I have been living with my j-pouch for almost 3 months now! It is strange NOT to be gearing up for another surgery at this point. Strange, but great! A summary of my 2013 goes something like this: In January I learned I needed surgery, two months later, in March I went under the knife for the first time. Three months after that, in July, I did it again (surgery #2)!! Add another 4 months to that and I am into November and my 3rd surgery! Now the pattern has been broken and I don’t plan on having another surgery, hopefully, ever again!
So, you might be wondering what life is like with a j-pouch? Well, to be honest I am still figuring that out for myself. One thing I know for sure, is that it definitely beats my life with UC!
Eating is my main focus. I am constantly thinking about food. I eat every 2-3 hours while I am awake and get up at least once a night for a snack. My dietary restrictions have been lifted (except for popcorn), so I can eat anything I want, I just have to make sure that I stay on top of it. If I go too long without eating I start to feel awful, and it is exhausting to always be thinking about the time and what I will eat next. (I know that having to eat whatever I want all day long sounds like more of a dream come true than a problem, but trust me it is hard to live a normal life when you have to stop every couple of hours to eat.) Also, nobody else I know needs to eat this often so most of the time I am eating alone. I hate when Kyle is not hungry for dinner yet but I am, and then when he is ready to eat I am still full. The key is to get into a routine and figure out (through trial and error) what foods keep me full the longest.
I have found that I have the most success when I eat carbs and proteins together. Some of my favorite meals and snacks include: tacos (soft shell), chicken and rice casserole, grilled cheese sandwiches, potatoes (prepared any and every way), cheese and crackers with apple slices, and pizza. The best news (to me) is that I can enjoy fresh fruits and veggies again! I love to have a small salad with my dinner meal, I just make sure that I chew it really well and eat it after my main course instead of before, and I am back to eating bananas! I always keep in mind that properly chewing my food is very important, so I tend to avoid foods that tire out my jaw. Other foods I try avoid or at least to limit are greasy, spicy, and acidic foods. The greasy foods slide out too quickly and the spicy and acidic foods cause a lovely issue known as butt burn (more on that another day).