My Progress!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Update on Dr's visit

I saw the physician's assistant and took her a printout of my diet for the last few weeks. When I weighed in at the office it hovered between 406 and 407!!! I promised her that I wasn't secretly pureeing cheeseburgers and she seemed pleased with my diet so far. She was really happy that I was tracking what I ate and encouraged me to continue. She agreed with me and contributed my weight gain to water retention and the fact that the low intake and lack of activity in addition to the trauma of the surgery and the subsequent bout of dehydration just had my body in crisis mode. She encouraged me to continue what I was doing and increase my activity and asked me to come back in two weeks.

I wasn't able to see the nutritionist today because she called in sick, but one thing I noticed while I was at the doctor's office was that the gatorade I've been drinking has LOADS of carbs in it!! I thought that was one of the first things I checked when Erik bought them for me, but I guess in my fog I read the label wrong or something. The stuff I was drinking had at least 34g of carbs per bottle and I was drinking at least two of them a day (40 oz), sometimes 3! When you are trying to low carb, drinking another 68-102g carbs does not constitute a low carb diet! I'm thinking this may have a little something to do with my weight gain although ultimately, I can't figure out how I can gain weight eating less than 700 calories a day.

I'm not going to worry about it (she says as if she believes it). I'm NOT pureeing cheeseburgers and pizza or guzzling regular coke when nobody's looking so I know the weight is going to come off sometime. The great thing is I'm never really hungry and I am still amazed at how little it takes to fill me up! I know this is going to be a good tool for me and will eventually get me where I need to be.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Trying not to get discouraged

Ok, so I knew I would stall. Anyone who posts on the Obesity Help VSG forum talks about these stalls. Most likely, it has to do with our limited intake periodically putting our body into starvation mode which makes us plateau for awhile.

When I last went into the hospital, you might remember I was at 396. I bid adieu to the 400's forever and then promptly landed myself in the hospital with severe dehydration. After two days in the hospital and really nothing by mouth (a few sips of broth at each "meal," maybe a few bites of jello) I came home hydrated and weighing 402 lbs. I really didn't care about the "gain" because I was feeling much better and figured I'd rather be 402 lbs and able to walk and talk normally than 396 and near death. Since I came home from the hospital, I have bounced around between 400 and 404 and today I jumped on the scale (it being a full month since my surgery, I felt it was necessary) and I was at 405!!! I definitely don't like seeing the scale KEEP going up when I haven't broken 1000 calories since the surgery. If you are curious to see what I've been eating, you can do so here.

I know I can't REALLY be gaining fat, but I haven't been working out (that starts up this week) so I know it isn't muscle. As a matter of fact, I've been sleeping a bunch. People tend to go into hibernation phase after the surgery as your body tries to adjust to the limited intake and I think that is it partially. Often, I'm just so darn BORED, I lay down to read a bit and end up falling asleep.

So, I go to see my surgeon tomorrow (well really his physician assistant) and I made an appointment with my nut (nutritionist) as well. I've printed off a few weeks of my meal plans from sparkpeople and hope she can help me sort it out. THEY really want me to be doing two shakes a day and a small meal, NO snacks so I'm anticipating that she will talk about the fact that I've basically been eating small meals and occasionally snacks. I only started doing that because I thought I needed to try to get in more protein and up my calories a bit to break the plateau...that obviously isn't working though. I have a hard time getting the shakes down, but have ordered another kind and hope they will make it easier (they only require 4-6 oz of fluid so the volume is less). Maybe my carbs are too high? I'm basically trying to eat low carb, but I have been eating things (tomato based products like chili and spaghetti sauce) that I normally wouldn't be eating on my typical low carb diet.

Anyway, this past week I've also been on my period (the first in MONTHS!). I'm attributing this to the weight I have lost. With my PCOS, my periods get very unpredictable, especially when I'm gaining or maintaining a high weight. As my weight goes down, they start to become more regular. This is probably the most normal period I've had in at least a year, so that is good. My period may also be contributing to some of the gain I'm seeing, but I'm almost done now so stepping on the scale and seeing it go up another pound is alarming.

So, to sum it up...some of the things I think are contributing to the stall/gain include:

1. I'm very lucky to get in 40-50 oz of fluid (usually G2 Gatorade since plain water at any temp seems to upset my stomach) a day. I'm usually sipping on something all day (when I'm awake), but I can only sip so much at a time and filling my stomach with too much liquid still makes me a bit queasy so I have to be careful. I'm going to have to make a more concerted effort to get in at least 64 oz a day.

2. I've been completely sedentary! Since I got home from the hospital, I've been so worried about staying hydrated that I didn't really want to work out (even a quick walk on the treadmill) until I was sure I was doing well enough to keep myself out of the hospital. I think I'm fairly comfortable that I'm accomplishing that so today I am going back to the pool and may even start walking at night on the treadmill or with tanner outside.

