Last May, I had my stomach removed. Well, not all of it. There’s a small portion, smaller than a small egg, left. But the rest was taken away. Short story: I was supposed to just go in for a regular old gastric bypass but then they found a tumor and instead of bypassing the organ, my doctor removed it completely.
And now I live in this weird world where I had a surgery I wanted and am getting the results I wanted while having had the exact surgery for reasons I didn’t want to have surgery… and if I didn’t go to have the elective surgery I would have never known that I needed to have the surgery non-electively… and living with what that means. Like, I am working really hard to lose that weight because my health means so much to me now… but then I wonder if it’s worth it because who knows? And what if the other parts of my body that I hate are also trying to kill me, but I don’t know that because I’m not having surgery to fix those so no one’s looking at them? Maybe I have tiny tumors everywhere that no one knows are there, that will murder me before I ever run my first marathon anyway so why am I sobering up and getting off the couch to exercise? And why the fuck did I give up cupcakes and nachos and ninja tumors for muscle milk and waiting for secret tumors to just show up out of nowhere? Then I remember that since I lost weight I can now buy all kinds of great clothes and if I do die, I can be buried in something from Modcloth and… well, that’s pretty much enough to get me through any day.
Today I was complaining on Twitter about how I don’t actually know anyone else who is rocking the stomach-free lifestyle, and on rough days, that just compounds my frustrations. But in the midst of my emo whining, people started asking me all kinds of questions about what it’s like to not have a stomach. What do I eat? How do I get nutrients? Can I still feel love?
So here’s a quick and dirty rundown to my life:
- I live almost exclusively on protein. I try to add carbs where I can, but I experience a condition known as “dumping syndrome” which is both far worse and not nearly as bad as you think it is. The not-so-bad: It never involves me accidentally pooing on the floor in front of company. The bad: eating fats and carbs in X quantity (which can change day to day) cause my stomaquito (a new word I made up for a tiny stomach) to freak the fuck out and shoot all the food into my intestines. My intestines are all like “Oh HELL NO. Break that shit DOWN before you send it to me. Fuck this. I quit.” And riots begin inside my belly. What happens next is almost exactly like that thing where you go out to the bars until 5am, forgetting that you’re now 35 and not 21, and then you wake up at 8am and you’re still drunk and sick but your hangover is also kicking in. Except the most fun thing you get to regret is having snuck a single Oreo… but it only lasts like an hour.
- I eat a billion times a day. 4 bites at a time.
- I dehydrate really easily. I don’t even understand this. Someone should probably explain it to me because I don’t know why I use more water than other people. But I do. And if I don’t drink enough water, which is more water than the average person probably drinks (because I’m assuming most people get by just fine on like 4 glasses of water a day even if that’s less than supposedly recommended) I will probably pass out. And apparently martinis don’t count for hydration. Coffee, however, does. So… I guess there’s that. But it does for you, too. Which you probably didn’t know. So YOU’RE WELCOME.
- I can’t eat anything fast or I will throw up.
- I can’t eat solid foods until sometime around 11am or they get stuck in my esophagus.
- I can get hungry but not really hungry. But I can get angry-hungry (hangry). But without that horrible feeling that my insides are eating themselves.
- If I skip meals, I get sick.
- If I go more than ~3 hours without eating solid food, it hurts tremendously to eat anything.
- If I try to eat something carb-y, but very little so I don’t dump, it feels like knives are trying to break out of my belly.
- I take vitamins. Because I cannot possibly get the nutrients I need from my diet. I take a multivitamin, calcium supplements, and sublingual b-complex. I don’t even know if this shit works, but my hair stopped falling out, so I guess it does.
- I don’t drink carbonated beverages except on rare occasions and they need to be flattened and if I try to take a sip with food, I start vomiting tiny men with bayonets. (true fucking story.)
- No, it’s not hard… I just read labels. I ask questions at restaurants. I go on with my life. The act of eating is sometimes hard, but living a life with food restrictions ain’t no thang for me.
- Some days it’s frustrating and sad. And I want my life to be normal. Or at least normal for a weight loss surgery patient. Or normal for someone who had tumors removed.
- One time, after the surgery, my esophagus completely closed up. I got to drink horrible liquid while my doctor watched on an x-ray. Then he drugged me and sent balloons down my throat and opened it back up. Yes. My life was saved by shoving balloons down my throat.
- I’ve lost almost 100 lbs. I have ~25 left to go.
- I’m healthy today. Like healthy enough to run a 15K race this weekend. It is chocolate themed. Because who doesn’t want to run 9.3 miles for irony?
So… there you have it. My life.
And now it’s your turn. Tell me something weird/cool/different about how you live your life every day. What are the things you do that no one you know does? What do people around you do that blows your mind? Is there anything you want to know about my surgery? Ask me anything. Tell me anything