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Monday, September 30, 2013

         Wisdom can be found everywhere!

Found this online and it is much better than anything I have to say today.  I will aspire to not make these mistakes.  I hope this helps someone else too!

1st Mistake: Not Taking Vitamins, Supplements, or MineralsEvery WLS patient has specific nutritional needs depending on the type of surgery you have had. Not only is it a good idea to ask your surgeon for guidelines, but also consult with an experienced WLS nutritionist. Understand there is not a standard practice that all surgeons and nutritionists follow in guiding WLS patients. So, it is important to do your own research, get your lab tests done regularly, and learn how to read the results. Some conditions and symptoms that can occur when you are deficient in vitamins, supplements, or minerals include: Osteoporosis; pernicious anemia; muscle spasms; high blood pressure; burning tongue; fatigue; loss of appetite; weakness; constipation and diarrhea; numbness and tingling in the hands and feet; being tired, lethargic, or dizzy; forgetfulness, and lowered immune functioning. Keep in mind, too, that some conditions caused by not taking your vitamins, supplements, or minerals are irreversible.
2nd Mistake: Assuming You Have Been Cured of Your Obesity

A "pink cloud" or honeymoon experience is common following WLS. When you are feeling better than you have in years, and the weight is coming off easily, it's hard to imagine you will ever struggle again. But unfortunately, it is very common for WLS patients to not lose to their goal weight or to regain some of their weight back. A small weight regain may be normal, but huge gains usually can be avoided with support, education, effort, and careful attention to living a healthy WLS lifestyle. For most WLSers, if you don't change what you've always done, you're going to keep getting what you've always gotten -- even after weight loss surgery.
Mistake: Drinking with Meals 

Yes, it's hard for some people to avoid drinking with meals, but the tool of not drinking with meals is a critical key to long-term success. If you drink while you eat, your food washes out of your stomach much more quickly, you can eat more, you get hungry sooner, and you are at more risk for snacking. Being too hungry is much more likely to lead to poor food choices and/or overeating.
Mistake: Not Eating Right

Of course everyone should eat right, but in this society eating right is a challenge. You have to make it as easy on yourself as possible. Eat all your meals--don't skip. Don't keep unhealthy food in sight where it will call to you all the time. Try to feed yourself at regular intervals so that you aren't as tempted to make a poor choice. And consider having a couple of absolutes: for example, avoid fried foods completely, avoid sugary foods, always use low-fat options, or only eat in a restaurant once a week. Choose your "absolutes" based on your trigger foods and your self knowledge about what foods and/or situations are problematic for you.
Mistake: Not Drinking Enough Water 

Most WLS patients are at risk for dehydration. Drinking a minimum of 64 oz. of water per day will help you avoid this risk. Adequate water intake will also help you flush out your system as you lose weight and avoid kidney stones. Drinking enough water helps with your weight loss, too.
Mistake: Grazing 

Many people who have had WLS regret that they ever started grazing, which is nibbling small amounts here and there over the course of the day. It's one thing to eat the three to five small meals you and your doctor agree you need. It's something else altogether when you start to graze, eating any number of unplanned snacks. Grazing can easily make your weight creep up. Eating enough at meal time, and eating planned snacks when necessary, will help you resist grazing. Make a plan for what you will do when you crave food, but are not truly hungry. For example, take up a hobby to keep your hands busy or call on someone in your support group for encouragement.
Mistake: Not Exercising Regularly 

Exercise is one of the best weapons a WLS patient has to fight weight regain. Not only does exercise boost your spirits, it is a great way to keep your metabolism running strong. When you exercise, you build muscle. The more muscle you have, the more calories your body will burn, even at rest!
Mistake: Eating the Wrong Carbs (or Eating Too Much)

Let's face it, refined carbohydrates are addictive. If you eat refined carbohydrates they will make you crave more refined carbohydrates. There are plenty of complex carbohydrates to choose from, which have beneficial vitamins. For example, if you can handle pastas, try whole grain Kamut pasta--in moderation, of course. (Kamut pasta doesn't have the flavor some people find unpleasant in the whole wheat pastas.) Try using your complex carbohydrates as "condiments," rather than as the center point of your meal. Try sprinkling a tablespoon of brown rice on your stir-fried meat and veggies.
Mistake: Going Back to Drinking Soda 

