So it goes, on June 2, 2010, Paul and I drove to Charlotte, NC to board an airplane to Newark, NJ to board another airplane to Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom. We were on our way for the nuptials of my Brother-In-Law and now Sister-In-Law, Darren and Sarah. For me, not the first time there, but the first time to my husbands home land post RNY.
It may seem odd, eating was the least of my concerns. God gave me peace. I give God all the GLORY! I was more concerned about the unknown situations pertaining to cigarette smoke. With my asthma, I cannot be around cigarette smoke. Luckily Northern Ireland adopted the policy of The Republic Of Ireland and you cannot smoke in a work place which includes pubs, restaurants, banquet halls, etc. My Mother-In-Law graciously had her whole house scrubbed, washed, aired out and had not smoked in the house for weeks before. While nothing but time and lots of airing out can completely rid anything of stale smoke, it wasn’t that bad. Nothing even close to being in a smoke infested room. All was fine, for the most part, where that was concerned. Only one moderate attack in the early hours one of the mornings which my rescue inhaler got control of very quickly.
The funny thing is, if you asked me about my trip, most of the highlights would involve people, not food. People, so many lovely, lovely people. Family, friends and a precious 2 year old nephew we would meet for the first time.
However, I will give what small advice I can and will add the one food encounter that caught me off guard.
In most situations, Northern Ireland being no exceptions, I can eat pretty much what everyone else is, just not near as much. So between the pork chops and potatoes my Mother-In-Law made Thursday night to the Chinese take out we had Friday (the one by Paul’s old house in Belfast 🙁 was way better, but too far to drive just to get Chinese and besides, it is no longer there), to the lovely chicken dinner at the reception and the divine lunch/ dinner (we call it supper in the South) that my Mother-In-Law treated us to on Sunday 🙂 , to the fish and chips I can’t remember eating Monday night I was so exausted 🙁 . I fell asleep in my tartar sauce! I was THAT tired! So much running around the prior several days. It is OK, Paul and I intend on going to an Irish pub in town in a few weeks and having some more fish and chips so I can enjoy! In any event, all of that settled fine with me and what smidgen bit might have slightly upset my tummy, I had my trusty tummy meds, so no worries!
What I avoided was the full Ulster Fry the morning after the wedding (we stayed in the hotel that the reception was held in) and they offered a full Ulster fry). I opted for Scrambed eggs and toast. That was a given. I am so glad after months and months of not being able to tolerate eggs, I can now. Eggs. Mmmm….. Scrambled, boiled, egg salad on soft, thin, whole wheat bagels for sandwiches. Love them! What totally got me the night before? Cake. A piece of wedding cake. Who would have known? Now I have been to showers and had cake for birthday’s , etc, etc. While here, with buttercream or whippy frosting I can only tolerate a smidgen, I assumed this lovely cake with the hard fondant frosting and marzipan (a very rich paste), I assumed a little bit would be fine. I was sure to be ok? I mean I have eaten many other small pieces of cake and been fine. I actually had to go ‘hunt down’ a piece on top of that! I had gotten back from the ladies room and there was none to be found. I should have taken that as a sign! Anyway, I ate it, and not even much to boot and let me just say, it did not agree with me. Too rich and sweet. I took both of my anti-nausea meds and still I think that did me in. Luckily, I had already had a blast and the night was getting on anyway. I never fully recovered from that the rest of the evening. 🙁 Note to self; no eating cakes in Northern Ireland anymore. Other than that, however, that was my only ‘food issue’. I never thought a small piece would do that. It was a beautiful cake and tasted just as beautiful it looked. Then…..you know. Not trying to be too graphic, however for those that know RNY language, I did not ‘get sick’ if you get my drift and praise God I did not dump. I just felt really sick at my stomach. On top of that, because of my fibromyalgia and CFS, as my Dr put it to me (and Paul) upon a vist that I insisted Paul go to with me, I have a way lower threshold. The fast pace and jet lag and ‘missed sleep’ were catching up. So Paul and I went to the room about 11- 11:30. Once I had drifted to sleep, he went back down to spend more time with his family. Other than that, the reception was wonderful, including a few glasses of wine. There really were no other food issues! I ate what I wanted, just like here, smaller portions as my pouch can’t hold but a wee bit.
