When I typed the words “recovery meal” I was transported to a time many years ago when a recovery meal involved fired eggs with hash browns and ketchup after having a little too much fun the night prior. Oh, the gooey goodness.
This is a different kind of recovery.
We went out for dinner last Saturday night. Eating out is very fraught for me because my fragile digestive tract is easily knocked off balance. So when we do eat out, it’s at carefully selected restaurants with high quality foods that are willing to cater to special requests.
We went to a favorite restaurant that fits the bill to a T. I’ve successfully eaten there many times in the past, so I was feeling comfortable and confident Saturday night. I did my usual telling of my life story just to order a plate of fish and vegetables, and everything seemed fine.
Then I woke up the next day feeling miserable.
I think when I tell people I have GI problems they wonder what that means exactly. My guess is people’s first assumption is I have some sort of diarrhea issue, which I definitely do not. It’s not constipation either. Isn’t this a glamorous conversation so far?
I have a motility disorder, which means my intestines move incredibly slowly. Imagine a time when you overate. Maybe Thanksgiving after seconds. Now, imagine feeling that way every time you eat, even if it’s a small portion of healthy food. Now, imagine feeling that way all day.
Add in nausea, a general sense of heaviness in the abdominal area, and a feeling that your food just isn’t moving, and now you know what it feels like to have a motility disorder. (BTW, there is not consensus if my motility disorder is a byproduct of my lyme infection, or if I just happen to have two separate things at the same time).
Adhering to a primarily liquid diet with just one solid meal per day at dinner generally keeps my symptoms in check. It’s like my intestines can get the job done once per day, but no more.
But things only run smoothly if I eat foods I tolerate well. And in spite of my careful ordering Saturday night, something went wrong in the kitchen and something made its way into my food that doesn’t work for me. Which caused my GI motility to slow considerably.
So I woke up Sunday morning with the symptoms as described above. It was very unpleasant. I spent most of the day either on the couch or in bed with my heating pad on my stomach, which is the only thing that seems to help. Along with time.
When I am having a flare up like this, I have no appetite or interest in food whatsoever. Fortunately, my protein shakes are incredibly easily to digest, so I can still get them down even if I don’t feel like eating. Then dinner time rolls around. The obvious thing might be to have another shake, but three shakes per day is one too many. Trust me, I’ve tried.
So I try to eat food even though nothing in the world sounds good. Eggs are my go to when I just don’t feel well, so for the meal in the photo, I had an “omelette”. However, there was nothing inside except a very small amount of raw goat cheese. Nothing else sounded good. I ate my “omelette” with a side of steamed broccoli and cauliflower rice. No seasonings. Nothing. Just plain, plain, plain.
I got it all down OK, but it wasn’t that enjoyable.
It’s now Wednesday, and my GI tract is still not back to normal. Once it gets knocked off balance, it takes days to get back on track.
It is very anxiety provoking to have a flare up like this because the longer it goes on, the darker my thoughts get. Am I going back to square one? Why is it taking so long to feel better? Is something new wrong? Will I start losing weight again? Nothing sounds good. How will I eat dinner?
Of course, this begins a vicious cycle. The anxiety does nothing to help my GI problems, which I’m well aware of, so then I get anxious because I’m anxious, which makes everything worse.
That’s where I’m living right now. Trying to ride out this flare. Trying not to make it worse by adding anxiety to the equation.
I’ve been in this movie many times, and my digestion always rights itself. But it happens on its own time, not mine.
And that’s my message to myself this moment. Hang in there, sweetie. This will pass. It always does. Just hang on.