As some of you know by now by my post from a couple of weeks or so ago, I GOT A DATE! Lord willing and the Covid settles a bit, I will be joining the loser's bench on December 7th! Monday starts my preop diet-I can either do an all liquids diet or one with one small meal from a very short list of meat and vegetables. I opted to do whichever one my body needs each morning. I have done water fasting before with my longest without food being 3 days so I have some idea how craptastic this is probably going to be for the first few days. Thankfully while I love my family dearly everyone is okay with me sitting at home to hang out with my protein shake and cleaning supplies while my mom goes to my younger brother's house a few hours away. While I enjoy Thanksgiving food it won't be that much missed away from the smells and watching everyone else eat. My work schedule also is normal so Thursday is just a normal day off for me and then back at it Friday and Saturday so I also will count my blessings my day off isn't spent in a car for a good part of the day. Christmas will probably be different, Christmas is much more family and a lot less eating involved. 😊
So today was my stock up day for the next week or so(I didn't want to go all out buying 2 weeks worth in case tastes change, Covid postpones surgery or my tastebuds change) and of course it was basically everyone else's shopping day...completely didn't think about it being Thanksgiving week...oops. Anywho, ended up with some Fairlife, Premier protein shakes, sugar free jello, tasty bone broth(I can add a small amount of chicken or other meat and some veggies to it to make it more soup like), Mio Sport for electrolyes since I know I have a tendency to have leg cramps, fiber, immodium, bean-o--for any possible stomach irritability on the diet and beyond, and so many water flavor packets! I also have video games I can play, my novel to work on (anyone else doing NaNoWriMo this year?), books I've been meaning to read and cleaning to do to keep me out of the kitchen and focused on other things when I'm not at work.
Wednesday is my preop visit with the nutritionist/surgeron and finalizing financial stuff and December 4th is my Covid test-if anyone has any insight to how terrible (or not really) that is, I'm all ears. I will be getting the nose swab(yay me. -_-) but my supervisor started my two weeks time off on the 4th and just had me work 4 days in a row which means I can get it done early and come home and go back to bed. Plan on going into nesting mode that weekend-although I'm kinda already working on it now. I've been saving up my vacation basically all year in anticipation of 2 whole weeks off. I want to make sure if I have any complications I won't screw up our schedule but also I work at a vet clinic as a receptionist and y'all...I am EXHAUSTED. I have a couple of friends that have already made plans to come see me while I'm on leave and I also plan on maybe going out to the beach for the day to walk and take pictures if I'm up to it(I know I see others being able to handle several miles of walking only a few days post op). But for the most part, I'm not making any plans but to rest, walk and sip anything else besides that is all extra bonuses! 🙂
I ordered some popsicle making molds from Amazon that I plan to use with my flavored water that should be here in a couple of days along with my pill dispenser (has 4 compartments per day-AM, Lunch, PM, evening) and I can take one large compartment with me to work instead of the whole thing!
After so much time sometimes it is really hard for me to believe I actually have a surgery date...I went to my first ever bariatric surgery info session when I was 17...I am now 31...I always say that you can never help someone from addiction or just bad choices unless THEY ARE READY and I never listened to my own advice...until last year on my 30th birthday, I had had so many birthdays where I always promised myself in a year I wouldn't be fat, I could almost picture myself not obese but not quite. 30 was my wake up call that I couldn't do it on my own, I needed my help. In the mountains of Wyoming (I went back to visit with friends I had made while living there for a few years) I decided that I would find a PCP and start figuring it all out. I got insanely lucky, I had no PCP in mind when I called to make an appointment, just asked the receptionist who she would recommend and haven't looked back. She has been rooting for me for months and when I got to send her a message and let her know I had a date was a really big highlight for me. I stuck with this and here I am...16 days from surgery.
I plan on vetting a therapist here in a few weeks, to find one that matches some specific criteria that also happens to be in network may be a bit of a challenge but I have challenges that weight loss will bring me I've never faced before...like dating...I've been obese since 4th or 5th grade so I've never been in a relationship or worried about unsavory characters giving me attention I do not want although I also plan on starting Krav Maga classes when my surgeron clears me.
I think that's all I got for now, gonna enjoy my last 24 hours of "normal" eating tomorrow and Monday starts the real countdown!
As it sits I am now 27 days away from my 7th and final weigh in visit with my PCP. Granted I did find out I have to go over to the lab to get some bloodwork done but I plan on doing that on Friday and don't expect any huge problems that need addressing so really, it that last visit. In the last 7 months as of right now I have 1)quit smoking (February 7th baby!) 2)Gotten to really forge a relationship with my PCP(SO thankful for this, I need as many people rooting for me as possible!) 3) Made quite a few small changes in anticipation of surgery 4) Became more active on this forum and other Facebook pages 5) Kept at this for now almost a year.
A few reflections thus far:
If you have a supervised diet requirement by your insurance, embrace it y'all. I never really expected to enjoy my visits with my PCP during this time but even she said this last visit that our chats were her favorite appointment and that she was proud of how far I've come. To clarify, I've only lost like ~9lbs(sometimes 6lbs depending on the time of day and if I am wearing work clothes) but I have added in quite a bit more exercise (most weeks I average 30-45mins at least 4-6 days a week), I am drinking so much more water, I've cut out straws(for the most part) and energy drinks and I am currently working on getting rid of soda. I have also most days controlled and conquered my sugar habit, the portion control is where I really struggle honestly and journaling my food should be better but I'm working on that! I guess what I mean to say is that I never really thought about the fact that if I am denied for whatever reason through insurance that I will really need someone in my corner that knows the changes I've made and how much I have worked for this surgery to fight for me. If you don't think your PCP would be willing to do that for you, I'd highly recommend finding a new one before you really get trucking down this path.
The small changes really have added up for me, but it's the portion control I lack(I've always lacked) and I am SO ready to have that built in for me to bring alongside my other changes to finally get my life moving the way I want! If you have a few months, make small changes so by the time surgery comes, you aren't trying to change everything about your lifestyle.
It hurts to be fat. It really, really does. Incorporating exercise has made me see that even with new shoes, my feet and calves hurt when I power walk and I'm out of commission for the next like 5 days trying to recuperate. Lesson learned: hiking in nature is my go to(zero problems unless I wear the wrong socks-the blisters after 7 miles was like walking in broken glass), but I will also start up my yoga dvd again(it is legit yoga for obese people-the name escapes me at this moment) as well as my Biggest Loser dvds for indoor exercise. I think I'll leave the road pounding to a less fat Amanda, maybe throw in some more gentler, longer walks. My surgeon wants me at 60 minutes of cardio 6 days a week leading up to surgery, can be in increments or all at once. Even being in a little bit better shape than I am now will help my recovery and transition that much easier.
If you can, get your bariatric program to pre-schedule all of your weigh in PCP, specialist (sleep, cardiology etc), nutritionist visits at the beginning it will make a HUGE difference. At least it did for me. I had my consult with my surgeon in February, met with the coordinator who scheduled all my appointments (which meant I could ask for my work schedule to allow for those visits off months ahead of time) but also allowed me to put them in my calendar and gave me the ability to countdown each one. I downloaded a widget for my phone that counts down and I get intense pleasure from resetting it after each PCP visit to restart that month countdown. I have a goal to be down 5-10lbs for my last visit and having a countdown gives me incentive!
