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Thursday
Oct142010

Food (Nom Nom Nom)

I realize that I haven't given you the full back story of my time in the hospital prior to diagnosis and post-op. I will give you that full story, but in bits and pieces because it's more fun that way (also, I need to lobby for the word "funner" to make it into our lexicon because, come on, "funner" is more fun than "more fun"). Today, I'll tell you about the things I ate in the hospital (or lack thereof) and my subsequent goals and challenges regarding food and weight gain.

At the hospital, I was either completely NPO ("nothing per oral" -- as in I couldn't eat or drink anything including ice chips and water) or only able to "eat" ice chips for the solid majority of 2 weeks. If you know me, you know I'm not only a foodie but (and yes, this is a contradiction) also quite accepting of all foods including those of the fast variety. One day you could see me at Bazaar in Beverly Hills, and the following afternoon I could be contently chomping on a Happy Meal. Bottom line: I am a fan of food and a fan of eating. So two weeks without any of it? I was practically hallucinating about El Pollo Loco and my favorite high end Italian bistro in tandem. I wasn't hungry, mind you, during this time, since I had this crazy muscle milk-looking stuff flowing through my IV -- but man, I wanted to eat.

Soon after my surgery, Dr. Ramos gave me the green light for clear liquids. Oh, chicken broth! Dear jello! Delicious apple juice! All remarkable foods at the time, and I'm not going to sell them out now and call them bland or not exciting. I'm pro-clear liquids. Delicious. 

I quickly progressed to full liquids (think milky clear liquids -- butternut squash soup, pudding, etc), and after I successfully kept that food down, Dr. Ramos said the words that almost brought tears of joy to my eyes: "No dietary restrictions." My eyes lit up. "Wait, doc, do you really mean NO DIETARY RESTRICTIONS? You mean...I can eat ANYTHING??" He gave me one of his adorable Dr. Ramos smiles, grabbed my hand, and said, "Yup, kid, anything you want." Oh baby.

It was on. I dispatched friends and family immediately. Some were headed to my high end Italian bistro for meatball pizza. Others ran out to secure pad thai, burgers and fries, chocolate chip cookies, and red velvet cupcakes.  I hauled my butt out of bed, grabbed a piece of cold pizza that my mom hadn't finished, and took a monster bite. Oh, food! My old pal! Happy doesn't even describe my state of being at the time. The world was my oyster. Ooooh, oysters -- yum.

I overdid it by lunch, taking about 4 monster bites too many of my beloved meatball pizza and two chugs too many of Sprite, and lost that bit of my lunch within minutes. But I learned a good lesson from that -- no competitive eating any time soon -- and have kept down every bite of food I've lovingly taken since then.

After a couple of days of semi-gluttonous feasting (I say "semi" because my appetite was actually not that large -- two weeks of no food in your belly can do that to you), my best friend Rhett started doing some research and dropped the bomb: to fight this fight from a nutrition front, I would have to eat very healthy and very different from what I was used to. At first, I put on earmuffs and took another bite of cupcake, but after an hour or two, I realized that he was right and I needed to avoid red meat, sugar, white flour, and all the other things that bring smiles to our faces when we ingest them.

At first, it was rough. My options seemed so limited and I was getting a touch discouraged. Dr. Ramos told my family that I would undoubtedly lose weight with this cancer, and that it was near-impossible to gain weight. With chalky gluten-free cookies and plain chicken breast with plain brown rice, I was starting to believe him. On the night we started this whole healthy eating endeavor, I shed a few tears and told my parents and Will, in frustration, "this food SUCKS and I am going to lose weight if this is all I get to eat." All this girl wanted was a damn egg roll or a bite of sourdough bread, and no luck.

That was all my mom needed to see (GloBo doesn't shed many tears -- at least of sadness or frustration). My hero (as always), she got in the car, headed to Whole Foods, and spent nearly $400 on a variety of food items that I could try out and accept or reject as I saw fit. Well, she hit the jackpot. Pretty much everything she bought was either decently tasty to actually tasty, and I've not looked back from my new, part gluten-free, part-vegan, no-red meat or white flour, low sugar diet.

And guess what? I've gained two and a half pounds since I left the hospital. Recently told my buddy Dr. Ramos the news, and he was more than pleased. I don't know if it's normal for a doctor to tell you how proud he is of his patient, but it's normal for us. :)

Near-impossible is nothing.

And maybe I should look into competitive eating. 

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