Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Food Issues

Anyone who knows me knows that I have struggled with my weight for a long time. My UC typically has not caused any weight loss. This is a good thing, but it also means I have to work hard to lose weight just like non-UC'ers. Prior to my second pregnancy I joined Weight Watchers and lost about 20 pounds. I got pregnant and stopped going to meetings, but I was determined I would start back up soon after my baby was born and seriously get to work on getting to a healthy weight. My youngest will be seven months old next week and I am happy to report I did what I said I would and have lost 50 pounds since he was born. To get to my goal weight, I need to lose 50 more.

Now there are a lot of sides to this thing: wanting to look better, feel and be healthier, run faster, be stronger, and buy cute clothes. Since I am now on the path to a j-pouch I have another motivation: Dr. Lavery will not do my Step 2 and 3 surgeries until I get this weight off. That's huge! The ileostomy is going to get me healthy and I am grateful for that opportunity. The pouch though is the thing that will restore my continence and make my life as "normal" as it's ever going to be thanks to this stupid illness. I need to get in the required shape to make those additional surgeries happen. It's extremely important to me.

So tell me then friends why it is I've been completely off the rails food-wise for the last five days or so? I've been trying to get to the bottom of that all day today so that I can put the brakes on and get back to my regularly scheduled programming. I think it boils down to two things: 1) I am incredibly stressed and anxious about the surgery and 2) I am worried about food restrictions with the ostomy.

Yes, I am a bit freaked out about the surgery coming up. Do I feel like it's the right thing to do? Absolutely. I just dropped my Prednisone back down to 30 mg and I'm already waking up with left side abdominal pain. I am confident in my position against trying biologic drugs and that I've picked the best facility and surgical team I could have. Still, this is huge. Nobody can sit back and think, "Ok, so they are going to take out a third of my digestive system. Sure, no problem!" I know I will get through it, but I also know when I look back on the most significant days in my life it's going to be things like the day I married my husband, the days my sons were born, and the day they took out my diseased colon. I've tried to give myself a little leeway to freak out, but I need to find a better way to channel that stress. I am not supposed to be using food as an emotional crutch or coping mechanism anymore. I know better.

I am also worried about food restrictions with the ileostomy and how limited my diet will be. There seem to be two camps: those who eat pretty much whatever they want, and those who don't seem to be able to eat much at all without having problems. I am hoping I will end up in the first group. I've never had a problem with strictures or obstructions, so I'm hoping that will carry over to life with a stoma. I'm trying to just have a wait and see attitude and be optimistic, but part of me looks at foods I enjoy and thinks, "When will I be able to have this again?" For someone with a history of dieting, that thought alone is enough to end up face down in a pint of Ben and Jerry's. I'm not there yet, but the last few days have not been what they should in terms of what I've been eating. It's time to stop and be reasonable. Adding pounds I don't need before surgery is not going to help my recovery or my progress toward Step 2. Time to get a grip, girl!

I have my Weight Watchers weigh-in this evening. I'm fully expecting a gain. I will take my lumps at the scale and then get right back on the horse for a new week. All day today I've been giving myself a little pep talk about how there are so many things outside of my control in this situation, but the one thing I have complete and total control over are my choices about what food I am going to consume and what exercise I am going to do. Those are things I can do my very best at to help these next two weeks go by smoothly. I'm going to do it!

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