Having this wait for me really made me realize how into instant gratification I was am. So much of me thought I was so ready for this surgery as soon as I walked out of the surgeon's office. I wanted nothing to do with freaking SEVEN months of visits! Going to Mexico crossed my mind more than I really like to admit just because I didn't want to wait and thought I was 100% ready. Obviously, that was false and the more I settled into my routines of PCP visits intermingled with lifestyle changes and new diagnoses(I have sleep apnea, surprise! -_-) the more I realized that if I had been able to have surgery a few weeks after meeting the surgeon I may have been doomed or just really, really, really miserable at the beginning. When I start to get antsy about dates and waiting I HAVE to remind myself that I didn't get to be where I am health/weight wise overnight, in a week or even in 7 months and waiting a little longer isn't the end of the world(especially if you consider my very first visit to a bariatric seminar was when I was 17-my mom was okay with signing anything she needed to-----I am now 30).
I've never seen myself at a healthy weight, or even under 300lbs since college about 9 years ago, I have never dated and always considered myself the fat friend-the one that people keep around because I make them laugh but not much else, and my friendship graveyard seems to confirm that. This wait has brought a lot of emotional issues to deal with that thankfully I can deal with a part from recovering from surgery and fixing my eating habits/lifestyle. I discovered I am terrified of no longer being able to not attract the wrong attention(I have never really worried about being kidnapped or raped or even hit on in a bar) but I have remedied that by finding a Krav Maga club by my work that should very nicely double as a gym/workout as well as planning on getting my concealed carry license. Dating is a whole other game, one I probably won't even think about touching for very long time, being along my whole life has given me the ability to be spontaneous in my plans (the dogs don't care if I wake up and decide to take them 8 hours to a state park to camp and hike with absolutely no warning 🤣🤣.
Oh! Last thing, I am now working on an Amazon list of things to order once I am approved and scheduled for surgery! I really think I'm gonna buy that stuffed sleeved stomach stuffed toy(?) animal(?) thing for the hospital stay.
I'm sure there are more things, but this kinda became a rambling stream of stuff. I really should have started this blog the day I had my consult but to tell you the truth, I never really saw myself going through this whole process successfully...but since I'm so close to the end and new beginning I need to throw this bad boy into overdrive!
Until next time,
I really have been meaning to write more blogs during my journey and well...I'm kind of lazy and was always motivated right at bedtime.
Moving on. So June was my sleep study, have super mild sleep apnea but enough to warrant a cpap machine. I hate it. I hate that I have to pay like $900 for the stupid thing(insurance would not have kicked in until over a thousand dollar deductible had been met so I went with an online provider that I emailed my prescription to and had them set my machine to). So true story, I used it sometimes and for the most part ignored it. Until after talking to one of the nurses about requirements for surgery they require a 75% use of the machine for 4 or more hours a night in the last 30 days (so that is around 22-23 days for anyone wondering). I was in maybe the 25-30% range at that point. I kept taking off the mask at night, or I wouldn't sleep for 4 hours(I skew to a late night person and my job normally has me getting up to get ready to go in at 5am so that clashes most weekday nights). I asked this wonderful community for help and got lots of recommendations and really finally sat down with myself and made sure each night keeping the stupid mask on was at the forefront of my mind every night AND I had to make sure I was in the most comfortable position as possible--9 times out of 10 it worked and I was able to hit my goal. So come to this morning I hit 76%!! Immediately downloaded my sleep report from my app(I have a ResMed machine and their app is pretty great), screenshotted it(can't screen shot it in the app) and messaged it over to Baylor Scott and White (my surgery should be happening in the Temple hospital). That was the last requirement besides the last 2 visits to my super awesome PCP-visit #6 is next Monday and visit #7 is October 27th-two days before my birthday. As soon as the October visit is done my job will be to call the bariatric department to let them know so they can submit all my paperwork(fingers crossed no appeal will be needed)!!
When I've tried this process the last few times it has never felt like this, so much more real, something that is SUPPOSED to happen vs doing it because it felt like what everyone wanted me to do. I guess that was something I had to come to the conclusion was the best choice for me, it took me a few years (the first ever wls seminar I went to I was 18-I'm 30 now). I always say that unless someone wants to help themselves it doesn't matter what others offer in support or help(mostly from my experience with people I love and drug habits) and it was so true for me. I always thought I'd lose the weight on my own, day after day, year after year until my weight was 17 pounds higher than my highest ever in the surgeon's office...that was a blow and moment of clarity.
is the longest 'supervised diet' I had to do in the past and I have used my time thus far to prepare mentally and emotionally, taking up new hobbies, and changing my habits one at a time. I have thus far: upped my protein and water intake, almost entirely quit sugar(desserts/junk food), quit energy drinks and started working out(this has been a struggle y'all but I plan on taking up Krav Maga and probably kayaking once I'm healed along with my winter hikes to keep it fun). I want to be where I need to be when I wake up from surgery, not grappling with quitting horrible habits and trying to juggle the emotions and physical healing of the surgery. I won't lie, I am an instant gratification person, I would love to be able to just go and self pay with none of the hoops to jump through but now at this point I am so thankful I am not because for me, that would have probably been a disaster.
I have lost some weight along the way and I try to keep the fact that weight lost now will make recovery so much easier to keep me on the straight and narrow.
I love this community and hope that as I progress from hopeful patient to joining a lot of you on the loser's bench I can contribute valuable insight and motivation.
Until next time,
It has been 3 years since I last posted. During that time I had 3 more Plastic Surgeries despite the fact that I never got to my goal weight. The Dr felt that with all the excess skin from having lost 280 pounds it was best to get it off and see if maybe I would be able to walk again. So in May of 2018, I had an extended Brachioplasty. Within 1 hour of waking up, I was sent home and within less than an hour of being home, I was rushed back to the hospital as I had blood pouring out of my left upper arm. The Surgeon's assistant was called when I got to the hospital at about 9 pm. He came right away and said I had a baseball size hematoma and c would have to go back into surgery. No room was available until 4 a.m. so I remained in the ER until an Operating Room was available. I remained in the hospital for 3 days and almost have to have a blood transfusion. I was released but was told I immediately had to go to the PS office. As I was being loaded into the van my arm started bleeding again. The Dr greeting me at the door and I was immediately taken into a room. I remember him saying I looked like death warmed over. He called insurance and they approved for a nurse to come every other day to clean and rewrap my left arm. It took me 10 weeks to recover from that surgery. I must say I am glad I had the surgery but even though he took off 7 inches of skin from each arm he could have taken off more. I have Micheline Tire Baby Syndrome and the excess skin removal did not take all the rings away. I still have one roll on each arm and some excess skin as my arms are 14 inches instead of 21. To this day I still cannot wear sleeveless shirts and added sleeves to my bathing suits. Insurance will probably never approve another surgery on my arms. After this surgery and complications, I had two more.
In early Dec of 2018, I had my panniculectomy and a second hernia was repaired. I had no complications with this surgery and was thrilled to get 10 pounds of skin off my tummy and not have the huge overhang any more. Wearing the binder was not fun as it kept riding either up or down my butt. By the end of January, I was able to buy my first compression garment and was back to work 2 weeks later. Despite the 10 pounds being gone I still was not able to walk without a cane or a walker. All this excess skin being removed is not helping my 6 herniated discs, yet there is one more surgery and this I am told this one may be the one that allows me to walk.
In late May of 2019, I had a belt lipectomy. The first week was very painful but by week 3 I was doing great. Two days I had terrible pain on the V spot on my back all the way around to my left groin incision. I was in terrible pain, my skin was hot and I had become so swollen I could not sleep on my left side and I had developed a blister. The Dr had been called the weekend I had terrible pain and felt so sick but I was not able to see him until Wednesday. He Popped the blister and over 5 Emesis Basin of fluid came out. He sent it for testing and 2 days later I was told I had to go to an Infectious Disease Doctor. The Doctor had no appointments on Friday and by Sunday 2 more blisters developed and I was so scared I went to the ER. It was determined I had MRSA and was in the hospital in an isolated room for 5 days. I had to have a MIdline put in as my veins were collapsing. OMGod that procedure hurt like you cannot believe, I was told I had rolling veins and it took them over 40 minutes to get that midline in. To make matters worse I still had a lot of excess skin in the area they wanted to put the midline. I could not move my arm for at least 2 hours after that procedure. For the next 8 weeks, I had 2 hours of IV Vancomycin 2 times a day. Finally Mid August I was well enough to return to work. This surgery did not help my ability to walk any better. I started going to a pain management clinic and he tried all kinds of procedures I can not even remember what they all were.