Drinking soda is controversial in WLS circles. Some people claim soda stretches your stomach or pouch. What we know it does is keep you from getting the hydration your body requires after WLS--because when you're drinking soda, you're not drinking water! In addition, diet soda has been connected to weight gain in the general population. The best thing you can do is find other, healthier drinks to fall in love with. They are out there.
10th Mistake: Drinking Alcohol 

If you drank alcohol before surgery, you are likely to want to resume drinking alcohol following surgery. Most surgeons recommend waiting one year after surgery. And it is in your best interest to understand the consequences of drinking alcohol before you do it. Alcohol is connected with weight regain, because alcohol has 7 calories per gram, while protein and vegetables have 4 calories per gram. Also, some people develop an addiction to alcohol after WLS, so be very cautious. Depending on your type of WLS, you may get drunker, quicker after surgery, which can cause health problems and put you in dangerous situations. If you think you have a drinking problem, get help right away. Putting off stopping drinking doesn't make it any easier, and could make you a lot sicker

Sunday, September 29, 2013

                       This and That

Life is such a learning experience and having wls starts you off on a whole new learning curve.  One thing I have learned is that it is much easier to try to blog every few days rather than every day or even every other day.  I am a very interesting person (LOL!) but even I don't have that much to say that anyone cares to hear!

A few things to tell you though.  I have a guy friend that had wls last Tues. 9/24.  Turns out the surgery that should've taken about 3 hours took them 10 hours and he has 8 incisions.  Obviously  he had major complications of some sort.  I do not know what happened yet but will post more when I know more.  He is only in his late 20's so age was not a factor.

I went to Pizza Hut on Friday night after my grandson's football game.  It was an interesting experience.  We were with the family of my 14 y/o granddaughter's boyfriend.  I looked at what they had on the salad bar and I looked at the menu and there was really absolutely nothing I felt I could or should eat at this stage in the journey so I just sipped on a large glass of ice water. The table was soon covered with pizza, calzones, breadsticks, marinara sauce and salad bar plates.  I looked at this couple that I just met and said, "Please don't think I am totally strange for not eating but I had gastric bypass a month ago and there is really nothing I can have and I am fine with just my water." Well, God works in mysterious ways and this young gentleman says, "Oh wow, I had the lap band done about a year ago and I have lost 140 pounds!" Suddenly I had a whole bunch of interesting things in common to talk to this couple about and it made it so much easier to sit there while they were all eating.  I felt a little bit sad and deprived but not majorly so and I got through it.  I had eaten my last little meal at about 2pm and it was about 10pm when I got home and I just don't like to eat that late so I didn't.  I was a bit light on my protein for the day as a result but I just figure if it doesn't happen often I will be okay. 

Then last night we went to my brother's for dinner and a movie.  They had spaghetti, garlic bread and a raw veggie tray.  I just figured I was not going to eat again but then my niece and my brother remembered they had some frozen meatballs and we nuked one for me and put a teeny bit of spaghetti sauce on top.  I cut it into about 30 pieces and it took me longer to eat my little meatball than all the rest of them to eat their plateful of spaghetti and bread.  I was completely satisfied, it was something new for me to eat and later when they broke out all the movie candy I pulled out my little sugar free chocolate pudding cup and slowly savored it.  Yay!  I can survive anything!!

Friday I went to the thrift store and purchased 2 pair of jeans and a really cute pink and brown warm-up suit in a size 18.  I was originally a 22 pants and 2x top.  I have found a few XL tops to get me by for a bit.  A size 18 may still be a big size by some standards but to me it feels like a size 6 right now!  That is kind of funny because I will never wear a size 6, I am just too large boned, just ask my size 11 shoes, lol!  But I will be ecstatic if I can get down to maybe a size 12 one day.  One day at a time, right??!!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

                      Why do I overeat?

I have been thinking a lot about obesity, why some of us choose to eat too much, whether it is addiction or addictive personality, etc.  And of course, that is leading me down the path of trying to figure out why I overeat, when I began to overeat, when I first realized I was fat.  I have 3 brothers and none of them are obese.  All of them have had short periods of time where they got a little overweight but they took control, lost the weight, and have stayed pretty fit and healthy.  Why am I different?

