One week ago today I woke up from surgery with my new gogo gadget tummy in me and haven't regretted it one itty bitty bit. I am so excited for the success this is going to bring me and I'm so excited for every story I read here on the VSG forums, knowing that everyone here will finally get the weight loss success we have all longed for most of our lives. We're finally going to be "normal". I can't wait until the day comes where I don't find myself looking around a room wondering if I'm the heaviest in it (and usually I am). It will be fantastic not to walk into a place and hope the seats aren't too small to sit in and the sheer embarrassment that is felt when you sit in a seat that you are not only crammed into, but have to worry about how to wedge your way gracefully out of it in front of a room full of people who will stare and judge you if you stand up and any part of that chair stands up with you. Those days will be gone!!!
I've noticed during my first week of full liquids that I have found myself wondering if I'm doing something wrong, because I have not felt stuffed at all by anything I've consumed. I've not felt hungry and when I start to, it's usually time for a meal or snack. I think it dawned on me shortly before I started writing this entry what exactly what happening - I was eating normal. Normal people don't eat until they are stuffed every meal - they don't fill a plate and eat it until it's gone - they eat until they are full and put the rest away. I didn't feel stuffed, because hello!!!! this is what satisfied felt like. How the heck did I get this long and not know what that felt like? Here I thought I was doing something wrong and doubting I was doing it right, just because my tummy wasn't begging for mercy. Wow, the mentality I let myself get into.
I am however and oh so thankfully happy to say, I am on the last night of my full liquid diet - tomorrow is soft foods!!! I've done fairly well on the full liquids as my doctor allowed a fair bit of goodies that helped me get through the week. I've had to consume 3 protein shakes a day (ugh, so tired of those after 3 weeks), but I could also have 2 snacks a day consisting of SF jello, SF pudding, SF popsicles, instant mashed potatoes, 98% FF cream soups, Cream of Wheat (tried it, don't recommend it for a few weeks ... the sleeve did NOT approve), Oatmeal and yeah, that's pretty much it. It wasn't horrible since I had 3 shakes and 2 snacks a day. I did find that I enjoyed combining 98% FF Cream of Chicken Soup with the instant mashed potatoes for a potato/gravy feel and I think it helped the potatoes go down easier and gave me some flavor.
So, farewell my faithful full liquids - you were good to me, but it's time we part ways. It's on to softer and mushier foods for me! I've scoured the interwebs for various ideas and recipes for mushy stages and have found a fair bit that I think will keep me somewhat entertained for the next phase which will last me 2 weeks. Wow, only 2 more weeks and I'm back to solid foods.
I told myself I was going to document from the start of my pre-op diet through my journey (I hate that word ... it sounds fruity, but it is what it is. Moving on!) however, I apparently am still a procrastinator. Whoops. Well one bad habit at a time I suppose. I'll tackle weight loss first and procrastination ... eventually! So, I'll spend a bit of time catching up. Now I am under no assumption that anyone is really going to read my ramblings, but I wanted to do this for me so I can look back in a year, roll my eyes at the kind of dork I am, and be happy about how far I've come.
Pre-Op - the dreaded 14 day liquid diet (aka What do you mean I can't drink tequila, it's a liquid!!)
Before I started my 14 day liquid diet, I had to wrap my brain around what craziness I was about to put my body through. Part of me was quite thrilled because it made deciding what to have for each meal very easy and it was very easy on dishes and the grocery budget. However, there was another part of me that was cussin like a sailor .... that was the part that didn't want to give up pizza, or pasta, or margaritas. So, I duct taped the mouth of the inner voice that wanted the junk food and tossed her in a closet .... I had me some work to do!
My pre-op diet consisted of 2 daily Bariatric Advantage shakes, and I could also have SF pudding, broth, SF jello, SF popsicles, SF creamsicles, Gatorade, SF applesauce and light yogurt. Wow, my doctor just recommended me the diet of a 6 year old. So, in I went on day 1 and I have to admit it was not bad at all. The worst part about it so far had seemed just making sure I was prepared to take all my liquid goodies to work since I had to eat something every 2 hours, in addition to the 64 oz. of water I had to consume. Fortunately I found a little trick for myself on the water, in that the Gatorade bottles I had were also 64 oz, so once I had drained one of those, I kept filling up my daily water in one of the Gatorade bottles so I knew if I had my minimum in. It really helped me make sure I was getting my water in.
I have to say, I did pretty darn good .... until about day 4 when I realized I wasn't have anything salty, and my body was starting to scream for it. I'd had broth, but it wasn't really cutting it at all. This is when I discovered the magic that is frozen green beans! My NUT had told me my snacks had to be no more than 100 calories per serving and these were 20 per serving, so score! I was able to add some greenies to my diet with a dash of sea salt and I got the salty taste from time to time that I was craving.
Something that stood out to me during this phase was the sheer volume of food advertisements that were on TV -- and even weirder to me, I didn't want any of it. It surprised me that I actually had no cravings at all when I saw or smelled food. However, back to my original point - there is a ridiculous amount of advertising on TV not only for food, but for food that is utter crap. It's no wonder so many people are rockin weight problems - it's plastered all over the television! I can't say that I recall more than 1 or 2 for something healthy ... which is really scary.
