Ok, here it goes. Please excuse my spelling or grammar as this is just coming from the heart. I have been battling my weight my whole life. I can even remember being called wilson when i was in elementary school. I later found out it was because I was round like a ball. Ugh, kids are mean, well adults can be also. In High School I yo yo'd back and forth. My self esteem was non existent and unfortunately I let some take advantage of that. I was or felt like I was always the fat friend, the fat sister, the fat daughter. The girl with the pretty face if only she could lose the weight. Which I would and then gain back even more. I would do this many times over. Unfortunately for my Husband I met him on a thin year. I feel so bad, like a duped him sometimes. But he is by my side and supportive. We have two little kids that I want to have a healthy Mom. So all that being said, Today I scheduled my Gastric Sleeve Surgery! I'm excited and nervous and wish it was sooner. I'm eager to start my new life style. February 27th is the big day! I have lots of my appointments in the coming weeks. Wish me luck and good luck to all of you on this journey with me.
I have just discovered BariatricPal, and today I discovered the blog section. I have been planning to do a blog to document my surgical journey, just for my own records, and maybe to have a place where I can refer close friends and family who ask about my journey.
My journey began in January 2017. I had a partial nephrectomy on January 23rd - due to kidney cancer. My cancer was discovered completely by accident in December 2016. A diagnosis like cancer - even one as easily dealt with as mine - makes you think about your life, your future, your past, and what you want to accomplish. I have been fighting to lose weight and get healthy since about 2000. In my 20s, I got very healthy - working out 5 days a week doing cardio and strength training. In 1996, mid 20s, I gave birth to my lovely daughter, Amelia. I gained a LOT of weight. I think I topped out at about 265 on the day of delivery. I lost the weight rather quickly after birth, getting back down to about 165 over about 10 months with diet and exercise. I held that weight for about 3-4 years.
Then, in my 30s, I started to gain. I gained about 15 lbs a year and before I knew it, by 2004, I was around 250. So from the age of 34 til now - age 47, I have yo-yo'd up and down from my highest weight of 287 down to 225 - but have hovered the last 6 or 7 years at around 265-275, going up and down the same frickin 10 pounds over and over again, no matter what eating plan and exercise plan I tried - and I tried EVERYTHING! Most things several times.
Then I found out I had cancer, and I am immensely lucky to have had it found early and have it completely removed, not requiring any chemo or radiation. It certainly was a wakeup call. So over the next few months, I researched WLS, and my best friend had her WLS on 2/14/17. Her journey has been phenomenal - and she has been an incredible resource. So I went to my first informational meeting in May 2017, and my official journey started then.
I have now completed all the flaming hoop jumps for the surgeon's office and also my insurance company, and my surgery has been approved and scheduled for 1/31/18. I start my two-week liquid diet this coming Wednesday. I am sooooooo ready.
I am two months from surgery, and it occurs to me that I should start a blog to track my progress through what I hope will be an amazing, life-changing vertical sleeve surgery. I'm just going to list major milestones for the record.
Seminar with surgeon -- I'm sold!
Dietitian #1 (Topic: Introduction)
Dietitian #2 (Topic: Meal Planning)
Meeting with surgeon, got binder and "homework" assignments
Scheduled all appointments with specialists
Blood lab work
Dietitian #3 (Topic: Supplements)
Sleep study at home
Dietitian #4 (Topic: Restaurants)
Stress test, echo cardiogram
Sleep apnea study at Sleep Center for CPAP
Appt with surgeon, surgery scheduled for 3/14
Dietitian #5 (Topic: Post-op Diet)
Dietitian #6 (Topic: Exercise/Labels)
For OA: 4 weeks of physical therapy, 2X per week
Started a 21-day arm routine, 2# weights << seriously
Stopped drinking wine (sad, LOL)
Started dry brushing and exfoliating (hope springs eternal!)
Physical therapy, pre-bariatic, 4 weeks, 1X per week
Stop drinking coffee
Pre-op with surgeon
If you're like me, you play these little games with yourself - where when you're doing well on losing weight, you tell yourself that you can "afford" something that's not supposed to be on your plan. Maybe it's a piece of chocolate - something in-control that seems worth it. For me though, it's not those little tiny things. It's stuff like deciding to have my morning coffee - which is laden with real sugar and flavored (sugared) creamer. God I love that stuff. Yes, I have tried artificial sweetener, but it's not worth it to me - I'd rather just not have the coffee. So when it's a choice between coffee I'm not into or no coffee at all, I'll choose no coffee. But when it's a choice between "do I want to do the coffee thing today?" and no coffee, then of course I'll choose yes to the coffee. It's a really bad way for me start out my day - with all that failure right off the bat. I did that yesterday. And then I did a few french fries with dinner (maybe 6?) as I poked at the serving dish out there for everyone else. Otherwise I did well. I wanted to do an evening tea before bed, but as I'm sure you can guess, it too is laden with sugar. I was actually thirsty, so I opted for water instead. Not nearly as satisfying, but I was able to do it.
Today I got up and wanted to do coffee again. MY way. Except that yesterday was the first time that I actually started to feel some of my weight loss - I kept needing to yank my pants up all day. What the heck, this is actually WORKING? So today I said no to the coffee. Instead, I started with water. And actually made breakfast instead of it being something that I did later when I was hungry hours after the coffee. A 1/2 cup of low fat cottage cheese, a 1/2 cup of mango pieces, and a hard-boiled egg. That was hours ago, and I'm just now starting to think about having lunch. It worked! So I'm off to a great start today. I also tackled my shower tile, which needed a bunch of scrubbing - specifically because why not burn the calories now - today? Later I plan to take the dog for a walk if I can tolerate the cold. 20 minutes of yoga is also on the docket. I'm going to be doing some vacuuming this afternoon, too. Today feels..... in control. I'm going to try to have a day like I'm supposed to, and see how that feels. Because I want to see how getting rid of all of this fat feels, too!