We grew up pretty poor and food was sometimes kind of scarce.  The food we did have to eat was not of great quality and our mom was not a good cook.  I was pretty skinny as a child and I don't remember food being much of an issue.  I was very active, always outdoors, always playing, running, riding bikes, you name it so I probably would've been skinny no matter what we had to eat.  I remember lots and lots of bologna.  To this day I don't like it, had enough as a kid I guess.  I remember being upset when dad butchered our rabbits and made Hasenpfeffer.  But other than those 2 memories I don't recall much surrounding food.

When I eloped with DH at 16 I was pretty thin.  We hardly had 2 pennies to rub together and ate cheap.  Lots of things made with ground beef, hot dogs, that sort of thing.  We were in the military and made very little money and had to stretch it between paydays.  I was still pretty thin and even after my daughter who was born when I was 17, I still didn't have a weight problem.  I guess it was after my eldest son was born when I was 22 that I began to pack on the pounds.  I was a stay at home mom and I didn't have a car so I guess I began to use food as a companion.  I would bake a lot, especially cookies and when the kids would nap I would get a big glass of milk and a plateful of cookies and watch TV while I scarfed them down without paying much attention to what I was doing.  Mindless eating...I think that has been part of my downfall and I am still struggling with it.  For at least 40 years I have been eating while watching television, reading a book or doing something on the computer.  It is hard to change habits that have continued for that long.  I still find myself doing it and it is a big no-no on the list of things I have to do for my success.

I don't have any answers for you as to what was making me overeat for so many years.  I am and will continue to explore and try to recognize what it is that causes me to do it and if I come up with any answers, you, my blog readers, will be the first to know!

Monday, September 23, 2013

                     Day 26 Post-Op

Coming up on 4 weeks since the surgery.  Some days it feels like it has been a long time and I have to remind myself that this is still new.  I kind of messed up but not in a  bad way.  I have been doing 2 weeks of the pureed diet but when I re-read my info it says I only do 1 week of pureed.  It certainly hasn't hurt me but I am ready for more normal texture and perhaps more choices.  I will be moving to the soft phase of the eating plan.  No more having to make everything the texture of baby food or applesauce, yay!

I have been struggling a little with some head hunger.  Just normal life situations, for example, yesterday DH made baby back ribs for the rest of the family.  Several hours of slow cooking with that wonderful smell permeating the entire house.  I caught myself imagining trying to eat some of them.  But after a few minutes and a little self-talk I was okay.

Then today we went to my grandson's football game.  Afterwards they all wanted to go to Cold Stone Creamery.  My oldest son, Eric, is dieting so at least I didn't have to be the only one not indulging.  It was a little bit hard.  My granddaughter, Kaitlin, had a Chai flavored ice cream in one of those chocolate dipped waffle bowls.  That would've been my container of choice back in the day.  My Kaitlin is a beautiful 14 y/o dancer and has that body.  It was interesting to watch her eat her ice cream.  I would've eaten every bite and also consumed the entire chocolate waffle bowl but she ate some of the ice cream and nibbled on the edges of the waffle bowl.  She left most of it for the trash.  I keep reminding myself that is how thin people eat.  The lesson I took away from the experiences is that this is still going to be really hard.  Up until now I haven't really thought that much about food other  than the things I can currently have but I have to live in the real world and figure out ways not to feel so deprived in situations like this.  Don't get me wrong, I was fine, I got through it but it was a wake up call for the rest of my life.

Today my weight was 204.8 so I have officially hit the 40 pounds lost mark!  What I am really having a hard time with is the fact that I don't feel so much better.  I guess that somehow I thought my fibromyalgia and my painful joints and my energy level (read that as, having no energy at all) would improve or maybe go away.  And they still might but I am sad that I don't feel a lot better yet.  I just thought I would.  I am getting all my vitamins every day.  I am getting at least  60 grams of protein so I don't know.  DH wants me to talk to the docs about it so I guess I will...eventually. 

