A day in my stomachless life
Updated: May 2, 2020
I am looking for your input on what topics you might like to see me write about moving forward. As you may have noticed, my post frequencies have slowed down recently. I do not have as many topics swimming around in my brain, so I thought I would look to you to see if there are questions you may have, things that aren't quite clear, or topics you would like me to cover. Just looking for some inspiration. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org , write an anonymous message here , or leave a comment below, and I will try and write a post with your suggestions.
This week marks 10 weeks of being stomachless, and I have started to learn a few things about my new life. What follows, is a typical day in my stomachless life. And, I am grateful that the good days are finally starting to outweigh the bad.
Wake up. Immediately start planning my day around food and liquids. Goals for the day, ingest as much calories and protein as possible- shooting for 80+ grams protein and 1200+ calories. (Most days I still don't reach these goals despite my best efforts).
Take my morning medications and wait 20-30 minutes for absorption before eating.
Find something small to eat, or drink a protein shake. I have found eating in the morning more difficult than later than the day. Sort of like my system needs to wake up slowly or something.
Take my daily bariatric multivitamin. Contains high doses of all the vitamins and nutrients a stomachless person needs in an easily digestible capsule.
Wait 20-30 minutes before drinking fluids. I am now trying to add collagen proteins to all liquids for added grams of protein throughout the day.
Start thinking about what else I can eat for my next small meal. Stop drinking liquids and wait 20-30 minutes before eating again.
Repeat the fluids alternating with eating as many times as possible throughout the day.
Fit in 3 doses of 500mg of calcium citrate - they have to be separated out because the body can only absorb 500mg at a time, and calcium citrate is the only calcium supplement a stomachless person can fully absorb.
Fit in 4 doses of carafate - bile reflux prevention medication. This medication needs to be taken before meals. (Fun stomachless fact: because I do not have a stomach containing stomach acid, I can no longer have heartburn. I can have bile reflux, however. Bile reflux is a condition common to stomachless individuals because we no longer have any valves in place between the gallbladder/bile duct and esophogus. That means, bile can flow upwards in our digestive systems and cause problems. I have had this happen on several occasions, and it is horrible to say the least. So, I now take steps to prevent this from happening. Step 1: always sleep on an incline - at least 30 degrees. Step 2: take carafate religiously. Step 3: figure out which foods exacerbate this, and avoid them. Step 4: eat a small meal before bed to help soak up any remaining bile in my digestive system so I can sleep without it causing a problem).
Write down all the foods, medications, liquids, my weight, and any negative symptoms I may have throughout the day in my journal. That way I can track symptoms, figure out which foods may have caused what, and I can bring the journal with to my appointments with my dietician so she can help me with any problems I may be having. It also helps to ensure I am taking all the medications and supplements, and meeting nutrition goals.
I am officially on my phase 2 diet. This means I am adding new foods into my repertoire daily and tracking symptoms to make sure I am tolerating those foods. So far, most foods I have been doing really well with. Every meal, I make sure to include some source of protein, and then go from there. I have been slowly adding back in foods high in fiber and this seems to be going really well too. I am able to eat popcorn again, which I am really grateful for as it is one of my favorites. I am also able to have lettuce, which I was craving for some reason. One weird food habit I used to have that I have had to break, was always saving "the perfect bite" for last. I used to do this so that the last bite I took from my plate was really tasty, so I would purposefully save the best parts of a meal for that last bite. Well, now I never know how much I will be able to consume at one time, and I frequently have to stop part way through a meal due to feeling full, so I now eat the perfect bite first thing. This ensures I get to enjoy it, and it is not left on my plate taunting me because I physically cannot eat it.
Weight is still coming off. Never in my life did I think this would happen. But, when I look at my food journal these past 10 weeks, I realize I am not taking in nearly as many calories as I once was able to, so it makes sense. And, there is no way to cheat and get more calories each day than I need, because it just isn't physically possible. I am officially the lowest weight I have been in probably 10 years. I still have some cushion, so I'm not worried, but I have heard from other stomachless people that the weight continues to drop until about the 6-9 month mark. So, as long as the weight loss slows down, I should be just fine. Also, with how rapidly it is coming off, I have noticed a loss of muscle tone. So, I am trying to get back to some gentle yoga and walking to strengthen up again. But, it is a fine line because I don't want to exercise too much and burn too many calories. Ugh.
Ok, I hope this helps give you a glimpse into what my life is like at the moment. My next big milestone will be my 3-month clinic visit to the NIH in December, followed by me going back to work. Oh joy.
Take great care,