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Ugh!

So, my wife today again used the "S" word to describe me - Sickly. She says I'm getting too thin, and need to put on more weight. I don't know how to stop. I think I may be leveling off - I was 178 a few days ago, 180 yesterday, and 181 this morning. I don't want to start going in the wrong direction, but she doesn't understand that. I've told her several times that it hurts me when she says that, and that it isn't helpful, but she won't stop. Come to think of it, she's never really been very supportive of me, post-op. She had the surgery also, so you would think she would understand. But when I would be excited about the weight loss, or breaking a stall, I would get little or no reaction from her. I'm not quite sure what her issue is, but it is maddening to me. Maybe it's because I'm thinner than I've ever been in the 17 years we've known each other. Maybe it's because some of my clothes don't exactly fit me too well, and my neck looks tiny in the too-big neck holes of my tshirts. Who knows? Oh well, everyone else tells me I look great, and I feel great, so I'm going to try to not let it get to me.

BigDaddyJoe

BigDaddyJoe

 

6 month follow-up appointment

I had my 6 month follow-up appointment with my surgeon and nutritionist yesterday. It was basically a waste of time. The receptionist and nurses were all shocked when they saw me, said they barely recognized me. That felt nice. The scale said 189, so they have me as an 85 lb loss. I still go by my home scale, which puts me at an 88 lb loss. He said I was doing great. I mentioned that people were telling me that I was losing too much weight and needed to stop, and he told me 'tell people to shut up, you're doing great'. I then went in to see the nutritionist. She is basically useless, I could do her job at this point. I asked her how I stop the weight loss. She said "I don't know, I hope it will just stop on its own". I pressed her further, and she said "You could try eating more". I told her I can't eat more than I do now. She said "You can try eating more often, more snacks". I said I could try, but that it was already hard to space my eating and drinking apart to get in enough liquids. She said "You can try adding in some more carbs, maybe some oatmeal or potatoes." I said sure, even though I know if I eat them, I won't be getting to my protein goals. Oh well, guess I'll have to figure it out on my own. She said that I should try to make it to one of the support group meetings they have once a month. Not that I need the support, but that I would be an inspiration to all the people who go to them. I will try to make the next one, but it's hard because it's at the same time as my son's drum lessons. The best thing about the appointment was that I got my gold star. My surgeon gives you a keychain when you start your journey. When you lose 10% of your total weight, you get a bronze star. 20% gets you a silver star, and 30% a gold star. I've attached a pic of the keychain and stars here. It's kind of a cheesy idea, but gives a sense of accomplishment.

BigDaddyJoe

BigDaddyJoe

 

Bit of a rant: Pissed off - upset - depressed

OK, here is a bit of a rant. Lately, it seems that everyone has the opinion that I have lost too much weight and need to stop. I currently weigh 186 lbs, just at the top of the 'normal' range for my height. I don't want to look sickly, and don't think that I do, but my image of myself is distorted, and I know that. My mind hasn't caught up with the rapid weight loss yet. It is starting to piss me off how everyone is insisting that I need to stop losing weight. I know that, and plan to, but don't even know how to at this point. I can't eat more than I do now. Yesterday, my family and I went to a 50th anniversary party. We saw my stepmother, who I haven't seen in about a month or so. She kept telling me I was done and needed to stop. I kind of snapped back at her, which is out of character for me, and I'm sure threw her off guard. I said that I wished people were this concerned for me when I weighed 274 (and growing) and had ACTUAL health issues because of it. Her reply was that I was more open to talking about it now, since I was so open to talking about the surgery. I guess that's a fair point, but still annoys me. When we got home, my wife told me that my stepmother told her that I looked like a little old man, and that the surgery made me look 15 years older. This REALLY hurt and upset me. I told my wife that I wished she hadn't told me that. She couldn't understand why it upset me. She said that my stepmom was just stating her opinion, and that she was concerned about me. I said that I was upset because I didn't go through all of this to look like a little old man. While I had the surgery for health reasons and not vanity reasons, I still wouldn't like to look older. I'm 42, and don't want to look like a little old man. My wife also said that it could have been what I was wearing. I had on a polo shirt that was kind of long and made me look taller and thinner than I really am. My wife agrees that I'm getting too thin, but doesn't agree with the little old man comment. My wife also had the surgery, and looks amazing. She is 40, and could pass for 25 now. She is not yet to goal, so who knows how she'll look if she also gets 'too skinny'. I told my wife I don't want to look like the old man dating the model. I'm not even rich! LOL I was really depressed by the whole thing last night. I'm a little better about it today. The whole process has been an emotional roller coaster. I really think they need to strengthen the psychological requirements for weight loss surgery, and have mandatory psych follow-ups AFTER surgery. This site is what has kept me sane, just knowing there are other people who have had similar thoughts/experiences as me. I've attached a before and after photo of myself to this blog post. I'd love opinions about whether I look 'too skinny' or 15 years older. Thanks.

