To date, Eric has been through an informational seminar, a physical, a nutrition class, completed the swallow test, had an endoscopy completed, had a psych evaluation, had the surgery, and is recovering well.
Life lately has been fantastic! At exactly 8 weeks post surgery today, Eric has lost approximately 55 pounds, he has tremendous energy, he likes to exercise, and he has experienced several NSV (non scale victories...I'll get into those later in this post).
Let me back up a little bit. The first week after surgery was rough because Eric was on a clear liquid diet. That was hard on him. It was also hard on my watching him feel so frustrated with his lack of being able to eat anything. I was also fearful of eating in front of him because I didn't want to make him feel bad. It took a little time for me to get to a place where I am able to eat food in front of him that he can't have. I still try not to flaunt my choices, but I also realize that he is not resenting us for eating foods he can't digest at the moment. (With that being said, I have overhauled our diet as well. Better choices are being made for the whole family.)
Little by little, Eric was able to add new foods into his diet. By about week three or four, he was pretty much able to eat what he wanted except for breads, rice, pasta, and popcorn. He won't be able to have those items for at least six months. Every once in a while I miss having microwave popcorn. I also get a craving for pizza. Funny enough, when you get past the temptation, it feels empowering!
The day he was able to eat a salad was a triumphant occasion! Eric eats pretty much what he wants, just in small portions: steak, chicken, sausage, salad, eggs, and so much more. At one point his weight loss seemed to stall for a few days. After doing some research, he figured that he needed more protein. Given his height, he needs to eat something like 90+ grams of protein a day. That is pretty tough given that he only eats three small 3 ounce meals each day. He has started supplementing with protein shakes. As soon as he started doing that, the weight started dropping again.
We have definitely changed some things in our house. Changes that come to mind include: no more diet soda in the frig, staggered eating schedule, no more rice or pasta, limited bread, no candy. Eric drinks a TON of water. I should take a lesson from him! There are days when we simply can't eat dinner as a family anymore due to his need to eat at regular intervals. In the past on late soccer nights, we would all just wait until practice was over and eat dinner together at 8:30 at night. We just can't do that anymore, and Eric usually eats dinner at work before driving to practice. This requires a bit of extra planning as well because now he has to think about lunch and dinner on some days.
There have some great changes for the kids and myself as well. I don't serve rice or pasta at dinner anymore. Those items don't add much in the way of nutrient benefits, so it's a good thing. Instead, I usually serve fruit. (I've lost weight along with Eric! Yay!) I'm trying to focus on balance for our meals more than ever. The kids are actually trying more fruits and vegetables, and everyone seems fine with the process.
We rarely ate out for the first month or so. Now that Eric is able to eat meat, we have a few more options available to us. For instance, we went to Sweet River last night and he ordered steak. He only ate about three ounces, and the rest is left overs. I ordered a chicken sandwich, and after receiving it, realized I didn't need or want the bun. Again, trying to make small and healthy changes.
One major thing that I did was to give up candy. It was a show of solidarity for Eric who has had to give up so much (willingly, but still!). I haven't had a single piece of candy, chocolate, jelly bean or sweet tart in eight weeks. At first it was tough. Now I don't crave the sugar. If I truly want something sweet, I still allow myself a cookie, cupcake or cake, but we rarely have those items in the house, so it really isn't an issue.
Two nights ago, I was CRAVING sweets. Eric even offered to drive to the store to get me cake. As much as I wanted something like that, I knew it wasn't really going to make me feel better. Instead, I made a cup of my Folgers Vanilla Biscotti coffee with two Spenda packets and two tablespoons of caramel creamer. That did several things for me. It gave me something sweet. It gave me something to do with my hands. It was warm and soothing. It took a while to drink. By the time I finished the coffee, my craving for cake was gone. *Note to self...do not drink coffee at 8 at night! I need to get some decaffeinated tea k-cups for those types of late night cravings!
Eric and I have been to the gym quite a bit. I told him I wanted to build back up to running a 5K or further. He completely surprised me by saying he wants to run as well because he wants to do a Color Me Rad! I about fell over! This is the man who said that if he's running, there had better be something chasing him! Cue tears!
Memorial Day which would have been near to impossible before surgery.
There have been several NSV's as well. Eric has been able to fit into many pieces of clothing that had been in his closet for quite some time. He was able to buy two pairs of pants at Wal Mart. This was huge because he used to have to go to the specialty store where they have nice things, but it is soooooo much more expensive. The freedom to shop at place like Wal Mart or Kohl's is freeing. The other night our 10-year-old was able to wrap his arms all the way around Eric's waist when giving him a hug. And more tears. Eric fits into booths at restaurants without me worrying that he is going to be uncomfortable. He is comfortable sitting in lawn chairs.
Our life has definitely changed.
I am so very proud of my husband. He is using this surgery as a tool. He doesn't have this unrealistic expectation that it is a miracle cure. He doesn't try to cheat and eat food that he can't have. He is very mindful about what he is putting in his body. I am looking forward to so many more great days. (We are even planning a big trip to Disneyland in February. I have a feeling the man is going to be on every ride with the kids!)
Has this been easy? No. Would Eric do it all over again? In a heartbeat.