Monday, August 30, 2010

175,000 calories

I had surgery on August 3rd and the doctor successfully bypassed my bowel obstruction. The problem was mainly radiation damage to a section of small intestine, rather than a bellyful of tumors like almost every doctor assumed. In fact, he couldn't find any new tumors in my abdomen. So now I can eat again!

115 Pounds (August 2010)
I am terribly thin, though. During the months of starvation I lost about 50 pounds from my previous weight of 165 pounds. And while on intravenous feedings I barely maintained what weight I had left. So the doctor's orders are to gain those 50 pounds back.

Since it takes 3,500 calories to gain one pound*, that means I need to take in 175,000 calories above and beyond the 2,500 calories per day it takes just to maintain weight. If the doctor wrote a prescription for all those calories, it might look like one of these:

  • 650 McDonald's hamburgers
  • 1,200 Stonyfield Farms Strawberries & Cream yogurts
  • 1,500 Quaker Chewy Chocolate Chip granola bars
  • 4,400 Thin Mint cookies

It's a bit of a struggle to eat all those calories right now. With the shortened digestive system and organs that aren't used to seeing food, whatever I eat tends to pass through quite quickly. Some meals seem to exit into my colostomy pouch in just 12 hours – not much time to absorb all the calories and nutrients. And my stomach has shrunk from months of disuse, so I can't eat much at a time to begin with.

But I'm tired of looking like a skeleton, so I'm working at putting on weight – eating whatever sounds good and getting some light exercise walking and playing Wii.