BigDaddyJoe

BigDaddyJoe

 

I've reached my surgeon's goal!

I got on the scale this morning, and I am now 190 lbs, my surgeon's goal! I had gone camping for a week with my son's Boy Scout troop, and did pretty much EVERYTHING wrong. I tried my best, but it was hard. I didn't get nearly enough protein, water, ate too fast, and ate not the right things. I got home and was down a lb. But then, the next day I was down 2 more. And the next day (today), down another. I have lost 84 lbs from my top weight. My wife and a few other people are telling me I am starting to look too skinny. I don't agree, I'd like to lose another 10 or so lbs. I'm still not even considered in the 'normal' range yet, 189 is the upper end of the normal range for 6'1".

BigDaddyJoe

BigDaddyJoe

 

34 waist?

My wife was going to Walmart yesterday, and texted me at work to ask if I needed anything. I said 'new clothes and sneakers'. I wasn't expecting her to actually buy me anything, but she asked what size pants I was wearing now. I had to close my office door so that I could check the size of the jeans I'm currently wearing. I told her they are a 36 and would fall down without a belt. I never even realized that I was wearing a 36 until I checked yesterday. These are old jeans I still had in my drawer from years ago, and are the only ones that aren't ridiculously big on me now. She asked me what size I was wearing when I was at my biggest. I said that I never really knew my 'true' size. I was wearing 42 or 44, but was wearing them under the belly, not at the belly like you're supposed to, so was probably bigger. She picked me up 4 pairs of shorts, in 34. I thought 'no way are these going to fit'. Well, guess what - they did! I haven't been a 34 in probably 17 years, I'm guessing. Can't believe I've come this far in only 4 months! This is the best thing I've ever done for myself (besides marrying my wife).

BigDaddyJoe

BigDaddyJoe

 

Onederland!

It has been a while since I posted anything. I guess that is because there hasn't been too much to report. I just looked at my last post, and it was May 31, and I weighed 214. As of this morning, I weigh 199! I haven't been under 200 in at least 15 years. I'm only 9 lbs away from my doctor's goal of 190, and 19 lbs away from my goal of 180. I've lost a total of 75 lbs now. I thought I was losing quickly, but now that I think about it, 15 lbs in a month and a half isn't that quick. I want to be at or below my doctor's goal by my 6 month follow up. Guess I need to step it up!

BigDaddyJoe

BigDaddyJoe

 

A day to celebrate!

I am celebrating 2 things today. First, I weighed in this morning and am now down 60 lbs! I weighed 214, down from 274. In not even 3 months! I can't believe it. Second, my doctor took me off of my blood pressure medication yesterday! This is huge! He had cut my dose in half a few weeks ago, and this visit was a follow-up to see how I was doing on the half dose. They took my blood pressure when I first got in, and it was 120/70. He was happy with that and was willing to keep me going on the half dose for now, until I mentioned that I've been getting light-headed when playing the trumpet while standing up. He had me stand up to take my blood pressure, and it was 108/70. So he told me to go ahead and stop taking it. He wants to see me again in another 3 weeks to see how I'm doing off of it.

BigDaddyJoe

BigDaddyJoe

 

50 lbs!

I've finally broken my stall after almost 2 weeks, and have lost a lb. a day for the past 3 days! I knew it had to end eventually, and tried not to stress about it, but it was hard! I'm now 224, 50 lbs from my top weight of 274. So excited!

BigDaddyJoe

BigDaddyJoe

 

Obese again?

OK, I guess I jumped the gun a week ago when I said I was no longer obese because I weighed 227 and my BMI was 29.9. Ever since then, I've been fluctuating between 227 and 229. Guess I'm in some sort of a stall. Oh well, I'm not really stressing over it. I know I'm still doing all the right things and it will move when it wants to.

