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PRE-OP DIET IDEAS

Just wanted to share some of the stuff I've been eating this week for my pre-op diet. Besides three Premier protein shakes I have other stuff.  My life saver is the sugar free jello. I add 1 scoop of Unjury Unflavored protein powder to a cup of cold water, mix real good and then add that to my already dissolved jello that is 1 cup hot water. I like firm firm jello so I do 2 pkgs jello to 2 cups water total. One hot to dissolve the jello and one cold for the Protein powder. Mix both and pour into single serve containers. I add the protein powder to make sure I get enough protein in for the day because I have trouble doing three premiere protein shakes a day. I really get sick of all the sweet. blah  I also use Unjury Chicken flavor soup protein mix too... this is so good. I'm going to experiment and had it in unflavored gelatin see how that works. LOL - soup cubes *wink* _ I'll let y'all know how that works out. LOL I do use broth cubes for convenience, but I don't want to much sodium so I also buy the organic premade broth from Walmart to break up between cubes. These are good and have less sodium. I find the beef broth flavor is my fav. Chicken is second fav. Veggie broth. Blah!   There is Chicken with herbs bouillon cubes and these have a tad less sodium than the regular Chicken cubes.  I am allowed cottage cheese on my pre-op diet so that helps too, cause I can sprinkle with seasonings for a savory flavor or sugar free jello/crystal light for a sweety thing. Kinda reminds me of ambrosia salad with cherry jello on it.   I also am allowed Oikos triple zero yougurt once a day. Those are so yummy. Coffee flavor is the bestest!  I'm also allowed up to 2 cups per day of V8/tomato juice. This is savory yummy too.  Love (just a dash) of Worcestershire and hot sauce. For those of you just starting your pre-op. I'm already not feeling as hungry as I used too. I have to remind myself sometimes to make sure I get enough stuff in for the day. Its true once you get past the first four or five days it gets easier. This diet is to help us shrink our livers and drop a few pounds to help in lessen any complications during surgery. It also helps us detox and ready our body and minds for the changes its about to go through. But this is pretty much what I eat each day. Oh and I always have Popsicle - sugar free of course when ever. Love to hear any ideas or things y'all have tried.  GrInS  

mama3beartn

mama3beartn

 

FIRST WEEK DOWN!

Hello Hello   Well I survive  and didn't go off the wagon - well too bad. LOL - I did have a few of these amazing protein chips. I only had 4 chips through the whole weekend. Two chips twice. BBQ one time and Cheesy Sour Cream the other day. My daughter brought them home and showed me for my later in journey time, but I had to taste them. They were pretty good. The BBQ were the best and lowest in net carbs. Only 2g net carbs for the whole bag, the other was 3g. 21 g Protein for the whole bag.  Just had to share those I did weight this morning and down a total of 8lbs for the first week. I do have edema so I fluctuate so much due to the water retention. I am hoping the edema will get better controlled as the weight comes off. I don't have it real real bad, but enough, my hands ache and my feet and ankles get a bit puffy. I am on a pee pill daily and this helps it too.  I hope everyone had a great weekend, GrInS Sherry

mama3beartn

mama3beartn

 

The Shape...of all things.

Sooo, I've never been a thin adult. I've been a thin child. I've even lost weight as an adult from working out five days a week and barely eating; and was still considered 40 pounds overweight according to my doctor at the time. Such a let down, because I lost 51 lbs and instead of a congratulations based on my chart comparisons of weight change; I received a "Wow, you're very overweight. You need to lose 40 lbs". Suffice it to say I didn't lose much after that, and not on purpose. I just kept fluctuating up and down until I just started fluctuating steadily in the wrong direction.    Although I haven't gotten the surgery yet, because i'm still finalizing the documents for  insurance approval. God willing,  I'm expecting a surgery date in July. I wrote this blog post to put a particular question out in the universe. People are known (such as bodybuilders) for shaping their bodies into whatever they choose.  However, if you've never been a normal weight adult and are losing weight; how can you determine what your natural shape is? I want to help guide myself to have a fit life and a fit body, but am a little afraid that I'll be disappointed with my natural body shape. Suffice it to say my round shape is not any better.  I always had an idea of what I thought I would look like if I never gained weight. For instance I would imagine my shape would be similar to Shinghai Shoniwa of the Noisettes:    This all could be wishful thinking. It could be all part of my vision of an ideal. In truth I may not even have her frame. I have no idea....not a clue. I post these imaginings because I want to know if it's possible to shape your body into what you want truly want or think you should look like? Now to make a disclaimer:  I know some people may question the motivations behind this question. I need you to know that I'm looking to be healthy definitely, but I also want to be fit. I'm not looking to be just a thin person. I'm using this surgery as a tool to start an actual fit life and to actually achieve that goal. So as a writer and an artist I use visual cues to help me see my ultimate goal. I've been struggling for some time to maintain a lower weight, and I never snub exercise. So, like a kid contemplating on an imagined trip to Disney World; I can't help but calculate how to achieve what I see as my true fit self. I've never been at my ideal weight based on my height and frame - ever. Not even as a teenager. So when I see an image of someone I think I may be similar to in height and frame, my artist brain can't help but dream.    Do you have an image of what you think you should look like or think your shape is like? 

120Cassy

120Cassy

 

DAY 5 AND COUNTING

Well I am definitely new at this blogging stuff. ha ha ha - I guess I thought my intro was my first blog entry. I moved that to the entry and now added today's below.  Well its day five and I’m surviving. I weighed in this morning and down 5 lbs. (311.8 to 306.4) I did have a rough day yesterday when a co-worker brought in Panda Express and made the whole office smell. At first it smelled amazing. I had to clock out, got up and went for a walk. About a half mile. It was hot and steamy so didn’t want to get to nasty for the rest of the day at work. But by the time I came back I felt better and the stuff actually stunk. The big challenge will be this weekend. Just need to keep busy and not think about it. I think I keep thinking that, “Heck I don’t have to OFFICIALLY start till the 28th, why am I doing this to myself.” LOL – but I know I really need this extra week jump and will do my darn-dest to keep it up. Because once next Wednesday gets here that’s my two weeks till surgery mark and its no turning back. I’ll get back on Monday and let you know how my weekend went.

mama3beartn

mama3beartn

 