I finally came to the last day of my pre-op diet though - I had survived!!
Day of Surgery - June 13th, 2012
My surgery was scheduled to begin at 7:30 am and I had to be at the hospital at 5:30 am. My procedure would be performed by Dr. Christopher Hart of Atlanta Bariatric and I would be in Emory Hospital, Johns Creek, GA. I wasn't one bit nervous that day because of the absolutely amazing job Dr. Hart and his staff did in preparing me for that day, as well as all the reading and research I had done on the VSG forums. I was ready !! I got my IV, said my bye's to my mom, and went down to the holding room where I met my OR nurses who were also fantastic. One of them had sleeve surgery a few years prior with Dr. Hart and had nothing but awesome things to say, which made me feel even better. I was surrounded by medical professionals who had nothing but the highest regard for the guy who was going to take out 70% of my tummy - totally ready for this!! I'm very fuzzy from the point they gave me the "i don't give a rats behind about anything drug" and wheeled me into the OR until some point I was waking up in my room. I vaguely remember going into the OR, seeing a nurse with cats on her scrubs, a few brief flashes in recovery, but that's about it. When I woke up, I thought I was going to be in pain ... but none. Cool !! I spent quite a few hours drifting off to little mini naps and every time I woke up, no pain, no nausea.
They did get me up for my first walk after 4 hours of getting into my room and I was ready for a whole world of pain the second I got up. Nope, nothing. I swear, I actually checked to make sure I had the incisions because it did not feel like anything had been done - certainly, I had to have some pain, right? I had the incisions, but no pain and they assured me that they did in fact do the surgery and it was very successful. I wasn't up for eating much of anything that day, even though they brought me my trays of clear liquids. I did manage a popsicle, some broth and a bit of water but I was mostly sleepy.
When I wasn't sleeping though, I was finding I wanted to get up and try walking. I was walking about every 2.5 - 3 hours and I was really surprised at how well I was doing. By morning, I was slowly consuming broth and jello and water. Holy crap, still no pain! I had been asking for my pain meds of course, but it was usually ever 4.5 hours or so, just to see if I would experience any. I had some minor discomfort, but nothing painful. Clearly, I had the best doctor ever!!! Fortunately I was cleared to go home after just an overnight stay - Dr. Hart was very pleased with my progress and I certainly was very pleased with how I was feeling. I was pretty tired and zapped of energy, but that was a pretty easy surgery all things considered.
I have to give mini props to the hospital though as they have their own Bariatric wing where everything is designed with the bariatric patient in mind - even the beds were pretty comfortable as far as hospital beds go! The other thing I loved about them is that they have a second bed in the room (all rooms are private) for your guest if they want to stay overnight with you, which I think is pretty darn cool considering a lot of people come from out of town for this surgery, so that saves their care giver a night in a hotel room. In short, I cannot recommend this hospital or this surgeon more - everything was stellar!!
As I was getting checked out, I asked the nurse when I should start taking my blood pressure meds again (assumed they had been giving them to me in hospital since all my vitals were always right on target and normal). I was a bit surprised to find out that they had been giving me nothing for my BP -- and my BP had been giving normal readings. Say what??!
Post Op - I'm Home!
I've done a lot of sleeping since I've been home since my energy has been pretty zapped the entire time, but it's been improving. One of my first calls was to my general MD to ask her about my BP medication. Even though the hospital said I could start taking it, I wanted to make sure because I was a bit scared of my BP dropping too low (think that's the first time I've ever had that thought in my life!) She of course asked me to come and I did and I about fell out of my chair when she told me that I could stop taking my 2 BP meds. Say what??!! I'm 2 days post op and I'm completely normal on my blood pressure?? Holy @#$(!!! She asked me to monitor my BP at home, journal it and come back to her in 2 weeks - if I saw my BP spike, I should only take 1/2 of 1 pill. Whoa. I'm pleased to report I'm now 6 days in and my BP is still normal. Wow, that was fast!!!
Overall, I've been doing pretty well at home. I did set my alarm to make sure I was walking every 4 hours still and doing my breathing exercises to keep my lungs open. On day 3 I did get the dreaded gas in my shoulder but a few Gas X strips and my walking got that out of there by the next morning, thankfully!! I'd have to say day 3 was probably the worst, just because of the gas pain in my shoulder so every time I would do my deep breathing exercises, I was getting spikes of pain in my side and in my shoulder - not a fun day!
I'm fortunate that my work allows me to work from home on my lap top so I started doing work on day 5. I found that I could sit in front of the computer, but not for long periods of time yet - I would get achy in the middle and tired, but I'm building up to it!
All in all, I would do this again in a heart beat and recommend this surgery to anyone who asked. I feel it's very important to have good support around you, know exactly what you're getting yourself into, have a plan of how you're going to execute everything, and above all - find the best surgeon you can !!!!