3. Diet: I'm going to talk to my nut tomorrow and see what she thinks. If she tells me to get back on the two shakes a day and small meal with no snacks, I'll do that and see where it gets me. I'm not really "hungry" since the surgery, so it won't be hard to get back on their plan long as I can find some protein shakes that don't make me want to hurl! Otherwise, I really don't know what more I can do besides stop eating altogether lol.

Finally, I have taken some pictures over the last month and hope to post them later today or tomorrow. Don't get too excited lol, I can't really see much of a difference since the surgery, but I can tell it in my body and my clothes...just not the pictures really.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Still in the land of the living!

Heeeeeyyyyyy! Sorry I haven't posted in a few days, but I have been doing a lot of resting and recuperating. I'm going on my 4th or 5th day of no nausea or vomiting so hooray for that! I'm feeling more like my old self as well. So much so, I think I may try to go back to work next week. I have been bored stiff and you'd think I'd use that time to blog my happy little arse off, but no...I've been lazy.

I did end up back in the ER on Monday. I noticed that I had a huge knot in the crook of my elbow, where they put my IV. It had felt kind of itchy and every once in a while I would go to look at it, but it looked fine..maybe just a bit of irritation from the adhesive which is what I thought was causing the itchy feeling. Monday night, I was watching TV and noticed it was itchier than usual so I actually felt the area and felt a grape sized lump underneath the skin. I called my doctor who suggested I go to the ER to get it checked out. Turns out, it is likely just an inflamed vein so I've had to keep heat on it and keep it elevated. They also prescribed an anti-biotic, but just between you and me....I didn't fill it. I was too paranoid that it was going to upset my stomach and I just didn't want to start throwing up again. So far, it seems to be resolving without the antibiotic. I know the signs of infection so I'll keep an eye on it and if it seems to be getting infected, I'll go get the RX filled.

Erik managed to fix my treadmill, so I'm going to start my walks up again. I'm waiting until next week to get back to the gym (in the pool). I just want to make sure I can keep myself hydrated under normal conditions before I start working out again, but I think I am finally on the mend guys :)

I'm not sure if I mentioned this, but when I came home from the hospital, I was at 402. I'm currently at 400 and have been holding there for a few days. From what I've heard from other patients, it is fairly common to plateau around the 3rd week as your body tries to figure out if we are really starving. I'm trying to increase my protein (I started adding protein shakes back into my intake yesterday) and calories to see if that will help nudge the scale back down, but honestly...I'm not sweating it. The only reason I got down to 396 was obviously because I was in dire need of hydration and I'd much rather be 400 and feel like I feel now than 396 and barely able to walk or talk :) The weight will come off in time.

Since I've started to eat actual food again, I'm really seeing how much restriction I have. I will put an amount on a plate that is a mere fraction of what i used to eat thinking "That is NOT going to be enough" and only be able to eat half, if that much! I'd say I can probably take 2-3 bites before my body says "enough." I will usually sit back for 10 minutes or so and then try another bite. I try to eat at least 2 oz of whatever I have regardless. I figure the more protein I can get in eating regular food, the less protein shakes I have to choke down :P

I'm never really all that hungry though. Not in the way I used to feel hungry at least. I still have bouts of head hunger that I have to deal with, but it is NOTHING like the all consuming thoughts I used to have prior to the surgery. I finally feel somewhat in control. The only thing is that now, when I'm bored...I'm BORED! I knew I would eat out of boredom, but I never thought about what it would be like when I COULDN'T eat out of boredom...I have to find something else to do lol! Hopefully, as i get stronger, I will have MANY things to fill up what are now, the boring moments of my day :)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Spent two days in the hospital :(

Hey guys, sorry I haven't been up to blogging the last couple of days. I had to go back in the hospital Wednesday after seeing the doctor. I was severely dehydrated and my blood pressure was extremely low (75/45 was the lowest reading they got at one point). The doc immediately stopped my blood pressure and heart meds (yay!) and put me in the hospital to run some tests and rehydrate me.

They had to stick me about 5 times before they could get a vein I was so tapped out and by the time I got to the hospital I could barely walk on my own. Erik had to run in and get a wheelchair for me. I have NEVER been that exhausted before. It couldn't even talk really, it was horrible.

They got me rehydrated, gave me a ton of potassium and some iron and sent me home yesterday. The bad news is...I don't think I'm out of the woods. I started adding in some mushy foods yesterday (a couple bites of egg and later for lunch a couple spoonfuls of refried beans....the dr ok'd this). The weird thing is..the food seems to make my tummy feel better, but the second I start to drink anything, I start to get nauseas. If I try to drink too fast (which is about what they have oz every 15 minutes) then it sends me straight to the bathroom with diarrhea and dry heaves/vomiting....not fun AT ALL. By last night, I felt like absolute crap. I had slept most of the day and was not the least bit interested in eating a damn thing. I tried to sip some water, but the more I got on my stomach, the more sick I felt.