By January 2020 the pain management Doctor thought that radiofrequency ablation might work. So in late February, he stuck me 4 times on each side of my back with the heat probe that cuts the nerve. I knew within weeks I had not worked and then Covid19 hit us all and I was in South East Florida a very bad hot spot. Even today as I wrote this we are still under phrase one. With my body the way it is I am afraid to go anywhere. My last day of work in the office was March 12th. I have been out of the house 3 times since that day. Thank God I can do remote Zoom lessons with my blind clients otherwise I would be homeless.
So where do I go from here? I do not think the pain management Doctor who I went to for over 6 months is someone I would want to return to. In Jan I will be 65 years old and even though I have been on a Medicare advantage plan since 2008 I could change insurance companies and get all new Doctors. The only problem is I have no idea what kind of a Doctor to go to or whether or not these Florida Doctors would do anything for me. I am still obese despite having lost 250 pounds and have another 80 pounds to lose. I am over 4 years post-op for my sleeve surgery and barely manage to lose 5 to 8 pounds a month if I am 100% on plan. I was hoping to be walking by my 65th birthday but it does not look like it will happen. I wish I could say losing all this weight was the cure to my being able to walk but it was not. I am so totally disappointed that it did not happen. But I suppose when you have 6 herniated discs losing weight is not going to help them. Yes, I am thinner but am still in a great deal of pain and cannot do anything without a walker or a scooter. Some Golden Years I will be having. Am so tired of being like this. Jan 2021 will be 27 years since I was so badly injured at the Quiet Waters Park Kiss Country Chili and Band Competition. I wish I had never gone it was the ruination of my life.
Howdy to anyone and everyone out there!
I have my own personal blog that I could post these fun things into, but right now, I like the anonymity that I have here from friends and family. While the vast majority of those I want to know, know( I do not plan on keeping it a secret for long after I have the surgery), there are things that I'd rather not put out just yet for all of my social media. Also, I ramble...a lot, just as warning. I hope to one day post all of the posts on my more public blog hopefully to help those that have questions or doubts about the surgery and what kind of process to expect(mentally, physically, spiritually and insurance-ly(?)).
Case in point: most of today's post revolves around the steps I have thus far completed towards the insurance requirements. 1) I have completed my first supervised weigh in visit(or whatever it is called) and had gained a staggering 7 pounds since my consult with my surgeon. Holy balls. I refer to them as my 'pandemic pounds' and I vowed that every visit I had there on (with my pcp or other provider) I would not be heavier than my last visit...guys, that 7lbs put me at 347...my HIGHEST EVER WEIGHT. I was mortified. My highest before I had been at was a measly 320- and I'd been at that weight for YEARS. I digress. I got back onto the count-every-calorie-and-log-it train and I have slowly lost around 5-6 of those pounds. Which brings me to another point, if I count every.single.calorie.ever I will usually lose the weight, stop once or twice and get out of the habit of not tracking and BAM! all that weight back plus more. Ugh. I have upped my protein and water intakes drastically and I most admit, protein keeps me from being hungry and thinking about food all the damn time and I look forward to having the surgery that will go hand in hand with that as well as making it impossible to scarf down 4,000 calories in one sitting---done it, hated myself for it and have really started trying to tune into the brain and stomach signals when I'm full to stop and when I want the world to burn, to PUT DOWN THE ICE CREAM AMANDA and take a breather....it's a learning process, and while I'd LOVE to be able to get surgery tomorrow, I am happy for the 7 months of putting into place coping mechanisms as well as upping exercise(and by that, I mean finding things I like besides the long hikes I do in the winter).
Step number 2: I have completed the psych evaluation, it was a 15 minute chat with a psychologist on Zoom or whatever telehealth platform they were using and then a 300 questionnaire that I have issues with--I hate the stupid things with vague, sometimes true and sometimes not true statements that you have to say you agree or disagree with. My paper says that the visit was supposed to also potentially discuss the results, but the guy told me once I'd turned them in he would write a report that goes to whoever needs it. I would like to know my results...guess I will call the bariatric department and make sure I'm not doing all this only to be denied in 6 months because of my evaluation-if that's the case, I've already decided I would find a place like Blossom or maybe Mexico to self pay. I digress.
Step 3) Had to do a sleep study, had the consult with a nurse practitioner who decided since I have no major ongoing issues I could complete a home sleep study. Guys, it pretty much sucked balls(see pictures).
Got that done, turned it back in and Thursday I have the results visit(I wish they could just tell me if I have sleep apnea or not--I will be kind of surprised if I do) AND weigh in #2 with my PCP! BTW guys, I can't stress this enough, if you don't have a PCP that you enjoy going to see and that will root for you, get you a different one. My PCP supports my decision to pursue bariatric surgery and I enjoy our conversations we have had thus far. Will be even happier if Thursday I am down a good 10ish pounds or so.
Last item of business, I went to Michael's this past weekend (it was glorious!) and found this sweet box that I have come to refer to as my "You Got This!" box. My book with all my surgery info is in it, I also plan to write myself notes and put inspirational pictures in it(things I want to wear, places to go, things to do etc) to look through when all I really wanna do is eat 5 pounds of chocolate. I attached a picture if anyone is curious, I like having things like that.
I should probably call it a night, it's already after 11pm and I have to be up for work here around 5am.
Look for more of these hot mess blogs, they make me feel good putting it all (well, most) out there.
I almost gave up...again. I almost decided that my health wasn't worth waiting another month. I almost did, but I didn't this time. An inconvenience that would not phase almost anyone else made me second guess myself for the billionth time. But this time I stuck with it, even though I was disappointed, even though deep down I wanted to use the fact that my first (of seven) doctor supervised “diet” appointments was made into a telehealth appointment that I subsequently did not attend due to some idiocy on my part and therefore had to push my timeline back another month. I wanted to give up, I wanted to cancel every single appointment the bariatric department had made me already. But rational, 30-year-old Amanda kept focused that it was a minor setback, easily remedied by making an appointment for October for the last visit. Also, my first doctor supervised appointment was last week and it was in clinic, gained 7lbs(I call them pandemic pounds -_-) and forgot how much I like my doctor! Actually had a conversation about what changes to make, how things were going and goals for my next visit! Also also, today is my 90 day mark of having quit smoking! WOOHOO!
I am in the process of making a playlist for days like that(because really, the most doubt was only around for at most a day or two) to get me through the self doubt of my decision even though for 99.999% of the time I am 120% committed to doing this for me. No pressure from anyone else, no real (or imagined)judgment(s) from others to do what I feel like they want me to do. This is on me. A playlist that will incite courage and faith in the journey, to remind me that the process isn't a sprint but a marathon that must be paced accordingly. --If you have suggestions, I'd love them!---
I did my psych evaluation today. Going into it not knowing what to expect was only mildly nerve wracking. The possibility the answers I gave on a 300 some odd questionnaire with stupid statements will preclude me from having surgery does weigh on part of my mind. And let me reiterate the stupidity of the questions, many of which could easily be changed from 'true' to 'false' and vice versa depending on my mood or how my day had been going. If that is how it goes, then I guess that is how it goes. And plan B will have to be found—Mexico maybe?
