Tag Archive | vomiting

“Mindful Eating”

I’ve spent 59 years eating a certain way.  I’m kinda used to it.  Now, that must change, and I’m finding it incredibly difficult in these beginning stages to adapt.  I’m one week (7 days) out from bariatric surgery, and am well aware of the “obvious changes” with my new way of eating ~ smaller portions, no carbs, no sugar ~ but there are so many small nuances associated with eating that I never took into consideration that I’m now having to contend with.

**First, let me explain the term “dumping” ~ it’s something that potentially happens to a bariatric surgery patient, for life, post surgery:

“Dumping syndrome after gastric bypass surgery is when food gets “dumped” directly from your stomach pouch into your small intestine without being digested. There are 2 types of dumping syndrome: early and late. Early dumping happens 10 to 30 minutes after a meal. Late dumping happens 1 to 3 hours after eating.  What are the symptoms of dumping syndrome after gastric bypass surgery?

Most people have early dumping symptoms. Typical early dumping symptoms can include:

Bloating

Sweating

Abdominal cramps and pain

Nausea/Vomiting

Facial flushing

Stomach growling or rumbling

An urge to lie down after the meal

Heart palpitations and fast heartbeat

Dizziness or fainting

Diarrhea

About 1 in 4 people have late dumping symptoms. The symptoms of late dumping syndrome can include:

Heart palpitations

Sweating

Hunger

Confusion

Fatigue

Aggression

Tremors

Fainting”

**From the University of Rochester Medical Center Encyclopedia**

Nobody wants to go through this, right?  Least of all me!  So, basically, from my perspective, the rest of my life will be dedicated to avoiding this very possibility.  Although, I do understand that, as time progresses, you learn what to avoid from experience.  I also understand that, just because you might eat a hard boiled egg in the morning and be fine, doesn’t mean you won’t eat the same thing in the afternoon and not dump.  And I knew this going in.  I’m just trying to help ya’ll understand.

So, imagine going through your life thinking about, thinking ahead, reading ingredients of every morsel that may enter your lips and gauge it for whether or not it’s going to make you sick.  I’m already at that threshold.  What I didn’t count on are all the little ways we put food in our mouths without much forethought.  I went out into the world today, my first post-surgery solo drive to pick up a couple of things at the local WalMart.  I had to keep reminding myself that there was literally nothing in that store that I could “safely” eat right now.  I’m so used to just picking things up off the shelves, grabbing fruit that looks yummy, some decadent ice cream, and how about that checkout?  FULL of temptation!  Every single thing there designed to make me sicker than hell.  Reese’s peanut butter cup?  So innocent!  Surely!  Ummmm, no!

I managed to leave the store purchasing only a few food items that would be yummy for my husband.  I got into my car and sat there for a second.  Something from a drive-thru was missing.  I typically would go to a drive-thru after shopping, or to a smaller store to get some awesome goodies before I head home.  Or maybe stop at the drug store and, while there, just pick up some crackers ~ they’re surely harmless.  No again.  What made things worse is that I wasn’t even hungry!  Imagine if I were even hungry a little bit how much stronger the temptation would be!

I’m probably reeking of paranoia right now.  I can currently only eat about 5 items (water, protein drinks, bouillon, sugar free popsicles and just added sugar free pudding.  But, even those 5 items were “tolerance tested” prior to consuming.  I tried just a taste on my tongue or lip and waited about 5 minutes before even sipping 1/8 of a teaspoon.  Sip, wait.  Sip, wait.  So far, so good!  This weekend I can start pureed foods!  (digging out my Ninja!)

Tammy mums

Lavender mums as a get-well from a very special friend.

Indeed, it’s early in the game for me and I’m pretty much scared of everything.  I’ve already experience the abdominal pain associated with sneezing and coughing ~ 6 incisions are still healing and very sore.  I cannot even think of how painful and frightening it would be to vomit at this point!

Thanks for stopping by, and pardon my paranoia.  This, too, shall pass.

~ Tamara

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Catch 22

Sometimes I feel so torn, like I have no right to complain about my problems ~ that others have it so much worse than I do and I should just shut up and feel blessed.  But when my life, that I thought was on a pretty good track, goes awry, I need some time to regroup, ponder and pray.  Lord, what am I to do next?

That’s what has happened recently.  Besides being morbidly obese, I have severe arthritis in my feet and knees ~ especially my right knee, which is now bone-on-bone and beyond pain comprehension most of the time.  I now walk with a cane all the time, which I hate.  I’ve been seeing an orthopedic specialist for 2-3 months now, and, after visiting him yesterday to hash out our next strategy for pain relief, instead he said he can do nothing more for me.  Then he went into a long dissertation about how bad my knee(s) are and that I’m a candidate for knee replacement surgery IF I can lose a minimum of 60 lbs first.

He continued his long monologue about bariatric surgery, and that it appears to be my only last bastion before being immobile/unable to walk.  I sort of remember being in minor shock at that point.  Deer-in-the-headlights kind of thing.  I thought, “But no!  That can’t be!  I’ve been working hard, changing my eating lifestyle and losing weight!”  He seemed to have read my thoughts and said that at the rate that I’m losing, it would take me about two years to lose the necessary 60 lbs.  “Not fast enough,” he said.  He’s talking by the end of THIS year.  But I’ve lost 25 lbs. since the week before Christmas.  I thought it showed good promise.

I left his office in a fog.  That fog turned into despair and then depression.  The thought of bariatric surgery made me shudder.  You see, I had such surgery in 1988 when I was 29 years old.  From the moment I woke up in the hospital, gagging on the NG tube down my throat, the next 10+ years would be a nightmare of hell on earth with regard to my digestive system.  Most of the first 5-6 years were spent vomiting and/or feeling nausea like you can never imagine.  I used to have extreme nausea for hours, sometimes all night, and would curl up on the floor or the bed in the fetal position and rock myself until the feeling passed.  I used to beg God to make it stop, crying that I would never eat whatever hellish food that had made me sick that time.  It continued on into my current marriage, as of 1998, and I used to have to ask Al to pat me on the back (it helped?).  It was embarrassing the first time it happened with Al, and I had to explain it all… why I was curled up into a ball on the top of our bed groaning and begging to die.  It may seem irrational, but I’d rather spend an eternity in the firepits of hell than vomit once.  Vomiting, for me, IS the embodyment of death.  Next to gagging, it’s the closest I can come to meeting eternity without actually dying.  I don’t know why.  So, this bariatric surgery had been my near-death experience, over and over for decades.  It has lessened now to only once or twice a year… praise the Lord!

And now here I am, again, confronted with having a new torture to deal with all over again.  Even though my common sense tells me that, after 30 years, procedures have changed.  It has to be better now.  And I know I have to try this again.  I say “try” because I may not get accepted, and/or my insurance may not cover the surgery.  Last night I wallowed a bit.  But I also prayed and asked many of my wonderful friends to pray.  I figured my options are either sit and do nothing while my health continues to go downhill one part at a time, or I could take God’s hand and keep going, keep moving forward and do the best that I can to right myself.  I’m admittedly scared.  I’m no longer 29 years old.  It’s 30 years later and I don’t heal as well.  Regardless, I cannot be idle, self-pity or wait any longer.

The answer is to push forward, step-by-step and go where God leads me.  I’ve contacted a local bariatric team at our local Crouse Hospital in Syracuse.  It’s the way to start.  I’m working with them to see if I qualify and if my insurance covers the surgery.  I should know in a few days.  I have to be optimistic.  Any other option is not acceptable.