I haven't updated in awhile as I'm back to my busy life. Returned to work this Monday, 12 hours shifts, no restrictions. I am doing pretty well, keeping up, keeping hydrated. I was afraid of not having time to drink, let alone eat, but so far I've been able to make it work. I'm also babysitting my 1 year and 2 year old grandsons-that seems to wear me out faster than work! I had this surgery to help me keep up=but so far I'm struggling just as much as before. A bit disappointing, but I'm hoping my stamina increases as I lose weight and get a regular exercise regimen. Speaking of which, I started back to the gym on Saturday. My plan is to go every day off, even if I'm babysitting I will go afterwards. But there is no way to go on work days.
Other issues I'm running into include constipation, back pain, and so much gas!! I think the back pain is just due to the abdominal muscles having gotten weak since surgery. For the constipation I have increased the fiber I take daily and now taking colace daily as well. This may also be contributing to the gas thing.
So at least I'm finally losing weight again, I said goodbye to the 240's this Tuesday. I also got into some size 18 jeans and my work jackets that I had "outgrown". In case anybody is curious about my stats, i started out this journey at 277lbs, wearing size 22 jeans and 3x scrubs. My scrubs at work are now XL pants and 2x tops. I'm an apple shape-that hasn't changed too much yet. But I'm hoping I will become a thinner apple!!
I attended the required 6 week follow up class and MD appointment today. The class was ho-hum, we received a script for lab work for the 3 month visit and every 3 months for a year, and a reminder of our diet restrictions and exercise recommendations.
The good part, or the part that made the 1 hour drive worthwhile was sitting next to a fellow sleever I had met briefly at the last pre op class. She and I have a lot in common, age, weight to lose, type & date of surgery and the POST OP PAIN! I was shocked! She described her pain in her left side just like I had-and she said the MD had her come in to be seen and explained in detail how there were internal stitches that needed to dissolve and that the pain would last about 1-2 weeks and then suddenly disappear. REALLY? He didn't tell me ANY of that! Well, on top of that bit of news I asked about her weight loss- she's down 40 lbs from her date of surgery (Oct 1-same as mine!). Great. I'm only down 19lbs from Oct 1. But I will give as my excuse that I have not been able to exercise hardly at all-she has been able to exercise for about 2 weeks now. Boy,, I hope I can catch up now that that damn pain is gone!
Lastly, when seeing the MD today, I told him about the other gal having similar issues- he said, "Yea, weird, I've had three of you ladies with that weird pain this month". I could have choked him! He had acted like I was some kind of freak when I was having my issues. GRRRRRR.
What a day! Finished writing my main paper for my Nursing ethics & legal issues class, went shopping for something to wear to a baby baptism scheduled tomorrow, and cleaned/changed water in my 90 gallon saltwater fish tank.
Any 1 of those 3 would have killed me just a few days ago!
Good news! Tried on dress slacks at Kohl's and ended up getting a size 18W, I could get the 16's on but they were a little snug(I only tried them for fun-didn't expect to be able to even button them-but I did!), but the 18's were a far cry from the 22's I've been wearing!! It is so nice to finally enjoy some of the good parts of this surgery!
The cleaning of the 90 gallon tank took several hours, and I was even able to lift the 5 gallon buckets of water with little effort. I have been looking at my poor fishies for 5 weeks just aching to clean up their home! It looks so nice now. I know I must've burned a few hundred calories on this project!
As an update on the doc thing...I am going to go to my appointment on Wednesday, so I can get a note to go back to work, and depending on the attitudes I encounter I will decide whether to search further for another office.
Best wishes to all my fellow sleevers!
It's Monday, and the good news is that it seems that the sharp, debilitating pain I was having on my left side has dissipated. It is now just a sore area that is tolerable. Prayers work!
The bad news, the local surgeon I was going to try to switch over to will not follow up with me. He apparently is not doing sleeves after all. So I am still debating about following up with my original surgeon for the long run. I still think I will try to find another office-I have just really lost all faith in him and his office staff.
But I am SO GRATEFUL to my Lord for touching my body and giving me relief! I think this is how I was supposed to feel at 2 weeks out. I really can't pinpoint when the pain stopped, but I realized on Sunday morning that getting out of the chair did not elicit that terrible stabbing pain. I kept expecting it to grab me all day, but nothing I did made it come....I pray it stays that way!
