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Archive for July 23, 2017

Surgery tomorrow!

I’ve been scheduled for surgery tomorrow. That means I’m super excited and somewhat nervous. We met with the surgeon last week, and he seemed very smart and good at his job by all accounts, which is to say online searches and word of mouth.

In order to prepare for surgery, I’ve been on a liquid diet except for some very low-carb raw veggies since the moment I heard I was cleared, July 13th. The drinks I’m allowed to have are all “meal replacement” high protein, low carb and low fat drinks. They’re very disgusting, being chalky and sickeningly sweet, but I’ve been extremely diligent, learning to drink them quickly and try not to gag.

Since my overall calorie intake has been less than 800 calories per day, I’ve been in ketosis since around the 15th, which means I have been burning body fat (it also means I’m not exactly starving – appetite is subdued in ketosis). This is exactly why I’m on the pre-op diet: to get rid of the extra fat hanging around on my liver and around my stomach. This will make it easier for the surgeon to get to my stomach laparoscopically tomorrow.

One thing that upset me a couple of days ago is that I was feeling very weak, confused and disoriented. I could barely walk around after waking up. I guessed that simply being on such a low calorie diet might explain such symptoms, but I also started desperately craving salt, to the point where I cheated: I ate two small pieces of grilled skinless boneless well-salted chicken. I simply couldn’t resist the saltiness. Then I looked into the salt content of the “meal replacement” drinks: they don’t have enough salt, even though they’re supposed to provide all the vitamins and minerals my body needs. What?!

When you add to that the fact that it’s extremely hot outside, so I sweat profusely every time I take a walk, I realized I was sodium deprived. This could actually be very unhealthy¬†and possibly dangerous. It’s upsetting that I was making myself sick by following directions carefully. I modified my diet to include chicken broth and now I feel perfectly fine, but it made me wonder how the directions could be so badly off. Wouldn’t other people have noticed this defect?

Well, that brought me to a google search, with the result that I found an online bariatric pre-op diet forum which explained to me the following:

  1. there are lots of different pre-op diets
  2. some of them tell you to have chicken broth or even lean meats or even crackers
  3. nobody, or at least very few people, seem to actually follow these diets
  4. some people are hilariously bad at following their diet
  5. or maybe it’s really sad, but I chose to find it hilarious
  6. except for the crazy people who are eating sandwiches right before surgery and planning not to tell their surgeon
  7. that could actually kill you
  8. yes, I realize that the people on a forum like that are self-selected, but even so

Long story short, I think I’ve been more than sufficiently compliant on my diet, and I will tell the nutritionist at Columbia Presbyterian to add “broth” to the daily schedule.

Today it’s all liquid, I’m not even allowed to have raw veggies. Tomorrow I don’t get to eat or drink at all in preparation for the surgery.

Wish me luck, friends!

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