Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Countdown to Cholecystectomy

Well folks, my gallbladder surgery is almost here! I am so, so, so excited!!!
It's been a long ride (6 months almost since my diagnosis) but now it's finally coming to an end. It's actually been getting tougher to resist eating things now that the end is in sight. I mean, I still do resist because if I gave in and ate something I shouldn't have the pain is excruciating, but the temptation to eat those things is getting stronger. I've started making lists of foods I'm excited to eat again, all the while remembering that I'll still have to eat very healthy for a while afterwards until my metabolism kick-starts again (after nearly 6 months of not eating any fat, my metabolism has slowed like mad and my body can't seem to digest things properly anymore, which lead to more gallbladder attacks).
The first taboo item I plan on eating after my surgery is a hard-boiled egg. 5 grams of fat was basically my cap for a whole meal, and that's what one egg yolk contains, so eggs have been a no-no for a while for me. However, they are an excellent protein source and it's incredible how much you miss them when you can't have them! I'm also looking forward to avocado dishes like guacamole, maki rolls and my yummy black bean and corn salsa! (Corn was another thing I couldn't eat). Over a few weeks I'll keep adding foods back into my diet, but it will still be a long time before I have any pork, any cream sauces or anything fried. I do, however, plan on having one of those gigantic tins filled with three different types of popcorn waiting for me at home after my surgery! And I will be trying Egg Nog on Christmas Eve!
As hard as this has been, one thing that made it alot easier was the opportunity it gave me to get back into shape. I weighed myself today and discovered that I hit my dream by-Christmas weight. I say 'dream' because very little other than my extreme diet could have got me to where I am from where I was in such a short amount of time. I'm below the weight I was when I got married, I fit into my 'normal' size pants again, my resting heart rate has dropped and I feel great. I get lots of compliments on how I look (most of them are nice, some of them are awkward, like when a lady said, "You're looking streamlined. Finally hit the point where you get tired of packing around all that extra weight, hey?" Charming woman...), my clothes look better on me, and I actually have to go buy new jeans this weekend because mine won't stay up any longer. While my reasons for gaining so much weight are a bit more than just "I let myself go" (the biggest contributing factor was the miscarriage I had a year and a half ago), I'm glad to be past that point in my life and back to normal.
What did I take away from this experience? Well, mainly I'd say that I've really learned how to watch what I eat and to realize how bad some of the things we eat are (never eating a fast-food caesar salad again). I've also got a load of healthy recipes that I will be keeping in our regular meal rotation.
And while this chapter of low-fat eating is ending for me, it's just beginning for a friend of mine, but for different reasons. This friend, a mother of three little boys, was just diagnosed with MS. Thanks to some research done by Dr. Roy Swank, doctors suggest an extremely low-fat diet for MS patients to help keep symptoms at bay. I know how hard it was for me to eat almost fat-free at first. It's a shock to your system, to your routine and to your family. I've sent a meal out to the family and have offered to help her with meal planning, etc. but while talking with my sister I realized how few resources there were out there for people who need a low-fat diet due to medical conditions. My sister suggested I write a cookbook, but since I'd never let a cookbook go to press without testing every recipe at least 3 times (which equals a minimum 2 year project) and since I have so many great recipes I pulled from other sources I have opted to do a blog instead.
http://lowfateating.blogspot.com is my new blog. I'm planning on filling it with tips and recipes for people with gallstones, MS and anyone requiring a very low-fat diet. Feel free to refer it to anyone you may know how has those needs!

Mrs. VanderLeek ;)

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