HELLO

HOWDY - Internet Pals, My name is Sherry and I have decided to blog my Journey with Weight Loss Surgery. I’m not the greatest at wording stuff, but will do my bestest *wink* Here is a recap up to now. My actual weight history started 21 years ago with the birth of my first daughter. I gained quite a bit and just never lost it. It crept up over the next 21 years. I did have two more children but they were both boys and well I was sick the whole time and actually lost weight with them. J I do have multiple issues including – Fibromyalgia – DJD – Diverticulosis – Borderline hypertension – Borderline Diabetic – Hypothyroidism and chronic anal fissures. I was constantly on the work out roller coaster. I’d work out and then the next day I would hurt so bad I’d miss a few days. So walking was about it for now for exercise. Till the weight gets down. Many of these will be much better if not cured by weight loss. I’m looking forward to less pain. Oh man am I.   Any hoo - I was introduced to bariatric surgery about 5 years ago and was like, “No Way. I can do this on my own.” So I did try. Of course right after that, I was inspired, and I did lose 45 lbs. with Somersizing, but only to gain it all back. Plus some of course. I have tried so many diets. Atkins, Somersizing (which was my most successful), Juicing, Vegan, Vegetarian, and so many more. All leading to a small amount of loss just to gain it all back, with its little side package. Always a side package. (that would be lovely extra you always gain back with what you lost) - So I’ve slowly over the last 5 years hit my max weight of 315. I was shocked and just gave up. But then stuff started getting pretty bad. My low back pain was getting worse, plus now I had numbness going down my right leg. Couldn’t sleep due to hip, shoulder and back pain. Shoulders were horrible and my anal fissure went on high alert and has been for about 2 years now. I had to do something so I started going to docs to get myself taken care of. I had a new sleep study to make sure my pressure was good – it was upped from 10 to 16. Colonoscopy to make sure all was okay there. Just the anal fissure and internal hemorrhoids, no cancer or anything like that. Yay! Then I had my low back evaluated. Bad Bad. Denerative Disk disease in lower back…and pretty badly. This was the doc who referred me to the Weight Loss Center at Centennial here in Nashville. And so the journey began. I called the Center and a week later they called and got my information. They returned my call a few days later saying my insurance required a couple of things before approving. A pre-op Nutritional eval and a Psych eval. These were taken care of within the next two weeks. Then they sent my information off to the insurance. Within the week I was approved. Then we scheduled my first consult with the doc. Went well. Then I received my surgery date. Boom Bam Boom. So now I’m three weeks pre-op and today I started my liquid diet. I have started this three weeks pre-op due to I have a very fatty liver and edema. I’m required to do two weeks but added another week to make sure things are good and down. We want no problems – nope nope. I attached the liquid diet the doc gave me below, in case you wanted to check it out. The crossed out stuff is stuff I don’t like or wont use. Not big on flavored water. But who knows after this that might change. Heard taste and stuff change after WLS. Well I'm off for now. Thanks for coming along on my journey and I’ll post often to let you know how all is doing. Blessing to you all on your own journeys and would love to hear from you.  GrInS  Sherry

mama3beartn

mama3beartn

 

Do I start over? Again?

I had my sleeve done on Feb 2013.  It's been 4 years.  I didn't loose all my weight - started at 273 & made it down to 211.  I am currently 223, but I did gain a bunch (was up to 248) I lost 24 pounds by eating 2 fruits a day, 3 servings of proteins & 2 low calorie veggies a day - OH & most importantly, 1/2 my weight in ounces of water (200 pounds drinks 100 ounces of water). I believe when I had it done, my doctor said it was still very new & I wouldn't be able to loose more than 70 pounds.  So I didn't (I guess I'm very influenced!  lol)  Now he said it was a most popular method of the gastric surgeries & everyone is having BIG success! I need to have my gall bladder out.  So I found out my gastric sleeve surgeon also takes care of this surgery & is part of my insurance.  His opinion is, while he is taking it out, He should either tighten OR redo my sleeve - depending on what needs to be done after doing some tests. And as long as my gall bladder doesn't flare with pain & I can wait a bit, (for insurance approval?) he can do them at the same time.  I would only have to recover once. It's tempting - but do I want to start over?  Am I not able to do this with my existing sleeve? Would I be sorry if I didn't get a "tune up?" I'm only 5'1" so yes, 223 is still morbidly obese!   Would you start over?

PamK

PamK

 

6:30am PST

I got the call.... I am going to the big leagues, or shall I say the smaller leagues!  Tomorrow at 6:30 a.m. I will be at the hospital.  I honestly am trying not to think about it.  I am just trying to just let it get here.  I am sure there is a gauntlet of emotions that I am hiding but I am trying to keep an even keel.  Keep strong and not have any second thoughts.  It's just such a huge decision.

VegasNoel

VegasNoel

 

Less than 24 hours until I know my surgery time

In less than 24 hours I will know my surgery time and I am looking forward to it.  I can't wait to get this done.  I am nervous but I am anxious to get started on my new life.  I know there will be struggles ahead and I will be on here to discuss and figure out how to get through them.  But things need to get done to improve my overall life.   I look forward to getting to know everyone on here.     Noel

VegasNoel

VegasNoel

 

Pre Op Appt Done!

Well, the pre-op appt is done.  It was quick, I kind of felt like I was a cattle going through paperwork.  The people presenting were fine.  The people from the hospital were fine. I am still surprised that we have no pre-surgery diet.  We can eat our standard weight loss diet until the last night.  Clearly not going crazy the last night.  However, I am going to go to mostly a liquid diet because I worry about my liver size even though the doctor doesn't seem to be worried about it. I know that I have an enlarged liver so I would rather be safe than sorry honestly.     I am thinking about starting a Youtube Video blog.  Has anyone else done this as a way to document their journey?   Until later!   Noel

VegasNoel

VegasNoel

 

Going to preop appt

I'm sitting here in my car waiting to go into my pre-op appt in about 15 minutes knowing this will begin a whirlwind of a week.  I'm nervous and excited.  I know I have the strength and determination to make this work.   See you on the other side with a full report!

VegasNoel

VegasNoel

 

My story and new begging........

My name is Barb I'm 30 years old and the youngest of 3 girls. As I remember I was always active as a child. Once I hit Middle school I feel I started really gaining weight. I was always miss treated by other kids not only due to my weight but cuz I have a learning disability. So kids would treat me different. But I have never let that hold me back. When it come to my weight I have tried  lots of things and programs to loss weigh and get healthier. My family did not have lots of money growing up. SO I did not always get to eat the healthiest of things and I grew up part of the clean plate club. So once I turned 17.18 and I started going to doctors and learned it was OK to eat until full not because it was on the plate. Now i'll fast forward to my mid 20's every thing I had tried did not work. and at this time I had developed other health concerns  like Sleep apnea. I had talked with my family doctor and I started things about surgery..... Talked with my family and at that time my parents  did not think it was a good  idea.  So I had kinda stop thinking about it but it was always in the back of my mind. Well it took me over five year to make the biggest decision of my life.... I felt that GOD has so much more of life for me to life!!! I want to be able to take my nephew/Godson who is Autistic out to do things and know that I can safely do so. I told my family that they can do this with me and help me threw this so I can live a long and healthy life or if I don't do this they with be bearing me. Because I will not let myself gain any more weight at 413lbs and I was only 29. That brings us to currently Im 30 years old and trying to loose the weight to have my Gastric sleeve weight loss surgery. I'm being seen at the U of Minnesota. I was told they are the best in mn.  I want you all to know I was being seen at one other weight loss clinic in MN. But I did not feel they where a good fit for me. so at that time I seeked out other clinc and found the U of Minnasota. I'm currently trying to lose the weight needed to be able to have the surgery. 

barb87

barb87

 

My Bariatric Surgery Consultation in Two Days

I meet with the Bariatric surgeon in two days to be sure I'm a candidate for Bariatric Sleeve surgery. I'm 65 years old with everything wrong with me that's on the list of co- morbitities.  Diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea , pulmonary hypertension, elevated cholesterol, shortness of breath- you name it! Even though I'm committed to having this surgery, if I am a candidate, I'm very nervous and anxious.  This will be the biggest challenge of my life😫

Deborah B

Deborah B

 

It's been 5 years....

