Welcome to the Healing Well Wrapped Club! I had my surgery three and a half years ago, and have stuck around to help others the way I was helped. There aren't that many positive places like this on the internet. People here helped me tremendously both before surgery and during my recovery. I'm trying to do the same for others.
First, surgeons do the work, but not the recovery. They don't really follow their post-op patients that long, and have a theoretical idea of how the recovery should progress. In reality, while there are gradual improvement, it takes a full six months for most of the healing and a year for the rest. I found some continued improvements during the second year, believe it or not.
When I had my surgery, I asked my surgeon when I'd be able to eat sandwiches and steak (the two things he forbade me to eat). He said that most of his patients can start eating steak around the 8th month mark. That's most, not all.
You WILL be able to eat normally again, although you'll always have to take smaller bites and chew more thoroughly. If you're concerned about your weight, eat many small meals throughout the day and consider finding some recipes for calorie dense milkshakes to supplement your intake. In my experience, once I got to about the fourth month I was able to eat normally enough to begin gaining the weight back.
Use your imagination. As long as you take small bites and chew, chew, chew, you should be able to manage a wide variety of foods. Just cook things a little more (if you've got a hankering for beef, try using your crock pot and sticking a chunk in with some potatoes, onions, and carrots and liquid--just cook it for a long time.) There are plenty of crock pot recipes online.
Just be sure to cook everything until it's soft. I was actually be able to manage beef this way long before I could eat it grilled. My rule of thumb was that if I couldn't chew it to a creamy/liquid consistency, I didn't swallow it.
Again, glad you've joined us!
Very best wishes,
Words of wisdom by Eckhart Tolle:
"Whatever you fight, you strengthen, and what you resist, persists.”
“Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose”
“Accept - then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.”