How about my weight? The day we left I was right around the 130 lb ish mark. I was low. I was about the lowest I have ever been as a teen/adult. So, of course, after greeting everyone and when we went to get our things settled and get much needed showers, what is the first thing I did? Weigh! I did this mainly because I wanted to weigh on a stone scale. I thought it would be cool. I weighed 9 stone 2 lbs. I actually maintained this weight through my trip! It did not budge. When Paul did the calculations, he found out that was 128 lbs!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What???????????? What????????????? I broke the demon. OK, so here is an excert from the opening monologue from “The Right Stuff”
THERE WAS A DEMON THAT LIVED IN THE AIR.
THEY SAID WHOEVER CHALLENGED HIM WOULD DIE.
THEIR CONTROLS WOULD FREEZE UP,
THEIR PLANES WOULD BUFFET WILDLY,
AND THEY WOULD DISINTEGRATE.
THE DEMON LIVED AT MACH 1 ON THE METER,
750 MILES AN HOUR,
WHERE THE AIR COULD NO LONGER MOVE OUT OF THE WAY.
HE LIVED BEHIND A BARRIER
THROUGH WHICH THEY SAID NO MAN COULD EVER PASS.
THEY CALLED IT THE SOUND BARRIER.
For me that demon was 129 lbs. And while I think I broke it, I don’t know for sure. I was right at 130 lbs. when I left and we hit the ground running. Also, all of my jeans literally started falling off of me. I actually had to buy a belt and another pair of jeans (they were nice and very inexpensive and will get lots of wear!), however, the jeans I brought would not stay up. I just wanted to get below 130 lbs. once to say, “I did it!”. Every Doctor I see (seperate, not a joint decision) say they want me at 150 lbs. My sweet spot is 137-143lbs. I know I was way too low but something inside me loved it! My messed up body image and thinking, ‘the lower I go the better’. Well, let me tell you, I got an earful from my family over there, in a loving, caring and concerned way, of course. I was told and pleaded with to gain weight. While I love being on the low end, I know that kind of weight (with 10 lbs of skin, that would have taken me to below 120 lbs!) is just too low.
So there you have it! I went over an ocean to another country and with one rich, sugary exception, I did good. I ate things that I knew were safe. The one thing that ‘got me’ only did because their cakes are different over there and I honestly did not know how rich the frosting is. As for the pleading to gain weight? I actually felt nothing but love and acceptance. Paul’s…. no, our family did not just treat me as Paul’s wife, but I am family. They only said their worry out of concern.
They should all be happy that I am back up now to 137 lbs and within my sweet spot.
My biggest advice I would offer is to order things that seem safe; i.e. chicken dishes with veggies, regular straightforward meals that state what is in them and how they are prepared, etc that are not fried, etc. REALLY WATCH anything with sugar! Remember, what we have over in the states may not be made the same way in another country!
It was a wonderful trip! It was super awesome to be able to treat myself to a shopping spree. The store I went to was very inexpensive, but the clothes were awesome! Oh, to be able to buy these clothes you can’t get here and the prices were amazing. They were like Ross or better!
I will take shopping for sassy, normal sized clothes anyday over food. Oh and one other thing; I felt ‘tiny’ in the airplane seat. I showed Paul how far out I used to have to put the seat belt and now have inches and inches left. Also, I could never get the tray completely down (except when I flew home to Bakersfield in 2007 🙁 when my Daddy passed away). I slept like a baby on the way home from Belfast to Newark and was so comfy plus could lean against my hubby.
I’ll say it and say it. Nothing taste as good and being able to fit in cute little clothes and feeling ‘tiny’ in roller coasters and airplane tickets! I love it!!!!!