I'm in that in-between place that can be frustrating - my food intake is drastically different (in both size, frequency and food choices), and I feel like I'm getting nowhere fast. My last weigh in at 3 weeks post surgery was EXACTLY the same as the one 6 days post op. How frustrating! My doctor seemed to brush it off. I voiced that when you're giving up a lot, you want to see progress! He assured me that even though I was down only 5 lbs. from the morning of surgery, and 12 lbs. from the week prior to surgery (due to the low-carb liver diet), I was 17 lbs. down from when I weighed in in July when I came in to discuss surgery. Well, that's something. But still - three weeks out and only 5 lbs. down? And no further loss in the two weeks since the last weigh in? Not exactly exciting.
But..... I'm keeping on. Because I'm doing a ton right (even if I'm not always perfect), and that's got to result in something - even if it's a slow something. I'm hoping that this next time I weigh in on 12/15, I'll be under 300. My last weigh-in was 306.6. I'd really like some loss to start showing by Christmas. My husband swears he notices, but he's crazy. Yesterday my pants seemed a bit roomier in the butt, but if I pulled them up they were the same. Today I was driving one of my kids to school and felt momentarily as though my belly wasn't protruding as much. But as I sit here and grab a handful of gut, that seems to be my imagination. Who knows!
Soon. Soon I will see it. I should have measured myself, dang-it! Ah well. No time like the present, I guess. Next month I'll thank myself, I'm sure.
Today is 3 weeks post-op since my Lap-Band. It's four weeks since my pre-op visit when I started a no carb/no veggie diet in prep for surgery. I am the same weight today as I was 6 days after surgery - that's dissappointing! I do realize that a lot of that weight loss may have been from being on a liquid diet, for 6 days, too. So I'm still 12 lbs. down from my visit one week pre-surgery. I should just be happy. But I've been working VERY hard, and doing pretty well, and I want to see more results. I don't see anything yet except on the scale, which will have to suffice for now.
He told me to stop obsessing - I'm down 17 lbs. from my heaviest - which I think was back in July when I visited him to kick this off again. So,... that's promising!
I kept reading about fills here and on Bandedliving.com where people talked about how many cc's of saline their doctor added. Lots said that their doctor will only do 5 cc's at a time. My surgeon had previously stated that I will leave there after every fill at the perfect point, and I'll come back when I notice that I'm able to eat more than I used to be - for another fill. Huh. Today I asked him how many cc's he starts with. He was like, "WHERE did you hear that nonsense? STOP listening to anyone but me!" (Jeez - I wasn't "listening" so much as hearing! I'm following no one's recommendations but his. I tell him that - that I can't believe how he only had me on liquids for 6 days following the surgery, when I see elsewhere in print or online that people have up to 6 weeks on liquids and purees. He says, "There's no reason for that - it's just that some doctors don't treat any of their weight loss surgeries any differently. They do the same thing for band, sleeve or bypass. And their patients are suffering needlessly if they're band patients. Of COURSE they lose weight - they're on a liquid diet! He says that it's not the end of the world, and it usually doesn't hurt anything. But it's really unnecessary. He says that he'd love to do an experiment where people who want WL surgery are told, "You're having WL surgery", but not told afterward which one they had. Then treat them all the same as if they'd had the bypass, and you'd find out that they all have the same results. He's convinced of it. Lol. Says that of course bypass patients are on liquids and purees longer than band patients - because they NEED to be - their stomach can rip if they don't do things slowly enough. But doing that to a band patient is just scaring them when there's no need. Interesting.
Anyway, he lays me down on the exam table, he asks me where my port is. I point. He wipes it off with alcohol wipes. He says, "Little pinch", and I feel the needle puncture my skin (such a little thing). He pushes in some saline. Then he sits me up so my legs are dangling over the table. The syringe is still in my stomach. He hands me a glass of water, and says, "chug". I do, and he makes me stop after about 4 gulps. Says, "Okay, where's the water now?" I point to my stomach. Says, "Okay, tell me when it goes down past the band". He withdraws a bit of the saline back out, and I think I feel a change. So I say, "There". And he says, "Okay, then we're good", and pulls the syringe out and puts a band-aid over the port. I tell him that I'm not sure of what it feels like for something to go down past the band - I've never had that sensation. He says, "That's okay - you go home and try this. If it's not enough, you just come back and we'll work on it more next time." Ummm, okay?
I asked him a few questions today. I said, "Your information packet says that the point of the band is to keep the food above the band for a time, alleviating hunger. But elsewhere, I see that it says, "wait for the food to pass your band before you take another bite." He says, "Dang - NO ONE has asked me that in all the years we've had that packet. Now I'm gonna need to fire my nutritionist, who put that in there." (he's obviously joking). I say, "So which is it?" He goes into a long explanation with me about how the band is designed to make a pouch at the top that food holds in for a few hours. If food is passing the band as you're eating, then the band isn't tight enough - and it's virtually pointless. K, got it. Next I ask him about why the band needs to be tightened/filled over time - does the saline seep out? No - it's because of a few factors - one being that your stomach below the band is thinner than above it - just like once you get a ring past the plumpest part of your finger, it slides off from there on down. So you need it tightened occasionally. Also, it can slip down a bit and need to be tightened more for that spot. This is not the "bad" slippage - this is more incremental migration.
I also asked the doctor what makes the food in the pouch above the band move down past the band eventually? Is it just a log-jam effect that takes time? Nope - it's that the stomach acid starts eating at the food in the bottom of the pouch, which makes it break down and fall through the band. Ah - got it.
I'm going back in a few weeks for a pre-holiday check. I'm hoping to get down past 300 in HIS office (vs. my home) this time!