I know this wasn't a very uplifting post and that is just not me.  Perhaps I am going through some of what the gals at call wls puberty.  Apparently your hormones are carried in your fat cells and when you lose weight you get a sudden influx of those hormones to your system.  I am sure feeling emotional the last few days so maybe that is what it is.  I  will keep you posted, my friends.

Thursday, September 19, 2013


Diabetes...really one of the worst diseases out there.  Why is it so bad?  Well, let's causes heart problems, it can cause blindness, it can cause you to lose limbs, usually legs, it can shut down your kidneys, it causes neuropathy in your feet and elsewhere.  And that is just some of the complications.  Now diabetes is not just a disease of the obese, I know lots of obese folks who do not have diabetes (yet) but if you have a genetic tendency to high blood sugars and you become obese you are at a much higher risk.  I was diagnosed with diabetes about 17 years ago.  Over the years since that diagnosis my blood sugars and therefore my blood tests around the diabetes have grown progressively worse.  At the time I first went to see my surgeon, Dr. Joshua Long, I was on Metformin, taking four 500mg. tablets per day, I was on glimepiride, taking two 4mg tablets a day, I was on Victoza, taking an injection of 1.8 units daily and I was injecting 44 units of insulin twice a day.  I have read that many diabetics are able to go off their meds with some of them never taking anymore once they leave the hospital.  My doctor told me that surely my diabetes would improve but because I have had it for so long odds weren't real good that I would be one of those people.  Well, boys and girls, I am here to tell you that as of 2 days ago I am off all of the above mentioned medications. !! Yes, that's right, all of them!  My blood sugars, which used to run as high as nearly 500 are now stable at 80 - 120 most of the time.  My endocrinologist said even if I have an occasional blood sugar as high as 160, not to worry because as more of my weight comes off those should be a thing of the past.  All I can say is...Woo hoo!!  For those of you reading this who suffer from diabetes, there is hope! 

On a lighter note, I am getting into trouble as far as having any clothes to wear.  I have long since given away anything any smaller than a size 20 pants or a 2x top and those are getting really baggy.  I can take all of my size 20 jeans off without unbuttoning them.  So my dear, sweet niece told me she had a bunch of clothes she would bring over that she can no longer wear due to her weight gain. I was so excited.  Day before yesterday, her dad, my brother, brought them by.  I spent a couple hours going through 4 large bins of clothes.  The 1st bin contained all size 10's, the 2nd bin all size 12's and the other 2 bins contain a bit of both of those sizes and some large sizes.  Well, as much as I wish that those would fit me now, we all know you don't go right from a 20 to a 10, there has to be all those in-between sizes first so as cute as many of those clothes are I will have to wait.  And to add to the humor I have to tell you...Okay, when it comes to boobs the good Lord just did not bless me with much and no matter how much weight I gain it does not go to my chest.  I have a B-cup and I just go from a 36-B to a 38-B to a 40-B, etc., as I need more to go around under the bust.  My niece had about 5 bras in the bins that are too small for her now.  I had to look.  They are 40-DD's.  My hubby can only dream, lol! 

Down to 206 today, which means 1 more pound and I will have lost 40!  I can see those 100's coming!  I have seen on a lot of blogs where they call it "Onederland"  I am so excited and have to come up with a non-food way to celebrate! 

Thanks for listening again today, my friends, see ya' soon!

Monday, September 16, 2013

                           Ah, exercise! 