5 beautiful years. Some drastic lifestyle changes (I went back to school and stopped all exercise like playing squash, running and cycling as well as reformer pilates) contributed to me gaining about 25 pounds in the last year and I am ready to lose them again. The problem is I can eat and drink anything and a lot of anything too. I have had many health challenges over the past 3 years and am in menopause, flashing like a red light all the time. Nothing helps and the hormones that were prescribed drove me nuts!  But life is great. I never did go for any plastics as I was too scared. Of course I regret this now. However, if I can manage to lose this weight I will go for a facelift as I look really old, and maybe some more work. Dieting will be an adjustment as I seem to have this same old I will start tomorrow therefor feast today mentality at the moment.  Today was the first day of low carb, protein first and I got through the day ok.  As I sit here, I wonder how many of the other "old timers" have maintained and how many are still battling the bulge like me 😂😂😂😂😂

desertmom

desertmom

 

Day 13....no solid food.....ugh....

So, today is 11 days post-op. I'm doing pretty well. My incisions are healing fabulously. I'm walking every day. Now, with this I should put in a disclaimer...I walk every day in bursts. LOL. I still get tired pretty easily. If I can keep my mind occupied, then I can walk for a longer time than when I'm trying to do household chores or something like that. For instance, my mom and I went to Burlington Coat Factory. That store is so much trouble! LOL I kept falling in love with all the clothes that I'll be able to wear once I reach my goal weight. Plus their housewares area is unreal. Such great prices! I was able to walk around the store for about a half hour before I REALLY had to sit down somewhere. And I've noticed, standing still....not a real great idea. It makes me more sore and wears me out so much faster than actually walking around. Even a week and a half out I'm still pretty sore in my tummy. But again, that soreness is usually amplified by sitting in one place too long. Like tonight playing Castle Panic with the family because it's Saturday - Family game night. It's a tradition we instigated several months ago where my kids, me, and my mom all get together for pizza and games and/or movies. It's a time for family bonding and it's almost always awesome. Only time it isn't awesome is when one of us is not feeling good or is in a rotten mood and pretty much kills it for all of us. It's life. It happens. Thankfully, it doesn't happen often. Tonight was hard though. I LOVE pizza. Hot pizza. Cold Pizza. Cold Pizza for breakfast. Cold Pizza for lunch. Hot pizza for supper. Veggie pizza, meat pizza, everything pizza, pineapple and ham/canadian bacon pizza...just no jalepenos please. LOL. I even found out before surgery that BBQ Chicken pizza isn't bad either! After not eating anything solid for 13 straight days, the smell of that pizza everyone was enjoying was so hard to endure even though I was "full" from my protein shakes, broth, and water. Believe me, drinking an once of fluid every 15 minutes with a tummy the size of an egg keeps me pretty full all the time. I have an alarm set on my phone to go off every 15 minutes to remind me to sip some water. I've made it my theme song. It's Rachel Platton's Fight song. I felt it appropriate since I'm fighting to take my life back from my food demons.  The other hard part is dealing with the people in my life who are resistant to change. Like my oldest son. He wasn't happy about me getting this surgery. At all. He likes having something to hold on to that's more than the skin and bones that he is built like. He doesn't like change of any kind. He's fought his senior year every step of the way because it means change. He still doesn't understand that change is inevitable. And you can either roll with it, or be rolled over by it. I used to thrive on change. Until 2013 happened and there was so much change in so little time that my mind couldn't deal with it and pretty much ceased to function correctly. I fight every day to get my mind to function as it once did. To thrive on change again would be such a blessing. But my son. He has never dealt with change well. So, instead of supporting me, he teases me. Just like his father used to do every time I tried a diet or tried to lose weight. He'd purposely get something that I could not eat. That he knew I couldn't eat. And he'd bring it to me and say "Here hon, look what I got you. A chocolate glazed donut with bavarian cream filling. Your favorite. Oh...that's right. You can't have these can you? I'm so sorry. I guess I'm just going to have to eat it myself." And then he'd proceed to eat one of my favorite donuts in front of me, pretending to savor every last morsel. My son hasn't been quite as cruel as his father was, but he'd get a kiwi and slice and eat it and slurp the sweet juice from it and say things like "Gee, mom, don't you just wish you could have one of these right now?" Then he'd laugh and finish eating his kiwi and walk away. Or, hey mom, don't you just wish you could have a slice of this delicious pizza. I'm so sorry you can't. It's SOOOO good!" So, that's been really hard the last week or so. I really didn't care the first week because I really just wasn't hungry for anything at all. I had no appetite. Nothing sounded good, nothing tasted good. Not particularly. And after 4 days of chocolate shakes I was ready to scream. Now, after 2 solid weeks of nothing solid and only sweet protein shakes...I've already got supper for next Thursday, Friday, and Saturday planned out! Salmon,  bunless Turkey burgers, and pizza!!!! with sauteed zucchini and mushrooms....mashed cauliflower......stewed tomatoes.....asparugus, spinach, tilapia, cottage cheese!!!!! Yogurt! OMG, I'm making myself so hungry...I really need to stop. See, I don't see my surgeon again until May 4. The last time I ate anything solid was April 16. 17.5 days without anything solid to eat. I'm about to go mad. But it will be okay. I know I can do this. I have to do this. I saw my primary care person yesterday. (She's a nurse practitioner, so technically not Dr, but might as well be.) My weight there was 258. Actually one pound less than what I was the morning of my surgery! She took me completely off my diabetes medicine. And I see her again in 6 weeks. Then, she's sure she's going to be taking me off my blood pressure medicine and my thyroid medicine. So, I'll be down to only the medicines for my back pain and my acid reducer, so 3 medications! Quite a change from the 7 or 8 I've been taking the past few years. I'm really excited. Well, that's all the updates I can think of right now guys. Oh!  But let me tell you something about those 4 in 1 protein shakes (you know, the ones that have all the vitamins already in them so you don't have to swallow a handful of vitamins quite yet or chew those nasty tasting chewable).... If you get the vanilla flavor (I imagine it could work with chocolate too, but not with as much variety) you can add things like the Sugar Free Orange Crush water flavoring to the mix and if you drink it cold, it tastes just like an orange creamcicle! Raspberry Ice is really good too. Cherry is okay, but not one of my favorites. You can add unsweetened cocoa  powder to the mix to make a chocolate. Add Unsweetened cocoa powder along with the Raspberry Ice to make a chocolate raspberry shake. There's so many possibilities. The only problem I've found is that you get really tired of the sweet stuff all day every day. I look forward to supper when I have my cup of Bone Broth (the beef is my favorite) It's by Great Value if you have a walmart in your area. It's the only broth that I found in the entire store that has 7 grams of protein per serving. All the other broths only had a whopping 2 grams of protein per serving!!!! Anyway, nature is now calling again (one of the drawbacks to constantly drinking...lol) Praying for healthy, happy, love filled days for you and yours!

Hoping052017

Hoping052017

 

How I eat 1 month out (and the BEST reason not to cheat!)