So this past week has been tough, if you've seen any of my earlier blog posts. I've been hungry, food has consumed my thoughts, and some days I haven't done as well as I felt I should have. Still though - I did WAY better than a typical day prior to my pre-surgical consumption. So I SHOULD be seeing some loss, even if it's slow. I had lost 12 lbs. in the first 12 days since my no-carb diet started 7 days prior to surgery. That was my last visit to my surgeon's office. I have a scale in my bathroom too - one that I rarely used prior to beginning this. I've tried to weigh in just once or twice a week, but this week has been every day. Because I feel like I'm mentally a bit out of control, but I wanted validation that I was still doing well enough to be making forward momentum. A week ago on Thursday, I'd lost another 3 lbs., according to my home scale. That was a total of 15. I was really encouraged by that. But these past few days the scale has gone back up - frustrating. And it didn't seem to matter if I had a near perfect day, the scale was telling me otherwise. I communicated all this to my husband last night, saying that I was afraid that when I went to weigh in today at my doctor's appointment, the scale might show that I'd gained a few of the original 12 lbs. back. He told me that the scale is a whacky one - that it never gives an accurate reading unless it's perfectly flat. And that our tile floor certainly wasn't that. For a moment, I had hope. Then I realized that even if it's off by a few lbs., I should STILL see it going down.
Today I have my first fill scheduled. So I figured I'd get on the scale just because I wanted to see how close my doctor's scale is to mine (I realize this is pointless since I'll have weighed myself at home buck naked, prior to any food or liquids being consumed. And by contrast, I'll weigh in the afternoon at my doctor's office, fully clothed after having had both breakfast and lunch. But still.) I made sure to put it on tiles vs. any of the in-between sections between the tiles. I was expecting it to say what it had in the past few days - which was around 308 (I'd started out at 318). To my great surprise, it said 299.6! WHAT?!?!? I got off and got back on. The same. I got back on after moving the scale slightly, and it said 300.00. F THAT noise! I'm 299! Lol. Then I moved it a lot, very haphazardly, and it was 303 or so. BUT THAT's STILL GOOD! I'm now very excited to keep going. This was just the boost I needed. If my scale is accurate, I'm BACK in the 200's after several years above 300, and it would mean that I've lost 19 lbs. since Nov. 3rd. - which is 2 days shy of one month. I lost 25 lbs. in about 4 months a good 10 years ago now (when I went from 250 to 225), and it was LIFE CHANGING. I never thought I'd do this so fast.
I won't be surprised if my doctor's scale says I'm still above 300 later today. I'm expecting that. But still - I'm on the right track. I just wish I could start to see the difference in my clothing or body/face overall. I figure a few more lbs. and that'll be inevitable.
Yesterday I blogged about how I didn't feel that my band was offering me much in the way of hunger reduction, and how I am very eager to get my first fill on Dec. 19th, but that I was losing steam with eating right due to all the hunger. So I reached out to my doctor, and told him what I'm dealing with - and how well I'm doing otherwise. He said he saw no reason to continue waiting, and to come in tomorrow for a fill! Yesssss! So tomorrow afternoon I'll have my first fill, and hopefully I'll be eating less and feeling less hungry, too. It's why I had the surgery, after all. Very excited!
I was fully aware when I started down this path that bariactric surgery wasn't a magic bullet. That it would reduce the size of my stomach, but not my cravings, or how much of a change healthy eating would be for me. What I didn't anticipate was that I wouldn't feel like I had any difference in my stomach size (still haven't had my first band fill), and that I would feel like I was starving all the dang time. My stomach doesn't seem restricted whatsoever by the band yet, and I have been eating very small meals compared to what I used to - mostly as practice and to get the weight loss jump-started. I've been following my doctor's rules with about a 95% success rate. The most difficult thing has been to not drink at all during / after meals. When I do break that rule, it's only sips though - not large amounts.
I have been completely carb-free. I have been eating much healthier cuts of meat overall - no more processed foods. I'm eating exclusively REAL food for the first time, and I'm enjoying the food. But I'm hungry just a bit later! I've been trying to stick to the rule of only eating 3 meals a day (vs. eating only when hungry). I may sometimes have a snack in the evening - if I'm hungry, it'll be something like nuts. If I'm just feeling snacky, it's something like sugar-free jello with sugar free Coolwhip. So I'm eating small, good for me meals, and I'm hungry. And I appear to be losing only very slowly - or hovering around the same 3-5 lbs. It' maddening! I want the band tightened already! That doesn't happen until my Dec. 19th appointment. That's several weeks from now. I'm losing my excitement here on being able to do this journey. I did this so I could lose weight without being constantly hungry! And that issue still exists.
Yesterday I did wonderfully with food - but it was SUCH a hard day! I ate what I intended to and no more. But I feel like I thought about food all.day.long. Ugh. I hate that. It's very difficult.
It's Tuesday, but I'm already working on my shopping list for this coming Saturday. We shop every two weeks (paydays for us) for 2 weeks of groceries. So it's a large undertaking with a larger family. The way it seemed to work best in the past took lots of time, but was worth it. I've just gotten lazy over the years. And I know that when I was successful losing weight in the past, it was partly because I planned out my meals ahead of time and made the subsequent shopping list. So,.... here goes nothin'!
I'm going to start with looking at what we already have in the house. That means taking stock of the fridge, freezer and the deep freezer. The benefit of this is that we wind up using what we have without overspending, and it gives me ideas of how to use what's already there. I can also look at my family's schedule and figure out who will be home that night (I have a teenager that works a lot of evenings), and meal plan for that group (my son who works is also a very picky eater, so we try to have meals that we enjoy/he doesn't when he's not around. I also take into account any plans that my husband and I might have out with friends or such, and try to make easier meals on those nights. So as you can see, to do this RIGHT right means:
Knowing my family's schedule ahead of time (as much as I can)
Knowing the contents of my freezer, fridge, pantry and deep freeze
Understanding the dietary limitations for everyone, including myself
It.Takes.TIME. But again, it's every 2 weeks. And if I'd get smarter about the freezer list, I'd post it on the fridge and cross off things when I use them, eliminating the need to look in the freezers every time. I've never quite gotten very good at that, but maybe it'll be my new year's resolution. Lol.