I have never been a really active person as an adult.  As a kid I was never still, I was a major tomboy and I climbed trees, rode bikes, played crazy games and kept myself moving all the time.  I don't know what happened but except for spurts of activity over the years I just haven't exercised much at all.  Now here I am, 63 years old, just had gastric bypass and I absolutely have to exercise to help get the weight off and more importantly, to keep it off!  But here's the rub; I am now so disabled that I can't do much of anything.  I am making a big effort though.  I walk on my treadmill about 10 minutes.  Before surgery I was getting close to 15 but I have had to kind of start over at the 1 minute point and I am getting to the 10 regularly.  Most active people just won't get this, I know.  I am on 2 liters of oxygen so that slows me down a little but the main issue is my back and my joints.  I have had a knee and a hip replaced and I need the other knee and hip replaced.  My replaced knee hurts more than the one I haven't had done so I am not rushing to have another major surgery that might not give me positive results anyway.  I walk with a cane and I cannot walk very far or stand up for very long because of something I have in my spine called lumbar stenosis.  My prayer is that losing a lot of weight will ease up the pressure on my back and my joints so much that it won't be such an issue.  Time will tell and in the interim I am trying to be faithful to my good old treadmill.  One of the blogs I love is  It was the first blog I ever read and Holly continues to inspire me every day.  In the beginning she could only walk to her mailbox but she did that and gradually she made it to the next mailbox and then the next.  She continued to push herself and at some point on her journey she has run a 5K and she has lost about 240 pounds so far.  I have age and physical limitations to fight against, she had a lot more pounds to deal with than I do but the point is to do a little and then do a little more and keep increasing as you can.  I just saw this article at The American Journal of Health Promotion about a study that has proven that even little short bouts of exercise are beneficial.  Yay!  Good news, huh?  If you'd like to read it here is the link.  So if you struggle like I do to move for whatever the reason, just do a little.  It counts!

On the weight loss front I am down another pound or so.  I was stuck for a few days.  My weight this morning was 208 down from 245.  That is 37 pounds so far!  Woo hoo! I am such a slave to the scale!  I hope I can someday become the person who only gets on once a week but for now I can't seem to stop myself.  That scale just stares at  me and says, "Ah come on, you  know you have to check!"  And I give in to it, lol! 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

                    Day 18 Post-Op

Well, we are still drowning here in Colorado!  It was sunny for a while this morning and then suddenly it got cloudy, tornado sirens started going off, it began to rain really hard then it began to hail also.  Our street quickly became a river up over the curbs.  I keep expecting cars to start moving from the deep water!

Anyway, onto matters at hand.  I am having a lot of pain in my abdomen, just a couple inches above where the drain was.  It is a little swollen in that area and I have no clue what the problem is.  Yesterday, and last night, I actually took pain medication again and I hadn't done that since Sunday, 5 days before!  I guess if it doesn't resolve by Monday I will have to break down and call the doc.  I just won't do it on the weekend unless I think I might be dying.  My DH gets so upset with me, lol!

Still moving along with the pureed diet. I am finding it almost harder than the liquid diet because I have a few choices and it is making me think more about "real food" and by that I mean food that has some substance to it.  I like tuna, I like canned chicken, but I like the chunks not this slurry that I have to turn it into! The flavor is fine, for example, I had some white meat canned chicken and I added a couple Tbs. of cottage cheese to it and a healthy amount of Mrs. Dash seasoning, not too bad!  But after reading a blog I love titled and looking at her post about her days of pureed foods, I sent DH to the store for some corned beef hash.  Now once I pureed it, it looked almost the same as my refried beans but gosh it tasted good!  I have never been much of a fan of hash but for right now it is the best thing I have tasted on this leg of the journey.  Woo hoo!!

Well, I guess that is all that is new or different for today.  My weight wasn't down any today but I am not worried.  Not to get too graphic but I was always very regular with bms.  I went every morning like clockwork and now all of that has changed.  It looks like every 3-4 days is the norm for now and it's been 3.  Hard to lose much weight when you are putting stuff in but not getting anything out.  Tomorrow will be the day, I am sure of it, lol!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

               Colorado is a desert!

Okay, make sure you realize that is desert not dessert!  We are a state that is considered to be high desert.  We seldom get  much rain and we have been in a drought for a few years but suddenly we are drowning here in Colorado and it is so unusual I'm not sure we know what to do.  Flooding, roads washed out, even a few deaths!  So sad!

