Wednesday, 8 May 2013

The extreme egg fiasco

We have a problem. We like food. Unfortunately, we're not too good at controlling what we eat, nor the quantities thereof. Oh, and by the way, that statement doesn't just apply to my wife and me, but Western civilisation in general. We have come to consume too much of the wrong things and too much in general.

I'm currently trying to work with a dietician. Julie, on the other hand, tried that and various diets a long time ago. In the end, we agreed surgery was the only option. Julie had a gastric bypass, a version known as the Roux-en-y procedure.

This, without a word of exaggeration, has changed her life completely. It's entirely probable that it saved her life. Compulsive eating is a psychological problem, one that our primitive bodies are ill-equipped to cope with.

For those who can't stomach (sorry) looking at graphic details of operations, the notion is a simple one. Basically, the stomach is cut in half and the appropriate tubing is connected up to a much smaller gastric pouch.
Initially, the diet is severely limited, but with time, the patient can once again eat much of what they did before - just in drastically smaller portions. Even then, the stomach is still an elastic organ. It can stretch, and does. However, even taking that into account, one would still never be able to eat the massive portions as before.

It's a difficult situation, not just for the patient. A lot of human social interaction is based around the consumption of food and drink, and most pubs, cafes and restaurants don't really understand the concept of needing a tiny portion. Indeed, many get rather shirty when you ask for a child's portion when you have clearly left childhood far too long ago.

So how small does the stomach become after the operation?
About the size of a hen's egg.


Obviously, you're never going to be able to take in what you could, so if you have this op, then you're going to have to take a daily dose of vitamin & minerals in tablet form..
As I mentioned, the stomach may regain some magnitude, but only in a small way. Maybe twice the size of an egg, maybe a bit more.

It's not an exact thing, because everyone is different. Some keep their diet to minimal levels, some find they can't eat certain foods any more; some can't handle sweet stuff, others have trouble with greasy food - oh and it really doesn't take much alcohol either.

So, when Julie and me were in a cafe having a bite to eat, I was ploughing through a nice panini. My wife, however, was gingerly picking at hers. Oh, she was enjoying it, but necessity meant that she had to take it carefully, or she would end up with a side-effect known as 'dumping' - although this is more usually encountered in association with sugary foods.

With this in mind, we began to discuss how much her stomach will have changed in the few years since her operation.



Just in case you didn't know, the World Book Night Prize draw is now closed. We will be filming a clip today for the drawing of the winners and posting the results tomorrow.