My Progress!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Spent a few days in the hospital again...BOO

Hey all. Sorry for my absence of late, but I have been one sick puppy. I mentioned that I just wasn’t feeling great the last few weeks and the bloodwork I had done may explain some of it. Apparently my thiamine (B1) was low and after looking up the symptoms that can be caused by low thiamine levels, I saw that it explained quite a few of the problems I was having:

"The most common symptoms of thiamine deficiency are irritability, fatigue, poor concentration and memory loss. These are the early thiamine deficiency signs. If the deficiency continues, then peripheral nueropathy can take place due to damage to the peripheral nervous system. The symptoms of this condition are muscle weakness, mainly in the legs, loss of sensation, and tingling or burning sensation in the legs."

I bolded the symptoms I was having in addition to the gastrointestinal problems the article goes on to describe as "other symptoms" of thiamine deficiency. So, I'm going to see about getting some B1 and start taking my supplements the way I should.

I don't know if the thiamine problem led to the problem that ultimately landed me in the hospital this week, but I suppose it could have contributed to it. Sunday night, I was in the ER because I thought I was developing a blood clot in my right calf. It had been tender to the touch and I wasn't sure if it was a clot or low potassium, but I continued to watch for signs of swelling, fever in the area, itching, etc. By Sunday night, my ankle had started to swell and itch and I mentioned it to Erik who freaked out and demanded that I go to the hospital. I tried to talk him out of it because honestly, I figured I would be fine until the next day. I had to work that night for a few hours and I just wasn't up to a trip to the ER. Erik wouldn't hear it though. Ever since my surgery, he's been extremely cautious when it comes to my health which I guess is a good thing. Anyway, he came home from work, we went to the ER where we spent about 4 hours.

They did an ultrasound of my leg, and I actually learned something I didn't know about blood clots...they aren't so concerned about clots in the peripheral or superficial veins (like the one we suspected was in my calf), but more in the deep veins that run along the front of the leg. The ultrasound didn't find a clot in those veins so they sent me home with orders to try to walk every couple of hours (since I'd been feeling like crap for over a week, I hadn't been getting much activity) and hydrate my body as much as I could since my blood was kind of thick which meant I was dehydrated (again!).

The next day my leg was actually feeling better so I thought I was on the mend. That night, I made dinner and by the time I sat down to dinner with the guys I just felt SO exhausted. Erik could hear it in my gets very hoarse when I'm super dehydrated (which makes sense really as my vocal folds are probably as dry as the rest of my body). I was talking to him about how I was feeling and was gesturing or signing (I can't remember) with my hands and I just dropped my hands in my lap and said "I'm so tired, even using my hands like this wears me out." He ordered me to keep drinking for the rest of the night and I agreed that dehydration was probably my biggest problem.

Some of you may wonder what my problem is with staying hydrated. Sometimes, it is just that I get busy and don't think about drinking. If I don't have something right by me, I get working and put it off until I've lost valuable hours of hydration opportunity, but lately I've been more diligent about making sure I always have something nearby.

Another factor that makes staying hydrated a challenge is that getting TOO much liquid on my stomach seems to make me nauseous. I can't drink straight water anymore (it upsets the Ph of my stomach and brings on instant nausea) so I always have to "doctor" it with at least a bit of lemon and stevia/splenda (I'm currently trying to switch from splenda to stevia and agave at the urging of my good friend Nick). So, I have to find the perfect "balance" between drinking enough to keep my body hydrated, yet not so much that it makes me nauseous. I still haven't gotten this down quite yet.

Finally, probably the BIGGEST foil to staying hydrated are my damn blood pressure meds. I've been on lisinopril HCTZ which has a diuretic in it so if I take it, it makes me instantly pee out most of the fluids I'm ingesting which means I have to drink twice as much as I probably would need to drink otherwise. My primary care doc recently prescribed the lisinopril without the diuretic, but I'm trying out the prescriptions by mail thing and it has taken them FOR-FREAKING-EVER to get my meds to me. I stopped my blood pressure meds for a week prior to the ER clot visit because of the hydration issues and my BP in the ER was super high so I had to start them again. I'm hoping the new BP meds come tomorrow. We'll see how I do without the diuretic. I'm hoping that the BP will eventually take care of itself as I get more weight off, but I don't know. I have a family history of high BP, so it may just be the luck of the draw. Regardless, getting the weight off and getting more active aren't going to make the problem worse right?