On a different note though.  I have been thinking about vitamins.  I started on my regimen of bariatric vitamins a few days ago and it is pretty tough.  I have to get a handle on it because this is something I will have to do for the rest of  my life, and so will you if you have had or are going to have bariatric surgery.  It is not optional, it is part of what is going to keep you healthy.  If you have a bypass like I had it is especially crucial.  Our new, surgically altered systems do not absorb enough nutrients from the foods we eat to keep us healthy.  We have to supplement.  But wow!  Okay, here is what I am taking now.  A chewable multivitamin and the one I chose requires that you chew 4 a day. Chewable calcium citrate (you must have this form, not calcium carbonate)  the brand I bought requires 4 a day to get your 2000mgs in and they are huge!  Vitamin D3, fortunately it is 1 tiny little soft gel..  B-50 Complex - 2 capsules daily, Sublingual B-12, only 1!  Then in addition I am taking a chewable iron because I have been anemic most of my life and I have added Biotin because there is some evidence that it might help slow down the hair loss we can all expect to experience to some degree.  If you weren't counting, that is 14 pills.  And I am still on several medications.  This has to be done every single day, we can't blow it off so I am thinking that as time goes on I am going to try really hard to find good replacements that require less pills. I can't afford to toss these out and buy new ones so for now I am stuck but down the road...hopefully there is a better solution.  Regardless I will do what I need to.  I had this surgery to live longer and maybe get rid of some of the comorbidities that I have been dealing with so I don't want to trade them for diseases caused by lack of vitamins!  Are you with me out there!!??

Today I tried mixing my canned white meat chicken with some cottage cheese and a good shake or two of Mrs. Dash's Tomato Basil Garlic Seasoning.  It was actually pretty tasty.  I am still not really hungry but since I need to eat pureed foods and I need to get in 60-80 grams of protein I figure it can't hurt if it has some flavor, right?

That's all I have for today, have mainly been mulling over the whole vitamin issue and thought I would share!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

                   2 weeks post-op!

Sorry I have been missing in action for a few days.  I am completely computer illiterate when it comes to troubleshooting and I was unable to log in to post anything.  I had to wait until DH had a few moments to take a look and help me figure it out.  Turns out I wasn't the only blogger here at BlogSpot with the problem and there was a fix posted and now I am up and running again.

Today was a bit of a milestone for me.  I had my 2 week post-op appointment with my surgeon, Dr. Joshua Long.  First, of course, I went through the usual stuff, blood pressure check, weigh in, etc.  It is a funny feeling to be anxious to get on the scale at the doctor's office, well, actually it is a funny feeling to want to get on a scale anywhere, anytime, lol!  But that was my feeling.  Then lo and behold I am 11 pounds down from the surgery 2 weeks ago.  Added to what I lost by making the recommended changes in my life (see the first blog entry for what those were) I am down 33 pounds in the last 4 months.  My hubby suddenly stopped in his tracks tonight and stared at me and then said, "Wow, I can really see in your face that you have lost weight!"  Okay, thanks honey, but why is it always just in the face at first?  I mean, 33 pounds is a lot of sticks of butter, 132 of them to be exact.  Why couldn't he (or anyone) have said, "Wow, your butt looks better!"  or "Wow, those hips are really shrinking!" But no, it is always the face!  Now I don't believe I have lost 33 pounds in my face, lol, but I guess since you are still wearing the same clothes and though they are starting to be big on you, in some ways because of that you kind of look the same to people.

The doc removed all my steri-strips from the incisions, counting where the drain was located there are a total of 5 incisions.  He said they looked great and I wasn't going to have much in the way of scars after a few months.  Everything looks great and he gave me my operative report.  It is a play by play report of exactly everything they did during surgery.  I haven't gotten around to reading the whole thing.  It is 5 pages long so I will put it right by my Kindle and when I go to bed I will let my brain fight over whether I want to read that or the nice murder mystery I am currently reading, lol!  He told me that something had looked a little off in my stomach so he did a biopsy and I am happy to report it came back just fine

Another issue I am dealing with is the diabetes.  Now when I say it is an issue it is because I am not sure what has happened.  Lots of people get totally off of their insulin and/or medications after bypass surgery.  The doc told me that I might not see that result because I have been diabetic for so long, however, I told him that I always plan for the best.  Before starting this journey I was on 88 units of insulin (44 twice daily) 4-500 mg Metformin, 1.8 units of Victoza and 2 glimepiride tablets.  I went off the Metformin a few days before surgery and have not taken any since.  I had worked down to 20 units of insulin twice a day before surgery and now I have only given myself 10 units, 2 different times.  Most days I am only taking 1 glimepiride or sometimes a half of one.  So bottom line is that the diabetes seems to be resolving.  I may have a different experience once I start eating a more regular diet but for now I am pumped!!

