Time for another look into the life of someone who has had a Whipple Procedure. My previous one about farting was quite popular and I hope this post about why some whipple people continue to eat food that we know makes us sick will be an enlightening as the farting post.
For me, it has been four years since I had the Whipple Procedure to remove the benign tumour, named Betty, and it has taken about three years to work out what I could eat, what I couldn’t, my brain figuring that eating disorders are awesome, beating that and coping this year with side effects and that my body has accepted it’s new form and is putting on weight again (god dammit, back to running for me!). Though throughout this time, I still eat loads of foods that I know disagree either all of the time or most of the time (most of the time is the worst, as when it does disagree with you, it’s usually when you’re dining out for dinner with a selection of the World’s Leaders and there’s no bathroom.. happens to me all the time *cough*).
Especially during this last month of losing my new job and struggling to find new work and dealing with the welfare groups, I have been eating so much bad food, which leads to me sculling bottles of antacids clutching my stomach in bed instead of applying for jobs. Why?
Because most of the foods that disagree with us is generally comfort food; chocolate, ice cream, deep fried foods, heavy foods (pasta), potato chips (crisps) and all of your favourite things. Seriously, there are a few foods that are quite healthy which make me sick and I can quite easily not eat them (bananas, citrus, onions).
Also, you know how when you tell a child not to do something and then they proceed to disobey you and then blame you afterwards while you try to mop up the blood (horrible flashback of standing barefoot on a bowl barefoot to see if it would take my weight… the doctors at A&E and y nurse-mother said it didn’t)? Well, I think, at least for myself, if I deny it = I MUST HAVE IT!! And my brain hides the memory of the last time you ate that because it wants that sweet delicious sugar/deep fried hit. My brain has no feelings to my stomach or bowels. It figures that the more time I spend on the toilet, the better I’ll get at playing Angry Birds.
You might have figured, I don’t have great willpower. The one time when I did have great willpower, I got an eating disorder! When I was living in Canberra, you had to *really* want that comfort food in order to walk the 40mins in the minus 7 degree Celcius rainy weather to get battered fish n chips and then walk back! But here in Sydney, my god! Food is everywhere! All types of food, food can even deliver itself to your door! So yeah, you definitely need really strong willpower to walk past N2 Extreme Gelato (a gelato place that makes crazy awesome gelato using liquid nitrogen).
But I think, the hardest thing is that all us Whipple people want to be normal again, not make a fuss when going out for food. And it can tire you out. In that new job I lost, it was for a food company and it was excepted of you to go out with your colleagues for lunch. I didn’t want to make too much of a fuss when they would argue where to go for lunch.
I managed to ‘get away’ with eating at some places, a burger joint that only serves deep fried chicken burgers (eekk deep fried), but one day, I happened to accidently get a sandwich which contained onions and I had to go home half-way during the day sick as a Whipple dog. That was embarrassing and annoying because I had that whole “oh but you said you can’t eat blah blah” .. well 80% of the time I can and I cannot predict when that 20% of “You’re going to regret this” will kick in. I just don’t want to be a bother.
Funny enough, I have gotten use to the pains and illness especially when hanging out with Family and friends that enjoy foods that I ‘use’ to enjoy and, again, no willpower, I dive right in. Followers of my Instagram, will note the Aunt Niece Lunch/Dinner Date hashtags linked to many gelato and yum cha posts. I know, I know, bad me. But blame the Aunt! It’s all her fault, nothing to do with me and my lack of willpower!! Gelato is just so amazing. I want gelato now.
It also doesn’t help that as a Tour Guide for a food walking tours, I do get some lovely food gifts from the venues that I bring people to every Saturday. Because I am half-English, I cannot say no, it’s so un-English!
Anyho, before I list a few helpful tips, I just want to say to fellow Whipple people out there it is ok to eat bad food. Just plan ahead, your brain might lie to you about the results from the last experiment. Be prepared and do not beat yourself up afterwards if that gelato you had last week (which you were fine with) has backstabbed you this week. This is the joy of being a stubborn human being. Enjoy!
- Planning: Plan ahead if you can when you’re going to have sneaky food. Say you have ‘bad food’ for lunch, don’t plan to meet your partner’s parents for the first time at dinner time. I, myself, plan the Aunt Niece Lunch/Dinner Dates when I didn’t have to work afterwards or the next day.
- Have medication on you at all times: If you have creon tablets, lactose-free tablets, antacids, etc. Have some at home, some in your bag and the rest at work. I just use liquid antacids (all the time.. should really get that checked out) and have bottles everywhere.
- Find alternative bad foods: Pretty simple, if you cannot stomach battered fish, have grilled. Chocolate is a pain because it has either too much lactose and/or sugar in it, find a different version (vegan, low carb, etc. Health shops can hold a great range). Not only is this better for you mentally, you will be amazed what you can find in your town – a whole wide new world of food!
- Don’t buy it/have it: Yep, another very simple thing. Don’t buy it and have it in your house. Especially if you’re like me and have little willpower. Yet, I keep doing it and I say to myself each time, I won’t eat all of it, not like old-fat-Roz. This is followed by the sound of my brain sniggering in the back. So yeah, don’t have that Nutella jar or that ice cream in the freezer. It all ends in stomach/gut pain. It’s that never ending cycle of you want comfort food because bad day, then you get sick and your end gets worse and this requires more comfort food! Dammit!
- Research menus and pick the place: In this digital world, finding restaurants online with their menus online can help you a lot. Generally my friends and family make me pick the place because they know I research places that can cater for my needs. But sadly, like that job I had briefly, I couldn’t pick the place. Which cause me much anxiety and illness. But if you’re in that situation here’s the best advice I can give you:
- Taking the risk: So your boss has picked the restaurant and you have to go and eat. What do you do?
Step1) try to find the menu online as soon as possible.
Step 2) see if they cater to allergies (because it is so much easier for us to say it’s an allergy or intolerance).
Step 3) Find out if they have good bathrooms, if not, how far are the closest ones?
Step 4) Work out which are the worst bad food and avoid them at all cost (for me it’s onions and citrus), then work out which bad foods are not as bad to your gut (again for me, it’s gluten and dairy).
Step 5) If it’s dinner, avoid all of your bad foods all day. I find that my stomach/gut has a ‘gluten and dairy limit’ per day. weirdddd.
Step 6) Pack all of your medications and remedies. Do not forget them.
Step 7) Have your order all planned, with the least-worst bad foods and most importantly, don’t panic. Seriously, if you think it’s going to make you really sick, you will get sick. Funny how the brain does that to screw your life once again.
So gt eating! hahaha… aaww I just made myself sad. MOAR CHOCOLATE!
❤ Whipple Girl