Then I lay out the list of raw foods we have and figure out what night I'd like to make what. I work from home a few days a week, so I can afford to make longer prep meals or crock pot meals on those days. I don't feel like cooking anything that takes too long when I'm getting home at 6 pm. I'm tired and we're all already hungry, so it's about speed on those nights. I try to lay it out enough that it'll say something like "Meatloaf, green beans and rolls". Then all those items can go on my list. It makes sure that I don't have to think so much about food later, and it also ensures that we use our fresh produce before it goes bad. A lot of times the first week after shopping will be loaded with fresh veggies, and the next week will have more canned and frozen ones.
In addition to my family dinners, I plan my own breakfast and lunch. On the days that I'm home, that can involve cooking. And potentially cooking for food prep for the next day, when I'll be going into the office. Otherwise I need to do that in the later evenings, when I'd rather be doing just about anything else. Lol. It's easiest if I completely pack my breakfast (I tend to eat at work vs. at home) the night before. Because I am NOT a morning person. Lol.
I'll do this in chunks this time. I'll start today with assessing what the pantry and freezers and fridge currently has in it. Then I can plan from tomorrow through the next shopping trip. I wouldn't need to do tomorrow (Wed.) through Friday if I'd planned correctly last time, but this time I'll need to do it.
If you fail to plan, you may as well plan to fail, as the saying goes.
I went for a walk this morning and it felt really nice. I've never been a fast walker and my short legs take short steps. So hitting 5000 was a big deal for me. I was out of breath in the beginning and then realized I wasn't racing anyone. I took my time and enjoyed the fall weather. I'm a graduate student and it helped clear my head for a paper I'm writing. Obviously, not entirely - I still have much work to do. But progress! The journey! All that good stuff. One of the things that I am most excited about is that I have a history of insomnia and have moments of anxiety (like when I am writing papers. Since surgery, I have not taken any medications for either insomnia or anxiety and I am sleeping well. That is a big milestone for me, totally unexpected. I am going to try and weigh myself once a week and will begin taking pictures once a month. This is really exciting - and scary. It's life-changing for all of us. I hope we all achieve our permanent goals!
Well, I'm officially one week out. I feel really great! I went to the doc two days ago, and weighed in at 12 lbs. less than I had 12 days earlier, at my appointment one week pre op. I'm thrilled with that! I don't expect to continue at this pace - that'd be unreasonable. But I'm on a roll! It's amazing how much easier it is to keep going than it is to start. Once you see results, you're inspired to keep at it. Pretty soon it's gonna start showing. I really do feel like my pants are already fitting better.
I charged up the Fit Bit and am getting used to wearing that again. I'll be honest and say that I haven't been getting many steps in, but it's a mindset thing. I've updated all my stats in my Fitbit profile so it's accurate. This morning I weighed myself and put that figure in. Doc wants me to weigh myself once a week now and keep track.
My achy shoulders have completely subsided, and my bloating is much more under control. I'm having regular bowel movements again (which is what I'm sure the problem was) after surgery. That always takes me a few days after surgery to get over, and I always feel better after that. My wounds are closed completely and the bruising around them is actually more evident than the actual wounds at this point. Another week and that'll be all gone, too. They're purple, red, yellow and brown now, vs. the blue and they were before.
Doc says that in another month, he'll tighten (fill) the band - that right now, my body is still healing and it's too early with swelling to do that. Right now, he's not concerned about weight loss so much as he is with me getting used to my new band. He wants me to start getting used to how quickly I should eat, to following the rules for food he's set out for me, and just generally healing. So my next appt. is Dec. 13th to get a tightening. Now I've graduated from liquids back to solids - completely and suddenly. It's been no problem.
Here are the 5 main rules the doc laid out for me:
No consumption of any liquid calories. I can have liquids all I want - as long as they're calorie-free. Water, powdered calorie-free drinks like Crystal Light, iced tea with Splenda, or Diet Snapple. All fine. No milk, juices, etc. At.All. It won't make me feel full, and it's just empty calories.
Only eat when hungry. EVER. He said not to get caught up in thinking that you need to consume to lose, or that your metabolism is going to slow down, etc. The less calories you eat, the more you lose. So don't eat unless your body is telling you that you need to. And then, ONLY.SOLIDS. They take up room and make you feel full. Don't eat anything that melts when eating it - like iced cream, frosties, popsicles. They're all going to turn into liquids and you'll still feel empty but you've just consumed a lot of calories unnecessarily and it will hamper the weight loss.
Diet should consist of low/no carbs. Eat foods high in protein first - followed by veggies. No breads, rice, rice cakes, potatoes or other starchy vegetables (sweet potatoes, corn). Meat, fish, shellfish and other unprocessed meats is great - lean versions. Grill or steam. Followed by some steamed veggies. Other allowable foods are beans, low-fat cheeses, eggs, and nuts. Says nuts should be in small quantities, though - get some you need to crack while you're eating or you'll overeat.
Don't drink while eating. You can go out to dinner and celebrate with family and live like normal. You can have 16 glasses of water or Spenda-sweetened iced tea prior to your food arriving. But as soon as that food arrives, have them take your water away. NO drinking while eating - it pushes your food down past the band and makes the band pointless. You eat the protein first, followed by the veggies - until you're full - about 6 minutes of normal speed eating. Then STOP. After I have my band tightened, I need to ask myself at that point if I'm still hungry. If not, then stop eating. If so, then have a bit more - but then call the doctor for another band tightening. Apparently over time, the bands will need to be re-filled. I guess the tightening lasts longer and longer each time you do it. Maybe in the beginning, a tightening will only last a week - 10 days. Then a few weeks. Eventually, they'll last for a few months at at time.
