Thursday, January 28, 2010

Food woes... slowly improving?

Not being able to eat normally is depressing. I mean, my life is tough enough as it is, right? I should at least be able to eat good food that I like, right? I'm still losing weight so no harm in packing on a few pounds.

Nope. Between the gut GVHD and various medication induced eating problems, I'm having a ton of trouble eating.

Remember that for a while I couldn't taste anything, which was a huge problem, but that has pretty much resolved over the past couple of weeks. Very good news, but that was really miserable.

Let's start with the gut GVHD, which makes almost everything difficult to digest, except for your classic BRAT diet: bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. I don't like bananas, so that leaves me with the RAT diet (oddly enough, my high school mascot was the river rat, so there you go). Whole grains, vegetables, fats and lactose were totally out because I couldn't digest them. Have I mentioned my life-long love affair with dairy products yet? I love dairy. Not only ice cream, but cheese and yogurt and milk and cream cheese and sour cream and all those creamy, delicious products that come out of udders.

Then I started on mega high dose steroids about a week ago. Steroids are the most terrible medication ever. I mean, they do good things, but they have tons and tons of side effects: they can raise your blood pressure, redistribute the fat in your body so that you get a puffy face and belly and super skinny legs and butt, they make you hungry all the time, they can make your hair fall out, and they give you ridiculous mood swings - crying jags, anger, exhilaration, depression.... I have been such a crab this whole week. And the best part about steroids is that they interfere with the way your body processes glucose, so you either have to go on insulin or monitor all of your carb intake very, very closely. I am extremely stubborn and refuse to go on insulin (I already take 25 pills a day, leave me alone!) so I am left with monitoring my carbs and sugars.

Almost forgot! Because I'm still on a low-microbial diet following my transplant, I can't have any fresh fruits or vegetables until Day 100 (about 50 days).

That leaves me with..... nothing to eat.

Well, that's an exaggeration. I've had some plain fish, some tofu, low carb bread, but for the past week eating has been a major, major problem. And like I said above, since the only pleasure I have left is eating, and clearly I really like to eat, and I'm on all of these ridiculous steroids, it's been a rough week.

But on the bright the steroid problem has forced me to start reintoducing foods I cut out because of GVHD a lot faster than I would have otherwise. Out of sheer desperation I've started some veggies again (read: a few pea pods and some tomatoes) and this morning my mom made me an egg white omelette with sundried tomatoes and just a little bit of cheese. It seems to have agreed with my stomach! I am SO HAPPY. Life is so much better when you can eat dairy foods. I'm still waiting for my glucose to get itself under control because of course all I want to eat right now is ice cream and cake, but all in good time. At least I can eat more than low carb lavash with peanut butter!


Zhu said...

I love dairy products (surprise surprise...!) so I feel your pain. And no veggies...? I mean, even well cooked? I'd miss them. Fruits, not so much, the only one I eat is banana (I'm the opposite of you).

Okay, let's take one step at the time. It's already good to know that you got your sense of taste back. The rest will follow!

au soleil levant said...

You aren't much of a fruit person? Interesting. I love fruit, I love fruit much more than veggies. I can theoretically eat cooked veggies, but since I'm babying my digestive system right now, it's a slow process. We'll see how it works out over the next few days. Like you said, one step at a time....