BigDaddyJoe

BigDaddyJoe

 

I'm overweight! I'm overweight!

Subtitle: I'm no longer obese! I'm no longer obese! I never in my life thought I'd be so happy to utter these words! I weighed in this morning at 227.0. That calculates to a BMI of 29.9, and I'm no longer considered obese! I was 227.6 yesterday, so I knew it would be a matter of days. In less than 8 short weeks, I've moved from obese to overweight, have cut my blood pressure medication dosage in half, and stopped taking my prescription Prilosec. Next goals: I'm 3 lbs away from losing 50, getting off my BP med completely, and getting off my CPAP machine (AKA the medieval torture device). Another (perhaps less realistic) goal is to lose 7 lbs by May 13. May 13 is my 13th wedding anniversary, and I'd love to get down to the same weight I was then (220). It will be hard, because my weight loss has slowed this past week or so, but I know it's possible.

BigDaddyJoe

BigDaddyJoe

 

My 6 week post-op visit

So, I went for my 6 week follow-up visit on Thursday, and also saw my primary care physician the same day.   First, the follow-up. My surgeon was very pleased with my progress. I've mentioned about the scale discrepancies before. The first visit with the doctor, his scale and my home scale showed the identical weights (274), so that's what they had as my starting weight. Every visit since then, their scale has been 5-6 lbs higher than the home scale. So according to them I went up to 280 before the surgery, but they still have 274 listed as my starting weight. This last visit, they had me in a different office than usual, and that scale was 7 lbs higher than the home scale. So according to them, I have lost 36 lbs, even though at home I know it is 43. I'm not going to argue, they are still very happy with 36, and I would be also if I didn't know it was actually 43.   Now for the primary MD visit. He was amazed at the difference in how I looked, and my weight loss. My blood pressure was 110/80, and he said that in 2 weeks I can start cutting my BP pills in half and he would evaluate me again in 6 weeks. This is huge for me, getting off the medication was one of the major reasons I did this surgery.   Also, big news - on Friday my wife was sleeved! That's why I haven't blogged about this other stuff until today. She is doing pretty good now, her recovery has been much different than mine. She has had a bit of a rougher time than I had, but I know she will get through it.

BigDaddyJoe

BigDaddyJoe

 

3 week post op visit

I haven't posted in a little while, mostly because things have been going great, and there hasn't been anything really newsworthy. On Thursday, March 28, I went for my 3 week post op follow up. They have me down 26 lbs, but to me it is 31 lbs. I think their scale was off on my first visit by 5 lbs. I weighed 274 lbs on my first visit with clothes on, and also weighed 274 at home with no clothes. Every visit since then, I've been exactly 5 lbs more at the office than on the home scale. So, according to them, I started at 274 and now weigh 248, for a total weight loss of 26 lbs. But according to the home scale, I started at 274 and now weigh 243, for a total weight loss of 31 lbs. They are very happy with the 26 lbs, and said I can start eating small pieces of solid food, and have no more restrictions on lifting or exercise. 26 lbs or 31 lbs, I'm happy, even though I've only lost one lb in the last week. I feel like I am almost doing TOO good, if that makes any sense. The other night I cooked up a Freschetta pizza for the kids, and I was able to eat a very small piece. And tonight for Easter dinner, I was able to eat very small quantities of ham, mashed potatoes, corn, Mac & cheese, creamed spinach, with zero issues. It doesn't seem right, from reading other people's posts, that I should be able to eat these things, especially at only 3 weeks post op.

BigDaddyJoe

BigDaddyJoe

 

I officially give up trying to understand how weight loss works

Ok, so I posted last night all upset because I gained 2 lbs in 5 days. I went to bed weighing 251. I woke up this morning and weighed myself again, and I weighed 244. I have no idea how it is possible to lose 7 lbs in my sleep. I do feel better though, knowing that I am moving in the right direction. Maybe it was punishment for not waiting a full week to weigh myself like I said I was going to.

BigDaddyJoe

BigDaddyJoe

 

2 weeks post op, and I GAINED 2 lbs?

