In the gravy – you can drench your mash with ease

It’s now three weeks since my surgery and I haven’t really had the motivation to update this blog. It’s been a slow process, a lot slower (and frustrating) than I had originally anticipated.

Back in 2010 I had a gastroscopy which showed that I had a hiatal hernia which would be fixed at the same time as having the gastric band. One of the syptoms of a hiatal hernia is acid reflux. I suffered with acid reflux for a number of years and tried a couple of different types of medication to stop it from happening but it always came back. Acid reflux is a terrible thing – imagine the worst indigestion you’ve ever had combined with those horrible vomit burps where the bile burns the back of your throat and nose. Now, imagine you’re fast asleep and all of a sudden, without warning, you do one of those burps in your sleep but you actually vomit and then inhale it. You can’t catch your breath because you’ve got vomit in your windpipe and it’s burning so bad it’s making you want to scream but you can’t. Finally, when you get your breathing under control you need to try and sort out the burning but nothing will make it stop. Even sipping milk for an hour after still doesn’t ease the pain and in the end you just fall asleep because you’re so exhausted from it all. This used to happen to me fairly frequently. I did discover that mouthwash irritated it even more so once I stopped using mouthwash it didn’t happen nearly as often but still happened.

Anyway, I know what a hernia is so thought that this would be a simple operation to take the part of the stomach that had come through the diaphragm, pop it back through and stitch up the gap so it didn’t happen again. Hmm no.

I have been frustrated at not getting better more quickly since the surgery and my mum kept trying to tell me I’d had TWO major operations and I wasn’t giving myself enough time. I didn’t really pay that much attention to what she was saying until she mentioned that my grandmother had a hiatal hernia and (going back 25 years ago before keyhold surgery) she was told they’d need to remove a couple of ribs if she wanted it fixed. Instead she just took medication. As a result of being told this I decided to Google the procedure. Ok then, so that’s why it’s taking longer for everything to heal. If this is the what was done then no wonder I’m not up and about and doing the things I thought I would by now. It’s definitely not a case of popping it back through and stitching up the gap. So at least now I’m a bit more patient.

My incisions are healing nicely. There are still scabs but I haven’t had any problems with them. I didn’t have stitches, just that suture tape over the top. I don’t like this tape because when I tried to pull it off it was pulling the skin at the same time and I managed to make two of my incisions bleed trying to remove the tape. I ended up leaving the tape on a couple of the incisions until it almost fell off because I was afraid of making the incision bleed again. But it’s all off now and they all look like they’re healed. I thought the one that’s in the middle at the top was going to be the worst but that’s healed rather nice, the worst one is the bottom one just above my belly button. It’s still very bruised and goes inwards so it looks like I have two bellybuttons at the moment.

Sleeping seems to be the worst problem though as I’m unable to lay in any other position other than flat on my back. I can’t lay on my right side at all as it hurts too much. I can just about lay on my left side if I have a squishy pillow under my belly and a firmed pillow behind me but I can’t put my right arm anywhere. I can’t lay it on my side as it hurts, I can’t put it slightly behind me as it makes my body twist and it hurts, I can’t put it under my head as it squashes my wounds together and hurts. So I just have to lay on my back. This is uncomfortable for me anyway and I don’t normally sleep like this but I seem to be laying on a nerve which means that it makes my thighs go numb. It’s a very weird sensation and is actually very painful. I keep waking up with shooting pains going through my thighs and I have to sit up and slap them to try and get the feeling back and make the pain go away. I’ve tried elevating my thighs so I’m not directly on the nerve which has helped a bit but it’s still uncomfortable laying on my back.

All in all, I thought I’d be back in work by next week. I thought 4 weeks off work would be ample time for me to recover but I’m disappointed that I’m still not up and about as much as I thought. It’s frustrating as well because, now that I’m in the 3-4 week mash part of the diet and eating relatively normal, my weight loss has slowed down and is fluctuating because I’m so inactive. I’m hardly going to the toilet and I’m not moving around much because I can’t. I haven’t lost any more than 26lbs and I’m worried my surgeon’s going to be disappointed with me tomorrow at my first follow-up appointment. I’m disappointed with me. I’ve not done anything wrong (as far as I know) but it’s still disappointing.

At the moment I’m mostly eating mushy stuff – mashed potato, vegetables boiled so they’re easy to mash, Weetabix for breakfast, soft fish in sauce (e.g. cod in parsley sauce, etc.) and I’m enjoying it. I tried cauliflower cheese but I don’t think I mashed it quite enough and I didn’t feel right after it so I didn’t have it again. And at the weekend Lindsey was visiting and we made a very thin bolognese with finely minced beef and a plain tomato sauce. It says in my booklet I’m allowed macaroni cheese so we did macaroni to go with the bolognese and it was so delicious. One of my other favourites right now too, very simply, is boiled vegetables with gravy. So simple and yet delicious. Even mixing it up with some chicken gravy or some mint sauce.

So here I am, still propped up on the sofa watching the food channels. I have become obsessed with Man Vs Food and I may have a bit of a crush on Adam Richman. I keep watching all of his programmes and I think they’re having a good effect on me – they’re not making my hungry but instead it’s as if I’m living my food fantasies through him. Well, most of them, some of the stuff he eats just looks gross, I can’t understand what the obsession in the US is with frying things and smoothering them in cheese. I’m still watching though. Watching all those delicious sandwiches. I can’t even remember the last time I had bread!