Each month I am trying to focus on changing a habit, getting into a new mindset. I have incorporated more water and protein. This month (after being weighed at +7lbs than my last weight at my doctor's visit) I have re-started logging food and am gradually cutting out the sugar(cookies, candy etc). My highest weight used to be 320, now, with embarrassment it is 347. I was speechless and upset. I luckily do not have any comorbidities...right now...and like I told a coworker, play with fire for to long and you will get burned. In my case, I'm going to get burned badly. With diabetes and high pressure lurking in my family lines it is only a matter of time not to mention my poor knees.
That's all the musings I have for tonight.
Have courage, keep the faith,
Ah, its been two months to the day since my plastics trifecta, and I have to tell you the past month or so has been a little rough.
On Wound Healing:
My healing progress took several steps backwards primarily due to my over-eagerness to get back into my exercise routine. I pushed myself a little too soon, a little too much and ended up opening up a few incisions. TWICE.
Add to this that my body for the past few weeks has decided to expell my sutures instead of absorbing them, resulting in more broken skin and open wounds.
At it's worst, I had 9 concurrent open wounds that were painful, oozing and stinky.
Not including the two ill-advised attempts of full-on running and strength training, along with the equally ill-advised crunches I was doing in bed, I have had almost zero exercise. Now, I do go out for 1+ hour walks every few days, but I don't really count this as "true" exercise as I don't get that exercise "high" afterwards. I consider walking more of mental health remedy, I guess.
On the Blahs:
Due to my slow healing and recurring wounds + the lack of exercise + the fact that I have been basically holed up at home for 2 months + the crappy T.O. winter weather + my self-imposed week-long lack of sleep to watch every marquee Australian Open match, and difficulty sleeping even after it was done + my noticeably increased carb (read: sugar) intake + my obsession with the swelling in my lower abdomen, was feeling pretty sh*tty for a while.
I was in full-on pity party mode and was being a total B to the fam, and picking totally unnecessary fights with them (Sorry Fam! They deserve trophies for putting up with me).
I went through a week or so of drinking my blahs away, which I put a stop to once I realized what I was doing.
I even shared an ENTIRE pack of cigarettes with BFF one night cuz I was just so annoyed and looking back, probably wanted to give an EFF YOU to the universe. Of all the things, I am most regretful of this. Mostly because I admitted it to Mr. & the Kid and while they didn't admonish me, I could see that they were disappointed. Jeez.
On Possibly Turning a Corner:
Last week, I did a much needed reality check (of which I need to thank @sillykitty for for prompting, along with the break in the winter weather that day, and the first good night's sleep I had in a while the night before).
I upped my protein (thanks @FluffyChix for the reminder), and made sure to get more sleep (thanks me!, LOL).
As of this morning, I am down to only 4 open wounds. The ooze factor of these have decreased ALOT, and they no longer stink. YAY! Though I'm going to temper my expectations because I have healed and UN-healed TWICE before and it was a definite hit to the mood.
Current PS/body results:
Swell hell continues in my lower abdomen & upper thighs. Some days are better than others. The one thing I have noticed is that if I wear my abdominal binder too high, the swelling in these areas get worse. I have been trying to make sure that the binder sits low enough, which results in lots of tugging throughout the day. I may have to invest in a full body one.
My arm compression garment is no longer compressing me, despite being tailored by my mom earlier, but I wear it anyway as it helps keep my silicone tape from coming off. That and I have developed a weird security-fondness for it.
I stopped wearing my sports bra (or any bra at all, for that matter) weeks ago because of the wounds on my under-boob and side boob. The arm compression garment is doing a little lifting in that area instead.
Some Comparison Numbers:
Pre-PS Weight: 115 lbs
2m-Po Weight: 117.1 lbs
Pre-PS Bust - Waist - Hips measurements: 32.5" - 25.5" - 33"
2m-Po Bust - Waist - Hips measurements: 33.5" - 25.0" - 34"
Pre-PS Left UpperArm Circumference: 10.5"
2m-Po Left UpperArm Circumference: 10.0"
Pre-PS Right Thigh Circumference: 17.0"
2m-Po Right Thigh Circumference: 19.0"
* I didn't think to measure my lower abdomen before, but I did this morning, so I can start keeping track:
2m-Po Lower Abdomen (measuring widest part): 33.0"
I have my 2 month post op appointment with my surgeon tomorrow. He had given me homework to stretch/massage my arms at my 6 week appt, as he felt I should a fuller range of motion that I did at the time. He wanted to see me be able to raise my arms completely straight up with no resistance. Well....I CAN do it, BUT i can feel the areas between the armpit and upper tricep stretching to its limit. It doesn't hurt, but I can definitely feel the pull. I'm not sure if this is where he wanted me to be at, and I guess we'll see what he says tomorrow.
I promised myself I would not go back to my normal level of exercise until ALL my wounds have closed. This may be overkill, but I really DO NOT want a repeat of last month. Hopefully this will be in the next couple weeks.
I am going back to "work" in a couple weeks as well, so this should help with the boredom.
My surgeon will be taking pics of me at my appointment tomorrow, will see if I will post those, or take some myself...will decide later.
Edited to add update from 2 month follow up appt with Doc:
Soooo....went to my 2 month follow up yesterday and Doc scheduled me for some steroid shots next month...I guess he is not happy with my my scar healing (I was fine with it, but I guess he knows better )
He also asked me again to not wear my tape as much as I have been. I wear them basically 23 hours a day and he wants me to halve that, if not more (he asked me to do this last time, but I didn't listen...but since he asked AGAIN, I guess I should pay attention). I have been tape-less since about 6pm yesterday, and it feels odd. Almost as if the incisions are getting sore again? Only on my arms though...my boobs and tum feel the same. *shrugs*
I do notice this morning that a lot of dried skin was flaking off the (healed) incision lines...not sure what the impact of this is *shrugs again*. I slathered some bio oil on them (he did tell me to moisturize).
Wound update: I was down to 3 open wounds yesterday! BUT...this morning a new one opened on my left underboob due to another suture expelling, so my number stays at 4. Le sigh. Btw, Doc says that part of the reason why I'm expelling so many sutures is because I am "so skinny". Something about no where for the sutures to be absorbed into.
On another note: Speaking of being "so skinny", when I asked Doc about what we can do about my saggy butt, he said that I am not a good candidate for a BBL in my current state, unless I want to gain at least 10 lbs OF FAT. Um, no thanks. He also does not support nor perform implants, which left his option recommendations to:
Traditional butt lift
Some machine treatment (I forget the name), which is basically a device that simulates 100's of mini squats per session (think Dr. Ho's)
I'm gonna go with the Actual Squats
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I put on a (new) bikini yesterday to take a picture of myself for this 6 week post op milestone. When I was cropping my head out of the picture on my phone, I was taken aback a little (okay alot) at how my body looks now. For some reason, I never noticed until yesterday how my abdominal muscles are so much more noticeable these days. I knew I had them (I could feel them under my skin), they just never stuck out they way they do now. And my new lifted arms look nice and trim and toned. My arms have NEVER been trim nor toned.
I look at this picture and find it hard to believe that its me. I have never looked like this in my life. Even when I was a thin, 105 lb teenager, my body never looked as fit as it does now at 47 years old. Crazy. Thanks WLS. Thanks Plastics. Thanks ME. I am forever grateful and only wish I did more sooner.
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Anyway, some 6 week post-op highlights/updates:
SWELLING & PAIN
My waist has returned to pre-op measurements (thank goodness).
My lower abdomen and upper thighs are still bigger than post op. So my pants remain tight in these areas, but at least I can button them up now without feeling like I'm going to bust out of them.
My right boob is comparatively hard and swollen (vs my left boob) and I have taken to applying ice packs to relieve the achiness.