I called my doctor's office about 9pm and talked with Dr. Delicious (he's a new doc there doing an internship and he is SUCH a cutie lol....there was a silver lining in this whole thing ;) It has been kind of frustrating because he keeps insisting that nothing i ingest can possibly void as quickly (via the diarrhea) as i say it is, but it has happened often enough that it can't possibly be coincidence. He prescribed zofran, a different antinausea med, and erik ran to get it for me. I took some when he got home and went to sleep and slept until 8 this morning.

I feel better this morning, but I'm just wondering how i'm going to feel as the day progresses and I try to drink more :( Please keep me in your prayers...I'm sure this is just a bump in the road...a forum I go to of sleevers have said that the nausea can last up to 3 months. I doubt I'll be like this forever, but I really just want to feel better :(

Monday, July 12, 2010

Oh...Emm...Gee Ya'll...

Ok, the good news is that i haven't thrown up today. I took some phenergan as soon as i rolled out of bed though. I have one tablet left and I'm hoping the doc can get a new rx called in tonight so Erik can pick it up on his way home from work.

I had a protein shake for breakfast and am finishing up one for lunch as I type this so here's hoping I can start putting some more fuel back in my tank.

I foolishly tried to go work out today. I did 30 minutes in the pool (I was doing an hour) and EVERYTHING was SO difficult! Even walking from the parking lot to the gym was harder than it has ever been for me, but I know it has more to do with the lack of protein I'm ingesting than muscle strength. At least I hope I haven't lost that much muscle mass in the few weeks since the surgery.

For those of you who have expressed concern about me doctoring up the chicken broth, I wanted to explain myself a bit more. When I made the egg drop soup, I was trying to up the protein content of the broth more than anything else because I realized that I needed to get as much protein in at one time. Because the eggs are drizzled in, they are "stringy" (for lack of a better term) and don't really do much to bulk up the broth. The green onions were more for flavor and were very minimal and I strained most of them out of my broth (using a spoon to fish them out). I didn't use much cornstarch to thicken it so the broth was still pretty much as it was straight out of the can. I understand and appreciate your concern, but i am not going to do anything stupid like try to start mushie foods before i have clearance from the doctor. I don't want to develop a leak anymore than you guys want me too. I am done with surgery for a while!

Presently, my main goal is to try to get at least 75g of protein in a day. Not only will this help me heal faster, but it will also make me feel better and give me the strength I need to get back to the gym on a regular basis. I'll get there :) I am guessing the fact that I wasn't in the best of shape prior to the surgery has also impacted how I've recovered thus far. It hasn't been horrible, but it hasn't been as good as most other patients I've talked to or met on VSG forums.

Some more good news is that this morning I am at 397.8 so I'm now about 20 lbs down from my surgery two weeks ago :) I'm extremely happy with that, but am a bit worried that some of that is actually muscle loss and not so much fat loss due to the protein intake. I know I'm definitely losing fat though. When I put on my swimsuit today, it almost felt too big! I couldn't believe the difference! My next mini goal is 375...curious how long it might take me to get there as I know most people stall for a while around the three week post op mark. I'm mentally trying to prepare myself for the stall. Hopefully I'll be feeling better by then and can get back into the gym more which should help break it.

Alrighty, I am going to take my exhausted bum to bed for a bit. I don't think I need to sleep, maybe just read a bit. I'm currently reading "The Help" and am really enjoying it. Anyone else read it?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Waiting Game: courtesy of Erik :)

As promised, Erik detailed his own experience in the waiting room. As I said, he really was put through the ringer when the surgery took about an hour longer than expected. Thanks so much for blogging for me Erik :)
Well, I'll start off when they gave Michelle her shot of Margarita elixir in the pre-op waiting area. They had finalized everything and she was ready to go. I was both excited and scared, but didn't want her to see any of my fears. So I put on a smile and they wheeled her out. She was already feeling nice and relaxed and the nurse told her to keep her hands and arms inside the bedrails so as to keep them from getting banged on the walls in case that were to happen. As soon as she said to keep her arms in, Michelle put them right on the rails. She said, "keep your arms in sweety." She put them down, then 2 seconds later, grabbed the rails. "Keep your arms in sweety.", the nurse said again and Michelle put her arms down. 2 seconds later, there they go again holding the rails. "I need you to put your arms to your sides sweety.", she said again and I was doing my best to hold in my laughter.

We go to the end of the hallway to what the nurses referred to as the "Kissing Corner". That's where the waiting room was and this is where everyone said their goodbyes. We stopped there, and Pat said a few nice things to Michelle which now escape me, but then I really wasn't paying much attention to anything around me. I was just holding her hand and praying for everything to go well. I said "I'll see you later sweety.", then leaned in to kiss her forehand and give her hand one last squeeze. She said, "thank you sweety" and then she was off.

