Sunday, December 29, 2013

Foodless In A Food Based Society

Eating has been getting harder and harder for me. Not just physically (and it's really hard physically) but even harder emotionally.

Physically, it's like I just can't do it anymore. My doctors want me to keep trying. So I do. But even my GI doctor wants me to only eat small bites of food only once a day, and honestly, for the most part, that's completely fine by me. Because food makes me so incredibly sick it's not even funny. Long gone are the days where I could stuff my face full of food item after food item. As soon as I'm up to 3 maybe 4 bites I'm completely bloated and stuffed and can tell that it was a bad decision to even attempt to eat, no matter what type of food it was. Like even if it's completely liquid, still the same old song and dance. Pain, distension, heaviness. It's bad. But I still keep trying, because the doctors tell me too. Honestly, part of me is hoping the doctor tomorrow tells me tomorrow to just stop trying for a while.

But then, there is the emotional side. And if you think the physical pain is unbearable. And it is. The emotional side of not being able to eat, in America, especially at the holidays. Is excruciating.

It seems like every day for the past 2 or 3 weeks I've been invited to dinner or lunch or to make something for somebody and it's just not fair. I mean I realize that I can't change America and that at the holiday's there is a lot of family gatherings and there are a lot of meals, but dang son. Every day. Seriously?

Mom keeps telling me I have to get used to it I can't change the culture, but why can't we? Why can't the culture be changed? Why is the culture so ingrained? Why does it have to be all about food? Why can't we just all come over and enjoy some coffee and some family time with some games or a movie or something? There doesn't have to be food, or at least a huge meal involved at every gathering. Maybe just a few snacks, perhaps. That might make it easier.

It's a lot different than being on a diet. I think a lot of people are treating it like I've changed my diet and it's completely different. When you're on a diet you can choose an alternate option. When you have gastroparesis and have a feeding tube and can't eat, there is no option. You can't eat anything. There is NO option. At least not without fear of pain, nausea, throwing up, constipation, diarrhea, etc. You feel like you have to eat because everyone else is, but you know if you do it's gonna be bad. And you can only eat once per day so you have to be careful which time you choose to do it.

It's especially hard for a foodie like me. I still watch Food Network all the time and have now transitioned from "I wonder if I'll ever be able to make that and wonder what it will taste like." to "I guess I'll never be able to taste that." But I still enjoy watching the TV shows. At least I can still do that without too much emotional pain yet.

I'm lucky that a friend sent me a message about a book that a preacher had written who is on TPN and cannot eat at all, ever, or else he gets extremely sick entitled Taste: My New Life Without Food by Gordon F. Meier. It is written from a Christian perspective and is written on the premise that we should "taste and see that the Lord is good" and that food is only a temporary satisfaction and we do not need food in our lives, just God. It helped me out a lot. And will continue to, I believe. If you want ordering information for the book check out the linked Facebook page above. The book is free, they just ask for a donation to offset printing fees. I highly recommend it.

I'm taking my eating journey one day at a time. It's not easy, it's not perfect. But it is what it is. In the meantime I will leave you with lyrics to an Audrey Assad song that have been helping me through as well. I have a t-shirt that has part of these lyrics on them as well that I wear on the particularly hard days.
"From the love of my own comfort
From the fear of having nothing
From a life of worldly passions
Deliver me O God

From the need to be understood
From the need to be accepted
From the fear of being lonely
Deliver me O God

And I shall not want, I shall not want
When I taste Your goodness I shall not want"
"I Shall Not Want" 



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