Of all my PS areas, my boobs cause me the most pain (which is fitting since they were the least of my worries in the first weeks after surgery)
There are distinct areas on my various incisions that are causing some pain due to the sutures being expelled and breaking the skin when rubbed against. These areas don't bleed, but they ooze.
I went for a run this morning and had to stop due to pain. Turns out a spot on the incision of my right side boob split open and bled quite a bit. I had to steri-strip it closed and put a large bandage on it.
I still cannot raise my arms to its full extension. There is no pain, just tightness. I need to practice raising them more often.
SCARS & SILICONE TAPE
I have been using silicone tape for almost 2 weeks now. I take them off to shower and put them back on when I'm dried off.
I prefer having silicone tape on my incisions than none. My incisions feel less "tight" (especially in my armpits); the tape holds down any wayward sutures, as well as protects them from any rubbing from my clothes. I don't put tape on any areas where the skin is broken.
I put some tape on a couple old WLS keloid scars and I swear they are flatter! They are still dark, but they are not as raised as they were. I guess this stuff works.
The areas that have not split nor rubbed raw are healing nicely (no keloids!).
There are no raised areas except for one end of my tummy incision, at the exact spot where one of my drains were. And this was the drain that I had accidentally pulled on a and caused bleeding (and PAIN!) while I was still in hospital.
FOLLOW-UP APPT with DOC
Pleased with my healing, told me that the aches and pain and wounds and oozing is normal. Just keep washing my incisions with soap and water everyday.
He applied some silver on all the areas where the skin was broken and it STUNG. But then he applied some silver on the part that I split open during my run and OH MY GOD it HURT. I cried. It's been 5 hours already since he put it on me and it STILL HURTS. I even took a pain killer and I still have to hold the area whenever I move.
Told me not to wear the silicone tape all the time, and that I should have about half the day when they are uncovered.
No need to wear compression garments anymore...told him I like them, and he said I can wear if I want to, but to have some time (half the day) not wearing them.
I am cleared for all "controlled" exercise (lifting, yoga, running, etc). I am not to participate in any contact sports or activities with sudden movements (for some reason zumba falls under this category, lol).
Apparently I have not been massaging myself with the correct degree of "firmness". He showed me how hard I should be applying pressure and OH MY GOD, the amount of pressure he applied HURT. I was not massaging anywhere close to that level. I don't even think I can! Speaking of massages, he said I can go get regular ones with my masseuse, no adjustments necessary.
Told me I MUST stretch my arms more, as he was not too happy about how far I could raise my arms without feeling tightness. Told me I was in no danger whatsoever of undoing any stitches so I need to aim to stretch further and further and would like to see me have full range of motion by our next appointment in 1 month. Guess i have some work to do!
The no swimming, nor submersing in water ban continues.
That's all for now.
Oh, and here is a side-by-side body comparison pic:
Had my 3 week post op follow up with my surgeon tonite. Before he came by to check me out, one of his PA's took all my steri-stips off, and I finally got a good look at all my incisions. I was glad to see that they are pretty flat, considering. About 80% of them have some sort of scab in varying states (newish, crusty, peeling, etc.. or whatever).
When Doc came by to check me out, he said he was happy with the way I was healing, among other things:
NOT cleared for regular exercise. He said I could walk as much as I want and can do lower body (i.e., leg) work, but that's it.
NOT allowed to submerge my body in water yet (i.e., no swimming, baths, hot tubs, etc.)
NOT allowed to expose my healing incisions to the sun (which I can't do anyway since I'm to keep my garments on...see below)
I am cleared for sex. LOLOLOLzzz...I didn't even know I wasn't allowed. Ooopsies.
With the steri-stips now off, I am to moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.
Am to keep the compression garments on at all times (save showering) until I see him again in another 3 weeks.
I asked about the silicone tape (for scar maintenance) and he said ideally they should be used at least 6 weeks after surgery. Apparently the body is supposed to do some healing first. I will be given a supply at my next follow appt.
He gave me my "before" pictures he took of me back in June 2018 and holy moly, I look different!
Here is a bit more detail organized by each procedure site:
The arm incisions seems to be the scabbiest of all the areas. It is also the "raise-iest" incision, specifically in the armpit.
Doc said I am still pretty swollen there, which is a little surprising, because I thought it was normal sized. So I asked does this mean my arm will get even smaller, and he said I could probably expect to see a bit more shrinkage, but that I can also expect the skin to loosen a bit as well, so net result may be zero from this point. I'm pretty happy with the size right now...so I do NOT want it to get smaller...thought I wouldn't mind a bit more definition (can't wait to be cleared to work em out!)
I can wear deodorant if I want to.
He asked me to make an effort to lift my hands up as far as comfortable every day until I get full upward extension, but to be careful as the armpit incision is statistically the most likely to separate and become a wider scar.
BREAST LIFT w/ SIDE BOOB EXCISION:
As the title says, I ❤️ my boobs! The whole lifting aspect of this was supposed to be secondary, but OMG, I love my boobs! They are a lot smaller than pre-op WLS, but may actually be bigger than I was pre-op PS (I think I'm a 30C now) but, they are so perky and stand-at-attention-y, LOL. They have fullness at the upper part now, I won't need a push up at all anymore. Actually, I probably don't even need a bra, they handle gravity all by themselves. And my nipples! After my breast lift correction: reduction many years ago, my nipples looked stretched out and flat. Now they are perky too and pop out a bit in a nice way even when I'm in a "non-aroused" state...or maybe I'm now perpetually aroused, LOL.
.I told Doc that I feel there is still a liiiiiitttlbe bit too much skin left in my left upper side boob for my liking. He said if after 3 months, it doesn't work itself out, OR I am still displeased, he will do some maintenance in that area under local anesthetic. Bonus.
I can wear regular bras now if I want, but if I want to wear an underwire, to make sure there is some foam or padding around the wire.
First thing Doc said when he walked into the room was "Look at your waist!" (I was naked save my panties on the exam table/recliner). That made me feel good despite the fact that my waist is actually bigger now than it was was pre-op, as is my lower abdomen. But it is super smooth and tight now
When I told him about the size increase, he and the PA said that I can expect there to be swelling for up to a YEAR. Wtf?! This is the first I've heard this. Granted my stomach is not so very big in the grand scheme of things, but it IS much bigger than it was before. Le Sigh.
I told him that I am generally standing upright, except for the little while after I get up after sitting down for a while. He said what I figured he would: get up more often. I don't have to get up for long, just lots. "Its better to go for 10 minute walk every hour than a 60 minute walk every 5 hours"
That's all for now.
I'll try to post some pics tomorrow now that my steri-strips are off...
I stood up straight today! But then I sat down in front of the TV for an hour and I "re-hunched" myself. So I guess I need to move more often
I also walked outside for 10.6 kms today! Mind you it took me 2+ hours over 3 separate trips, but I did it! So long as the weather is reasonable, I've made it a short term goal to do 10 km outdoor walks until I can start running again.
Now that the front of me is looking pretty good due to the PS, by backside (read: my butt) is looking even worse by comparison. So I also started doing some squats today I hate them, but its really the only exercise I can do given my current recovery state. We'll see how long I can keep this up, LOL.
I really, really, really, want to see how my incisions are doing, but the steri-stips are firmly staying in place and will not be changed (if at all) until Jan 8 at my next follow up with my surgeon.
Swelling is still an issue, but I think I'm the only one that notices it. My pants continue to be tight at the waist. I am really looking forward to getting out of these joggers and hoodies I've been sporting...especially as its Mr & my anniversary next week and I wanna wear something nice to dinner at least!!