Pat had to leave to meet with some people and asked that I keep her posted, I told her I would. She left and I went in to the very crowded waiting area, found a seat and began my task of texting and facebook posting as to Michelle's instructions. When that was completed, I decided to go grab a bite to eat at the start of the surgery since I knew I wouldn't move again until it was done. I headed on over to the cafeteria, bought a couple slices of pizza and some water, and had my lunch. When that was done, I thought I'd head to the gift shop to see if they had a word search to keep me busy since I know I wouldn't be able to concentrate enough to actually read anything. I found what I needed and headed on back to the waiting area.

I was told by the nurse that the surgery would start around 11 am and end at about 12:30, but that it may take up to 2 hours. So there I sat, doing my little word search and intermittently stopping to read some of the texts from friends and family, and respond to those that asked me to. I would occasionally glance at the soccer match they had on the T.V. but for the most part, kept to the word search to keep my mind off things. 12:30 came and went, then 12:45, then 1:00. Michelle had said the only person that I really might need to call would be her grandfather, so I gave him a call at that time just to let him know that it looked like it would take a little longer. He said thank you and looked forward to hearing from me when it was all done. Then 1:10 came and went, then 1:20, and I was panicking. What the heck was taking so long and why was no one coming to update me? Every time a nurse or doctor entered the waiting room, my heart just stopped, then they would call a name and my heart would begin racing again, because it wasn't about Michelle.

I tried to be calm. I didn't want to ask anyone what was taking so long because I just didn't want to put that out there. I had to think everything was okay and that if I felt something was wrong and acted like it was, then it would come true. Stupid, I know, but that is the way my mind was working. No news was good news, right? I kept trying to convince myself of that. Then 1:30 came around, a doctor came in, looked at me and said, "Mr. V?" , "yes" I replied. He said, "step out here please". What? Why do I need to step out of the waiting area? All the other doctors walked in, called a name, and then walked right over to talk to the patient's family. Why is it different for me? Why can't he just walk 5 more steps and let me know she's okay? All these thoughts raced through my mind as I gathered her things and mind and walked to the hallway. I don't think I was breathing this entire time. I got to the hallway where he was waiting for me and he said, "Everything's fine, it just took a little longer than we expected". YES! I could breathe again! He said, "she'll be in recovery until about 3, then we'll move her up to the 5th floor and you can go see her when she's settled. Now is a good time to call anyone you need to, grab something to eat or run any errands you need to, ok?" "Thank you Doctor!" was all I could say at that point.

So with my heart beating normally again, I proceeded to contact, text and facebook as I did earlier to let everyone know the good news and then headed home to pick up my son and my Mom. I just couldn't believe that it actually happened and I was so excited and happy for Michelle. I went home, got her things, put the kid and my Mom in the car and headed back to the hospital at 3, just like the Doctor said. We went to the waiting room and since there wasn't anyone there to look up her room number, I decided to head to the Nurses station to get the room number she was in.

The nurse that was there asked for her name, I told her "Michelle V" and she proceeded to look up her information. she said, "Oh, she's ready to go home". I said, "No, she just got done with her surgery and was in recovery, so I know she's not ready to go home". The nurse looked puzzled and said, "Monica, right." "No, Michelle, Michelle V" I said. "Oh, I think she's still in surgery." "No," I said again, "she just got done and the doctor said she would be on the 5th floor, I just need to know the room number," "oh, sorry, let me check again." "Well it looks like she was just taken up with her family" the nurse said. "No, I just got here with my family, so that can't be her" I said. "yes sir, but she just went up with her Mother and a Man in a wheelchair" the nurse said again. Then another nurse chimed in, "if you were not in the waiting room, we call the persons name and whatever family members are there, we take them up with the patient" in a tone that implied "maybe if you had been here, you would have gone up with her too/" I looked at the second nurse that had said this to me and said, "I know if wasn't her mother, because she is deceased so it would be impossible for her to be with her Mom. My son and I are her only family here in town so you need to check again". I said this in a tone that let her know just how wrong she was and that she needed to drop her attitude because I had already been through the ringer when the surgery took longer than expected. The first nurse finally found the right person and said she was still in recovery and they were waiting for a room to become available and they would come get me as soon as they heard anything. "Thank you" I said exhaustedly. Sheesh! It was like the Keystone cops went to nursing school.

So back I went to the waiting room to let my son and Mom know that we would wait to hear when she was being taken to her room. We waited for about 30-45 minutes. I received a call from Pat and walked out to the hallway to get a better reception and to apprise her of the situation. As I hung up with her, I thought I heard my name, I turned around and there was Michelle behind me, pointing at me with a nurse behind her saying, "is that him?". I smiled and walked over to give her a kiss and let the nurse know I needed to get my son and Mother and we would follow them up to the room.

My son decided on the way to the hospital that it might be funny if we filmed her and asked her questions to see how she would respond. He got this idea from a youtube video of a father who filmed his son after his son had just had dental work and was loopy from the procedure. So when my kid gets up to her, he immediately asks, "how are you doing?" and "how many fingers am I holding up?" I told him to give Mom a break and let her rest, then had to explain to the puzzled nurse his devious intentions. We all smiled and laughed a little, then headed on up to the room and the rest, as they say, is history.