I can't remember rule #5. Lol. But I will add that after eating, I shouldn't drink for another 60-90 minutes. This gives the food time to sit in my pouch and digest slowly. Drink all I want after that, and in-between meals. I may feel uncomfortable after eating - like I'm hiccuping (I've already experienced this) or feeling like my food is stuck. That means my pouch is full, or I'm eating too fast. Slow down. Chew more. But do NOT do what comes natural and take a big swig of something to alleviate the symptoms - that just pushes the food down and turns what's left in the stomach into mush - which goes down much more quickly than solids. Learn over time what this discomfort is telling you on how slowly or how much you can eat.
I'm still hungry. I'm eating meals the size that I should be, but it's definitely not enough. And I can eat way more than that (although I've been cutting myself off) because I don't want to get sick, and I do want to lose weight. A little hunger never hurt anyone, right? But I am looking forward to getting my band tightened in a month. Because I think then it'll just be that much easier to eat those small amounts and feel satisfied. Right now my biggest challenge is late evening - when I would normally have been shacking on trash. Now I try to eat something filling and good for me - like cottage cheese and some cut fruit (mangos are the BEST, as are berries). Or I have a few pieces of low-fat string cheese (I just eat them in chunks). Seems to be working so far. I'm having a really difficult time resisting my hot tea that I've had at bedtime nearly every night of my adult life - heavily sweetened. I'm going to have to see if I can have artificial sweetener with that and make it tolerable. I'm thinking not, but we shall see.
Otherwise, so far, so good! I really did think this surgery would be pretty easy, and it was WAY easier than I thought it would be. I'm hoping this is the tool I needed to get started and stay on track. I'm counting on it.
Today was my first class. My husband, my biggest support for 45 years went with me. The presentation covered the types of surgery, the nutritional needs and the behavior health issues. I felt good about all the info until the surgeon that said I may never eat ice cream again! Kaiser Permanente is very good. It will take 6 to 8 months of pre suegery work before I finally get the sleeve. I have my first nutrition appointment next Tuesday and have my mental workup tomorrow morning. I was a little freaked out about the # of calories you will live on.....I still wonder where you get energy from ? Things to ask The nutritionist. Later friends
I'm off to the doctor in about 15 minutes. FIrst post-op at 6 days. Had the surgery Friday - today's Wed. I'm hoping he'll put me back on solids. Lord knows I've tried a few things already with zero issues. I'm hungry! Lol.
I can't wait to see how much weight I've already lost since my pre-op diet started nearly two weeks ago now. I do feel like I'm losing. I'm just not sure how much. It's been up and down due to swelling, mostly. I'm going to guess 8 lbs., hoping it's more. That way I won't be dissapointed. Watch it be 5 lbs. Ha ha. I'm going to weigh myself right before leaving, so I have some idea of how close the scales are.
I'm going to mention this little "hiccup" think I often do if I eat a few bites in a row - even of something liquid. I often have to consume a glass of water to make it stop. Annoying, but not the worst thing I've ever experienced.
I had to take off all the bandages - I think I was allergic to them. Was itching like crazy, and there were areas that were blistering and the skin was raw. My steri-stips look okay, though. One has already fallen off and that area looks very good. I can feel my port now. I knew where it was before, but I couldn't feel it. It's actually just next to the area that the wound is - so may I wasn't feeling the right area before.
I'm making baked chicken tonight. It's my hope that I'll be allowed to have some dark meat chicken and a bit of broccoli. I'm assuming I'll get a fill today.
Welp, I'm on the other side of the dreaded surgery. Not too bad, really! The worst part was my shoulders aching due to them filling my belly with air for the surgery, and the air bubbles migrating to my shoulders. The actual wounds never hurt much beyond day 2. I haven't taken pain meds since day 2 post op. I do feel mightily bloated, but that's just uncomfortable - not painful, per se.
I've been eating liquids only. Soups, home-made smoothies, yogurt, jello, pudding, popsicles. Really it's been mainly smoothies in the morning and soup the remainder of the day with an applesauce or jello thrown in. I'M HUNGRY!!! Doc says not to deprive myself, but I feel like I'm eating more often than I was. I'm hopeful that I'm losing weight during this time period, though.
Today I plugged in the old Fit Bit to charge it and re-set my goals. Time to get moving a bit! I'm also finding some time to organize my clutter a bit, so my mind is more clear, too. It's not too much - mostly re-arranging things since our move to a smaller home 8 months ago.
I visit the doc tomorrow for my post op. It's my hope he'll give me a fill then and I can start on solids! I'm tired of liquids, and tired of being hungry!
The bandages over my wounds are scratching me to hell. I think I'm allergic. I have an area where the corner of one bandage was where the skin is gone. I've got a call into the doc to ask if I can take the waterproof covers off the steri stips. Then I think I'll be a bit more comfortable.
So far, so good!
I'm super excited! I mean, not to have surgery, per se. This will be my ninth surgery in the past 25 years, and I'm a pro at them. I think the part I hate most is getting up so freaking early to get to the hospital, getting the IV in my hand, and having a super dry mouth afterwards. I can usually handle the rest. Lol. I'm slightly nervous about the pain, but I've had bigger surgeries before (including a complete knee replacement), so I'm confident I can handle it. This is a different pain, though - stomach. Anxious, but I'm okay.
Just finished making my to-do list for today and tonight. That includes what to pack for the hospital, what I need to do before going to bed tonight (like showering with an anti-bacterial soap), and grocery shopping for some items for the following week (food). The surgery itself is outpatient and will only take about an hour. I'm the first surgery of the day, scheduled for 7:30 am, so I need to be there by 6:00 am. Up at 5 (having already showered and picked out my clothing), and out the door by 5:30.
I'll be gone before my kids wake up in the morning (they're all teenagers, so that's not an issue), and likely be home before they are back from school. I plan on heading up to bed for some rest, and then hopefully I'll be felling well enough to have some broth for dinner.