It was an exciting 2019. After 20 years of considering WLS, I finally had my appointment with a surgeon in May when I weighed the heaviest that I ever have weighed at 230 pounds. At my height of 5'1", this placed me at a BMI of 43.5. During my 6-month pre-op-required nutrition intervention, I got myself down to 205 pounds. A 25-pound weight loss is not bad! But, it is not something I haven't done before. After all, I have been on a diet off-and-on since the age of 13. I am really good at losing weight, but I am even better at gaining it all back plus some every time I have any significant success. I suspect I have lost close to 560 pounds in the past 33 years. With all the ups and down of my weight, my metabolism is surely a mess.
My gastric bypass surgery was December 11th. I am so thankful that it went smoothly and complication-free. Yes, I had significant gas-related abdominal pain and, yes, I was sore and uncomfortable at my surgical sites for about 2 weeks, but it was nothing I couldn't handle. Since my surgery three weeks ago, I have lost 16 pounds. Of course, this is mostly due to my liquid-only diet during the first 2 weeks pre-op. At 189 pounds, I now weigh close to the weight I was before my first son was conceived - a weight that I haven't weighed in 16 years!! As I get ready to watch the ball drop on 2020, I am so excited for all the weight that I will lose in the upcoming year. I am even more excited to re-set my metabolism so that I can maintain my weight loss. However, I am most excited to get healthy for perhaps the first time in my adult life.
I feel so guilty about the amount of clothes that im getting rid of, that Im making 2020 my No Buy Year!
Im only 3/4 done with cleaning out all my old clothes, and I am absolutely disgusted with myself. I bought not only doubles of everything, not tripples but five times as much clothes for my highest weight! I was so scared that I would never be able to find pants and shirts that I liked that fit me, so apparently I hoarded as much as I could. So much so that I was hiding it from myself.
You see in Sweden (and much of Europe) in normal circles, there arent many people who are as heavy as I was and being heavy is really looked down upon MUCH more than in the US where everything is supersize this and that. So even buying clothes online took me forever. So basically I just bought clothes when I was in the States and brought home mammoth amounts of pants etc...especially one or two types of cargo pants. In fact i had so many that I lost track of how many I had and just squirreled them away and forgot about them. Then when I went back to visit my family in the States, I bought new stuff again. This went on for years!
So now, Im making a massive pause in my retail therapy and am going to try a No Buy Year! I do have some caveats, but only big purchases that Ive been thinking about for over a year. It should be interesting to see how my fingers itch to buy stuff online.
I didn't tell many people that I had WLS (just Mr, the Kid, Mom, Sister & BFF). Those NOT in know were told that I ate much less, chose healthier foods, cut out carbs and exercised every day to lose the weight. I've been in maintenance for a while now, so being the main topic of conversation at family parties has lessened. My weight loss is no longer interesting, thank goodness.
These past couple days, showing up at the various Xmas parties this season hunched over from my TT, I decided to let those who asked that I had plastic surgery to remove excess skin from massive weight loss. I was surprised to get the comments and questions most on here get from others when they share they had WLS! I got:
"Why didn't you just do it the real way?"
"Cutting your body parts off is a little drastic, isn't it? Why didn't you just go to the gym and turn it into muscle?"
"I think if you just dieted more, your skin would have shrunk just like your body did"'.
"Plastic Surgery is cheating".
"Wow, that's pretty vain of you".
After attempting to explain to the first two or three busy-bodies that skin cannot turn to muscle nor shrink with massages or lotions (!), I gave up.
I always knew people are sometimes stupid, but man, extended family seems to always raise that bar of stupidity to new levels. Should have stayed home and kept my mouth shut. Le sigh.
To add insult to injury, I didn't even get to dull the drone of their yapping with alcohol. I am on a regular date schedule with my new friend, BENEDRYL to keep the itching at bay, and have yet to finish my round of antibiotics, so I figured I should refrain. Which was too bad, as I'm sure a couple glasses of wine would have made these people much more funny and much less annoying. Le double sigh.
Poop Watch 2019 continues...
Today marks Day 12. I am carrying TWELVE days of poop in me, people.
Mr. (he's a keeper) assisted me with suppository insertion this morning. After no less than 2 minutes, I felt the sweet, sweet urge to push. So I skipped (skipped!) to the toilet and out came........a partially melted suppository. That's it. Are you effing kidding me.
Now, the instructions on the box said not to use more than once in a 24 hour period. It also said that it should have worked within 15 mins to an hour. So I'm going to try it again at 6pm tonite, which is 12 hours after this morning's attempt as I figure I basically pooped the suppository out before it even melted and do its thing. In the meantime I ate 2 prunes. Good News is that it didn't make me sick, Bad News is that I am not a fan of the taste. I am also drinking water like a crazy person.
Miraculously, despite my backed-upped-ness, I don't have any pain nor cramps. Just a feeling of absolute bloat. Ugh.
In other news...
Haven't weighed myself since the day of surgery (I was 115 lbs even 10 days ago). Out of curiosity I stepped on the scale earlier and surprise! I am still 115 lbs even. However, I was fully clothed, along with wearing an arm compression shrug & abdominal binder, am retaining fluid to the equivalent of a 4.5" increase in waist circumference, AND have 12 DAYS OF POOP in my belly.
Arms continue to not comfortably raise higher than my shoulders.
I am not yet standing up straight.
Hands continue to deflate and my forearms no longer make me look like Popeye (I'd say they are maybe 85% to normal)
The v-jay is no longer sore (but is still looking up at me!)
For some reason my skin on my face is FABULOUS. I suspect this is due to: (1) not wearing make up for 10 days (2) all the water I have been drinking (3) all the sleep I have been getting (4) swelling???
Been wearing too-big clothes for comfort and ease, and am totally looking forward to putting something cute on and going out. BUT. MY. PANTS. DON'T. FIT. Le Triple Sigh.
Actually went Costo shopping with Mr. this morning for some last minute pot-luck parties shopping. The greeters asked if I wanted one of these motorized shopping cart-moped combos, and while I was tempted just for the fun of it, the point was to get some walking in, so I declined. It was the most exercise I got at one shot in 5 days. I was pooped...went home and took a 2 hour hap afterwards.
Had my first follow up with my surgeon this afternoon, and he is pleased with the healing, etc., etc.
The swelling I continue to have is normal. Suggestion: drink water, move around, it will get better.
The itchiness I am experiencing is normal. Suggestion: drink water, stay cool, take Benedryl, it will get better.
The dizziness I am experiencing is normal. Suggestion: drink water, move around, eat more, get up slowly, ease up on the narcotics, take the prescribed Iron, it will get better.
My tight feeling va-jay-jay is normal. Suggestion: apply ice packs as needed, it will get better (He also said does not look odd to him. He says I may not be used to the way it looks because I can actually see it now. Before the TT, there was excess skin above it the hid it lower between my legs.)
I am now free to shower.
Any steri-stips that fall off or get loose are to be covered over with a new steri-strip until my next appt on Jan 8th.
Am to continue using my arm compression garment, sports bra & abdominal binder.
When the tech was changing my dressings, I started to itch really badly. It seemed to get worse as the appointment went on. By the time we were walking to the car in the parking lot, it was so bad I was almost crying. Mr. drove us to the closest pharmacy and bought me a rapid-acting liqui-gel Benedryl. Within 10 minutes I was feeling better, and in another 20 minutes the itchiness was gone. BENEDRYL PEOPLE. BENEDRYL IS YOUR FRIEND. (but it does make me quite sleepy).
My long-awaited shower was a tandem one, as Mr. insisted he be there in case I pass out or something. I didn't pass out. But I did have him wash my hair.
I am anxious to stand up straight as the sore back is screaming at me. And I thought I would be able to do so by the time our annual 5-xmas-parties-over-3-days party marathon kicks off tomorrow night but its looking like its not going to happen...