The first month diet of soft foods has been smooth.  Make sure you're following your doctor's plan, not my doctor's plan, because each plan is unique to our situations, including anything your doctor found or did during or before your surgery.   It's also important to note that I am not diabetic and I do not have any signs of insulin resistance, before or after surgery, so my body has a healthy relationship with all of the food groups. Here's last night's family dinner, all made from scratch with my meal front and center and my wife's delectable tostada on the far right. I eat vicariously through others and cannot wait to be allowed something crunchy again.  I miss crunch, but I know I'll be allowed to crunch again soon. Oh, how I pine for a sturdy lettuce leaf!    Homemade refritos, a little bit of spiced ground beef, requeson, crema con sal (a type of sour cream), and two tomato salsas, one very mild and fresh and the other hot and cooked.  SW: 275 CW: 244  So, a month out, I'm on "soft foods" which my doctor defines as foods that are soft BEFORE you put them in your mouth and that anything hard to digest like solid meats and veg needs to be taken down to more of an apple sauce/fine mince consistency.  I've been on this regimen since my 10 day follow up and will continue until my 6 week follow up in two weeks. There was no intermittent "mushy" stage for me.   I try to eat before I take my pills with very small sips of water.  Pills taken on an empty stomach may come up.  I'm eating 3-4 T at meals that go well for me (that is, no stress, which makes eating any more impossible and leaves me sick for an hour or two). I tend around 30-40g protein a day from a variety of sources: lactaid milk, yogurts, cheeses, finely ground beef, beans, meatballs cooked in soup, soft tofu, and egg. I do not avoid carbohydrates, as I feel better when I eat a balanced diet. I eat 5-6 very small meals a day (some as small as a tablespoon of yogurt or a small skim string cheese).  I often add nutritional yeast to savory foods to increase protein and B-12.  My carbohydrate intake tends to be slow-burning low glycemic index (oatmeal, berry, beans combined with high protein rice, fresh apple sauce with no additives, a bit of high protein pancake...)   The exception is that I do occasionally eat some white rice, always combined with a protein, and I have had no crash and burn. I have also had ice cream and sorbet in very reasonable amounts that fit within my plan with no ill effects or delay in weight loss.   With the restriction I've felt from my sleeve, I average 350 calories a day with my highest day just under 500 and my lowest day 0.  I registered my greatest weight loss after the 500 calorie day and felt my best, so I'm working up to that as a second month goal. Here's what I won't be eating again for a while due to nausea and/or vomiting: Full fat dairy, lentils, ginger (go figure!), oral B vitamin, whey protein  Here's what I won't be consuming again for a while ever due to migraine strong enough to punch through the botox*: Aspartame, sucralose   Here's what I won't be eating again for a while due to changes in taste: Ginger, cheddar cheese, V8, melon (with the exception of watermelon)  I haven't felt the kind of "hey, I'm kinda hungry" hunger I felt before surgery since then, but If I skip a meal or two, my stomach will gurgle, and if I've missed 3 or more meals, I tend to feel a bit dizzy, headachey, exhausted, and/or fuzzy-headed.  Fair enough.  If I don't eat a balanced diet (for me: too much protein or fat), I feel generally unwell, but I can power through.   No dumping syndrome or anything related.  Just lots and lots of water nausea that leaves me out of action for an hour or two when it hits.  I've also had a couple of bouts of stress tummy which results in worse nausea, a fever, and, strangely, intolerance to light, so maybe migraine, too.  It lasts about an hour.  I've always had a stomach sensitive to stress, but the surgery has made that worse.   Oh, and the best reason not to cheat?  That's down to my doctor.  who cheerfully told me all about some of his patients who had advanced too soon or cheated (fits through a straw on full liquid does NOT mean fits through a boba straw) and did rupture the staple line. It's fragile while it's healing the first month or so, especially.  Will it happen to everyone? No.  But it COULD happen to you.  And then you spend a miserable (up to a) year in the hospital being operated on, in pain, possibly dying, and guaranteed not eating those tasty things you thought were ok just a little early and felt fine at the time. Was it tall tale hyperbole to keep me on the straight and narrow.  Mmmmmmnnnnnnnpossibly.  But I know he wasn't joking, and I'd rather not risk it.  Would you?   And last, but not least, here's a random picture of my dog discovering Bones Are A Thing That Exists In The World and elevating, on the spot, to a higher level of doggy existence:        *I have incapacitating migraines that have been unsuccessfully controlled with medications.  Botox was the next step, and it's working great as long as I avoid my worst triggers. (Bright sun, aspartame, sucralose, non-natural cleaning products)  10/10 would recommend. 

HeatherS.

HeatherS.

 

4 days post op

Well folks, I'm four days out of surgery. This is my 3rd day home. Things haven't been too bad. The gas was horrendous this go round though. This is the 9th laporoscopic surgery I have had in 19 years. The gas this time felt so much like the first time. It kept going into my left shoulder. At one point I thought I was having a heart attack it hurt so bad. However, with a lot of walking the halls and a lot of morphine, the pain subsided. The morphine didn't help the gas pain a whole lot, but did help the incision pain.  I was actually doing really well up until about 4:30 this morning when one of my fur babies decided to use my tummy as a springboard. Jumped and landed square in the middle of my tummy that little fur ball did and leapt right  back off. I ended up waking two of my kids I was in so much pain and haven't really been able to snap back out of it so far. All I really want to do is sleep. My mom did take me and 2 of my kids to get one of our adopted strays his vaccines and microchipped this morning though. I really have to remember not to take a pain pill and an anti nausea pill and my propranolol together though. I was so loopy you would have sworn I was drunk. Good thing mom was driving! I also figured out why my clinician head nurse said not to check my weight until my two week checkup on the 4th. When I checked into the hospital I was lower than I've been in in at least a decade. I weighed 259.2. I was literally doing a happy dance! Before I left the hospital the clinic's nurse said they stopped weighing people when they leave the hospital because 99% of the time your weight will be higher during the two weeks post op than it was going in. Boy! was she right! You know when someone tells you you should't do something but the curiosity to find out if they're right totally supersedes common sense? Yeah, that's what happened to me. See, she said not to weigh until the 2 week checkup if I had a scale at home. That the water retention, bloating, gas, and swelling from the surgery would make the weight go up significantly but that I'd lose it back off fairly quickly. So, like a deer in the middle of the road that can't move when she sees an oncoming car, I weighed myself yesterday morning. I was 269.5! I was about heartbroken. Today I weighed again and I was 264.3. So I think I'll be fine. I swear I'm a glutton for punishment. I'm really looking forward to my 2 week checkup, though. I want to see how well I've done on my 2 week liquid diet.   Things are really weird for me. Commercials that made me drool and want things (like Olive Garden and Pappa John's pizza) I look at and think it looks disgusting. I really hope I don't end up anorexic. Nothing looks or sounds good. My clinic is so awesome though because for two weeks post of I get to have a 4in1 shake. It's Celebrate ENS+Iron 4 in 1 meal replacement with all my vitamins already in it, so I don't have to swallow the vitamins. After the 2 weeks though, I have to start taking the oral vitamins again. Along with biotin and thiamine and omeprazole, and calcium, and , and, and.... I have to set a timer to go off every 15 minutes to remind me to drink. The only reason I feel like drinking is my mouth is so danged dry. And I'm COLD! omg. Nobody warned me about the way the surgery would affect my temperature thingy! During the winter months (it sometimes will drop down into the single digits here) I usually keep the furnace thermostat set between 69 and 72.  Mainly for the kids. The cold never bothered me. Until now! It got to 69 in the house today and I swear I'm freezing to death! So, for the first time since the beginning of spring, I have turned on the furnace.  Anyway, I'm about ready for  a walk and family game night and another nap. I'll keep you all updated as I progress. Heavens bless and protect you in your journey through this thing we call life!  

