Weighty Matters

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A Change I Could Do Without

on March 19, 2012

Warning:  This post is not for people with weak stomachs.  If watching someone vomit has ever triggered a sympathy hurl, you might want to skip reading.

I hate to vomit.  Fortunately, I don’t often get sick.  The last time that I was ill enough from some sort of virus to throw up repeatedly over a few days was years ago.  There’s only been one time in my entire life that I drank enough alcohol to make myself kneel before the bowl.   That was back in college when I drank several different types of alcohol at one party.

Prior to recent weeks, I hadn’t upchucked (There are so many different ways to refer to vomiting.) since 2007 when I had an acute gallbladder problem which necessitated surgery two days later.  The gallbladder problem, not the actual vomiting.

In the almost eight weeks since my weight loss surgery, I’ve thrown up more often than the last 35 years total.  No lie.  Granted, these aren’t huge bouts of heaving, but that doesn’t mean I’m loving the process.

It all has to do with the drastically reduced stomach sitting at the end of my esophagus.   There isn’t much room down there and I’m learning to be very, very careful about not only how much I eat at any one time, but the pace at which I consume even small portions.   I’m working very hard to retrain my eating habits . . . taking small bites and chewing thoroughly; waiting between bites and swallows; not drinking for 30 minutes before a meal or snack; stretching my small meals over at least half an hour; stopping before I’m full; and so on.

Even all of this exquisite care doesn’t protect me all of the time.  Last night, I served myself a single baked chicken thigh and a quarter cup of carrots and broccoli.  I ate it in small bites that I chewed and chewed before swallowing.  I really engaged in mindful eating and was positive that I had not pushed the limit of my stomach.

I was wrong.  The final bite did me in.  First I was just uncomfortable, then the “foamies” set in.   Yes, it’s gross, but foam starts to form in my mouth and I begin to burp air.  If I’m really fortunate, I can breathe through the foamies stage and resolve the situation before it progresses.  last night, however, after the foamies, the secretion of salive drastically increased and that was my sign to proceed to a sink, toilet or trash can.  Within a minute, I gracefully “cast up my accounts” in one delicate, upheaval.  Problem solved.

Earlier today at lunch I slowly drank a Soup at Hand container of chicken soup.  I waited a while for it settle before slowly munching on a couple of baby carrots.  I honestly thought I was fine.  Twenty minutes later I went into a meeting with my bosses and realized that it felt like a piece of carrot was lodged at the base of my esophagus.   The process started again and I excused myself, went to the restroom and took care of matters, and returned to the meeting.  Thankfully, my co-workers know this sometimes happens and, when I assured them I was okay, we carried on as if there’d been no interruption.

I guess it sounds a little bit like I’m whining, and I really don’t mean to.  Most of the time I do just fine.  There are many more mealtimes that pass without incident.  I also know that this too will improve with time.  I’ve only been on solid foods for shortly more than a week and my stomach is still adjusting.

It just sucks to spend time mindfully eating and savoring flavors and textures like a wls patient who’s paying attention and walking the walk — only to have the experience revolt in, well, a revolting way.  I guess there’s always the opportunity to slow down even more and make the individual bites even smaller.  If I’m chewing twenty times now, I can increase that to thirty times.  It’s all part of the positive changes that I’ve already made and will continue to make.

In the meantime, more frequent hurling is a change I could do without.

Thanks for listening! 🙂

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4 responses to “A Change I Could Do Without

  1. Mary Stella says:

    You all are very sweet. I’ll gladly accept the “poor babies”! 🙂

    I think I’ve figured out the problem. I believe I’m eating slowly but there’s a difference between “slow for me” and “slow enough for my altered stomach”. I used to eat really fast and I have been pacing myself much more. It feels like I take forever between bites. However, it just feels like forever in comparison to the old ways.

    So today I’ve slowed wayyyyyyyyyyyyyy down, eating at the pace of the slowest snail. We’ll see if that manages the problem.

    Thanks, everyone!

  2. You do get a poor baby for that! Yuck! I hope it all sorts itself out very soon.

  3. londonmabel says:

    Thanks for sharing, this is totally the stuff I find interesting! lol

    There’s that whole thing about how it takes 30 min for your brain to receive the signal that you’re full. Maybe your new stomach and brain are still learning to communicate with each other.

  4. Skye says:

    Many sympathies! Barfing is my least favorite illness symptom and my last bout coincided with a virus in 2007. The fact that you have it happen so often makes me want to just hold your hair back and put a cool washcloth on the back of your neck. Poor thing. Even though things are going well in general, it’s okay to need “poor babies” still.

    Glad you are handling it with equanimity.

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