So....that brings us to Wednesday morning. I woke up for work and actually felt ok. I had absolutely NO appetite, but that isn't unusual for me really. I usually get signed in for work, get set up and then make myself a protein shake or coffee. I typically wait until my first break to make my breakfast. I noticed that I was having what felt like gas pains in my upper stomach area. It was the sort of pain/cramping that starts...gets worse as the gas expands an area of your intestine and then subsides. Although I'd only had a few bites of sausage and egg taco the night before (my first foray into low carb tortillas ...they were delicious by the way), I began to wonder if my rearranged guts were having a problem with the tortilla. I asked Erik how he was feeling and he mentioned that he wasn't feeling all that great either, but the night before he went on a binge that made me ill to watch so I couldn't really use him as a gauge. Tanner was fine so I couldn't figure out what was causing my problem. The pain seemed to get worse as time went by so I went and laid down in between calls hoping that if I straightened out, maybe the gas would work through my system. I even took some gas x strips to no avail.

I then realized that I had forgotten to take my effexor the day before and withdrawal from effexor can cause gastrointestinal problems so I took the pill and forced myself to eat a bite or two of the sausage and egg the night before to make sure it didn't upset my stomach. The food came right back up within a minute or two. I think it was at that point that I knew we weren't just dealing with a "gas" problem.

I told my supervisor that I wasn't feeling good and was going to have to go for the day and immediately called my doctor's office. The PA mentioned that sometimes bready products (even low carb products) can sometimes cause a blockage and that warm orange juice can sometimes help break it up. She made an appointment for me that afternoon, but told me to come in earlier if I had any other problems. I immediately warmed up some orange juice, took a few sips and within a minute was having a fairly violent vomiting episode. By then, I was shaking, white as a sheet and in such pain I was doing Lamaze breathing to cope. I texted Erik to come home and get me to the doctor.

We got to the doctor's office where they had me do a barium swallow. Even as sick as I was, I was AMAZED to SEE what my new stomach looked like on this test! Seriously guys, I had no freaking idea it was as small as it is. Just to give you a way to visualize spine looked about the size of a sturdy PVC pipe and my stomach in comparison to that looked like a fuzzy piece of yarn...THAT THIN! Until she pointed it out, I was trying to figure out why the barium looked like it was going through a vein or artery when I knew it was moving through my digestive system. The "vein" was actually my stomach. Now granted, it wasn't full or stretched at all, but it certainly explains why a few bites fills me up...AMAZING.

We could see the barium work through my stomach and then just pool in an area just outside my stomach which made them think that I did have some kind of obstruction. They decided to admit me to the hospital so that they could get some bloodwork done and do a CT scan to see what was really going on.

They discovered that, once again, I was very dehydrated and started pumping me with fluids. I think I probably had about 5 bags of fluid before I even started peeing again (incidentally, I went into the hospital at 347 and came home at 358...I wasn't eating in the hospital so that should tell you how much they were pushing the fluids). The first CT they did showed that I had an area of my small intestine that was "thickened" and the blood supply to that area showed some irritation. They mentioned something about my white count being high and something else being out of whack. They said that what they saw could be caused by several different things ranging from a viral infection to Chron's disease. The only way to really diagnose the problem was to go in surgically, but of course nobody was interested in doing that right off the bat. They elected to keep me there for observation and redo the CT scan in a few days to see if it was resolving on its own.

That night I needed demerol to get any kind of sleep at all as the cramping was fairly constant. I seriously felt like I was in the final stages of labor as the pain had begun to radiate out to include my entire abdomen and back. Lying on my side hurt because any pressure on my abdomen hurt as if I had done a day's worth of situps or let someone use my abdomen for kick boxing practice. The demerol did help though and, apart from the fact that hospitals seem to think the middle of the freaking night is the perfect time to get all the ordered labwork done, I got some sleep.

To make this very long and probably very boring story just a tad shorter...I began to show improvement slowly. I was able to go for longer periods the next day without pain meds and soon, my bowel started talking to the nurses again and the next CT scan showed that whatever was going on in my small intestine seemed to be improving. The doctors are assuming I had some kind of infection in that section of my bowel which was probably complicated by the dehydration and I was discharged Friday evening.

Today is the first day I've felt somewhat like my old self although I'm still pretty gun-shy about eating. The last few days I lived on mashed potatoes and mac and cheese..totally NOT on my diet, but they were the only things that didn't make me want to hurl when I thought about eating. This morning I had a few bites of scrambled egg and chorizo and will probably attempt a protein shake here in a few minutes.

I think I'm probably over this latest hump, but I'd be lying if I didn't admit that it has really depressed me. I'll probably whine a bit more about that in another post though. I'll get over it and I'm sure as I start to feel better, it will subside, but for now....yeah I'm feeling pretty low :(

Incidentally, apart from the dehydration, I don't think this intestinal problem was due to the surgery at all. I probably would have gotten sick regardless of the surgery.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Weigh in and New Pics!

