Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor

Helping A Leopard Change Its Spots

I wrote a short while ago, about being a very picky eater.  At the time, the story was nothing more than just a bad habit that I had.  This is in spite of knowing so many people who have had to make lifestyle changes, or watching year after year of The Biggest Loser and Celebrity Fit Club.  Now, it is my time.  I do not have a choice.

I learned my bad dietary habit when I was young, like three years old young.  Prior to my parents divorce, I had been told that I would anything placed on my table.  But following that event, I then turned my nose up at just about everything.  I do remember from my earliest days, being strictly a meat and potatoes kind of kid.  It is not that I was into junk food either.  I just refused to eat vegetables.

In my teen years, my behavior only solidified,  but it was reinforced by situation.  Unfortunately, I found myself often fending for myself, and whatever my part-time after school job could afford, which basically was fast food.  And that behavior followed me into adulthood.  As I maintained a busy, on-the-road schedule, there was no time to sit down and eat, even think about what I was eating.

A battle with cancer, emergency life-saving open heart surgery, kidney stone, high cholesterol and blood pressure, by themselves would be reason enough to change my dietary direction.  But as I face yet more issues from late term side effects, these issues have a direct impact on the food I will eat for the rest of my life.  I have no choice at this point.

For the last several years, I have been experiencing a “swallowing” issue that results in a choking sensation when swallowing food.  Two years ago, it got to the point once it began to be too difficult to swallow even soft foods.  Desperate to get calories into me, instead of opting for nutritional drinks such as Boost or Ensure, I went for probably the worst caloric shot, Coke and melted Snicker Bars.  For at least two months, this is how I maintained my weight until the swallowing got worse and I adjusted to Cokes and milkshakes.  Then it happened, I could not even get them down without the choking sensation, even water was difficult.

An endoscope revealed some concerns, but nothing that was blatantly obvious.  It was recommended that I quit drinking soda, eat better, the works.  I am not sure what else was done while I was scoped, but my swallowing had been restored.  Late last year, it began to resurface.  More probing would reveal that I have now developed Barrett’s Esophagus and something called eosinophilis esophagitis.  In spite of being on PPI omeprazole, the acid content of my stomach was described by my doctors as “angry”.

So there are concerns with such a high acid content in the stomach, and the increased risks associated with having had radiation therapy, the biggest concern, esophageal cancer.  Barrett’s Esophagus can lead to esophageal cancer.  So now, everything is in my corner to have the best opportunity to at least attempt to prevent anything worse.  The doctors are hoping that the major change to my diet will correct and right things.

It may sound odd for a 40-ish year old man, to need to be told not only what to eat, but how.  but that is exactly what I will need.  I have to eliminate 95% of my diet, and substitute it with 100% of what I do not like to eat.  I cannot allow my weight to crash, or let malnourishment occur.  If I let this happen, as has happened on other occasions when I have pushed my body too far and too hard, I will crash.  In the past, I was able to do the quick boost of calories.  I appreciate the outpouring of suggestions to make the “horrible” food taste good to me.

Fortunately, my daughters have not picked up this habit.  They are both good eaters, and do what they can to get me to eat right, even resorting to the old “double dog dare”.  But for now, here is the current short list of things that will pass my tonsils (there is much more available, I just won’t eat it):

Bananas

Apples

Oranges

Watermelon

Pumpkin

Potatoes

Onion

Carrots

Sweet Potatoes

Lettuce

1-2% Milk

Egg Yolks

Chicken

Turkey

Tuna

Sea Salt

Cinnamon

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