Right now I'm 320 lbs. The last time I had weight loss success was with WW when I started at 250 lbs. and reached 225 lbs. a few months later. I felt and looked WONDERFUL. I'm remembering today how different I felt about my appearance and some of the differences I experienced that made that time period so enjoyable. One was that I was getting exercise daily. I was walking to and from the train to my job, which was about 1.25 miles each way - twice a day. I remember starting out lagging behind the rest of the crowd, and then eventually keeping pace. I walked unless the weather was terrible. I remember seeing fat people along the way, and wondering why they didn't just DO something about it. Now I walk around and wonder if people think the same thing as I did. I know it's not as easy as simply deciding to just start chugging along when you can barely move without hurting. I can remember the day I realized that although my thighs were rubbing against each other, they were no longer 'stuck" against each other, causing chafing. They smoothly glided past each other, which was easier to prevent chafing.
I also remember going to get new clothing, because my old ones were way too loose to fit anymore. I went into the plus size store alone, not knowing what size I was any more. I'd started out at a size 22, so I tried on a size 20. Too big. Tried on an 18 - too big! Tried on a 16 - it fit! I was a size 16?!? I hadn't been a size 16 since I WAS 16 - and here I was, nearing 40, and a size 16? Maybe it was just these pants. Tried on several more - they all fit. Not only that, but I stood there, thinking that these pants were really flattering. Same with the next pair, and the next. My GOD - was THIS my body now? Did it actually look this good in clothes? It did! I started wearing form-fitting clothing - wrap dresses and slim skirts and tops that cinched at the waist. Knee-high boots and heels and flattering jewelry (which always seemed to just look awkward before). Every day was fun when dressing.
I noticed when I sat in my office chair that my belly was practically flat. I never had to "hike" my pants up. Nothing ever got stuck in a roll. That was at 225 lbs. I can't WAIT to be back to that body! I'd love it if I were able to get down even lower than that, but I'd be SO happy to be there again.
I was able to run! Not well, and not a lot. But running through the train station didn't make me feel like I was going to die. Now going up and down half a flight makes me pant for 5 solid minutes! It'll be so nice to get back to where I was. I had more energy, too. And I wasn't hungry in the evenings after dinner. I had stopped coffee and was drinking water and was happy that way.
Getting in and out of the car didn't require hefting my body up and out. Getting up off the couch was no big deal. I didn't lie around all evening - I took long walks, enjoyed my life more.
I'm getting really excited about where I'm going back to. I do believe I've already lost a few pounds just from my pre surgical diet these past 5 days. I got on the scale today. I haven't done that and recorded it in a while. It said 309. I could SWEAR it was 328 just a week or so ago when I stepped on swiftly. My pants felt less tight at work yesterday. Almost imperceivably so, but still. I don't think it's my imagination.
I'm about 15 minutes from going into an all-day training (complete with catered lunch), and I'M PREPARED! Yay me! My pre-surgical diet is super restrictive, but I'm over halfway done already, and I can definitely make it a few more days. But it's amazing how the environment can sabotage you if you're not strong. After a good 6 months of my high rise building's lobby being closed, it's re-open today after construction, and there are free donuts and goodies for one and all. Nope! Just kept walking. Come to my floor and there's Halloween candy everywhere. The department over from me gets a weekly delivery of fresh fruit, and that's never looked so good (I can't have fruits or veggies). But I just at the bacon and hard-boiled eggs, I brought with me, and it was delicious! I've got my packed lunch (with snacks) with me. AND my trusty water bottle, which is already half gone. Gonna re-fill that and head off to this meeting. I'm excited that I'm doing so well! Maybe I'll stay awake better in this meeting without my typical sugar crash.
Two days ago, I went to see my surgeon for the last time prior to surgery. He gave me a whole packet of information, including the one-week pre surgical diet. It's very restrictive! Here's what's allowed:
Meats (beef, pork, chicken and turkey
Fish and shellfish (not breaded)
Cheese and cottage cheese
eggs, nuts, seeds and nut butters (such as peanut butter)
Tuna, chicken, or egg salad
Here's what I CAN'T have:
Seriously - I can't have anything else
This diet is meant to shrink the liver, because it's directly next to the stomach, and it needs to be lifted up in order to gain access to the stomach - kind of like the hood of a car, but sideways. The livers of people with weight issues are usually larger than normal. By eating no sugar or carbs whatsoever, the sugar stores in my liver become depleted, and my liver shrinks as a result. It's also to give me a jump start on weight loss, incorporating and understanding the post-operative diet.
Now,.... my wonderful husband, who's also a big guy, and SUPER supportive, has decided to go on this diet with me until surgery. Because he's done super low carb before (although admittedly not THIS low carb!) and he says it's difficult to do alone. And he doesn't want me to feel alone. So he's done it since Friday with me. Because of this, I've been perfect on this diet so far! It doesn't sound like that big of a deal, but it's an enormous difference for me! Meals and snacks require planning and forethought, and that's a big change for me. So is having REAL FOOD instead of just junk. I was always reaching for a donut or Ding-Dong before whenever I felt a craving. I'm still thinking about them, but I'm not picking them up now. If I feel munchy, I choose a piece of string cheese, some almonds, or some lunch meat. And that staves me off until the next meal.
It's amazing how good a salad can look after days with no fruits or vegetables. You would have thought the salad was the Ding-Dong the way I was looking at it tonight as others ate it in front of me, Lol. It's also amazing how much water I'm drinking. I'm not sure how I've done all this time, but I've rarely drank anything during the day. I'm not a huge soda drinker, even when it's available. And we rarely have it around anyway. I am a sucker for sweet tea, though - cold in the day, and hot tea at night. And I LOVE my morning coffee - full of flavored creamer and sugar. So I've gone cold turkey on all of that. And I am SO thirsty all the dang time. My hubby says this is what happens when you deprive your body of the sugars. I also occasionally get a mild headache, which I think is sugar withdrawal. But it's nothing big enough to change my day much.