I haven't been feeling great the last 4-5 days. I am betting it is just the ongoing dance I do with staying hydrated, I don't know. Lately, drinking seems to make me sick to my stomach. The one thing I've changed is I've been drinking more crystal light so maybe that is what is doing it. Before, I was doing pretty good on weak tea with lemon and a bit of splenda, so I'm going to go back to that and see how I feel.

The problem this has created is that I just don't feel good. Yesterday and today I got up, did my hair and makeup, got dressed with the intention of doing all kinds of errands, etc. Yesterday I ended up going to get my blood drawn (which may also shed some light on why I'm not feeling so great)and was going to get something to eat with Erik and head to goodwill to see about getting some new clothes (I can't see spending lots of money on NEW clothes I'm going to grow out of in a few months). After fasting for my bloodwork, I was pretty hungry when we got home around 10:30am with some breakfast. I had a few bites of scrambled egg, a few bites of refried beans, a few sips of coffee and I was done. About 10 minutes later I was really lethargic and kind of sick to my stomach so I went and laid down thinking I'd read for a bit and then try to head to goodwill when I felt better. I ended up taking a 2 hr nap and never really felt great for the rest of the day. Forget about the time Tanner got home, I was exhausted again and just not up to much of anything.

Today was pretty much the same although I didn't get out of the house at all today. Oh well, I did get ready and had Erik snap a few pics and take my measurements for posterity. Funny thing is...I think I look fatter in today's pics than I did in the last set. Maybe it is the new shorter haircut (which I'm still trying to perfect styling) or maybe it is the crazy smile I'm sporting (the dogs were cracking us up....every time Erik got ready to take a picture, they'd run over by me and he'd take the pic and then they'd run back to Erik as if they wanted to see how it turned out. As soon as he raised the camera up, they'd run back to get in the pic lol.) Anyway, here are my stats:

Weight loss since top weight:
Weight loss since Surgery: 68
Inches lost in the last month: 16.75
Total Inches Lost since 3/16/09: 37.50

Today's Pictures! you can click through to see a picture photo.



OMG I can't get the full body shots to show properly...they are either too big or too small. You should be able to click through and see them at photobucket though.

So there you have it! I'm still not seeing a HUGE change in my body. I know it is happening because I'm in smaller clothes and the measurements don't lie, but I'm just not seeing it. I'm feeling it though so I guess that is what counts. If I could just get rid of the nausea, I'd be a happy camper. I'll keep you guys updated on the blood work situation.

Also, I've been adding some recipes to my recipe blog lately so stop on by and tell me what you think. I'm only adding stuff that we really loved!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Guess what I did today?

I bought tickets to fly on an AIRPLANE to go visit my family in Indiana!!!!! We are going the week of Thanksgiving and I haven't seen most of them since my mom died. Thanksgiving is always challenging for me because my mom passed away on Thanksgiving in 2002. Apart from Erik's family, as much as I love them, I really don't have any family nearby anymore and sometimes, going to spend time with Erik's family almost makes me miss my own family even more. I've been promising Tanner for the last 6-7 years that I would get him back up to see my Papa (his great grandfather), but kept having to put it off; mainly because of money, but also because there was no way I could handle the flight, changing planes, getting around the airport, etc.

I'm still a little worried about having to cram my ass into one of those airplane seats, but I arranged our seats so that I'm on the aisle and Tanner is in the middle. It probably won't be comfortable, but I think we'll live. Tanner is so excited about going and I can't wait to see every one :)

I'm still amazed daily at the strides I've made since surgery. I can't help but imagine where I'm going to be around this time next goal maybe? If not, probably pretty close to it. Every single day, I feel more and more free to do what I want to do, be who I want to be. Would I give any of this up to be able to have a slice of cheese cake or eat a whole plate of mexican food? Of course not! Amazing that I willingly chose, for so many years, to put food ahead of my own mobility, freedom, & happiness. It would have been nice to have been able to arrive at this point without surgery, but I will always be grateful that there was SOMETHING available to help me get here. No regrets xx

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Things are looking "Grim..."