Thanks to everyone for the prayers and support, hopefully now I can focus on losing weight and rocking my own lil' sleeve!
Yesterday was Friday, I called the surgeon's office as he had requested to give an update on my abdominal pain. Of course I had to go through his nurse, ok, fine, well she puts me on hold then comes back and says doctor would be happy to call in a refill for Vicodin for me. I start to lose my patience and tell her I never finished the first prescription of Vicodin, I hate the way it makes me feel, I cannot function, I just pass out and then wake up in more pain! So, finally she puts the good doctor on the phone. He says, "Yes?", I relay, again, that I have not gotten any relief with the Celebrex, and I now I am having pain when I am NOT moving, and my heart feels like it is racing. I ask if he could order an MRI on my chest and abdomen to rule out any other complications such as herniation/abscess/microscopic leak/muscle tear/or whatever. He firmly states "You do not have a leak, a bleed, or an abscess. Your pain is musculo-skeletal. An MRI will show nothing that the CT did not already show. I have nothing more to offer you". Really? Wow. Wow. I thank him (don't know why) and hang up.
I know I was going out on a limb, but I called a chiropractor in town who specializes in neurological pain and "failed surgeries". He got me in within a couple hours. He sat at his desk, looking at my papers that I had completed regarding my history and my symptoms. He shook his head and said there was nothing he could do for me. But he did recommend I get a second opinion from a bariatric surgeon, if I could find someone who would see me. He confirmed that something is not right, and he believes it is a nerve that is damaged or injured as my pain is described as being a sharp stabbing pain. So I leave.
Today, Saturday, I have devised Plan B, tentatively. There is a bariatric surgeon in town, although he just started doing the sleeve, he has a lot of experience with RNY and bands. I will attempt to make an appointment on Monday and see what he thinks. It's a place to start. He is the surgeon that did my gallbladder surgery about 10years ago, I was very pleased with his work back then, he's a reputable doc, and I think as I'm a previous patient he will see me. So the saga continues.....and the pain...
My appointment was not until Nov 7, but I called the surgeon's office yesterday to ask if I could go to my chiropractor for assessment of my continued pain. Initially the nurse said, "sure", but then she asked if the pain I was talking about was related to my surgery, I told her, "of course". She then put me on hold and came back and asked if I could come in at 1:30. So I did, and the surgeon looked genuinely concerned, which was new. He palpated my abdomen, and this time found the VERY SORE spot. He then asked me to sit up, which I could not, without slowly turning to my side and using my arms to push me up. He tried to help me and made it worse, then I cursed, and cried. He said, "this must be musculo-skeletal since it is with movement". He ordered more labs to make sure my liver and pancreas weren't getting worse, and he ordered Celebrex for the pain. He asked me to call in on Friday and give him an update.
I was very hopeful that the new meds would help. It is now 24 hours later, and my pain is not better, maybe even worse. I am really fearful of how long this pain will be with me. Now I'm wondering about an abscess, maybe a hernia, oh hell, I don't know...;-(
Called my employer, confirmed my LOA extension until Nov 8. Feel like some pressure off, not worrying about having to get back to work in less than a week. However, the pain continues. Slept in recliner again, but even getting out of that chair is becoming painful. Pain seems to have moved to more central upper abdomen, just above belly button. I am taking ES tylenol every 6 hours and wearing my abdominal binder to make it tolerable. I still cannot bend over, or lean to one side or the other, or sleep in my own bed. I did sneeze and I did not feel like my stitches were ripping out-so that's an improvement. It's hard to look to the future when I will feel better. I recall thinking of how much better I would feel, how much more I could do after losing the weight, how young I would feel; yea, that's not happening yet. I can't even stand up straight for pete's sake!
