It was 8 weeks yesterday that I said, “farewell” to my stomach and to celebrate, I tried to eat a piece of steak again. After cutting the beef down to tiny, delicious teriyaki marinated morsels of skirt steak and a good amount of chewing, the meat went down and stayed down. Sweet glory! The steak put up a little fight afterwards causing some mild stomach cramping, but it was nothing like the small sliver of carrot cake I ate earlier this week which I thought was going to punch it’s way out of me. Now that was pain.
Overall, this life without a stomach thing is working out about what I expected, in someways better, and in other ways worse. I’m still really sensitive to sugars, white rice, brown rice, tortillas (both the corn and flour variety) and dry bread, but it’s all a matter of making little adjustments to my life. I was asked earlier this week, “because you’re such a foodie, is having no stomach a huge loss?” In someways you mourn being able to sit at a restaurant and pretentiously eat your gluten-free, gmo-free, free range chicken that cost $30, but having no stomach has opened the door to opportunities I didn’t know were possible. So while I’m still pretty sensitive to sugar (I’m tolerating up to 9g per serving with protein), the reality that I can’t sit down and eat a rich piece of tiramisu has really challenged me to venture out and try cooking myself more. I used to be really self-conscious about my cooking, I was so afraid to mess up, but now I just go for it. Why not? Life really is too short to live in fear of over cooking eggs. As the kids say these days, “YOLO”.
A couple weeks ago I was watching the Food Network and looking at beautifully photographed food on Pintrest in awe of chefs who turn a simple meal into a work of art and had a thought… Why can’t I? With a little intentionality and relinquishing the fear of messing up, you can create something beautiful out of an ordinary meal. It’s very freeing. Without that fear, I’ve been relatively surprised by how therapeutic it has been to cook and make my meals look beautiful. After some experimentation I’ve even been able to come up with some delicious, stomach-less friendly recipes! Why look longingly at a sugar crusted dessert, when I can attempt to make my own sugar-free version? My favorite so far was taking an under ripe pear, slicing it, and baking it with a little Truvia bakers mix (90% Splenda, 10% sugar), a sprinkle of brown sugar, a tsp of vanilla extract, 2 tsp of butter and baking it in the oven for 30 minutes. I put that on top of some sugar free vanilla bean ice cream and it was fantastic!
These experiments in cooking is a reminder: just because you don’t have a stomach, doesn’t mean you can’t still have food adventures, and that just makes the next stage of life more exciting. Why just look at pictures of food on Pintrest, when I can contribute?
As for the rest of my recovery, I have able to work full-time for the past couple of weeks. My energy level over all is pretty low and I feel zapped by 2 PM, but I’ve been able to push it through to the end. I’m still losing a little weight (cruising 165 lbs), so I’ve decided to hold off on full triathlon training for a little while longer. I was, however, able to go on an easy bike ride this morning with my family and was even able to tow my daughter in her Burley to the library for story time. After a 12 mile ride, I was feeling out of shape, but we made it! It’s going to be a long road to get back in shape, but I’m confident when I figure out nutrition and hydration, training will get easier.