Tomorrow I am in training all day at work for a new computer system. They are catering lunch, and I know it's sandwiches and salads. I know that the meat on one sandwich isn't going to be enough to see me through the afternoon. So I have my breakfast and lunch all packed for tomorrow. Two hard-boiled eggs and some cooked bacon for breakfast. For lunch, several cold cuts and pieces of cheese, along with some cottage cheese, almonds and string cheese. I'll also be drinking water all day again, and I'm hoping the training will be intensive enough to keep me focused and not thinking about food.
I've got to say, I feel different already even after only a few days of eating differently. I'm already back in the swing of choosing good foods, and planning ahead. Two of those things were massively successful the one time I had great results in losing weight years ago. I'm going to try to do some yoga this week, too (I have a few DVD's, two of which I've never even tried). I'm looking forward to seeing how much weight I may have lost when I check in on surgery day (I was weighed on my consult day). I'm already on a roll. I'm feeling really positive! And I'm already half-way done with my super low carb diet.
Today I meet with my bariatric surgeon for my pre-surgical visit. My surgery is one week from today. Today I got up and at a super low carb breakfast of eggs and bacon and milk. Weird for me not to have my coffee laden with sugar and cream. But the hearty breakfast took my mind off of it. I didn't even remember the coffee until just now.
I'm about to shower and head over to the surgeon's office. I have so many questions, and I hope he's patient with my answers.
I got my last doctor's visit in yesterday - my primary care physician's surgical release, as well as a flu shot and one blood test that I had missing. Now I'm all set to go!
I'm getting excited!
It's booked for Nov. 10th - 9 days from today! I can hardly believe it's going to be so soon!
I meet with my primary care physician tomorrow to get surgical clearance and to get one more blood test (for clotting). Then Friday I see the bariatric surgeon - and start on my no carb diet. I'll get more info at that time too about what to expect.
Here are the questions I have for my surgeon on Friday:
What brand of Lap-Band is this?
What time is my surgery scheduled for?
How long does the surgery actually take?
What happens if you run into issues in my belly with scar tissue adherance from a prior tummy tuck?
What do I need to stock up on prior to the surgery?
Is there anything you can tell me to make my ride home from the hospital and sleeping at home more comfortable / less painful?
Can I have my pain meds sent to my pharmacy prior to the surgery - so I can have them at home when I return?
How many days do you think I'll need to have other people take care of me? What kind of care will they need to give me?
Do I need to buy protein shakes? What brand do you recommend?
How long after surgery will I be visiting with you again?
What is the typical amount of band fills it normally takes for a person to get to the right place?
I've heard I'm going to be tired for a while - no energy - because my body has so much less fuel to run it and my body's still big. Is this true?
What kind of issues are typical after surgery? What kind of issues should I call you immediately for? What kinds of issues should I go to the E.R. for?
Do I need to take vitamin supplements?
Is there a support group you recommend that I connect with?
OMG - my surgery's been approved by my insurance!!! Oh.My.God!!! I have one more pre-surgical thing to do, which is to get my primary care's clearance for surgery. I have that visit scheduled for the day after tomorrow. So I thought my surgeon wouldn't be putting in the submitall of all info to my insurance company until after that. I was looking to hear from them in another 2 weeks or so. They still do need my PCP's surgical clearance, and I guess I'm missing a blood test called PT/PTT, which is a clotting test. But that's for them - not the insurance. But I've already been approved!!! They say I can pick a surgery date already - anytime after Nov. 10th! Whaaaaaaat?!?!?! I'm.... floored!!! I was expecting to receive the approval, so I'm not surprised about that. But I AM surprised it came this quickly!
I can choose to have my surgery on or after November 10th - that's TEN days away, for God's sake!!! I could literally visit the doctor this Friday (three days from now), do the pre-surgical diet for a week, and then have the surgery a week later. I can choose Wednesdays or Fridays for surgery. I'd like to do it on a Friday. If I don't choose Nov. 10th, I'll have to wait until December due to Thanksgiving and the doctor's schedule. So,.... do I do it 10 days from today, or wait until Dec.? I don't know!!! I wish I understood a bit more about what the post-surgical diet is like. Will I be eating mush at Thanksgiving? Maybe I'll call the doctor's office back and ask, so I can make a decision.
I can't believe it's happening!!!!! I feel like I have butterflies in my stomach!
Does anyone read these? Because I feel like this is more of a diary than anything else. Which is okay. It helps me have a place to pour things out and organize my thoughts.
Today I went and got my Upper GI with double contrast. First time I've had that test, and hopefully, the last. Actually, it wasn't THAT bad. But barium isn't exactly pleasant stuff to drink. But the results were good - everything was fine. That's my LAST test for pre-qualifying. I have to meet with my primary care doc for surgical clearance, and then my bariatric surgeon can turn everything over to the insurance company for review/approval.
Today brought a new wave of feelings as I sat in the little waiting room with my gown on for 40 minutes, alone. All this time since I've had my conversation with my bariatric surgeon the very first time, this surgery has been more of a fantasy. I've had eight surgeries of various types so far between the ages of 21 and 46, and I know that I handle them well. I'm less afraid of surgery than anyone I know, and unafraid to take risks to make huge, quality of life decisions for myself. I'm proud of that. That doesn't mean, however, that I'm just hunkey-dorey about surgeries - they still scare me a tad bit - mostly for the pain associated with them. When I think of the downside of having a surgery done, it always starts with thinking about the morning of surgery, and checking in to get prepped for surgery. GOD I HATE that. I hate the millions of questions, the constant verifying that yes, I am who I say I am, the cold room, the stupid garb, my husband looking kind of scared and yet bored, and most of all, GETTING THE IV PUT IN. GOD I hate that part! Like,.... I think I hate the IV placement worse than surgery. I also hate the dry, dry mouth that comes after I wake up. Usually they're encouraging me to drink, drink, drink. Not sure that this time will be the same.