23 days postop....it just not fair,...(but what is? )
Spent entire day yesterday at hospital, drank disgusting contrast for an Abdominal CT scan to check for any problems that could be causing my ongoing pain. Test was ordered stat and I was to wait for the results. At 4pm got results, NORMAL. Yep, normal. Don't know if I'm happy or not. I'm glad there is nothing horrible going on inside me, but why am I still in so much pain? A doctor friend of mine said it best, "It's just gonna take time, REST, superwoman". I guess that's all I can do now. I am supposed to return to work in 1 week, but i think I will request an extension of my leave until my next MD appointment on Nov.7. I know they will be upset with me, but I have the time coming (paid leave) and I just don't want to go back to work and then have a set back and have to call off-starting the process with my PTO all over again. So, guess I need to look at the positives. I do not have a leak, I do not have pancreatitis (just some mild inflammation), I have lost 34 lbs since starting the pre op diet. Basically 34 lbs in 34 days. Not too bad. Could be worse.
Follow up from Monday's fiasco from taking Nyquil. I did not go to the ER, but I did follow up with my surgeon on Wednesday. He looked at my incisions again, and I told him about the pain wrapping around from the front to the left back, I told him how I cannot sleep in my bed now, I cannot walk on my treadmill, I cannot sit at the table for more than 2 minutes; all things I could do right after surgery. I also told him that my belly is bloated, and my stools are watery. He tried to assure me I was fine, I was just healing. I insisted that he at least check my blood levels, amylase specifically to check on my pancreas. He finally gave me a script, ordered a CBC, Chemical profile and Amylase levels STAT. I had them done there at the hospital and waited for the results, Well, my Amylase level IS ELEVATED. He had me go on clear liquids effective immediately and call him on Friday morning and if the pain is not resolved he will order at CT Scan.
I feel somewhat vindicated, but if he really thought my pancreas was compromised he would have admitted me to the hospital and made me NPO (nothing by mouth) and started IVF's and antibiotics. But as I have no fever, and no active vomiting he is taking a more conservative route. He did make a comment in the office that pancreatitis only happens if alcohol is involved. I assured him the last alcohol I had was last New Year's Eve!
Today I was on clears alll day, and I tried walking and decreased the Tylenol, the pain feels the same, not worse, not better. Will call tomorrow and request the CT Scan.
2 weeks ago today I had 85% of my stomach removed. Wow, I really did it. I am still uncomfortable-pain in my left side continues, and even extended around to the left side of my back-like pain through and through from front to back. MD says its normal-don't worry. Ok, sure. My regret is that I ended up telling almost everybody, and now I'm getting those looks-you know the kind-"maybe you shouldn't have done this", "maybe you should have tried harder at dieting/exercising, etc", "so sorry, but you did this to yourself!" . Good grief, I know I should be thankful I have not had worse complications, I'm able to drink just fine, haven't vomited since leaving hospital, no leaks (so far), and I have been able to complete my online college course with an "A" , so I haven't lost brain function due to lack of calories! But I can't roll over in bed without horrible, tearing pain. I can't sit still very long without the burning irritation driving me nuts, and I can't pick up my grandsons or sit on the floor, or bend over.....:wub. Ok, 2 weeks down, 2 weeks till I have to return to work-it WILL GET BETTER , right?
I did get some good news, I broke my stall- down 2lbs this morning from last Monday. Of course, 2 lbs is good, but was hoping for more in these early weeks. I suppose it will start going faster once I can work out again.
We shalll see what next week brings.....
Well, as I predicted my surgeon advised me that my left sided pain is "normal" and will resolve "eventually". He looked at my wounds, palpated a couple spots, and said I looked fine. When I voiced my concern about returning to work in 2 weeks as I am still exhausted and can barely walk on my treadmill at 1.5ml/hr for 10 min and my pain, he said I would be fine in 2 weeks. I wish I were so confident!
Then the "bariatric coordinator" RN told me to stop taking my sublingual B-12 because their vitamins have all the B-12 I need. I advised her that I am still dragging and wanted to try to boost my energy-she said, "just stop". Wow, thanks for your help....NOT.
Finally I told her that I need a note to release me back to work, and I wanted it to have a weight lift restriction due to my very physically challenging job as a labor and delivery nurse, she seemed quite inconvenienced.
I am SO NOT IMPRESSED with my surgeon's office.