More micro-improvements today. Reaching a little higher, standing a little straighter. Getting up and down from a seated/laying position is no big deal, and apparently I'm speed walking. The Kid called me "Energizer Grandma" when she saw me high-tail it to toilet hunched over with my cane cuz I had to pee so bad after a nap.
Took a narcotic pain med this morning, and I think that is the last of them for me. Gonna just stick with the Tylenol now, not just for the minor aches, but for this non-stop dizziness I'm still experiencing. Been doing laps around the kitchen every hour and that seems to help both the achiness and dizziness, but the head spinning comes back soon after I sit down (unless I lay down) and the achiness comes back if I stay too still too long.
My right arm & hand is no longer swollen, but my left forearm still is, and the left hand just barely...but at least now I can see the wrinkles on my knuckles again! My va-jay-jay is also feeling so much less tight, but is still looking up at me when I look down in a seated position. I did not notice before, but my thighs are actually a little swollen. My boobs continue to be a non issue.
My drains are draining very little now. One drain has collected maybe 10 mls since 9:00pm last night (about 21 hours) and the other one has collected even less in the same period. Both are coming out tomorrow, so I'm definitely looking forward to that.
I was feeling this unbearable itch on my left shoulder blade under the ace bandage wrapped around my boobs and Mr. went digging under there to scratch it for me. He found what he thinks is a popped blister right underneath the velcro that was touching my skin there. He put some gel on it, covered it with a band-aid and put a piece of cotton bandage between my skin and the Ace. I'm now thinking I've got a bunch of blisters under all these bandages.
Can't wait to see what the incisions look like when they change my dressings tomorrow...one more sleep!
So some info I forgot to share since getting discharged yesterday:
During my last in-hospital chat with my surgeon he mentioned the following tidbits:
I was the smallest, if not the smallest person he has performed body contouring on. (but not the smallest person he's performed any surgery on because he also does alot of reconstructive surgeries on burn patients ). He and the team kept exclaiming how "tiny" I was all throughout registration, and throughout the lead up to the surgeries.
A total of 400g of skin & fat was removed, though he said it was mostly skin.
There was only a "little bit" of muscle tightening done on my abdomen
There was minimal lipo on my flanks and pubis, and no lipo on my arms nor stomach.
He ended up performing some corrections on my left nipple as well as my right. My right nipple was in a weird state from a previous breast reduction: there was thick scarring or something with a fold that sort of inverted one side of it. Anyhoo, he said he fixed the right nipple, and that he also made the left one smaller so that it would match in size (the left was already bigger than the wonky right one going into this round of surgery, and the fix made it look even bigger, so he addressed the issue by resizing it).
He had predicted pre-surgery that I would not need to have the drains in very long due to my size. On discharge day, he said the drains could probably come out the next day, but it being a Saturday, and he not being available, he said I can wait until Monday. Boo. Too bad because I hate these things.
Some MacGyver tips:
My mom gave Mr. her cane to let me use for a couple days when he came to pick me up at the hospital. That thing was/is a life saver! Not that I needed it to actually walk, but it was cool to have to lean on and hold my body weight when my back got strained and I needed to take a break mid-walk. As an aside, if I could have got my hands on a walker it would have been better as it would be more stable, but I still love me this cane.
Travel neck pillows are awesome to use to make the transition from sleeping incline to reading/laptop-use incline much easier, and not have to re-arrange so many pillows (I didn't need to stay in a recliner after all, just the bed with pillows was enough)
A low stool at the side of the bed also is useful to get in and out of it
My ace bandages were making me itch on my arms, so I put on a compression garment on and then wrapped the bandages on top. The plan was to return these garments because i think they are little too big on me as the shoulders keep sliding off and then the arms slide down. But I guess its good I didn't get around to returning them yet because putting it between my skin and the bandages has eliminated the itch problem. It does however, now fit nicely across my chest (it didn't before) because I've got ace bandages wrapped around my boobs. I'll probably ask my mom to tailor them since I've used them now.
I am pleasantly surprised that I can feel me getting better with each passing day (if not hour!). I am sooooo much less hunched over today! And my arm movement range has also improved. Still can't reach the second shelf in the cupboards, but this morning, I could brush my hair (just the sides and back though, lol)
I do have a near constant (mild) feeling of dizziness though. I think its the pain meds and all the laying down. Am making myself do laps around the kitchen every hour and will just take one narcotic today (vs. the two), hopefully the dizziness improves.
I am not all that hungry and haven't really eaten much since the day before surgery. I'm likely sub-400 cals for the past 3 days. I am also not getting in as much water as I'd like to.
I am going on 5 days poop-less as of today.
I had meant to write the entry below as a blog entry at first, but I ended up posting it to the thread "A Tale of Two Arm Lifts (rs & ms.sss)" yesterday instead.
Anyway, I am now including it here as originally planned
Get comfortable, this is a long one...
So here is the additional backstory info to my PS journey:
So I ended up getting a last-minute Tummy Tuck two days ago (Dec 18), along with my arm and breast lift. Back in June 2019, when I initially scheduled my procedures, I was going to get an arm lift, a breast lift (to address side boob skin), and a tummy tuck. The tummy tuck was actually partially covered by provincial insurance. Basically the panniculectomy part was covered and I we only need to pay out of pocket for muscle tightening or any required Lipo.
But sometime around August or September, I decided to forego the tummy tuck because I thought that I could live with the state my stomach was in, and I didn't want to have more surgery if I didn't really need to. So I called my surgeons office and let them know.
Fast forward four months later and I'm at the registration desk at the hospital on surgery day. I'm signing all the papers, and one of them is a confirmation surgery procedure form and lo and behold the tummy tuck is still on there. Apparently, the fact that the tummy tuck was removed was not properly communicated to the hospital. (As an aside, this is a perfect example of why confirmation of surgeries is necessary at registration!!)
I had a discussion with my surgeon: he said the OR is already booked and set up for all three procedures including the tummy tuck. So if I wanted to, we could go ahead as originally planned back in June, or not. Whatever I decided was fine with him. If I didn't want the tummy tuck, there would be some paperwork to do beforehand, but it was doable since the OR was booked for all 3 procedures, and there was time to do the paperwork/system corrections and still complete the arm and breast lifts in that time. So now I had a discussion with Mr.: It wouldn't really cost much more, and they were all set up for it already anyway, so why not? It's funny because the decision making process felt like when you're in a grocery store line and decide to buy that pack of gum at the checkout.
It's been almost 48 hours since the completion of my surgeries...here's what's happened so far:
Got to hospital at 7am and all the above happened. I got on the operating table at 9:30am, and don't know what time I woke up at recovery. The surgery was supposed to be 4 hours. All I remember was that it was 4pm when I got rolled into my room. That first night after the surgeries was relatively pain-free as I was drugged up and in bed the entire time. I slept a lot but not for very long periods of time. They put these leg type massagers on my legs that work kind of like a blood pressure cuff. Each one inflates a chamber with air starting from ankle to thigh, to squeeze my leg nicely and then deflates. Then the other one on the other leg does the same thing. Its to promote circulation and prevent blood clots. I've had them on the entire time (except when going to bathroom or taking a short walk) and I LOVE THEM. I want to buy one of these contraptions for home! The nurse said that I am the first patient she's met that likes these things. Which I find hard to believe because these things are awesome.
Didn't eat anything all day, other than Water, a cup of tea and 1/2 an unsweetened apple juice box.
Now the next day I felt the pain for the first time when my drugs wore off and I had to get out of bed to go to the washroom (they took my catheter out). Oh. My. God. When I twisted my body and put my foot on the ground, I felt like I was being stabbed in my hip with a large knife. It was so painful that when I walked I couldn't put my heel down. I had to do I sort of walk–tiptoe shuffle to the toilet. So first lesson: do not twist your body.