Life is Good

Yesterday was not a good day at all. I woke up with a sour stomach and suspect it may have been the few oz. of golden mushroom soup I had about an hour before bedtime. I hadn’t eaten a whole lot and was worried about how I’d feel in the morning if I didn’t get some more food on my stomach. Turns out, I probably would have been better off not putting anything on my stomach.

I woke up yesterday morning and could just tell that it was going to be a rough day. I had some jello, waited about half an hour and then started taking my pills. I took my meds (three pills) over about an hour and in the time I was waiting to start on my supplements (a daily multi vitamin and my calcium), I started dry heaving. Not only that, but I started with the diarrhea as well. Of course, I’m not cutting any breaks and often had both ends going at one time. By the time things calmed down, I was pale, pasty and breaking out in a cold sweat. I brushed my teeth, rinsed my mouth out with some mouthwash and went to research on the internets about what to do for a sour stomach. Finding a recipe for ginger tea, I sent Erik out to the grocery store (he’s been making about one trip a day for various things as I need them; never argues or anything, the second after I put in my order, he is walking out of the house, keys in hand).

I put some chicken broth on the stove while he’s gone and when he gets back I add a little ginger to the broth. I have to ask him to watch the broth while I go back to the bathroom for round two of the “Warring Orifices.” Once I recover, I plop down in my recliner and ask Erik to bring me a few oz of the broth. I get a few sips down, take some phenergan and decide my supplements can go fly for the day.

By now I’ve realized that there is something about me moving around too much that seems to make the nausea and vomiting worse so I decide to give in and just go back to bed for a while. I grab “Dead Until Dark,” the fluff book I bought to read in the hospital (which incidentally, while I LOVE True Blood, the book itself is really horribly written). I manage to read about a paragraph and even that seems to make me sick so I shut off my light and sleep until about 4pm.

When I wake up, I’m feeling slightly better and decide to make some ginger tea. While it is simmering on the stove, I ask erik to make another trip to the store for some antacid, just in case the ginger tea doesn’t work. I also mention I’d love the new People magazine with Bethenny Frankel on the cover…as sick as I feel, nothing can stifle my craving for Hollywood gossip.

20 minutes later, he is back home with everything I asked for as well as some diet Canada dry, some honey vanilla chamomile tea and a bag of sugar free chocolate calcium chews for me to try. Unfortunately the calcium chews are not calcium citrate so I can’t use them, but he was a sweetheart for trying to find an alternative to the current chewable tablets that give me the most trouble.

Erik makes me a cup of ginger tea and I add a bag of the honey chamomile to it (turns out ginger tea isn’t all that delicious by itself, but then, I think I made it too strong lol). He actually brings it to me in one of my grandmother’s coffee mugs which is strangely comforting and I manage to get about half down.

Over the next couple of hours, I’ll have a few popsicles and then some jello before I take my evening meds and go to bed.

This morning, I’m feeling better. I guess I will have to take it easy today and keep anything I consume very bland. On a positive note, I officially left the 400’s FOREVER today :) . When I weighed myself this morning (I can’t help it guys), I was at 399…life is good :)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Sooooooo Tiiiiiiiiired!

The last few days, I have really been wiped out. I finally called my doctor’s office to see if I could incorporate some protein shakes into my daily intake, because the Isopure was getting harder and harder to get down (I’ve learned since that it is affectionately referred to as IsoPUKE). The fatigue I felt was very much like how I felt prior to surgery…only MORE so. Seriously guys, I would walk from my bedroom to the kitchen and I’d be out of breath and feel as if I just took the longest walk of my life. It is not something I’m enjoying because it reminds me of how I felt 60 lbs ago. I know that it is temporary though. My body is trying to heal which takes protein and I just haven’t been getting much of that for the last week.

I went back to work yesterday because up until yesterday, I was feeling great! Then the bottom just kind of dropped out of my fuel tank. I woke up this morning, logged into work and could just tell it wasn’t going to work. I was literally so tired that when I talked you could HEAR the fatigue in my voice.

I’ve also had a few bouts with nausea and vomiting; mostly when I have to take a round of meds and supplements. Here is the problem: I really have to have SOMETHING on my stomach or the meds and supplements will make me throw up, BUT If I eat a thing of jello and then start trying to take my pills, then I wind up with entirely too much in my little stomach and THAT makes me throw up. This morning, I made a protein shake with a little bit of diet V8 splash (which is super yummy by the way) mixed with a bariatric advantage orangeade. I drank most of that, putting off my meds as long as possible, and when it finally got almost too late for my morning meds, I started trying to take them. Since I had finished the orange drink a bit earlier, I grabbed a sugar free jello and took a bite. Let that settle and then took my first pill. I let that settle and took my second pill with a bit of water. After waiting about 5 minutes, I took my third pill. Then it was time for the supplements: a multi vitamin chewable and a calcium citrate pill (both of which I can’t stand!) I chewed up the multi-vitamin quickly and swished my mouth with a bit of water to swallow it down; five minutes later I’m heaving my guts up at my bathroom sink. Well, it was more like dry heaves as nothing was really coming up, but it was from my TOES! Horrible!