My mother left at 7am this morning. My hubby left for work at 8am. So here I am all by myself. Well, thank goodness I'm feeling better. Slept about 6 hours straight without having to get up and take pain pills (tylenol). So at noon, after I made my own lunch, pureed chicken salad, I found my car keys and went to the store! Woot Woot! I can still drive! LOL. Felt good to have my freedom back. Unfortunately was only at store about 10-15 min and had to leave-bowels were talking to me-and they said "Let's go!". I have stopped the stool softeners but I have had really loose stools the last 2 days. Better than no stools-which I did for 6 days. I'm wearing my Danskin 8 inch binder with a washcloth folded over the area on my left that is still bothering me, it seems to be working. Looking forward to seeing my surgeon Friday-got some questions!
I thought I would keep this blog better, but it has been a ROUGH week! Surgery Monday, Oct.1, 7:30am. recovery was a blur, brought to my room, then after first thing to sip and a pain pill I puked till I thought I was gonna die! It hurt so bad I cried - which made it worse! Staff was good, most of the time, I had terrible gas in my left shoulder and had to have moist warm compresses-which my mother applied first, then staff brought more. The leak test on day 2 was bad, and when they wanted me to stand in front of the machine and drink the liquid from hell I was like, "are you kidding?" I was getting up to the bathroom with my mom on one side and my daughter on the other. By the afternoon of the second day they brought in physical therapy to get me walking the halls. I was given a fancy wheeled walker with a seat-in case I had to sit, and as I was shuffling down the hall I was thinking " I was just at the gym on Saturday, now I'm using a walker!! Holy crap!" The pain was definitely more than I expected, and the nausea was overwhelming. I was constantly dizzy and weak and nauseous. I went home Wednesday afternoon and just barely survived the one hour drive-the interstate is bumpier than I remember! Thursday my mother made me my first pureed meal, and surprisingly it was good. God Bless Mom!
I'm still having pain in my upper left abdomen, under one incision. It feels like something is pulling and sometimes it really brings tears to my eyes, like this morning when I almost fell out of bed (trying to get out in log role fashion like every day) and I tried to catch myself. I screamed and my hubby woke up and helped me back in to bed as I just sobbed and sobbed. Is it worth it? I don't know yet. If this pain will just go away-or at least get less intense I may get more positive. I see my surgeon on Friday but don't think I'll get a lot of answers. "Just give it time", yea, yea, easy to say when you're not in pain!
In the meantime, Mom has to leave in the next 1-2 days, I don't know what I will do without her! My hubby is taking a crash course in how to make pureed food taste decent-but I am afraid I will be doing my own cooking when she leaves.
I have two sons and
one daughter. My boys are the oldest, Eric is 31, Adam is 26, and Rachael is 23. They are all adults and I am proud of all of them. My daughter was one of the first people I told as we have a close relationship. My boys were both in the Army and are very physically fit and active. I had chosen not to tell them of my surgery earlier as I feared their reaction and the look of disappointment from them. But I finally came out to them this week. Adam lives in Anchorage, Alaska and I had to tell him over the phone, which was not the best situation. He was confused at first, then started with the questions, "Why?" "Can't you just go on another diet?" "What if something happens?" . So I tried to explain the physiology to him and eventually just tried to describe how my heath could be improved over the long term with this procedure. After we hung up he texted me that he is just worried about the possibilities of something going wrong and he's not ready to lose his momma, but he understands that I need to improve my health and he supports me 100%. It made me cry.
Then the next night I went to dinner with my oldest son and his wife and my grandsons. I had already told his wife the week before (and I think she let the cat out of the bag) and while sitting in the living room before dinner (just he and I) I said I needed to come clean about my surgery that was coming up on Monday. At first he said he thought my surgery was later in the month but then he said, "ok?" . I said I will be having more than a hiatal hernia repair, actually the surgeon will be removing a large portion of my stomach. He just looked at me and said "ok". I said this is to help me not only lose weight but to maintain it over the long term. He said, "ok, is it anything I should be worried about?" I said, not anymore than any other surgery. He said, "ok". THAT WAS IT.
I don't know if I'm relieved at his reaction or saddened that he apparently doesn't care. I'm trying to stay positive and think that probably his wife told him already and he had gotten over the shock before talking to me. She is a nurse also and Eric is so VERY not medically inclined. I think its ok he doesn't know, or care to know, all the possible complications.
