Monday, April 13, 2009

No, I don't want fries with that

Okay, a confession.

Well, not so much a confession to myself and anyone who has been around me for more than an hour or so at a time. I used to eat like crap. That's the only way to put it. And now I am paying pennance for that lazy attitude toward food.

When I first started the workup program at the UW I began to see their pre-tx dietician. I generally do not like RD's because they are all terribly thin, and none of them has ever so much as had a twinkie touch (usually) her lips during this lifetime. Nor have they ever craved french fries or mayonnaise. I was a vegetarian/semi-vegan at the time, and despite my careless habits, I tend to be pretty well educated about food, food portions, nutrients, etc. I guess that really just puts me in the camp of "typical american woman". So with me, it was not a matter of education, but a matter of will.

Which I did not have. I remained largely non-compliant with the pre-tx dietary guidelines: lots of protein, no salt, little sugar, and lots of fruits and veggies. Ha! I can tell you that more than one day in the week prior to my surgery, my diet consisted of coffee, candy, and some sort of carb like pasta or bread. Maybe a piece of fruit if I remembered it... or gallons of herbal tea.

Cut to release from the hospital, and very very very stern direction from the surgeon, the nurses, and a new (! improved !) dietician team ... combine that with the ministrations of my familia... and here I am, protein loaded and .... grrrrr. I am required to have nine - that's nine - servings of protein a day. By the time I eat that there's not a lot of room left for anything else, you know... but if so, I have to have peas or carrots or an apple or orange.

I sort of regret it, and know that my appetite will resume normality, and then I'll get whiplashed back into calorie-counting within the framework of lots of protein and no salt, but my activity level will also increase and I'll be able to do this whole balanced-diet thing. Right now it's still hard. Anyone who's ever committed to a complete dietary change overnight (all you grrls say hey!) can relate.

The recouperating time is as much, for me, about creating good habits and taking care of myself as it is about physical healing. But then, I think that creating good habits is part of the larger idea of healing... now that I have a liver that will actually take the fuel it's given and do the hard work it takes to create proteins, and process sugars into energy, I owe myself that much. It will be odd to actually have an appetite. I have no concept of what it will be like to have a renewed amount of energy...

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