I was so glad to be home finally, and looking forward to being have more than just water! Also, I was determined to be good, stick to the diet advice, and take all my meds on time.
The Liquid Diet
On the liquid diet, I was allowed to have clear liquids, and thin opaque ones including:
- Milk (semi skimmed up to 800mls per day)
- 100% fruit juice with no added sugars (up to 200 mls per day)
- Vegetable soups
- Meat broths – only the liquid
After almost a week on just water at the hospital, this sounded really great at first… But after a few days, I have to admit I was struggling with a few issues:
- I was having crushing headaches (due to withdrawal from sugar / carbs), nausea (still from the bad reaction to the anaesthetic, but also this is apparently normal since the stomach is still recovering from trauma), and major weakness (because I was struggling to get in enough calories to heal and function)
- Faint inducing loose stool (yes, poo) – like diarrhoea (due to the liquid diet – I know too much info, but keeping it real people!)
- The lack of variety of liquids was quite frustrating – it’s tough to get the calories you need from only liquids, and since your body is healing, be prepared to be tired.
I think my second and third weeks post op were my hardest – I felt very weak, dizzy, and sleepy. I wept one evening, and was even more frustrated by online stories about people going back to work, driving, and generally being back to normal by weeks 2-3. How on earth? I felt so fuzzy and out of it!
On having a checkup with Professor Patel, he reassured me that many people feel this way post surgery, and recoveries can be very individual. He suggested drinking more water to help alleviate the nausea, and said the loose stool issue would subside once I was having more solid foods later on. He also told me to limit activity over this time to 10 -15 mins at a time, building to add an extra 5-10 mins per week, and to listen to my body – if I’m weak and dizzy, then REST! My stitches (sutures) were due to come out 10 days after surgery, but it had been slightly seeping, so the doctor decided to leave them in and suggested keeping it aired, and cleaned (using wound cleaning wipes and sterile gauze).
The medications were more than I’d expected too – 18 doses per day:
Morning: Lanzoprazole (to line the stomach and avoid acid reflux), Diclofenac and Paracetamol (painkillers), Ondansetron (for anti sickness), Minavex (liquid vitamin supplement), Calcium and Vit D, Iron
Afternoon: Paracetamol, Ondansetron (for anti sickness)
Evening: Ursofalk (for bile production), Ondansetron (for anti sickness), Diclofenac and Paracetamol (painkillers), Calcium and Vit D, Fragmin injection (an anti deep vein thrombosis injection into the stomach).
In the 3rd week, I tried coming off the nausea and painkillers, just to see how I was feeling, and given the dull ache, I reduced the dose (with advice from my local general practitioners – GP). Eventually I’d come off the nausea and painkiller meds altogether by week 4.
Anti DVT injections would continue to week 6, including having to wear the stockings – I got some flight socks that were slightly more comfortable than the hospital ones.
I was soooo looking forward to pureed food stage! Bring it on!