Now I feel like I've told everyone that matters and I can go into surgery in peace.
So, three days of 2 protein shakes, and 4 oz of protein & 1/2 c veggies equals = leg cramps from HELL! Woke me up in the middle of the night with screaming pain! Dear God!
But once that passed I fell back to sleep, woke up and weighed myself. 12 pounds down! Holy Cow! At this rate (4lbs/day) I should lose 40 lbs by surgery day! But of course then I won't qualify with my BMI. Hopefully they don't weigh me, BUT BE SURE I WILL WEIGH MYSELF !
I then went to the gym for the first time since starting this diet and did pretty well, considering my fatigue of the last 2 days.
I also called the surgeons' office to ask about the potassium levels in their vitamins and shakes, it only adds up to about 8% of the daily requirement. The nurse there said it should be enough, but I should drink more and I could try a product called "Cramp EEZ". I went to Target and they did not carry it, but as I shopped I checked out the water section I noticed some "vitamin" waters contained potassium and some did not. So I picked up a couple "skinny water" bottles that contain 100mg of potassium each-just to try them out. This is so much a learning process.
With the help of my daughter, Rachael, put together the treadmill that I had ordered from JCPenney. It's a lot bigger than I figured - and heavier! It won't even fit through my doorways. So it is parked in the livingroom-Dan has not seen it yet-can't wait!!
We also went shopping for a few more "post-op" things. 3 water jugs-with measurements on the side, one 64 oz, and 2 32 oz. Also a nice robe and nightgown for the hospital, as well as underwear, socks, and soft athletic bras.
Earlier I went grocery shopping and went to Kroger (I usually go to walmart) and found some neat high protein things for post surgery.
Now I am working on getting ahead on my homework!
Had my final appointment with the surgeon (Dr.Joyce in New Lenox) today. I signed the consents and initialed all the "patient responsibilities". I must say the list of possible complications was intimidating, especially the last one, "death". I asked about the possibility of him going into my abdomen and NOT doing the surgery due to my liver and he said that has happened "a couple times" but he reassured me it was usually with people much larger than myself. I also asked about blood thinners post op and he gave me the pre-printed script for subq lovenox and told me I would be given it before surgery and while inpatient and then I was to take it for 3 more days after discharge. He also stated that I should have no problem taking pills right after surgery and said I would have a PCA pain pump while in the hospital and would be sent home on oral Vicodin. I thought I would have to crush pills, or take the liquid form-but he said he has never had anyone with a problem.
When I asked about the frequency of stomach strictures or need for a stent he said he could only remember 2 strictures and 1 stent, and all were doing well. I asked about the "support group" to the nurse at checkout and she said I just missed it, and the next one is not until October 24 (after my surgery date!), I asked her why I was not notified as they have my phone #'s and email address and she said that people don't usually go to group until after the 4 hour nutrition class. But my nutrition class is less than 2 weeks from my surgery date! I was really hoping to meet other sleeve patients, both before and after surgery and ask questions, but I guess that WON'T BE HAPPENING! ;-(
Weirdly, when I got out to my car I just started crying. Not sure why except that it is all getting so REAL. I am feeling guilty for not telling my sons, as I'm afraid of how they will react and how disappointed they will be in me. Hell, I'm disappointed in me!! So, anyway, here I go.....for better or worse.....kinda like getting married.....you never know what it will really be like until you're there! (Hope this goes better than my 1st 2 marriages, LOL!!!).
I have my last appointment with my surgeon on Friday, and i'm still not eating right and I haven't lost a pound! I hope that he doesn't make me reschedule my surgery! I have, however, started back to exercising regularly, went to the gym 3 times this week and walking on the other days. I really want to build up my stamina before surgery!
My husband just up and asked, "so how many days till surgery?". It made me kinda freak out, 21 days, 3 weeks, less than 1 month! My head is swimming with all the details to take care of before the day arrives, I'm trying to plan for the worst and hoping for the best. If I end up really, really sick post-op I have to have a plan in place. I pay all the bills-my husband doesn't have a clue... I do all the shopping... I babysit for my grandkids... I only have 11 weeks of paid time off at work...did I save enough money for the surgery bills?...what if I can't focus enough to do my homework?....what if I'm too fatigued to get to class?....GOOD GRIEF!