This time though, it's a bit different. You see, all the other surgeries I've had were also elective. And like this one, they gave the promise of a better life. Some were little - clean-up of my knee, a bladder sling, and a tubal sterilization procedure. I say little because there wasn't THAT much pain associated with it. Two of those practically felt like I never had anything done. A few others were really large surgeries - a knee reconstruction, a complete knee replacement, and a tummy tuck/breast reduction. The knees HAD to be done - I couldn't walk anymore. So I wasn't worried about making a decision that I'd regret in any way. The tummy tuck / breast reduction was long anticipated, and I trusted my surgeon exquisitely - I wasn't worried that the job would be botched. I did have large complications from that which made healing much more challenging, but I got over it. THIS surgery though - this surgery is different than all of those. Those made me look better, function better, be in less pain. This can also do all those things. But this is the only one that requires me to make a lifestyle commitment. And I am trying to get my head around that. I mean, if I'm just fine with committing to a low carb, low fat, high protein diet with portion control, I don't need a surgery to do that, right? So,... what's going to change just because I can't put much in my stomach? I know the portion control will pretty much handle itself. So that's good. But craving the foods won't change ONE.BIT, with this surgery. So, what, exactly, am I committing to? I think it's a fresh start. It's a forced way of staying committed. It's almost like saying, "I swear I'm so committed to not using my right arm that you may as well cut it off - because I don't plan on ever using it again. It being gone will only help me stay committed to that."
I have made no lifestyle changes this entire time that I've jumped through all the pre-surgery hurdles. Not.One.Iota. Because I feel like I'm holding onto the right to eat the way I want right now - because that'll be gone soon. That thought both scares and excites me. Excites me because I don't want this big body as my shell anymore. But scares me because I already know I'm no good at eating the way I should in order to lose weight. So this isn't a magic bullet - I'm still going to WANT to eat the way I do now. But I won't have the luxury of ever doing so again. Maybe I'm looking at it the wrong way. I'm sure tomorrow will bring new realizations.
Hi I had my surgery in April 2018 I had a lot of experiences like you. Before my surgery, I used to gulp down some water. That was my favorite drink. Since the surgery it's been really hard to get water down. My doctor said many have that problem because water is heavy. That's one problem I didn't think I would have. I'm not the one who like a lot of artificial sweet drinks. Definitely not drinks with aspartame. I would do some drinks with suraclose. like the zero calorie powerade. It's pretty good and goes down well. I drink teas and coffee as well and add stevia the natural sweetner to try to get in all my liquids. So liquids have gotten better for me after 7 months. Hope it gets better with you
I'm kind of surprised that only about 30% are diagnosed(?) with an ED.
I personally think everyone who needs WLS has severe problems with eating/food - if one wants to call that an eating disorder or not doesn't matter in the end.
My team is so weird. Full liquids are their own thing, and then purees and soft foods are thrown in together. I'm on that stage, which starts with cottage cheese and yogurt and ends with ground meat and soup/chili. The most "advanced" thing I've eaten was a couple (1 and 3/4 :)) of Ikea meatballs, which sat really heavy, but besides those, I'd say I'm around the middle of the list. Very moist tuna salad is fine, as are scrambled eggs (I mean, those settled weird, but I digested them, so I guess they're OK). I'm thinking of trying thin-cut lunch meat next; that sounds really good to me.
All I want in this world is the middle of a cheeseburger--I could let the bread and veggies go; I just want some ground beef, and cheese on it would be excellent--but I know not to push things that far, yet. The reward for going slowly is not getting sick, and that is a very compelling reward. :)
Thank you for sharing your experience! I haven't even thought of trying to get my fluids in any form other than plain water or at a temperature other than room temp, but I may have more success there, as you have. I'll give tea a try - thankfully I enjoy my tea unsweetened!
You're probably right about the rollerskating - I don't normally fall, but it could definitely happen, especially since I haven't skated for a month. I just love it so much, I'm eager to get going, but it's more important to let my body heal. I could make a point of taking a short walk during my breaks at work.
Have you started soft foods yet, or are you still doing full liquids/purees?
Just comparing notes, in case it helps...
I still can't drink plain water. I'm getting 90% of my hydration with hot tea (mostly decaf--I don't count the caffeinated tea toward my total) and protein shakes. And it is close to 64 ounces per day, but it's not ever very much more than that.
Besides hot tea, I can stand to drink protein shakes cold or at room temp. Room temp Powerade Zero is only a little bit harder than a protein shake, but room temp water hurts. Cold beverages also do OK, mostly--it's chilly enough out, now, that I just find myself gravitating toward the hot--and I definitely eat more sugar free popsicles than anyone should (even though it's cold, yes ... they seem to help when I start to feel nauseated from dehydration, though, and also they taste good 😁).
I think not going rollerskating (or ice skating?), this soon, might be better than going, unless you're a lot less likely to fall than I am. (Who isn't, though? 😁) We're still pretty early on in the healing process. I do little walks most days, and since I'm still on blood thinners, I figure I also still need to be up and moving a little bit every hour I'm awake. But none of it is especially epic exercise, and I'm not going to beat myself up about that until after I've been cleared to go in the pool and lift weights and get out of breath. (Those first two happen at the 1 month post-op appointment, and the latter, I don't know? I have in my notes, from somewhere, that we're supposed to exercise only at a "moderate" pace until sometime after the 6 week mark, but that's not from my surgeon.)
I don't know what to say about the food. I feel so bad if I eat too quickly that it's a pretty good policing mechanism. Like you, though, I wish I'd practiced more. The constant gurgling has gone away, and now I feel hungry 3-4 times per day, like you'd expect. It probably helps that very little of what I'm eating now is so appetizing that I feel rushed to eat it, lol.
I think this will all get better with time. I hope you find a way to get your liquids in soon, though! ❤️