This message is coming to you direct from my semi-reclined position on the couch, where I am comforted by a glass of wine, a cup of coffee (because balance), and a tub of gelato.
“But, Kat!” you say. “Didn’t you just say you were attempting to lose the baby weight a week ago?”
Why, yes, dear reader. I did. But a week is a long time.
One week ago I paid a visit to the emergency room after a night of severe abdominal pain and spewing bile. I knew exactly what was wrong with me, because the same symptoms have plagued me with similar severity three other times. After tests and waiting an eternity, the doctor confirmed that I had yet another bowel obstruction due to a narrow section of gut that’s a mess of scar tissue. Chronic inflammation and ulcers from Crohn’s Disease can make your pipes skinny and inflexible, so when you eat things like nuts, popcorn, or raw broccoli, they can’t make it through. Your guts keep churning and squeezing and the pressure keeps building and every sip of water or bite of honeydew comes flying up your esophagus because it has nowhere else to go.
The doctor suggested I be admitted so a tube could be shoved up my nose and down my throat to suck out any air or fluid causing painful pressure on the blockage. After seven hours in the ER with my four month old daughter, I was done. Also, the pain had stopped getting worse, which I knew meant the blockage was only partial and not a complete obstruction. As my favorite doctor told me later, your body puts down a liter of fluid an hour even if you don’t eat or drink anything, and I’d managed to keep down the contrast cocktail for my CT scan, so I knew I wasn’t at death’s door anymore.
I went home in pain, because I’m a martyr who refused an extra dose of morphine because my daughter has never taken a bottle and I didn’t want her to starve if she couldn’t figure it out while my boobs were full of narcotics. The emotional pain was also very difficult.
Every time I make an attempt to get in shape, cut out white carbs, dairy, processed foods, and sugar, I end up with an obstruction. And do you know why, dear readers? Because my body cannot tolerate vegetables. Vegetables. I didn’t eat nuts, popcorn, raw vegetables, or fiber cereal. I ate cooked vegetables. Now, I ate a lot of cooked vegetables, but still. I have spent the last week wallowing in the unfairness of it all. Three months cooking every single meal so I wouldn’t have to eat processed goods, substituting nutritional yeast and coconut milk for dairy, never eating fruit as a treat because rewarding yourself with sweet food is for slovenly morons, etc. And how am I rewarded? With blinding pain.
Each episode seems to be triggered by less and less fiber, so I am never going to get over this obstruction unless it’s surgically removed. As much fun as that sounds, I’m a tad busy right now and don’t really want to deal with a prolonged hospital stay. Being on total bowel rest dries up my milk supply, so if I went through with the surgery I’d be shutting down the leche league for good. I’m not ready, she’s not ready, it’s not the time for that kind of finality.
So what does a narrow-tubed gal do now? She eats a low-fiber diet. Ever since my first symptoms showed up, well before I was diagnosed, I’ve been aware that greasy fatty food made me feel better. It doesn’t make sense, and isn’t helpful to everyone, but I basically lived on Dominos cheesy bread during a rough patch when my meds weren’t working well. The actual medical advice is to avoid fiber, ie fruit with skin or seeds, vegetables, nuts, grains, and popcorn. Everyone’s gut is different. I know patients who can’t tolerate dairy where I can eat a bucket of fondue without a problem, and I know people who can eat grains while I swell up like the Hindenburg. Broccoli? Hospital. Fried chicken and french fries? Not even indigestion.
While I’d like to shed some bulk, the traditional ways are not going to work out, it seems. I can eat meat, skinless white potatoes, and dairy, which does not typically result in weight loss success. I’m also nursing, and while I always have a big appetite, producing food for another human makes me ravenous. I’ve spent the last three days trying to keep to small portions and I’m dizzy, shakey, and starving. Without vegetables to fill me up, I’m just doubling up on meat and potatoes. If I manage not to stuff my face, I feel faint. This is not. working.
I have a life to lead, and I have three little lives that depend on me. I can’t be keeling over because I’m trying to fit into my shorts. My situation is absolutely ridiculous. I’m putting in the effort, being completely disciplined, not even licking my fingers when I prepare snacks for the kids, and I land in the ER with my doctor conferencing in a surgeon “just in case.” I am going to have to accept my role as Chubby Mommy, Queen of the Chicken Strips. I’m still making an effort to get to the gym, but my hard work there might just help me break even, weight-wise, if I’m only allowed to eat white bread grilled cheese and potato chips rather than salad and green beans.
I have to keep telling myself my kids don’t care. All Mary is concerned about is my milk supply, and a hungry mommy means a hungry baby. My boys just want to do things with me, and I can’t ration my portions and then lose steam when I need to be chasing them around. I’ll find more balance eventually, I hope, but for now, All Hail the Queen.