Hoping052017

Hoping052017

 

First ever Monthly TMI Post!

What's a TMI post you (might) be asking.  It's a post about those things I'm finding a part of VSG life that people don't talk about in polite company or usually admit to in any company, but that I really wanted to know about before getting myself into this! (Don't worry, still no regrets). So if you are polite company or do not want to hear about blood, bodily functions, and the vagaries of animal existence, you might want to skip this one.  To those of you who are still with me, this edition will cover Underwear woes, scabs, itches, surgical leftovers, bowel movements, vomiting, periods, and a special surprise guest appearance by Yeast.   Underwear woes: Your surgeon will tell you not to bother buying new clothes, because you'll only wear them a couple of times before they no longer fit.   Your surgeon will not warn you that your boobs will soon be falling out of the bottom of your bra, and your oversized underwear will twist in new and exciting ways on your body.  As a woman, I can honestly say I have never needed to "adjust myself" so many times in a day as I have since surgery.  I started out wearing size 10/Torrid size 1/2 underwear that were all either snug (the 10s) or fit perfectly (Torrid, of course).  Now, they're all a nightmare of chafing, twisting, falling down, and creeping up my butt.  I would seriously recommend considering the purchase of an inexpensive package of underwear every few weeks or so.     Scabs, itches, and surgical leftovers:  Let's put all of the skin stuff together.   We'll start with itching, since it has been a constant since surgery. There are two types of itching, though.  There's a deep, crazy, going-insane itch that happens inside with the healing tissues.  I hate that one.  That seems to have faded around week 3.  The other itch has been ongoing and is stopped only by Eucerin for eczema lotion. It's a combination of healing and difficulty fully hydrating.  When I came home from the hospital, all of my incisions were covered in purple surgical glue with the instruction to shower carefully and avoid getting "much" water on them for "long."  I followed this to the letter, and when I saw Dr. Zane again for the 10 day follow up, he was surprised the glue was all there, and he said go ahead and peel it off.   This is where the blood comes in.  The incision above my belly button had glue that had lifted by a good centimeter, so I figured I'd go with his advice.  I got half way across when, blood! I stopped there, and was seeping blood for the next 12-16 hours, and now, two and a half weeks later, that incision is a bit deeper and more tender than the others. That also happens to be the incision with a stitch in it.  The stitch is still there almost a month later, and it is black with blood I can't get out of the knot.  I may just be slow to dissolve the last part, though a week ago, a 1" piece of filament poked out of my skin next to it and slid out when I scratched at it.  No pain for that one, just "weird."  As tempting as it is to peel after approval, go slow, and if there's any tenderness,  maybe wait.  The others that I peeled the last of the glue off of were no longer tender and looked sealed underneath, and that's what I found.  The only raised scar I seem to be developing is the bigger scar where my stomach was pulled out to the left of the belly button.  That one is raised on the edges where it was (I assume) stretched during removal.  Other surgical leftovers not to stress over:  I came home with iodine on my sides, no big deal, but a bit itchy.  It looks like they washed the area where surgery actually happened (good to know!).  I found serious gunk in my belly button once everything was un-swollen and de-tenderized enough for a thorough wash in there. I can only describe it as goo. I do not know what it was, but it didn't do me any harm, and I assume it was from the surgery, since I've never seen anything like that in there before. There was a lot of it, though!   I also had a big bruise on my tailbone along with a painful abraded area about 2" long and 1" wide.  Silly me, I put an antibiotic ointment on the rash.  DO NOT DO THIS.  I woke up the next morning to pustules all along the abraded area.  The doctor I saw for that diagnosed it as a reaction to the ointment, and said to just use petroleum jelly or a steroid cream because (something something - sorry) antibiotic ointments can cause reactions after all those IV antibiotics of another type.   Following those instructions, the area cleared up within a week after shedding the entire top layer of skin.  I found out from my surgeon's office that the bruising is because they sit you up during surgery.  Mystery solved.    Bowel movements:  I had to gird myself for this one, since I'm not really the type who usually talks about bathroom habits in public, but if this helps one person not feel so weird or at least feel better knowing what to potentially expect, it's worth it.  Bowel movements since surgery have been consistently weird.  The first was about three days after surgery (which they say is good), and very very little actually came out of me in a thin, strangely orange, stream.  In spite of how little there was, I still felt the same cue from my body as I did pre-surgery that it's time to find solitude and a toilet.  Since then, BMs have been increasing slowly in bulk, but they remain orange, soft-to-runny, and low-velocity enough that as soon as I feel that cue, I'm also planning a shower.  Aside from week 3, in which velocity was so slow, I spent all day close to the house, it hasn't been awful.  It's not fun, but it's also not often.  Once a week or so at a month out from surgery.  I should also mention that it's one of the things that can cause that "my heart is racing" feeling, because there's an enormous blood vessel that runs right next to your sphincter. I may only notice it so much because BMs are no longer a daily occurrence.  As far as I understand it, the phenomenon is harmless; drink more water.  I'll also add that urinating is fairly normal, though for the first week after surgery (or longer if you're slow to clear anaesthesia) prepare for some stop/start and give yourself a little more time.    Vomiting:  There has been more vomiting than I'm accustomed to after surgery, and I've pinpointed a few things that tend to cause it and others that don't.  Triggers:  Vitamins, unless buffered with a lot of food, are coming right back up.  Even the ones I don't need in chewable form.  I'm looking into the vitamin patches for this reason.  Even before surgery, my stomach has been iffy with multis and B vitamins.  Juice without water.  Even a tiny sip.  Too cold water on an empty stomach  Water without additive (I had a serious case of water nausea which is starting to resolve just this week)  Stress (I had to ask my family to please not talk about anything remotely stressful around meal times)  Not a trigger:  Fat  Protein Carbohydrates  Fruit  Dairy  Physical activity  I do find that sometimes I need to lie down after a meal or taking medicine until the nausea goes away.  Lying on my side seems to help.    Periods:  Depending on your rate of recovery and when it falls, prepare to be more exhausted than ever on your period.  That hit me hard.  Otherwise, totally normal.   Yeast: I found out at my 10 day checkup that I had a mighty yeast overgrowth on my tongue from the IV antibiotics. I was first prescribed the slimiest mouthwash in the world (which belongs on my vomiting triggers list, probably), then 5x/day tablets to suck on which left my tongue raw and painful but tasted like nothing at all, and finally a single pill, take it once and you're done oral treatment. (Why not that one first? I don't get it!)  It's almost gone now at 4 weeks out, but while it was active, the entire back 2/3 of my tongue were slimy and thick, and a lot of foods tasted very strange.   So, keep an eye out for that.    This concludes the first month TMI post. I expect any future posts to be shorter.  My top recommendations really are to watch out for yeast and make sure you always carry Eucerin (or similar thick lotion for SUPER dry skin that works for you). 

HeatherS.

HeatherS.