Ok, I said I wasn't gonna weigh myself until Sunday, but I at least made it through the work week without weighing. I got on the scale, and was 2 lbs heavier than I was 5 days ago! How is that even possible, if I'm only getting in 400-500 calories a day? This is a lot of work, complying with all of the nutrition recommendations. I'm doing everything exactly as they say. Hard not to be upset or discouraged.

BigDaddyJoe

BigDaddyJoe

 

I threw up for the first time since surgery last night

I had some tuna fish last night (chopped in the blender, of course). I had eaten some the night before with no problems, although it did give me a heavy feeling in my chest. Last night, I ate it, and got the heavy feeling in my chest and some bad hiccups/burps. I would get them in the past if I don't drink while eating, so figured it would be a problem after surgery because of not being able to eat and drink at the same time. I'm not sure if I'm just not ready to eat tuna yet, if I ate too much, or ate too fast. The hiccup burps got so bad that I took a couple sips of water hoping to make them go away, even though I knew I wasn't supposed to. It didn't help. A couple minutes later, I started getting a nauseous feeling, mouth started watering, etc, and I knew what was coming. So, I walked to the bathroom and vomited. I felt so much better afterwards. I guess I need to be more careful about what/how much/how fast I eat.

BigDaddyJoe

BigDaddyJoe

 

Broke my stall, decided to weigh in only once a week

Well, after 4 days of being the exact same weight, I woke up this morning 5 lbs less than yesterday. Makes no sense to me, but I'll take it. That puts me at 249 lbs, 25 less than my pre op high of 274. I've decided to start weighing myself only once a week. It won't be easy, but obsessing over the scale can be counterproductive. I just needed to see it move after being the same for 4 days. Since I weighed in this morning, I guess I'll make Sunday my day.

BigDaddyJoe

BigDaddyJoe

 

Will my marriage survive?

My wife is scheduled to be sleeved in April, so she is a month behind me. She seems convinced that our marriage is going to be affected by our weight loss. We've seen people's personalities change as a result of weight loss surgery, and we've even seen it destroy a couple marriages. In each of those cases, it was only one person who had the surgery, and their newfound confidence from their new bodies led to them going out with friends more often, and tore the marriages apart. My wife and I have been married for almost 13 years now, and together for 17. We have three amazing children. We've endured some crap in those 17 years, and nothing has torn us apart to this point. I don't see it being an issue, and was surprised when she would keep bringing it up. But I'm afraid that she is so convinced of it, and is looking for any tiny change in my personality as proof, that it will become a self fulfilling prophecy. We were both skinny when we met, right around our goal weights we'd like to achieve now. She was always insecure back then, even though she is a gorgeous woman and I'm the one who had reasons to be insecure. In a way, I was relieved to be heavy, because no one would want me, so her insecurity and jealousy basically went away. She has already pointed to a couple of things since surgery (just 8 days ago!) that she says are evidence of me 'changing'. The first is that she said that she "didn't feel the love" when she was there for me in the hospital. I'm not sure what she was expecting - the first day I felt like I was going to die, and wanted nothing but to sleep. The second thing is that I've said (apparently too many times) that she'll "understand soon". It is just that it is hard for me to verbalize all the things I'm going through, and I meant that she will understand it when she has her surgery. I meant it as a positive thing, that we would have shared experiences and be able to discuss them. I guess I didn't articulate it how it sounded in my head, and it just ended up annoying her and pissing her off. So I've been careful to avoid saying anything like that again. Also compounding things is the fact that I was more comfortable sleeping sitting up on the couch with my feet up on the ottoman. I have yet to make it a full night in our bed. I tell her it's not her, I just find it easier to sleep that way for now. Also compounding things is my lack of energy and irritability from the extremely low caloric intake. I hope that her negativity doesn't doom us. If I'm only 8 days out and we're having issues like this already, are we in trouble? Only time will tell, I suppose. But I sure hope not. I love her more than anything, and wouldn't ever want our children to suffer.  