So I grabbed my hubby's hand and said we are going for a walk!! So we went to the State Park and walked and talked, and walked some more.
I feel better now, more at peace.
Praying for the grace to make it through, and the strength to recover quickly!
As I met my "personal trainer" Monday I could tell I really needed to build myself back up. I have been fighting with my left foot since April-plantar fascitis and achilles tendon sprain-and I can really tell I have not been exercising for 5 months. So I went today and did my routine that I was given. I'm glad I work out at a Wellness Center instead of a real gym-I am really embarassed by my large abdomen! So humiliating to try and get off and on some of the machines! But I know this will help me recover faster and make my transition easier when I can get back to exercising afterward.
Counting down the days till starting pre-op diet- 12 days left! 24 days till surgery!
I found another complication that I had not seen before - splenic infarction- that doesn't sound good- I'm a nurse, and anything that infarcts is NOT GOOD. I have added it to my list of questions for the surgeon on my last appointment next week.
Kept my appointment at the Wellness Center (Gym run by my Hospital) with Ryan (about 25years old) the personal trainer guy. He greeted me with "Look who's back", and I said, "Yes, the return of the prodigal daughter". He weighed me, measured me, took my body fat percentage and BMI. Then I told him about my upcoming surgery and reminded him "that is confidential information, young man!". He smiled and said "Good for you, you're taking control of your health and your life, nothing to be ashamed of". I was very pleased at his reaction. He then modified the workout program I had been on earlier in the year due to my achilles tendon sprain and plantar fascitis. I also made another appointment with him for after surgery to modify things again. It felt good to work out again.
BTW the photo is one of those online things you can do to a photo-this is how I see myself in the future!
October 1st, 2012, that is the date. The date I will have VSG and start back towards being myself. In this picture I'm at 215#'s. I felt really good, and my daughter called me "freakishly thin". I hope is that this surgery not only helps me get back there-but to stay there (or a little thinner even would be nice!). Notice October 1st, 2009 I also embarked on what I thought was my LAST diet. Yeah, right. So, all the hoops have been jumped through, all the tests done, the date has been decided, and now I countdown..........
Hawaii was my first REAL inspiration. October 1, 2009 joined Jenny Craig, joined gym. Followed diet, worked out 4-5 days/week. By April 2010 I had lost 62 pounds! Fantastic! (Except my dirty little secret-Jenny Craig and the gym didn't do it all-a bunch of little pills called laxatives helped). So, YAY me, I went to Hawaii for the first time 62 pounds lighter, although still 50pounds overweight. Got on the helicopter without being made to step on a scale (yes they can do that!), so everything was good.
Speed ahead to July 2010, only 3 months later, have gained back 20pounds, due to stopping using those little pills. But still on JC & going to the gym. First grandson born-very excited! Long story short, got blind-sided by daughter-in-law and went into a tailspin depression.
By December 2010 have now gained back 40pounds of the 62. Still on JC & still going to gym-although less frequently. Still having some depression issues but getting much better-get to babysit grandson now and working on relationships with son & DIL
March 2011 son and daughter-in-law tell us they are pregnant again. Whoo Hoo! I freeze in my tracks-"Oh God, not again!". Start going back to college- why not? it's only been 18 years since I stepped into a classroom! But I want to avoid the drama that happened with the last baby! So I'm "getting a life" for myself!
November 2011 2nd grandson born, situation MUCH better. Still not fully healed relationship with son, but workable. Weight hovering at 12pounds less than highest.
December 2011, family photos-not again...GOD am I HUGE!
March 2012 quit JC & mostly quit gym-babysitting both babies now...they are a handful. But I don't dare complain or I'll never get to see them.
Oh and did I mention I'm in college? Yeaaaaa. Late nights studying, trying to get everything done, working full time, babysitting 2-3 days/week. Surprise! All the weight is back!!
One night in April 2012 I was crying on my husband's shoulder about my weight and my worries for my health and that I want to be here for my kids and my grandkids, etc. etc. He says, "you are very good at planning and research, make this a research project and find what works for you". He's a pretty smart man.