 

Divide & Conquer

I have jumped through all of the hoops that were laid out by my insurance company.  My surgeon's office submitted my information for insurance approval yesterday.  Now, it's time to sit and wait.  Except, I am not the "sit and wait" type.  I shall prepare to divide and conquer.   List making has begun: Items to pack for the hospital Books to read after surgery Movies/TV shows added to my Netflix queue Additional questions for my surgeon at my final pre-op appointment Food ideas for the full-liquid stage (which lasts for 5 weeks post-op!) I have also decided to implement life-long lifestyle changes now, rather than later.  Per my nutritionist, adults can only handle 2-3 major changes at once, so I figure I by starting now, I am setting myself up for success.  Some of these changes I will be working on over the next several weeks are: Eliminate caffeine Eliminate refined sugars Have several smaller meals throughout the day Chew food more thoroughly Eat slowly No liquids with meals No straws No gum Find replacement activities for when head hunger or the urge to boredom eat kicks in Start walking more Additionally, I have started the process of cleaning out my pantry and freezer, getting rid of any food items that are not in line with my new lifestyle.  If it is something I shouldn't consume after surgery, I certainly do not need it now.  I am not one to waste food, however, I do not want to "waste" my health any further and these items will be removed from my home.  Anything that can go to the food pantry, will. Lastly, I have begun taste testing various protein shakes and "clear liquids" for those stages after surgery.  I plan to use my blog as a place to post my reviews for me to revisit when the time comes.   Here goes nothing.  Or everything.

Ms. Brightside

Ms. Brightside

 

Current understanding of LOW protein, high carbohydrate diets and calorie restriction on longevity and metabolic health

While shuffling down a longevity rabbit hole on PubMed, I found a fascinating recent study in the area of calorie restriction and longevity.  What I wasn't expecting was its findings on low protein, high carbohydrate diets.  The study found, amongst other things, that low protein, high carbohydrate (20% fat) was associated with the greatest longevity and best overall metabolic health in spite of a tendency to weight gain as fat. The improvement was equal to caloric restriction alone, and combining the two had no additional metabolic benefits (LPHC also tended to expend the most energy) The version of the experiment where LPHC was combined with CR had the same longevity, but also avoided the increase in body mass from the high carbohydrate Intake. They also had the best immune systems The low carbohydrate, high protein group were found to have reduced longevity and poorer cardiovascular and metabolic health, though again, LCHP group with CR fared better than those allowed to eat freely. The area where LCHP created an advantage was in reproduction. Not in fertility, but in the actual process of reproduction, which makes complete sense. You can read the whole report here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4472496/ It should be mentioned this study is still one part of decades of research on Calorie Restriction and dietary composition. From the strong evidence in favor of dietary restriction, we should all be seeing increased life spans (depending on age of intervention, some will be more modest than others). But I wonder how the evidence building up for HCLP can be applied to us. HCLP emphasizes low glycemic index carb sources and 5-15% protein intake, but at our level of consumption 600-1000 calories a day in maintenance depending on your needs), that would only be 12.5-37.5g protein which seems like it would result in a deficiency. The famous Okinawan Ratio is on the low end of that, though people studied consumed about twice the calories (if I remember right, and I might not) which is still only 25g protein/day. And yet, I'm not seeing any of these deficiencies in the literature. No deficiencies in the Okinawans either.  Curiouser and curiouser. What do you think? What did this study make you wonder? 

HeatherS.

HeatherS.

 

Almost 8 Months

2 days till the 8 month mark.  I've survived the two big events i had to do this year. Hopefully the rest of the year is a bit less hectic now. I needed to take a break and just not worry about weight for the last month or so. I still tried to eat well and drink my water but I knew I didn't have time to exercise or be totally focused so i just gave myself a break. I lost and gained the same 5 lbs over and over again. It was still depressing.  Now that's over and I turned 39 on Sunday..I'm getting back to basics this week and tracking my food and water. Next week Ill start Yoga 3 times per week again and Tabata training (Still hate it!) 2 times per week, per the dietician. I THINK I maybe broke my stall this morning and made it below 170 but we will have to see if that will hold through till Monday at my actual weigh in. Admittedly, I started taking my adipex again (1/2 in the am & 1/2 in the Pm though Im prescribed 1 1/2 a day) to try and help with the cravings/head hunger. It helps. Im eating less which has always been an issue for me.  The dietician wants to adjust my goal weight to 155 instead of 135. That would put me 15 lbs from my goal weight right now which is weird to say. She's more interested in my body fat percentage than anything though. At the beginning of April it was 38% and she wants it at 33%...like I said before, I'm solid. I think Ill be happy at 155 or so because im just not focused on the scale number and I want to be healthy. I'm certainly not losing weight at a rapid rate at this point and for me, it will probably still be a struggle to keep it off for the rest of my life. That's ok. I'm committed. Right now I need to focus on toning and building muscle back. I really really want to be able to do a pull up. It's a goal for my 39th year! One thing...when we went to the convention this year, I noticed how much more attention I got as compared to other years. There were a lot of compliments. I expect that from people who know me and have known me for years both heavy and slimmer...but i had complete strangers intentionally give me compliments. I had one woman walk across a crowded patio just to introduce herself to ONLY me. It was unnerving.  Part of my brain wanted to scream "Damn it ! I was cute before too!" and i'm still working on just saying thank you without being self deprecating. Im working on looking at the big picture instead of focusing on the next lb down (or up) or the next calorie intake. I NEED to know those things, but I don't need to let them control my life. This years goals are being met, slowly but surely. Ill get there, no matter where there is. 

GACaldwell

GACaldwell

 

Moving along

Things seem to be progressing and moving along, yet the surgery date feels so far away. Since my last entry I've completed my psychiatric evaluation, home sleep apnea link, had my monthly appointments, and attended a support group at my surgery center.  I'm really disappointed with my psychiatric evaluation, as the doctor recommended I return for therapy prior to surgery to address potential binge eating behaviors. I was honest on all of the material of course, but I did not see myself as someone who has an issue with binge eating. Hopefully, one visit will cut it and I'll be cleared.  My home sleep apnea link study went just as I had expected and I've been recommended for a full sleep study. This is something I look forward to doing, as I have long suffered through sleep issues and look forward to being helped in that department. My monthly visits have gone as expected and I've lost weight sticking to my goals each month. I have a lot of pride that I do not indulge in Starbucks Mocha Lattes every single morning and only reserve them for a once a month treat. The support group was also helpful and I was able to glean some useful information. The topic of the group was inspirational stories and a panel of 6 people who had surgery gave their stories on their surgeries. It truly was inspiring and reaffirmed that I made the right choice to have the sleeve rather than the gastric bypass. I have also scheduled my appointment with my PCP to get my weight history and a letter of medical necessity. I am content with where I am on my journey in all areas aside from the minor hiccup of the psychiatric evaluation and further therapy.  