BigDaddyJoe

BigDaddyJoe

 

Stalled already?; Very irritable today; Eating mushy food

After dropping 20 lbs in total from the pre op diet and first few days after surgery, I've weighed exactly 254.7 for the past 3 days. A stall during the first week post op? A bit discouraging. I spent a couple hours last night reading these forums about people's stalls. I guess I need to not obsess about the scale, and let things happen in their own time. I believe it's physically impossible not to lose weight with the small amount of calories I've been taking in.   I am very moody and irritable today, even getting annoyed if my kids try to talk to me. I'm not sure what that's about, that's not my normal. I guess I'll attribute it to the diet.   I've progressed to the stage 2 of the the post op diet, mushy or puréed foods. I went to the grocery store to pick up some things that sounded good from the list - low fat cream soups, instant grits. I also went to GNC and picked up a case of the Isopure bottles. Expensive, but I like them better than the powdered shakes which seem too sickeningly sweet to me now. 40 g of Protein and 20 oz of liquid simultaneously? Win-win. I got the Alpine Punch flavor, really only because it was the only one there was a full case of, and it's not bad. There are some other flavors I'd like to try also. My first mushy food was the instant grits. I only was able to eat 4 spoonfuls, and I put the rest into a container for another time. I will probably try a soup at dinner time. I'm finding it very difficult to eat and drink enough, especially since I can't drink for 15 minutes before, or 45 minutes after eating something. That takes 3 hours out of the day where I can't drink anything. I was more thirsty than hungry at lunchtime, even after taking a couple hours to drink the 20 oz Isopure. So I drank instead of eating.

BigDaddyJoe

BigDaddyJoe

 

I can sleep on my side!; The bad breath returns; new CPAP machine

I can honestly say today that I feel almost like I never even had surgery. The tightness in my belly is basically gone. Still a tiny bit in the first step out of bed or off the couch, or when I twist a certain way. But other than that, I feel back to normal. I was actually able to sleep on my side for a bit last night. This is a huge milestone for me! I hate being confined to my back. I might normally end up on my back at times throughout the night, but not being able to change positions was hard, and made sleeping for any length of time hard.   Wow, has the bad breath returned with a vengeance. I had it appear around day 4 or 5 of he pre-op diet, and now it is back. My wife can smell it from halfway across the room as I talk. I asked the doctor about it yesterday afternoon, and he seemed surprised by my question and asked if I was having reflux. I told him that I thought it was from ketosis, and he said it would probably go away once I am able to expand my diet some. We'll see. Returning to work on Monday will be embarrassing if people can smell it just by coming into my office.   I had a nurse come to my house yesterday afternoon with a new CPAP machine. I think this is going to be much easier than the last one I had. I gave it a shot last night, and it started out well. The mask I picked is just a nasal pillow mask with one strap, as opposed to the torture device I used to have, that covered my mouth and nose and had multiple straps and always left a red line on my forehead. I lasted 4.5-5 hours with it, which is longer than I ever lasted with the old one. I woke around 2:30 am and felt like someone punched me in the nose, so not sure what that's about. The nurse said not to try overdoing it at first, do it as long as you can then try again the next night. She said not to get discouraged and give up on it like a lot of people do. Hopefully I will lose weight and not need it anymore.

BigDaddyJoe

BigDaddyJoe

 