This came in today's mail. After the last two days I had, I needed a smile and this made me LOL (really it did Nick, that isn't a pity lol). I've mentioned Nick before in my blog, but some of you may not remember him. I'll list a few of his most important contributions to my success just to give you an idea about what he does behind the scenes of my blog to keep me motivated and on task:

1. Verbally kicks my rear end when I need to exercise, get back on my diet, blog, (insert anything else I have the tendency to procrastinate on).
2. Probably my biggest cheerleader during the last three years of trying to lose this weight. He literally is there to remind me of my goals and refocus my attention when I lose my way.
3. Has listened to countless vents, rants, whines and offers excellent advice always (even though I drive him nuts and sometimes ignore his advice only to vent, rant and whine again at some future time about the same problem...don't you hate people that do that?)
4. He is one of the funniest people I know and can usually make me laugh even when he's simultaneously providing a shoulder to cry on.
5. He sends me cards like this one a few times a year and doesn't make me feel horrible when I don't get around to mailing mine to him. (lori, back me up on is one of my many flaws. Buying the card is one thing, actually hunting down stamps, signing the card, closing the envelope and then walking it aaaalllllll the way down the driveway to my mailbox is just way too many steps so I often wind up sending e-cards :(

These are just a few ways Nick has been an amazing friend and supporter of mine for the last three years. Thanks so much for all you do and for always making me smile Nick!! You are a sweetheart xxoo

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Enjoying the Fall Weather and a Weigh In

Tanner and I just got back from our second outdoor walk of the week. The Fall weather here in Texas has been beautiful this week and it is so nice to get out, get some fresh air and spend some time doing something with Tanner that didn’t involve the TV (what we usually did around this time of night). Our first walk in a while was this past Tuesday. Tanner was walking behind me and out of nowhere said “Wow mom! You are doing good!” I think he was noticing the fact that I was walking with a normal gait, no limps or labored steps…I was walking confidently and with a strength he hasn’t seen me sport in a long time. I could feel it myself.

The last time I attempted the same walk, I made it to a certain point with Erik and had to turn around because I knew I probably only had enough steam to get myself home. When I made it to that point I realized that I felt GREAT! I was feeling some fatigue in my legs, but it was normal fatigue really so we kept it up. By the time we got to the end of our street (something I had NEVER accomplished…the total walk round trip was just over half a mile) we were both pretty proud of ourselves. We turned around and talked about how we were going to have to text daddy and let him know as soon as we got home! We were so excited! By the time I got home, I definitely felt like I had gotten some exercise, but I felt awesome. I think the problems I had walking home from the doctor the other day had more to do with dehydration than my actual capabilities. I’m setting a goal of going for a walk with Tanner at least three times a week, but hope to do more.

I forgot to weigh in Tuesday by the way. I was at 355, but today I am at 357.8. I think it is just my body adjusting to the lack of the diuretic and me getting myself rehydrated. It sucks to see the scale move up even when I know it is just water, but I know it can’t be fat. I’m continuing to track my food intake and I’ve been doing just fine…calories staying under 800 per day, carbs under 30. I’m not worrying so much about fat lately. When I did atkins I never did and I lost like crazy on that. My doctor had cautioned me to keep both carbs and fat low, but honestly, I’ve noticed improved weight loss just monitoring calories and carbs so unless I see evidence otherwise, I’m going to continue.

OH! I completely forgot to tell you about last Saturday! I had another NSV. I went grocery shopping and bought $200 worth of groceries by myself!!! I had to sit down three times, but I think that was due more to the dehydration I was experiencing than true fatigue. Of course, at the time I thought I was just overestimating myself. Now that I’ve managed two semi-challenging walks without the same sort of fatigue, I’m convinced I am just weeks away from being able to do darn near anything I want to do WITHOUT needing a rest break. Quite a change from the days when I had to take a folding chair with me because I couldn’t stand for longer than 2 minutes.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Dehydration, Getting My Glam on, and Other Exciting Adventures this Weekend

Five days into the month and I’m already slacking. I’m hopeless I know, but honestly I had a busy weekend AND I think I let myself get dehydrated. I’ve had several days of dizziness and episodes where my vision blacks out when I stand up too fast. My doctor has removed the diuretic from my blood pressure medication, but I won’t get that RX for a week or so. I made an executive decision to stop my BP meds yesterday. I just got so bad Saturday that by 5pm I thought I might have to make a trip to the hospital. It wasn’t near as bad as right after the surgery, but I just couldn’t seem to get myself rehydrated. I spent the whole day sipping on stuff and didn’t pee once. I think I finally started urinating again after consuming about 75 oz of liquid. I felt better by the time I went to bed, but yesterday I noticed that I was dragging again by noon and when it was time to cook dinner, I was having dizzy spells again…ugh!