I immediately got online with my supervisor and told her I think I may have overestimated my ability to be back so soon. Human Resources was nice enough to allow me to go back on leave without re-doing all the paperwork. I immediately logged off and went to lay down.

Erik came in for a few minutes to discuss what I needed him to get from the store (mainly more broth and some greek yogurt I’m going to try to mix into some of my protein shakes for more protein) and was so sweet about telling me to take it easy. I’m going to try another week and see how I feel. I see my doctor next Friday and he may let me start on mushies by then.

I was reading through my paperwork and noticed that it said that if you were experiencing the symptoms I was experiencing (dizzy, fatigue, etc) then you could move on to mushies (basically mushies are very well blended, wet foods: cottage cheese, tuna salad, chicken salad, refried beans, greek yogurt, etc). Before I took my nap, I called my doctor’s office to see if maybe that is what I needed to do, but they reiterated that I needed to stay on clear liquids for three weeks. The funny thing is…with patients who have the RNY, they are typically only on clear liquids for a week, but sleevers have to stay on it for three. I thought about it and I think the reason is that they are worried that once we start eating real food, before we really have a sense about our new hunger/full signals, we could conceivably overeat and spring a leak in our new stomach. Unlike the RNY patient who has a small suture line, sleevers have a suture line the entire length of their stomach and while it doesn’t happen a lot, you are at the highest risk of a leak in the first month. I do NOT want to experience that, so I’ll be a good girl and follow the doctor’s orders.

Last night, I made a homemade egg drop soup. The eggs and the tiny bit of green onion I added are kind of illegal at this stage of the game, but I only had about a half cup- a cup over about an hour just taking little sips and chewing any onion or eggy bits to death before swallowing. Tanner LOVED it as well and even though he had two mugs full, I figured it was still under 200 calories for both cups and about 10g fat. Next time, I’d like to try to add some unflavored protein powder to get more bang for my buck.

The last two days, I’ve really been able to increase my protein so I’m hoping that I’ll start to feel better soon. In the meantime…this morning I weighed myself and I’m at 403. That is a total of 14 lbs since the surgery and I can’t tell you how excited I am to be this close to passing out of the 400’s! I’m hoping that within the next week, I will be able to report some good news on that front :) Even with all the fatigue, vomiting, and yucky supplements I would do it all over again, no questions asked!

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Day of Surgery

So, I woke up Tuesday morning, took a shower in some yummy orange antiseptic soap at the hospital’s instruction and shaved my legs so that they would be evidence that I’m not a complete slob since they weren’t allowing me to put any makeup on or do my hair. As you can see by my pre-op picture above, I wasn’t at my most glamorous no matter how fiercely I was trying to OWN that off the shoulder hospital gown!

Erik helped me pack, last minute…typical me. I don’t think I ever mentioned this, but it is probably overly apparent that I am the Queen of Procrastination. When I was pregnant with Tanner, my water broke at 5am and there I was…running around with a towel between my legs frantically packing my hospital bag. Trust me, nobody in my family was surprised to hear this later. I think part of what was keeping me procrastinating about packing for the hospital this time was the fact that I didn’t want to THINK too much about the surgery. I still had this little voice in the back of my head that I was constantly trying to drown out saying “you aren’t really going to go through with this Michelle. When it gets right down to it, you are going to call it off so why pack?” This little voice would rear her ugly head anytime I thought about the surgery and pretty much the only way to drown it out was to move on to something completely unrelated to the surgery.

Once I was packed, I took the meds the doctor had asked me to take (blood pressure and heart meds) the morning of surgery with a tiny sip of water and told Erik I was ready. I gave my mother-in-law Margaret a hug and thanked her for coming to take care of Tanner while I was at the hospital, gave Tanner a hug and an ILY hand kiss (our special thing since he was little….we make the I Love You hand shape and touch hands together.) I bravely told him I was going to expect the royal treatment after my surgery and to get ready to wait on me hand and foot. He just grinned and told me again that I was going to be “just fine.” When did he grow up so much?

Erik and I walked out the door and got in the tiny Toyota Echo we drive, a car that was entirely way too small for my massive body and it struck me that by the time we got around to getting another car, I wasn’t going to have to test drive them all to see if I fit! I took a deep breath, looked at Erik as he started the car and just said “Can you believe we are really doing this?” Again, he reassured me that everything was going to be fine and told me how excited he was for me, God love him.

On our way there, I start to brief him on who to call, who to text and in what order. I reminded him that Dr Duperier had said that the surgery would take 1.5 hours at the most so that if they took me back at 11:00am, he would need to call my grandfather at 12:30 and give him some kind of an update so he wouldn’t worry. Out of all the people waiting to hear, I knew my grandfather would be watching the seconds tick on the clock while everyone else would be busy with work, vacations, etc. He promised that he would keep him updated.