Continued improvement, bit the bullet and told my friends through Facebook

I'm feeling really good today. Like I've said, every day is better than the one before. I had my follow-up visit with the doctor this morning, and he's happy with how I'm progressing and how my incisions are looking. I'm down 15 lbs according to their scale, 20 according to mine. 15, 20, whatever it is, I'm on my way. I just got back from taking my daughter Chloe for a walk to the library. Felt good to get out for a walk. I walked around the block a couple times yesterday, but it was chilly and raining so not too pleasant. Much nicer out today.   Well, I bit the bullet and posted a note on Facebook about the surgery. I woke up at 5 am and couldn't sleep, and all I could think about was getting it off my chest. I spent the next 2 and a half hours working out what I would say. I created the note, then shared it to my wall with the following statement - "Dear friends, please read the attached note in its ENTIRETY before passing judgment. I hope for your support. Thank you, Joe"   Here is what the note said:   On Friday March 8, 2013, I had a surgery called 'vertical sleeve gastrectomy'. This is a bariatric weight loss procedure. This was not a decision that was made lightly, or hastily. I will try my best to outline my reasons for doing it, what it is, and reasons for not telling anyone. Reasons for not telling people First, I want to say that I was originally planning on only telling a very select few people about this. But I realize that this is probably not very realistic, as the changes will probably be pretty significant, and pretty quick. I've even outright lied to some people, including some of my coworkers and bandmates, which I am very uneasy about. I hope they will forgive me. Please don't be offended if you were not one of the people I chose to tell beforehand. My main reason for choosing not to tell people beforehand was that I didn't wish to invite any negativity, or have anyone trying to put doubts in my head as I had already made the very difficult decision and none of that would have been helpful to me. Every person I did choose to tell had the exact same comment - "you're not THAT big." I appreciate the 'compliment', and suppose I got pretty good at hiding it. Before surgery, I weighed 274 lbs. I'm sure this number will probably shock most of you, as that seems to be the universal reaction. Another comment I heard was "you could do that yourself". There have been times I've been able to shed decent amounts of weight, only to put it all back on, and then some. And each time I would do this, would make the next time even harder. I also REALLY didn't want to hear anyone say to me that I was 'taking the easy way out', as no doubt some of you reading this might be thinking right now. This would have done nothing but anger me, and would have jeopardized our friendship. Believe me, there is nothing easy about having surgery. I'm still recovering, and wouldn't ever want to relive the first 24 hours. It is still going to take hard work and exercise to get to my goal and maintain it. This is only a tool to help me achieve that goal. What it is There are basically three main types of weight loss surgery. There is the gastric bypass. This was never a consideration in my mind, as I view it as being a last resort for extremely overweight people, and there can be a lot of malnutrition involved. I was actually scheduled for the lap band procedure, as I know a few people who have had it done, with varying degrees of success. After hours and hours of further research, I decided against this. Basically, the lap band is a device that is implanted and placed around the entrance to the stomach. The band gets filled with saline so that it inflates and restricts how much you can eat. The 'temporary' aspect of the band (the fact that it can be removed if any issues arose), was the biggest plus to me initially. The more I read online, the more I saw people not happy with the lap band, and having it removed and getting the procedure I had, the vertical sleeve. Some issues with the band include slippage, erosion, and the long-term maintenance (you have to go periodically for 'fills' to adjust how much the band is filled). Some people just could never find what they call their 'green zone', the perfect level of restriction where they are restricting enough to lose weight but not so much that they are vomiting after 2 bites. Also, insurance concerns crossed my mind - would insurance cover the fills forever? What if I moved or had to change doctors? All of these things pointed me in the direction of the vertical sleeve. The vertical sleeve is the newest of the three types, and is basically a laparoscopic procedure where up to 85% of your stomach is removed, leaving you with a sleeve about the size of a banana. Basically, you are then restricted to eating between 3 and 5 ounces at any meal. You can eat pretty much what you did before, only MUCH less. Some people find that they don't tolerate certain foods after surgery, or don't like the tastes of some foods they liked before. It is a permanent solution. The weight loss results are comparable to the bypass, typically very good. Another benefit of this surgery is that the part of the stomach that is removed is the part that produces the hormone grehlin, the hunger hormone, so feelings of overwhelming hunger go away. People say that they go from eating extreme amounts of food and never feeling full before surgery, to having to remind themselves to eat so they can get in enough calories after. The fact that the lap band was 'temporary' and could be removed at any time, was what made it more attractive to me initially, and seemed less 'drastic'. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I needed a permanent solution that would help me make the lifelong changes I needed to make. Wanting something because it was reversible, enabling me to go back to the way I was, no longer made sense to me. Reasons for getting surgery First and foremost, I did this for my wife and kids. I don't want to leave them without a husband and father. Sure, I'm not happy with how I look, but looks were at the bottom of my list of reasons. I would have been perfectly happy to continue to eat 5-6 slices of pizza and being upset that there wasn't any more because I still didn't feel full, and watching my weight continue to rise every year. I 'know' what the right things and right amounts to eat are. But 'knowing' and being able to stick to it because you never feel satisfied are two very different things. I never smoked or drank or did any drugs. Food was my drug, and it was negatively affecting my health. Besides weighing 274 and growing, I had a BMI of 36, which is considered obese. I have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, erosive GERD (acid reflux), shortness of breath, a leaky heart valve, and what my doctor says is the second worst case of sleep apnea he's seen in his office. If you don't know, sleep apnea means you stop breathing for significant periods of time, which lowers your blood oxygen level, and the 'jarring' that occurs when your breath comes back could cause your heart to go into a deadly rhythm. So basically, I was a ticking time bomb that could die in my sleep at any time. I have a machine called a CPAP machine that helps me breathe at night, but I've tried it and find it impossible to sleep with it. I'm actually getting a new one today that my doctor says is easier because the air pressure level automatically adjusts based on what you need at any given moment, instead of being set at a fixed level that sometimes seems like too much and would wake me up.. I plan on giving it a try, and hopefully once I lose a significant amount of weight the sleep apnea will disappear. I also hope to be off my medications. Most people who get the sleeve are able to get off their medications and are cured of their sleep apnea. I've seen stories of people being cured of type-2 diabetes (which I thankfully did not have, yet) the day of surgery. Amazing. The apnea and medication for blood pressure, while being the result of being overweight, also become self perpetuating problems. They limit my energy level, which in turn limits my activity level, further adding to the obstacles to weight loss on my own. How I'm doing The surgery went well on Friday. The surgeon found a fairly large hiatal hernia, which he repaired while he was in there. The first day was basically Hell. I was in pain, discomfort, had a hard time taking deep breaths, and was extremely tired. All I wanted to do was sleep, not only because I was tired but because I wanted to avoid the discomfort. They pump your belly full of air during the procedure to maximize the space they have to work, and this air leads to gas pain which radiates to your left shoulder. This gas pain is no joke. Every day gets easier than the one before it. I am on a clear liquid diet for 1 week, basically limited to water or crystal light, broth, sugar free jello, and sugar free ice pops. I also need to drink protein shakes until I can start eating foods with protein. They want you to get between 60 and 80 grams of protein in every day, and if I can't get all of that in from food I will have to continue with the shakes. At first, it was very hard to get in the fluids, due to swelling. Very small sips. That is getting easier by the day. After 1 week, I progress to a few weeks of a puréed diet, eating mushy foods. A blender will be my friend for this phase. After that, I can start introducing some 'real' foods, slowly to see what I can tolerate. They still want you to concentrate on getting most of your calories from lean proteins and vegetables, limiting sugars and starches. I welcome my new relationship with food. It will no longer be something that I do for pleasure, consuming unlimited quantities. Instead it will be something that I will have to be conscious of, sometimes reminding myself to eat so that I can get in enough calories to sustain good nutrition and fuel my body. It will be a big change, for sure. I continue to feel better every day. The pain is basically gone, limited to what I would describe as a 'tightness' feeling at the incision sites. I had 7 small incisions, which should leave minimal scarring. The first step out of bed or off the couch is the hardest, because of this tightness, and my fear of twisting or stretching anything the wrong way. I'm walking well, just a bit slow at the moment. The tightness also makes it impossible to sleep on my side or stomach right now, limiting me to my back, which is the worst position for my sleep apnea. To counter this, I've found that sleeping upright on the couch with my feet up on an ottoman is the best for me. I tried piling pillows on the bed to elevate my head, but found that it was pushing my head forward, further restricting my airway. I will get my new CPAP machine today, and look forward to sleeping in bed with my wife again tonight. As of this morning, I've lost a total of 20 lbs, including 9 lbs lost during a strict one week pre-op diet. In conclusion I am a very private person, who doesn't like divulging personal (potentially embarrassing) information, as I've done at length here. I only just decided to write this after waking up at 5 am and not being able to fall back asleep. I hope for all of your understanding and support, and 'friendship'. I welcome any questions or comments, either under this post, or in a private message, or in person. I do not welcome any criticism or cruel comments or jokes (even lighthearted ones, as I might not view them this way). If that is your inclination, please refrain from commenting, or go ahead and remove me from your friends list. I apologize for ending this on such a down note like that, I just want to make it clear how serious I am about this. Thank you.' So far, I've gotten all positive comments from people, except for one person. He used to be a close friend, but we grew apart in recent years, but are still friends on Facebook. It's been years since we've talked, even on Facebook. He said he was hurt that I didn't contact him, because he had weight loss surgery also and could have helped me in my decision. I had no idea he had surgery, and told him that and asked him how I would have known. We sent messages back and forth, and he still was upset, saying stuff about how he's sick of putting himself out for other people only to get nothing back (paraphrasing). I told him that I was disappointed that he chose now, a time when I'm reaching out for support and understanding, to make it about him and his hurt feelings that our friendship isn't what it used to be. Whatever, I can't worry about that now. I need to take care of myself at this point in time.

