Let’s get an important item out of the way.
What am I going to eat?
Honestly, right now…every. thing.
My mantra is currently “eat everything yummy, while you still have a tummy”.
Everyone is different and each person’s body responds differently to food types post-op. For some, diets post-op can include dairy, sweets, raw fruit, salad, and fried food. Others not so much. I don’t know what I will be able to handle. But it is hard to imagine a life without those things. So I am eating them all while I can.
I will have to do a lot of trial runs on what I can handle. But, let me be clear on this, I won’t require a bag, feeding tube, etc.
I know, it’s crazy. They are going to remove one heck of an organ and I’m just going to go on living? The body is amazing. Let’s look at a visual showcasing the digestive system before and post surgery.
Right, so, that helps…yeah? The esophagus is reconnected to the small intestine, which is the organ tasked with picking up the slack from the loss of the stomach. So…that’s cool? But, how does it work?
Remember, I’m not a doctor so the best way I’ve thought of to explain this is: your stomach is a salesman working on commission. It will do whatever it can to make you happy…”you want that extra dessert? heck yeah, let’s go for it”. It will stretch and give you the capacity to let you indulge. It is all in and excited for gluttony. Your small intestine is on salary and gets paid for showing up.
So, the first change will be the amount of food I’ll be able to take in at a time. But, in order to get enough calories in I will focus on high protein, high calorie foods. Frequently. Look back at the post-op photo – that little pink tube is the sum space I will have to host food and it will be a hard stop when it is full. So it will be figuring out how many calories in the least amount of space.
In a way, it’s a game. I’m nothing if not competitive.
But the stomach isn’t just responsible for storing food. It also has a big job of grinding up food and acting as a valve. That means, I will have to start chewing my food for a very long time before swallowing since there will not be help to break down the morsels before they reach the intestines. Learned habit, but not the end of the world.
The stomach also regulates what goes into the small intestine and the pace at which it is admitted. That means, I’m also going to have to monitor when I eat versus when I drink. I can’t do both at the same time without creating a flushing situation (so cute, I know. I can’t believe I’m single).
So, what am I going to eat post-op? I’m not entirely sure. But, I’ll definitely find out quickly what’s OK and what’s not!
For now…you can find me eating dessert (or maybe two) at every single meal.