And that brings me to one more thing before I stop for today.  Yesterday I moved from the liquid diet to the pureed diet.  I was so excited to add a few new things to the mix.  I started out the morning with some cottage cheese pureed with a little unflavored Unjury protein powder.  It tasted okay but I was kind of like, "Bleh."  Then later I had some refried beans pureed in the food processor, again they were okay but nothing to write home about.  For dinner I had some white albacore tuna pureed with some chicken broth and once again it was just okay.  Perhaps I set myself up getting so excited about different food, perhaps my taste buds have changed as so many people say they do.  Who knows?  The bottom line at this point anyway is to gradually see how your new little pouch  handles different things and that is what you really want to focus on.  Elisabeth Bailey, who is the counselor on my posse (I just decided today that that is what I am calling all the wonderful staff at my surgeon's office) kept telling us over and over that we need to take care of, even baby our new little pouch because we don't want to stretch it out too much or too soon.  So that is what I am going to do! 

Monday, September 9, 2013

                    Day 13 - Post-op

Well, life never goes the way you plan  it out in your head, does it?  For the last few days, intermittently, I have been getting a really severe pain in my lower right abdomen.  I had spoken to my doctor about it a few days ago and after asking me a bunch of questions and discussing it we decided it was probably caused by the drain I have in me and since I would be getting it out on the 11th we would watch and see.  Yesterday morning that pain woke me up.  I painstakingly took myself off to the bathroom hoping that that was the problem.  I peed pretty good but that didn't help and nothing else was going to happen so I made my way back to the bed.  It hurt so bad that I was crying.  My hubby and daughter were downstairs enjoying their weekly time of bonding over zombie movies.  I always think I have to be tough so I managed to lay down on my back and if I didn't move even a centimeter it wasn't too bad but any movement at all sent a stabbing sensation to that area, I was also beginning to feel nauseous.  After dealing with it alone for over an hour and a half I finally called downstairs and asked Steve if he would come up.  He was there immediately, took one look at me and asked what was wrong.  I told him and he said, "Call the doctor, right now!"  So I got hold of the doctor and he finally said I needed to go to the ER.  Off we went!

So to make a very long story short, they sent me to ct scan, they ruled out kidney stones and decided it wasn't appendicitis but the ER doc said that he and my doc had reviewed the scan together and there was something a little funky near my appendix.  They removed my drain while I was there and all I can say about that is, "Hallelujah!"  The doc told me when they released me that there was a 50/50 chance that I would be back within 24-48 hours with appendicitis!  So far, so good.  I feel so much better just having that drain out of me.  I think it was something drain related causing the pain.  I haven't even had any pain medication since leaving the ER nearly 24 hours ago.

On another note is the weight loss.  If you have been reading since the beginning then you know that I went up 8 pounds after coming home from the hospital. I really didn't stress too much about that.  I knew it had to be fluid.  Since then I have lost that 8 pounds and another 5 on top of it.  My weight this morning was...drumroll...213.  That is down a total of 32 pounds since first meeting with the surgeon.  I know I am weird in this bariatric world but I really don't want to lose it too fast.  I am physically unable to exercise much still and if I lose really fast then I will just have more ugly excess skin to deal with.  Sigh.  Am I complaining?  I sure shouldn't be, should I?  Okay, so I will leave the weight loss speed and the excess skin in God's hands.  He always takes good care of my so why would He stop now!?

One thing I have to mention.  Others have mentioned it on their blogs but we always think we are gonna be different, we are gonna do better.  It is this: It is so tough to get all your protein and your fluids in.  It seems strange to me that someone who could down an entire half gallon of ice cream, or eat 5-6 pieces of thick pizza and breadsticks and soda would have any difficulty drinking 40+ ounces of water and other liquid or getting in 60+ grams of protein but it is true.  You are not really hungry and right now at the last day of my liquid diet, I am pretty tired of protein shakes.  I am excited for tomorrow when I move to the pureed diet.  I will be adding cottage cheese, non-fat yogurt, canned chicken and tuna (blended with broth to be like baby food) and a few other things.  Just to have something to kind of "chew" will be great!!  Come back soon to see how it goes!

Friday, September 6, 2013

                    I am still alive!