We arrived at the hospital and while Erik parked the car, I went in to dot all the I’s and cross all the T’s on my admit paperwork. I was very paranoid that someone was going to give me morphine for pain and a prior experience left me ready to cope with pain rather than go through the throbbing headache and nausea morphine gave me! I was told to let “them” know I didn’t want the morphine when I arrived at the hospital so it was one of the first things I told the girl that was admitting me. She chuckled and said “That’s probably something you want to share with your doctor hun.” Feeling a little silly for telling her, I laughed and said “ok, but if you hear anyone talking about giving me morphine, you gonna back me up right?” She smiled and assured me she’d speak up if she was around.

After a short wait, they came to bring us back to the OR waiting room. On the way back there, all I could think was “They need to put the bariatric OR closer to the front entrance!! Seriously, the walk was longer than any walk I’d attempted thus far pre-op. I wasn’t lazy, but my calves were beginning to cramp up and my knees felt like they were going to give out on me by the time we finally made it to the waiting area! It was a nice reminder to me about why I needed to follow through with this no matter how panicked I might get prior to actually being wheeled out to the OR.

The waiting room was packed! Luckily for me, there was one fat girl seat left and I plopped my fluffy derriere down immediately to catch my breath before they could put me on a forced march to the actual pre-op area. Erik wasn’t quite as lucky as myself and wasn’t able to find a seat so he stood against the wall and made small talk until they called me back.

The nurse called me back and I immediately told her that I did not want morphine. Erik laughed as the nurse said “Ok hun, be sure to let your doctor know.” I asked if writing it on my forehead in a sharpie would be prudent, but she said that was probably going a bit overboard. Erik explained that I was a little paranoid and was telling anyone that would listen about my anti-morphine stance. She smiled again and reassured me I’d be fine. After getting all my vitals, she produced a clear cup with a blue cap and asked if I could give her some urine. Giving her a smile, I said “Oh sure, tell me not to eat and drink the night before and then expect me to produce a sample first thing in the morning under duress, that isn’t asking for much!” She laughed and told me to do my best. I found out it was not impossible to oblige even if your last drink was at 10pm the night before.

From there, they took us to where we would wait to be taken into the OR. The nurse plopped down some lovely blue non skid socks and a hospital gown and told me to undress and put them on with the opening of the gown to the back (oh yay, they still have those! I was in the mood to moon a few orderlies). I argued with her about leaving my panties on and she finally relented, but told me I’d have to remove them before they took me down. Turns out, they eventually said I could keep them on which made me strangely more comfortable with the whole process. Maybe it was feeling a little in control of things that quickly seemed to be spiraling out of my control.

Eventually Pat showed up. Pat was a long-time client/friend of my mother’s. She came by every week to get her hair done (even after my mom quit doing hair because she trusted nobody else. Later, when mom started traveling, I would take over the hair duties until we moved out of San Antonio.) Because she was there every week, she became almost a second mother to me. She was a very well respected educator and author, had completed her PhD (Mom and I attended her graduation), and gone on to work for a well known university in San Antonio. Over the years, she had counseled me on so many things and gave me a perspective my mother couldn’t always give me. I hadn’t talked to her much since mom had died, but she was the first person I thought of when I planned my surgery. If I couldn’t have mom there, I wanted her. She had assured me when I called her and gave her a quick rundown on the last 8 or so years that she would be there for me if she could and wanted me to call her weekly to update her on how I was doing on the pre-op weight loss. By the end of that conversation, she thanked me for calling her, told me she loved me and would be there for me if some personal issues beyond her control didn’t require her elsewhere.

She walked through the curtain looking just like the Pat I had seen last; a smartly dressed older woman with pretty reddish hair and a lovely warm smile. I felt a part of me instantly relax in only the way my mom or my grandfather could have calmed me at that time. I honestly can’t remember what all we talked about, but I remember her telling me that she had never really understood my lack of self esteem. She told me she had always found me adorable and no matter what size I was, she could still see that pretty little heart-shaped face in there somewhere. She also told me that she thought I was doing the right thing and that I deserved so much better for myself, but….like only Pat can do…she warned me against being my own worst enemy. We talked about my lifetime pattern of self sabotage and I assured her that I was going to be getting some help, seeing a therapist, etc. to work on those issues because I was very much aware of them and knew those patterns could very easily repeat themselves if I didn’t work on them as I slimmed down.

At some point, Erik came back in and we joked some more to help keep things light. I think Pat being there helped Erik relax a bit as well. The anesthesiologist came in, this teeny tiny woman with a clipboard and a zillion questions. Of course, the first thing I told her was “NO MORPHINE.” She wrote that down on her clipboard and very seriously began to question me about prior operations, medication reactions, history of blood clots, etc. It made me feel better to know she’d be handling the anesthesia…she was ALL business! Fine by me! I could tell she knew what she was doing and didn’t cut corners when it came to her work. I no longer feared I’d soon be on some lifetime tv special titled “I’m Still Awake! Tales from the Operating Room.”