MollieVSGHopeful

MollieVSGHopeful

 

A hint of waist discovered (and a brief ode to string cheese)

28lbs down at three weeks post-op, and we're seeing a bit of waist again!  We're also seeing fantastically baggy skinny jeans which were skin tight before the surgery.  I really liked those jeans...  Since the jeans were size 20, I'm taking that to mean that I'm back into size 18 territory.  Once I hit size 16, I'll have a plethora of clothes that fit me again but have been hardly worn.  It'll be like having myself as my personal shopper, or something.  I'm trying to wait until I'm definitely a 16 before opening the boxes so that it'll be more fun.  Has anyone else done that?  It's not all sunshine and daisies, of course.  Protein is HARD, y'all, especially when you've lost the ability to tolerate the shakes at all.  I'm keeping up with low fat string cheese and plain yogurt which, fortunately, I love.  I've also discovered that string cheese with marinara dipping sauce (and, eventually once it's allowed, pepperoni) is an excellent substitute for pizza when that craving hits.  Talk about a relief.  Pizza, in its many forms, has been my go-to food when I'm feeling nauseous but still need to eat.  Since even before surgery I spent a lot of time nauseous, I was really missing my sure-bet food. Thank goodness for cheese.  That's all I'm sayin'.  And at 50 cal/8g protein, it's been good to me. 

HeatherS.

HeatherS.

 

