesting, but I am so sick and tired of liquids.
One thing that has amazed me is how much my taste buds and food aversions have changed since surgery. For the first several days, nothing really tasted good but nothing tasted bad either. I had zero cravings and no sense of hunger. Slowly (very slowly), certain foods are starting to sound good again. Steve had a spoonful of almond butter the other day and when he leaned over to kiss me good morning, I wanted to eat his face off. The other night he was as sick of soups as I was, so he ordered takeout from our favorite pan-Asian restaurant and brought me home some miso broth (I strained out the solids). That might have been the most delicious thing I will ever put in my mouth (it’s all relative, people).
And my sweet tooth? Gone. It was starting to dissipate even before surgery, but it has officially flown the coop. Part of the problem is that a lot of artificial protein sources are made to be sweet in order to be supposedly more palatable. But they can’t use sugar, so they use sugar substitutes, which are absolutely cloying. I want none of it.
This does make getting my protein a challenge. All of the shake recipes I pinned before surgery now make me want to vomit. I’m trying to use real fruit and plain yogurt as much as I can to cut, rather than enhance, the sweetness of the protein powders. I tried 100% fruit juice today and almost gagged. And sugar-free Crystal Light? Just give me plain water, please (room temperature too – I used to love ice-cold water but now it makes my throat seize up). You better believe that once I can start eating actual food again, I’ll be getting my protein from eggs, low-fat dairy, lentils, quinoa and seafood/lean meats. No more mile-long ingredient lists for me!
I’m trying to take consolation in the fact that I only have four more days before I can move onto pureed food. Steve is looking forward to making me the perfect poached egg…and I’m looking forward to eating it! 😉