It is my own stupid fault though. I’ve been very busy with work (as always, my 5 jobs keep me busy lol), but for the first time since surgery I finally have a surplus in my bank account…(of course Thunder has decided to completely fall apart on us, so I’m taking him to the vet tomorrow which I’m sure will eat up the rest of the surplus I was hoping to sock away for a new car). So anyway, I’ve been so busy that I often forget to drink. If I don’t get something to drink first thing in the morning with my coffee, I will put it off until the afternoon. I’ll be working and just think “I’m going to finish this one thing and then I’ll run and get something” and before I know it, it is lunch time and all I’ve had is a cup of coffee. You do that several days in a row while you are on a diuretic and you can quickly get into trouble and then play hell trying to re-hydrate yourself. I feel much better this morning so I am hoping that I’m finally catching up.

NOW to tell you about my exciting and busy weekend! Friday I was off and had to go to the doctor. Erik had to go to work and since we only have the one car, I decided I’d just walk. My primary care doctor is about a half mile away. I was a little nervous about it because I haven’t been walking much the last few weeks. I was having TOM issues again this month and, as ridiculous as it sounds, walking seems to make it worse. After 8 days of bleeding, you just aren’t in the mood to do anything that is going to make it worse. My doctor is putting me on provera every month to try and manage this problem, so we’ll see if that improves…but I digress lol.

SO, I decided I’d just walk to my doctor. Erik ended up dropping me off so I just had the walk home. It actually went pretty well, it was a beautiful morning for a walk, but I was worried about being too leisurely about it and overestimating my ability to walk an extended period of time so I tried to walk somewhat quickly. After a few minutes my lungs were on fire! I sat down on a bus bench at my street (which is about half way) and checked my phone. Erik had texted twice checking on me so I answered him telling him I was halfway home and catching my “breaf” on the bench. I finally figured that the lung problem was probably due to:

1. Being dehydrated and
2. Breathing through my mouth. Apparently, when you breath through your mouth, you dry out the air sacs in your lungs which cause the burning.

I sat there for a few minutes and then walked the rest of the way home. I was pretty tired by the time I got home, but after sitting down for a few minutes, I was back to normal. Before, I would literally have to take 5-10 minutes to recover from a mild walk like that. So, even though I am pitifully weak given the amount of weight I’ve lost already, I am making progress. I just need to be more consistent with my exercise regardless of my womanly troubles.

I’m I boring the crap out of you yet?

So, after my doctor’s visit, I went with my friend Shannon and signed up to be an AVON representative again. At the moment, I’m trying to save money for a new car (used, but something that will at least get us by for the next few years…our echo is on its last leg) and I really want to get bikes for both Tanner and I. I have sold AVON off and on over the years and really love their products and I got to thinking that I could start selling AVON and put that money towards our bikes. Sooooo, yes….if you don’t mind taking a look at my website and need something I’m selling, it would be great if you could purchase through my site. Don’t worry, I’m not going to be pressuring anyone to support me (I’m not a fan of bloggers who put their Amazon wishlists on their blogs…tacky), but I may put a little click through link on the side of my blog. I may also review a few products here and there, but only if they are applicable to my blog in some way. If I start to get obnoxious about it, let me know lol!

I forgot to mention that I got into another shirt I never thought would look good on me (mine is's my signature color)! What was cool was that I got dressed, after doing my makeup and hair that morning and walked in to see what Erik thought and he actually did a double take and said “Wow!” I guess the shirt really showed off the weight loss so I was lovin’ that! I felt so pretty all day long so after our consultation with AVON, Shannon ran me over to the nail salon where I treated myself to a pedicure and manicure. BTW, the first thing the guy that does my nails said was “You look different!” He redeemed himself with those three words!

While I was getting beautified, I texted Erik about going out to dinner with Tanner. I know I just said we are trying to save for the car and bikes, etc, but I hadn’t really done anything for myself since the surgery (hence the mani/pedi) and we hadn’t gone out as a family in ….forever. I was feeling beautiful and I wanted to share that beauty with the rest of San Antonio! So, they picked me up and we went to Red Lobster. Don’t ask me how we ended up there of all places (because my carb addict husband and son love their biscuits perhaps?). I indulged a bit and had a drink which was nice, but probably full of carbs and empty calories. Oh well, I was rehydrating! Yeah, I need my liquid nutrition! I ordered this lobster, shrimp combo so that I could share with Tanner. I think I had a stuffed mushroom, a couple bites of salad, two small shrimp, two bites of lobster and one larger grilled shrimp. I was STUFFED! Seriously, that is a binge for me.

We had so much fun though! It was nice to be out in public and not feel like I was the largest person there. I mean, I probably still WAS the largest person there, but I’m slowly starting to approach your average fat person where before I was definitely circus-sized.

I guess I’ll stop here since this post is already two pages long. I’ll tell you about the excitement of Saturday in tomorrow’s post!