Detailed VSG experience from decision making through 3 weeks post-op

I know, I know, I should have started this before surgery, but instead I'm staring it 3 weeks after surgery, so let's see if my memory will let me get caught up.   Background:  I've lost and regained all of my excess weight the old-fashioned way a few times, but I had been resistant to bariatric surgery until I heard about and researched VSG because I was concerned about malabsorption and dumping syndrome.  The last thing an aspie with life-long IBS needs is dumping syndrome.  Even after reading up on VSG, I was leery to try it because I didn't want to lose the enjoyment I have from cooking for my wife and exploring the culinary world.  We talked about it a lot.  Finally, we decided that the benefits would outweigh the struggles in the long term when I became very unsettled by no longer recognizing myself in mirrors.  (That's not to say that pain and fatigue weren't an element, or wanting to be there for my family long term, or wanting to avoid the severe loss of quality of life my mom suffered after 50... But those were already there.) Pre-approval classes:  Before surgery with Kaiser So. Cal, I had to go through their Options class.   What I learned from the class is that if one instructor seems to have unreasonable demands and/or rubs you the wrong way, there's usually another with a different approach.  My first instructor was a "tough love" type, and if you know anyone on the Autism Spectrum (like me), you know that tough love doesn't work with us, especially when we're trying to meet you half way, but need more information to do so.   Long story short, first instructor operated by goading the class, and some people need that.  Some people do better hearing "don't ask - just do" while others need to know how they can tailor a plan to their other medical problems.   This instructor insisted on 60 min, minimum, of moderately strenuous exercise per day, and all that did was destroy the little cartilage I had left in my knee.  I could have really used that cartilage post weight loss!  It got so bad, I almost quit entirely, when I found out that I could finish the class with another instructor, and what a fantastic instructor she was!  She answered questions, explained the whys of everything, and she was honest that each post-surgical plan will be unique to the individual.  I finished the course within a couple of weeks then, and I had my clearance to request an appointment with the surgeon by Feb 13.  She also helped out by telling me which hospital tended to have the shortest wait.  Approval:  I had my appointment with Dr. Zane on March 10, and all of my labs were good.  No sign of diabetes.  Weight loss of 25lbs the old fashioned way.  Blood pressure a little elevated but not too bad.  Fibromyalgia? Bad.  Joints and back? Crazy painful. Dr. Zane agreed that I was in a great place for VSG, and when he asked when I'd like to do the surgery, I told him "I'll take the first opening you've got."   As it turns out, he had one last opening available for March 27, and I took it without a moment's hesitation.  Pre-op & Surgery Day:  To get ready for the surgery, I had to observe a clear liquid diet for the two days leading up.  That, alone, made it tough for me to eat.  Looking back at my logs, I was lucky to make 600 calories a day those two days, and that was only by virtue of being able to chug protein water.   No chugging after surgery, though!  Surgery day, my wife, MiL, and the service dogs all trundled down to the hospital.  We arrived only to discover that we had a two hour wait before check in time!  So the lucky dogs got a nice long walk around the new hospital complex with all of the flowers in bloom, and I think everyone felt better for that.   Once I checked in, I was given a robe to change into and a pair of disposable hospital underpants that were made of the most uncomfortable material ever invented.  They had a texture a bit like stretched out gauze, and (TMI alert!) my butt is STILL healing a patch of chafing from them 3 weeks later.  Just so you know, part of the surgery involves you being sat up in the OR, so if you have mysterious butt bruises or soreness, it's probably that.  I had no idea.  Okay, so, hospital, gown, TMI, and now I met the surgical team.  Two anesthesiologists, both of whom were incredibly cool.  Don't be shy about telling these guys if you have nausea issues. Everyone kept me WELL drugged to avoid any vomiting.  They also made adjustments for my long-term use of extended release morphine, so make sure you tell the docs about that, too.  I remember being wheeled into the OR and my doctor making a joke.  I was just alert enough to respond to the joke and then they knocked me out. I went out while being transferred from the gurney onto the operating table, which was so bizarrely narrow.  After surgery, I woke up on the most comfortable hospital bed I have ever been fortunate enough to experience.  I guess it's because it's the bariatric ward and the beds have to be comfortable enough for people significantly heavier than me, but it's the first time ever in hospital that I wasn't squirming in discomfort because of the mattress.  Aside from that, I woke up thirsty and in zero pain.  I think I only used the pain pump 4 times during my 24 hours in the hospital. I also want to mention that I woke up feeling incredibly positive, motivated, and ready for the future.  For someone who's suffered major depression most of her life, that was kind of amazing. Endorphins, maybe?   I slept and dreamed of cooking delicious things and serving my wife and MiL afternoon tea on our deck, enjoying the process of creative cooking without needing to eat it.  I still want to do that.  (But I'll probably join in, at least for the tea...)  Shortly after napping, I felt well enough to walk around the floor, and I fell into a routine of getting up to pee and then going for a walk.  No catheter involved.  Kaiser also had a set up for bariatric patients of single rooms with fold out chairs that allow a family member to stay with you overnight, and that was invaluable.  I don't think I slept much after the time immediately post-op, and my will to exercise was a lot greater than my stamina.  I was also incredibly grateful to the suggestion I read somewhere to bring your own pajamas and robe, etc.  I'm sure that helped with morale.  Food, or "food" rather, was diet Ocean Spray cranberry juice (ugh), chicken broth that tasted exactly like KFC fried chicken (still don't know what's going on with that one), jello (didn't touch it), and ice chips.  I found the salty broth and the ice chips the easiest to eat, but I also discovered I had a bad case of water nausea.  That's only just starting to go away, and I'm a person who LOVES drinking water.  So, thanks to the soup, I met my Dr's expectations, and when he came in the next morning in between surgeries, I was bright eyed and bushy tailed and ready to go home.  He warned me that I had one stitch "to remind me I had surgery," and said my healing looked good to him.  Don't scrub the surgical glue or get it too wet, and then Discharge ahoy! Dr. Zane released me onto a full liquids diet and out the door I shortly went.  I was also told that I'd had heparin shots (one last for the rode before I left the hospital) and a LOT of IV antibiotics.  It was an absolute dream to slip into my own clothes, but if I had thought it through more, I would have brought something other than comfortable jeans.  Even though they sat well below my incisions, they pushed up on the incisions just enough to cause a case of the ouchies and enormous relief upon arriving home.  Having a pillow to hug to my stomach helped a lot on that car ride and on car rides for the next week and a half or so. First week post-op:   I have 5 incisions, and the "big bad" where my stomach was extracted is just to the left of my belly button, about an inch long with almost no bruising at all in spite of the heparin.  Dr. Zane assures me this is because my surgeon is just that awesome.  I love him for his modesty.  That one stitch he mentioned was a tiny slice of hell for the first week and a half.  Rolling over or sitting up were painful enough to make me see spots and yelp, but that did go away as the sutures began to dissolve.  So if you're in that kind of pain, know it does go away, and it's just whatever stitches you have being evil.  In fact, they were so evil that on the first and second night home (where the IV pain meds had worn off), I was in so much pain, I spent most of the night wandering back and forth across the dining room and kitchen with a pillow clutched to my stomach.  The third night, I managed to sleep all the way through, and then some.  Taking my medicine for the first week was probably the hardest part.  One pill at a time with only enough water to wash it down.  Did I say water? I meant water with a splash of juice.  I couldn't tolerate plain water or artificial sweeteners at all.  And I did try.  Unfortunately, my sensitivity to artificial sweeteners has only gotten worse post-op, which made it increasingly difficult to get my protein in.   My salvation?  The discovery that milk is still not only delicious but that I did not develop an intolerance to dairy!  Granted, I always drink lactose-free milk, but I also have no problems with cheeses or yogurt. So, fat free lactose free milk kept me going when the going was rough.  It took the best part of an hour, at this point, to get down a 12 oz glass of liquid.  I spent a lot of time sitting at the dining room table staring resentfully at a glass half full.  It did gradually get easier as the first 10 days progressed, and the evening before my follow up with the surgeon, I had a delicious dinner of Tom Kha Kai (broth only) from my favorite Thai place, and the spice was deliciously soothing.  YMMV on that part, but I was raised on salsa.  The other discovery I made the first week is that walking was suddenly easier.  I wanted to walk.  I felt like I could just keep walking forever.  That's a feeling I haven't had in a long time.   By the time I went to my follow up, the majority of those struggles were in the past.  And one was in my future: thrush.    Follow up appt & the 2nd & 3rd week:  At the appointment, my Dr. asked me how I was feeling, how I was healing, and how I was doing at keeping things down with the full liquid diet.  It was all going well there, with 20lbs lost since surgery, so he cautioned me that everyone has a 2 week stall about 2 weeks out, and he moved me right along to soft foods.  I asked him what's the difference between soft foods and mushies, and he answered "they're the same."  After asking a few questions, it became clear that he combines those two groups and emphasizes that the food has to be soft even before you put it in your mouth.  No chewing chips until they go mushy.  I have no problem with this at all.   He also diagnosed me with thrush.  Ugh!  The mouthwash treatment was intolerable, the tablet treatment, slightly tolerable, and the pill, completely tolerable.  What a pain in the behind to deal with while learning to eat again!  Especially with soft, mushy food.   It did put me off eating for a few days, but things got better once the medicine kicked in.   So make sure you can find a yogurt to take in during that first week after the IV antibiotics!  Other than that, the Dr. said I'll be on this soft/mushy stage until my next follow up with his nurse, the beginning of may, so here's how I'm allowed to eat now:  4 tablespoons of food per meal, max.  (I've only managed the full 4 a couple of times.  More often, my meals are closer to 2T, and I feel full)  4-6 meals per day  No water or drinks for 30 minutes after eating. All food must be soft and moist.  On the way home, my wife and I celebrated by swinging through Taco Bell to split a Pintos & Cheese.  It takes me about 30 minutes to eat 2.5T of it, one tiny mouthful at a time.  We're talking Barbie spoon size for that first meal!  I also had to wait another 30 minutes for the nausea to go away before doing anything else.  Since then, I've been living primarily on beans, soft cheese (queso fresco is a favorite!), yogurt (plain with cinnamon), the occasional tuna salad, and lactose free fat free milk, still 1-2.5T for most meals before I feel that sensation that the next bite will not be appreciated in my stomach.  That feeling really does seem to be different for everyone.  For me, it's a subtle hiccup-like sensation in the back of my throat.  I have missed the signal a couple of times, and yes, I did throw up.  Throwing up itself is an interesting experience post-op.  It's not the same "oh my god I'm turning inside out!" feeling I remember from before.  With the exception of my body rejecting a vitamin it did NOT like, throwing up since the surgery has been non-painful and over quickly with very little bile involved.  My birthday happened during this time, and I had a treat of curry rice in Little Tokyo for lunch, cheese enchilada and beans for dinner out with family (shared the dish with my wife, who ate most of it), followed by a birthday flan the table shared, and then at home, a bit of ice cream birthday cake and some out of this world raspberry sorbet from Fosselman's, a local family-owned ice cream parlor that's been dishing out the good stuff since 1914!  Some of you are probably wondering if the carbs on that day set me back at all.  The answer is: nope.  Remember, this is only one day, and each serving was 4T or less.  I had a great time downtown on my birthday and got in a lot of walking with my family while we explored Little Tokyo together.   And then I crashed into bed and slept for 36 hours.  No joke! During this stage, I also had my first post-op experience with stairs, and my heart would race like crazy by the time I got to the top.  It turns out, that's a sign of dehydration.  Once I got to the point where I was getting in my full hydration, the racing heart issue stopped.   Now, I seem to be evening out a bit as I get the hang of things.  I still eat with the family when there's a family meal, and I focus on the soft foods that I can eat, protein first. When they have tostadas, I have beans, queso fresco, crema, and salsa. When they have Eggs Benedict, I have egg and avocado with a teaspoon of hollandaise.  When they have spaghetti and meat sauce, I have meat sauce.  My travel food is low fat string cheese, or in a pinch, Taco Bell Pintos & Cheese.  My wife and I split a lot of meals.  My most recent meal was beans, salsa, and requeson from the middle of her burrito. Working out a plan to share meals with your SO has been a great way for us to keep eating together and enjoying food as a shared experience while keeping me within my requirements after VSG.   I've also been pleasantly surprised with HOW the weight is coming off me.  It seems to be coming off from the areas that were deforming my shape first.  I used to be one of those larger people who stays perfectly in proportion, just large.  I'm moving quickly back in that direction, and that alone is heartening.  I do suspect that part of the reason my waist went down as dramatically as it did is due to the actual removal of 85% or so of my stomach.  Considering how much I could eat in a sitting before without feeling full, I would imagine my stomach was on the large side.  I'll have to ask about that during the follow up.   What else?  I'm on the verge of crossing down from Obesity III to Obesity II, which feels like a great landmark to pass.  I'm wearing clothes I haven't been able to wear since a major injury pushed me from "hanging in there" to "nope" back in 2014 by severely curtailing my physical activity. My clothes are fitting better even when they're loose (except my damn bra, which is too big around the ribs now and a collection of underwear that think they're thongs).  My vintage-style dresses no longer REQUIRE a petticoat to hang correctly over my hips, although petticoats are always cute, and I suddenly have more leggings and tank tops that are actually comfortable to wear again.  It's like shopping in your own packed wardrobe and the opposite of all of those miserable shopping trips where nothing fit right. I'm glad I never gave up hope that I would be able to wear these things again.  I really am.  Hopefully by summer, I'll be able to fit into my favorite size 17 capris.  #GOALS

HeatherS.

HeatherS.

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    • 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! ❤️
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