Just in case anyone was beginning to wonder about me, I am still here, lol!

Surgery was 8/27 and everything went fine despite me being a much higher risk than the average patient.  It took about 2 and 1/2 hours then I spent a couple hours in the recovery room before being whisked off to my suite...uh, room.  I was not allowed a sip of water, not even an ice chip until more than 24 hours later when I had my leak test.  That was really hard.  You are given those little spongy things that are on a stick that you can moisten your lips and tongue with but you are told that if you feel any water in your mouth to spit it out and not swallow!!  Who cared about food, I just wanted moisture.  The leak test was an experience, if you've ever had a test for a hiatal hernia or to look at your esophagus it is just like that.  You have to drink this incredibly horrible tasting stuff that makes barium seem like fine wine.  This stuff smells like floor wax and the technician and I decided it tastes like what we would imagine floor wax tastes like.  NASTY!  Then they scan you for any leaks.  All was fine and when I got back to my room I was cleared to start having liquids.  You are still on a clear liquid diet and the menu you use to call room service is pretty funny in my book.  You can choose from a variety of herbal teas, 3 kinds of low-sodium broth (chicken, beef or vegetable) and sugar-free jello.  You can really add variety to your life by choosing a different tea and a different broth each time.  Jello was pretty much one flavor available. Red.  Which really isn't a flavor but you get my drift.

The nurses and staff at Parker Adventist Hospital were awesome.  I have been in many different hospitals and it has been my experience that when you ring for a nurse be prepared to wait. Well, every time I rang someone would answer immediately and after I told them what I needed there was someone there to help me immediately.  My doctor and his staff were there everyday and I felt really cared about.  My niece, Amber, came one day and brought my daughter, Shannon.  I sat in the chair and we played the board game, Sequence, it was a nice change of pace and helped a lot to pass the time.

I went home on 8/29 and was so happy to be able to sleep in my own bed.  Hubby was mighty glad, too.  Except for the year he was in Viet Nam, it has been a rare night for us to not be together and he said there was just something wrong with the bed without me in it.  Of course, I was thinking,
"Yeah, it has some room in it!"

I came home with a drain as it seems many bariatric patients do.  It is not comfortable and it is not pretty but you deal with it.  At first I was having to empty the little receptacle (which looks like a clear, plastic grenade) several times a day but now it has slowed down to about once a day and even then it isn't very full.  You have to keep a log of when you empty it and how much was in it to take back to the doctor when you have it removed.

Food wise, I am still on the liquid diet until the middle of next week.  The only really new and kind of different thing I have added is strained 98% Fat-free cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup made with skim milk, however, it tastes wonderful.  You will find you are sick of things that are sweet.  Did I really say that?  It's true, shakes, jello, crystal light, flavored water, all of them are sweet and so the slightly salty, savory taste of hot (well, at least pretty warm) soup tastes really good. 

Be prepared to not really care much if you put anything in your new little stomach.  You aren't hungry or you don't feel like you want anything so you have to make it your mission to get some protein into your body.  My surgeon requires 60-80 grams daily and it is tough.  He doesn't recommend that you start on the vitamin regimen for a week or so as you heal so it is doubly important that you push yourself to get some protein in your body.  You will be tired and weak just from the trauma of surgery so don't make it any worse.  I won't lie to you, I am struggling to do it.  Yesterday my protein total ended up being 59 grams and that was a concerted effort.  I am finding I just want to have something that I can really chew.  Try chewing jello, lol!  It doesn't really work. 

I am not complaining, I am not sorry I did this, I just want this blog to be helpful and honest and it won't be if I pretend all is fine and dandy.  I still have some pain, I don't have any energy but I am looking forward to that turning around soon.  Oh and it is a good thing I don't freak out easily because I got on my scale the day after coming home and I was up 8 pounds from my pre-op weight, 8 pounds!  But I knew it was just fluids and as I have emptied that drain over and over and watched the scale start coming down it has proven to be true.

Drum roll, please.  My weight on 4/29/13 was 245, my weight today 9/6/13 was 215.8.  I had lost 25 pounds pre-op and now the scale is starting to move and 4 more pounds have left me.

Long post today but I needed to catch up.  See you all soon!