Sometime after that, Dr Duperier poked his head in, I introduced him to Pat and Erik and he asked me how I was feeling. I reminded him that I (you guessed it) “didn’t want morphine” and he thanked me for reminding him. Erik just laughed at me as the Dr continued to palpate my abdomen and ask me if I had any questions. I didn’t.

After he left, the nurse came back in with my “cocktail” to calm me down before my trip to the OR. I asked if it was three margaritas because that was probably what I needed to keep me from bolting. She shot me up and honestly…I don’t remember much from that point on.

Erik said that they came to take me to the OR about 3 minutes later and wheeled us to the “Kissing corner” (the last place family can say goodbye to their loved one before surgery). Erik leaned over and kissed my forehead then Pat leaned in and kissed my cheek, squeezing my hand and telling me she had somewhere to go, but would be back sometime that day to check in on me. As they wheeled me off, Erik said he heard the nurse reminding me to keep my hands in the bed. Then about 5 seconds later, “Ok hun, hands in the bed ok? I don’t want you getting hurt.” A few seconds later and a bit further away, Erik heard her again reminding me to keep my hands inside the bed. I don’t know if I thought I was helping steer or if I was worried about falling out of the bed, but apparently this continued all the way to the OR. Erik said he had to laugh as he headed back to the waiting room.

Part 2: hopefully Erik will write this himself. He went through quite a bit while he waited for some word to come back about the surgery and I thought it might be nice to get his perspective. If I can’t encourage him to squeeze a few paragraphs out, I’ll give it to you in a nutshell tomorrow.

For today, I’m continuing to do well. I’m down to about 408, but in all honesty, my weight seems to fluctuate quite a bit day to day. What I can tell you is that I am walking and standing almost completely normally. I don’t know if its all the walking I’ve been doing or the weight loss or both, but I don’t care. Some of the things that have put a smile on my face in the last few days:

  1. Not having to sit down upon walking from my room to the kitchen. Typically I would have to sit down while I prepared my meal (which right now is usually broth or tea), but now I can walk all the way out to the kitchen, do what needs to be done, and walk back to my room without needing a rest break in between.
  2. Tanner looking at me today and saying “Wow mom, you are losing weight!”
  3. Watching my stomach deflate by the day and seeing tshirts that were snug just a month ago, now hanging off me.

I was talking to Erik earlier today and told him that I think I feel real HOPE now. Before, I had really given into the fact that I just wasn’t going to get the weight off the usual way and I never really thought I’d have the courage to follow through on the surgery. Now that I’m on the other side, I feel like I am honestly going to DO THIS. It isn’t going to be easy, but I’m ready for whatever is coming. It is nice to feel hopeful about my future again.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

I'm baaaaack!

Ok guys, this is going to be short and sweet, for the reals this time :) I came home yesterday and am SO glad to be home. Erik is doing an amazing job taking care of me and has been so extremely supportive through this surgery and everything that has followed. He admitted to me the other day that he was a little scared to post on my blog the other day (I'm pretty honest about what it contains and he can read it anytime he wants), but said you guys were really awesome :) (I of course had to give him a hard time about his spelling because...well, that's just me and he kind of expects it ;) Seriously though, the guy was put through the ringer the day of surgery and if you had seen the beaming smile on his face when he saw me out of recovery (he looked like he had just won the lotto/experienced the best Christmas of his life), you would have been very touched. I could immediately see all the relief, excitement, and hope in his eyes and it really did remind me what a sweetheart he is!! Too cute!

I have to thank so many of you for your support and encouragement over the past 18 months while I made my last ditch effort to get this weight off without surgery. It was never something that I took lightly and while I wish I could have done it without surgery, I can tell you that going the surgical route is definitely NOT the easy way out. I've never been prouder of myself for following through on something that truly terrified me. I knew it had to be done though, I think you guys knew it too. Now, I am genuinely looking forward to watching my body shrink as I start the real work of this journey. When I went into the hospital, I was 417 and some change. Yesterday I was at 421 (most likely due to all the fluids and gas they pumped me up with). Today, I am 413 and some change. I haven't been below 420 since 2001 and looking at my stomach today, I'm starting to see the balloon start to deflate and it is SO EXCITING!!! One of the things I wasn't looking forward to was the shape of my body as the weight started coming off. I know what to expect and it isn't pretty, but today I discovered that I am rejoicing in EVERY change I'm seeing right now because gradually, I'm going to get ME back. So what if it is a flabby version of me if I can do my own grocery shopping, an hour long workout at the gym, ride a roller coaster with Tanner or take those salsa lessons I've secretly wanted to take for so long?? "Let the flab fly" is my battle cry for today :) I can't wait to see more....

P.S. Some of this blog was brought to you by Hydrocodone Bitartrate and acetaminophen, so I can't be held completely responsible for grammar/spelling/etc or content :)