I had a large lack of energy, and I didn’t weigh very much. Basically, because of lack of food, my bones were undeveloped, and I was lacking protein and other essential vitamins. I still drink shakes. There’s a drink called Boost that I take, which tastes bad, but I got over it. I’ve had shakes pretty constantly. It was helpful. They actually want me to eat as much as I can, which is good — I can eat anything I want to eat.
For most of the time I was in the hospital, I couldn’t eat solid foods. I was drinking liquids and chicken broth– stuff like that. After I got out, they said I’d have to watch it with spicy foods. Also, I haven’t been able to eat popcorn at all because of the kernels, and I have to watch it with regular kinds of nuts. So there have been some restrictions on my diet. I can’t really eat anything spicy right now. They said that after a while, I could try it, but it never really worked out for me. Spicy foods still kind of give me trouble, so I stay away from them, and I don’t eat anything that has kernels or nuts in it. Sometimes it’s challenging, like at movie theaters, when people are eating popcorn next to me that’s like torture. I try to eat something else, though.
Sometimes there is not a lot you can eat. In the beginning of this year, I was on liquid drinks like Ensure, but that changed. It was tough, but I lived with it. It’s hard at first, but it will get better.
One thing that the doctors wanted me to do was to try to gain weight because they were afraid that I wouldn’t be able to grow enough near the end of puberty. They wanted me to start drinking these nutrition shakes, and that was really hard for me because I hate that stuff so much. They wanted me to drink one three times a day. I remember I’d get queasy afterwards, and I hated the flavor. I think that it was three years that I had to drink them, and then they said I didn’t need to anymore. I was really happy about that. But I still have to watch my diet. They still want me to gain as much weight as I can so that I can keep growing.
I can’t eat things like peanuts or corn because they’re hard to digest. Some people have to change their entire diet, but the changes I have had to make have had mostly to do with medicine, not food. Sometimes I have a decrease in my appetite, if I’m not feeling well, but usually it stays the same. In some really bad cases, people try a liquid diet, but I never really had to do that.
For me it’s hard because I’ll have something that I really like to eat and then I’ll start eating. And then after a while I’ll just notice that even though I haven’t eaten that much, I’m just full. And I just can’t eat anymore.
Changes in Diet
For about a year, I lived off of mashed potatoes with cream, sometimes macaroni and cheese and an occasional fruit juice when I felt up to it. There have been a lot of limitations, like when I go to the movies, I can’t really have popcorn, which is really too bad because it makes the whole movie experience even better. I couldn’t have salads for a really long time, and even now, I can’t have much without having some problems. I’ll have a few bites to get the taste in, but not finish the whole thing. Or maybe I’ll go with friends and they’ll let me have a few bites of theirs or maybe we’ll share something. Now I can eat a lot of things, just in really limited quantities. Like fried things: I’ll just have a bite or two or a chicken tender so I get the taste without having the pain later on.
The food thing was kind of hard in the cafeteria at college. I couldn’t eat a lot of foods, because they gave me really bad stomachaches or cramps or just made me really ill. Not the way the food was prepared, but more just the type of food that was made. I had to learn to adjust to that, and I took some trips to Super Walmart to stock up on things that I could eat.
Living On Your Own
As you get older, you learn that you have to eat the right things, otherwise you won’t be able to function as well. Living on your own, you depend more on yourself. No one is going to make you eat, so you know you have to do it on your own.