Because of the tummy tuck, I have to walk hunched over and this quickly puts a strain on your back. So second lesson: walk with the help of your IV pole/cane/walker/buddy.
I have 2 drains in my tummy, which are mildly annoying. I forgot about them once when I got out of bed and pulled on one a bit which caused some bleeding. Boo.
I was surprised that I could move my arms relatively freely and pain free. I could even put weight on my arms to lift myself out of bed, type on my laptop, feed myself, and go to the washroom by myself. I may not have been very efficient, but I could do it. Also, I could brush my teeth but not my hair. Nor could i adjust my head pillows. Basically anything where I have to raise my arms above shoulder height is a no-go.
My boobs didn't/don't hurt at all. As if nothing was even done there.
I got to see all the work done when the nurse changed my dressings. My arms are tiny. My boobs are nice and perky with matching nipples (my previous breast reduction had one of the nipples wrinkle/fold over at the outer edge and my guy fixed it). My tummy is wrinkle free and my new belly button looks better than the old one. My inner thighs from the front has been smoothed out! This was an unexpected bonus My va-jay-jay, however, is quite "perky". When I look down sitting in bed it stares right up at me. My nurse said she noticed it was swollen. She said it is a combination of being yanked up and the use of the stomach binder. Didn't show it to surgeon this first day, but will remember to bring i up when I see him before I leave.
Today I had a cup of coffee, 1/2 a chicken breast and some beef Jerky.
Now today I feel exponentially better. I got an a good seven hours of continuous sleep. When I woke up I could feel that my pain meds had worn off but I was able to get out of bed and walk to the washroom just fine. I can tell I'm walking much faster now and am much less hunched over. I could probably skip the pain meds from now on but I think based on @sillykitty's comments, i'll take them for another day or so. Mr. has already filled my prescriptions, so I may as well take them. I'll play it by ear.
I find that the only real pain I get is from twisting my torso. I can easily do a sit up or leg lift motion pain free, but if I twist in any way, I get a sharp pain. Everything else is bearable. On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd say my pain level is about 1.5. Compare this to the pain of WLS recovery, which I would have given an 8 at its worst.
They took the IV out this morning because my swollen hands were basically embedding that entry thing into my flesh and it was starting to hurt. They tried to put a new one in twice but couldn't find a vein because I'm too swollen. They asked if I was OK with them trying a third time, and I was all, No Thanks. IV insertion hurts, man! So they are off finding an alternate antibiotic to administer without an IV.
I'm supposed to be discharged sometime today but honestly I'd rather stay because I love these leg massager things. Plus I like the adjustable hospital bed!
Anyway just hanging around now waiting for my surgeon and next instructions.
P.S. I ate 1/2 an omelette & a peach yogurt cup so far today.
So today is my 1 year post-op anniversary. Happy Anniversary to Me! (well I guess it would be more appropriate to say Happy Anniversary to me AND my sleeve...couldn't have got to this point without it).
I started off at 235 lbs at the beginning of my 2-week pre-op liquid diet, and this morning I clocked in at 113 lbs even. That is a total loss of 122 lbs, or over half my original size (51.9% total body weight lost, thankyouverymuch). Most of the weight came off in the first 7 months when I reached goal. I lost another 15 or so lbs after that while I adjusted into maintenance. I am very happy ecstatic with where I am and have been maintaining more or less between 115 and 120 lbs for the past 4 months. (NOTE: as I write this I am a little bit under my desired range, but I have a cold so that's ok ).
Here are some stats. I have kept meticulous records throughout this process, because well, I love spreadsheets, and I'm totally anal like that:
You can see some pictures of me before surgery as well as some more recent pics in the "Albums" section/tab in my profile here at BariatricPal. I have an shock-inducing side-by-side before and after pic in just my underwear, but I'm not willing to share that with the world, LOL. Just trust me that you would totally go OMG. Hahahhaha.
I was very strict with my diet during the weight loss phase. I kept carbs verrrrrrry low. I exercised almost every single day. I tracked every bite of food in MyFitnessPal. I drank at minimum 2 litres of water a day. I weighed myself every morning at the same time. I took my body measurements every Wednesday. Now, 4.5 months into maintenance, with the exception of the strict diet and low carb intake, I still do all these things. It became habit. A good habit.
My restriction, while still very much there, is a lot less restricted than it was before. I only dump mildly now if I have too much sugar (while before I would barf/diarrhea explosively and basically need to lie down or pass out, now the discomfort is limited to a racing heart and an upset tummy). However, I still get the need-to-barf feeling and the foamies if I eat too much or too fast. While not as slow as before, it does still take me 45 mins to an hour to eat a proper meal.
I believe my maintenance calories is around 1900-2000 a day (anything less than that, I notice the scale moving downward...a benefit of both weighing myself and tracking my food every single day).
I feel like a totally different person now, and yet at the same time, am the exact same person that I was pre-surgery. I'm still me, just smaller, healthier, less irritable, more active, more CONFIDENT. I love to run, to go out with friends and family, to try new things, to go SHOPPING.
Life is Good.
Hello to anyone out there who is reading this. it has been 11 years since my gastric bypass and wow! I was reading my past entries things have certainly changed for me.
I had the weight problem, lost about 90lbs, became an alcoholic, got divorced, remarried, moved to Houston, then back to Atlanta, became born again, through the peace and grace of Jesus Christ!, traveled monthly to RI to check on my parents, lost my brother and father in 2019, relapsed with alcohol several times, as of today I have been sober for 2 years!~~~~WHEW!
So now I am married to Michael White, someone I have loved for over 30 years, I am living sober, grieving the loss of my brother, Chip 01/09/2019 and my Dad, Ray 09/06/2019. As for the weight, I am now 208lbs and not really happy at this weight, but Thank God it's not 275! The most important part of my journey is that I became a Christian, I would have been dead by now if I had not done that.
I feel okay today, some days are difficult because I do not drink alcohol anymore, so I have to depend on God through everything...opps gotta run....
I am excited to announce our participation in the 5th Annual National Obesity Care Week (NOCW) which takes place September 15th to 21st and I am honored that our office is considered a Champion supporting this powerful national awareness campaign dedicated to making sure access to comprehensive obesity care is available for anyone affected by obesity. Today, more than 93 million adult Americans are living with obesity. Many do not know obesity is a disease and that their healthcare provider can help them with weight-loss and maintenance. Others do not have insurance coverage to help them pay for these healthcare options or they have to FIGHT just to access coverage they paid premiums to have! Now, more than ever, people affected by obesity as well as healthcare professionals and policy makers and all persons who care about this injustice must pledge their support for ACCESS TO CARE WITHOUT BARRIERS. Alongside the founding partners – the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC), the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS), the Obesity Medicine Association (OMA), The Obesity Society (TOS), and Strategies to Overcome and Prevent Obesity Alliance (STOP) – Lindstrom Obesity Advocacy believes that everyone should have access to obesity care that is not limited by a person’s size, weight or economic status and we've been fighting for this cause for over 23 years! Please visit ObesityCareWeek.org/Action to pledge your support as well.
I believe in you I went through similar things I was 315 before I had my gastric sleeve surgery but I kept looking at all these bottles of medication I'm on and that what help me to do what I had to do ....
I love this! I am not buying anything either. When i was at my heaviest i bought a lot of beautiful clothes in much smaller sizes.. they have been sitting in my wardrobe for years, some of them. Now that i am finally on my way to fitting into them i am not buying a single thing until i know what actually suits me. All the clothes that fit me now i am getting rid of the second they are loose! I am saving a ton of money.. not buying so much food is also helping with that!