Very simple. This stage includes ice chips. That's it. Tiny bits of frozen water. And not even a lot of them. As they told me in the hospital, it was pretty much only enough to keep your mouth hydrated. It wasn't nearly as bad as you'd think though. I remember after I was out of surgery and recovery room, an hour or so later I was brought a cup of ice chips. I put one in my mouth and it melted immediately. It was heavenly. A half hour later, I take another. Oh, and you should probably realize that these ice chips are smaller than the size of a dime. Anyway, I go to take my second ice chip, and it goes down okay, but not too long later, it came right back up. You cannot even imagine how painful that was. I always hurt when I vomit, but to get sick less than 5 hours out from major stomach surgery? Yeah, hope I never have to do that again. I stayed on stage one for a day before my surgeon bumped me up to stage two.
I was so excited to start on stage two! It still didn't mean I could eat, but I could at least have a little flavor. My surgeon approved me for stage two after I had my x-ray thing to make sure there were no leaks in my new stomach. Stage two is basically a sugar free clear liquid diet. They wanted me to get in 4 ounces of fluid every hour. Sounds easy enough right? Well it wasn't. Not when your stomach is reduced so small. The drinks allowed on this stage were drinks that I had been drinking for over a month before surgery, so it wasn't a huge change.
*Clear broth or bouillon
*Herbal or decaf tea, decaf coffee
*Sugar free gelatin
*Sugar free popsicles
*Sugar free, non-carbonated, caffeine free beverages: Crystal Light, Sugar free Kool-Aid, Sugar free lemonade, Sugar free sports drink, Diet V-8 Splash and Diet cranberry juice (both less than 7 gm of sugar per serving).
I was on stage two for about about a day until my surgeon gave me the okay for stage three.
This stage included everything on stage two, but with an added protein supplement. Again they want you to shoot for taking in 4 ounces of fluid an hour. This is also when you start your vitamins. They prefer you take a chewable or liquid multivitamin, calcium and iron. I have found actually that my kids Flintstone's vitamins go down pretty easy and meet all of my nutritional needs (although I do need to take an extra chewable calcium pill later in the day). Oh, you're also able to drink a little milk on this stage; skim or 1/2%. (I didn't do this as I have milk issues, but yay for more variety!) I stayed on this stage until I was two and a half weeks post-OP.
I am fairly new to stage four, but I am excited that I get to choose from a lot more with this stage. I will be on this stage four about SIX weeks! (Please note that gastric by-pass patients do not have to remain on this stage for that long. My surgeon recommends it to make sure that the new stomach is given plenty of time to heal before adding real foods.) This stage includes all of the previous sugar free, non-carbonated, caffeine free liquids, protein supplements, and the vitamin/mineral supplements. In addition to this, I am also able to enjoy the following things:
*sugar free pudding
*thin cooked cereals (think cream of wheat, Malto-Meal, Cocoa Wheat)
*V-8 and tomato juice
*artificially sweetened yogurt with no chunks (this is actually hard for me to find, but I did find some yogurt that is lower than most brands and the sugar in it is fructose)
*pureed fruits and vegetables (time to stock up on some Gerber baby food!)
*cream soups, made with low-fat milk and blended and/or no chunks
I can also blend unflavored protein powder into soups and cereals to help up my protein count. I am supposed to be keeping a food log to track my protein. I actually use www.myfitnesspal.com to help with this. I love that on this stage, all of these things are fluids and help contribute to my fluid goal. I should be able to take in 8 oz per hour.
Like I said before, I'm really excited to be on this stage, but since I'll be on it for so long, I'm sure the novelty will wear off soon. But still, I am pumped that I have a little more to choose from. I had some unsweetened applesauce (with a little splenda and cinnamon on top) for breakfast today (a half cup) and it took me an hour and a half to eat it, but it tasted good!