A nostalgia for cheese

I’m on a liquid-only regime for two weeks. I’m on my ninth day of fourteen. And I’m feeling fine.

I’ve forgotten what hunger feels like. I genuinely don’t experience it any more. One evening, I had a weird feeling in my tummy and I asked myself if it was hunger, but it wasn’t. It was gas.

Instead of hunger, I feel nostalgic for food. I’ll watch Masterchef and I’ll think to myself “Oh. I remember chicken!” The voice saying that in my head is a sad voice. But don’t worry. The sad voice goes away quite quickly.

It’s savory foods I miss. I can have fruit juice and fruit squash and all my Slimfast shakes are sweet. In fact, here’s a little secret. I never really liked sweet stuff. Don’t get me wrong. I was completely addicted to Diet Coke (but found real Coke a bit too sweet to handle) and I was perfectly capable of bingeing on biscuits and cake, but I have always found fruity flavours a bit much and I’ve never been someone who liked jam or jelly or fruit juice or anything like that very much. Right now, when I crave something, it’s super savory. It’s cheese. Or it’s cheesy. It’s sausages. It’s pork chops. It’s pizza. The other day, I had a graphic fantasy about mashed carrots and swedes. The only savory food I can have at the moment is soup. At first; I wanted to nourish myself and I bought rich and creamy soups in tins and cartons and watered them down and sieved them so they’d fit in my new stomach. But that was a mistake. It was still too thick. Cuppa soup has turned out way better.

I watch videos on YouTube almost constantly about cooking for the next stage of my diet. The next stage is mushy foods. After two weeks of liquids, my brand new stomach will be able to cope with sloppy, pureed, mashed and very soft foods. I can’t wait to have scrambled eggs. And something cheesy. Very cheesy. I’ve watched lots of videos about the kind of foods I can eat and I visualise myself cooking elaborate mushy meals. Of course, they can’t be too elaborate, because I’ll only be able to fit three bites into my new stomach per meal. But it doesn’t stop me fantasising.

Most of my fantasies are good ones. But there are still demons. It’s hard to shake the feeling that I’ll fail. That it won’t work. It’s so much easier to drink water now than it was a week ago. What if it’s the same for pizza? What if it goes from three spoons of mashed potato to ordering from Dominos in a week? What if I end up cheating? For the week before my operation, I had my normal dreams and nightmares, mainly about work, friends or family. But since the operation I’ve been plagued by “what if it doesn’t work?” nightmares.

But it will. It’s working already. My brain is free from hunger and it’s very liberating. And I weighed myself in Boots on Wednesday. I’m down 2 stone 8 pounds already (probably more by now). And I don’t feel drained of energy or weak or dizzy or anything like I’d expect to feel given I haven’t eaten anything in ten days.

I’ve felt fine almost all the time since my last post, other than occasional pains from when I try I gulp water or milk instead of sipping. The only time I felt really bad was on Monday night. I went out to the cinema to see A Star is Born and afterwards I felt fine and then suddenly I didn’t. I was doubled over in pain. My stomach felt like it would explode. I couldn’t face getting a bus home and got an Uber, which didn’t help because we took all the back roads through residential areas and ended up bumping over every speed ramp in South London. It’s the first time in my life I’ve felt travel sick and just wanted the motion to end. Speaking of motions, the answer soon became clear. I needed a poo. I’d forgotten what that was like. I hadn’t had one in five days. I went to the loo and everything was fine again.

And everything really is fine. I’ve had a procession of visitors coming out to see me at home and I love it, but I do feel guilty, because I’m perfectly capable of going out to town. I’m glad I haven’t though. This is my first time in 2018 taking more than three days in a row off and it’s been wondrous. Every week should be a holiday week.

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