BigDaddyJoe

BigDaddyJoe

 

3 day post op catch-up

Ok, I was sleeved on Friday, and didn't really feel like blogging in the hospital, so I will try to include as many details as I can here. Friday, March 8 - wife drove me to the hospital at 6 am. Nurses brought me in to empty my bladder, get changed into the gow, sign some paperwork, and get the IV started. I kissed my wife, and got wheeled into the OR at around 7:30. The next thing I can remember is the nurses calling out my name trying to wake me up in the recovery room. I opened my eyes and saw a clock on the wall said 11:30. I was struggling to determine if I was dreaming or if it was real. I started trying to determine if I was in any pain, and noticed it was hard to take a deep breath. They wheeled me up to my room about a half hour later. I was so tired, and all I wanted to do was sleep. They gave me a button to push for Morphine, and told me to use it as often as I needed. The morphine made me nauseous whenever I would use it, only temporarily, but enough to make me not want to use it too much. I had some belly pain, but mostly what I would describe as "tightness" in the belly. Worse than the belly was the gas pain I felt in my chest, and a pain in my left shoulder which I am reading now was also from the gas. The doctor repaired a fairly large hiatal hernia while he was in there, so I think that compounded the chest pain and gas pain. Sleeping at night was hard - basically every hour was 45 minutes of sleeping and 15 minutes of being awake. I used the morphine about once an hour throughout the night, just to get some sleep. Also, another thing that was hard was the cotton mouth. I wasn't able to drink anything at all for the first 24 hours, but was able to swab the inside of my mouth with water. It helped some, but was annoying. The first day was pretty much Hell, and I was praying that it would all be worth it.   Saturday, March 9 - I awoke in the morning, and was told that the doctor would be in at some point to do an X-ray to make sure there was no leakage. One thing I forgot to mention about Friday was that they would give me a heparin shot every 8 hours or so, and that would continue for the whole hospital stay. The doctor showed up, and they brought me down in a wheelchair to do the X-ray. I had to stand there and drink a few sips of barium solution, the first fluid I had drank in about 36 hours. Doctor said everything looked great, no leaks, and the hiatal hernia looked like it was healing nicely. I got back to my room, and was given a 'food' tray, clear liquid bariatric diet. I tried to get some liquid in, but it was very hard. They disconnected the morphine, and switched me to Tylenol with codeine in pill form, which had to be crushed and put into liquid. It was so bitter and hard to drink. I only ended up taking 2 doses, and haven't taken any pain medication since 6:45 Saturday night. Overall, it was a much better day than day 1. I got up to walk and to urinate a few times, and it did help with the gas pain. Sleep on Saturday night was much better than Friday night. I was still a bit uncomfortable, especially the constant burping and the pain in my left shoulder. It was hard to stay on my back all night, but slept pretty good, only waking up one time to urinate and I walked the length of the hall a couple times while I was up.   Sunday, March 10 - was told I would probably be going home, which is what I was expecting. Felt even better than on Saturday. A lot of waiting, just wanting to go home. Around 11 am I realized that they had never brought me a breakfast tray. It was daylight savings, so the clock on the wall still said 10. I mentioned it to my nurse, and she couldn't believe it. She asked if I wanted them to send something now, or just wait until lunch. I had been sipping on water, and said I could just wait until lunch. They brought the lunch trays up, and mine wasn't included there either. The nurse had to call and have a tray sent up. They ended up sending a tray of clear liquid diet food, not clear liquid BARIATRIC diet food, which means that some of the things had sugar. Luckily, the only thing I was really interested in was the chicken broth, which was on both diets. This was the only issue I had with the entire hospital stay. The nurses were great. Probably around 1 pm, the doctor came to remove my Jackson Pratt drain, which was probably the most unpleasant second of the entire thing. He counted to 3 and yanked it out. I let out an audible yell, which is unusual for me. It wasn't so much that it hurt, but felt very strange. I'm not even sure I could describe it to someone who hasn't been through it, but I've replayed it in my mind several times since, feeling the same feeling again each time. I was released, and went home, it was good to be home.   I will try to add more later, just wanted to get these thoughts down before I forgot them.

BigDaddyJoe

BigDaddyJoe

 

Got my time!

I just found out I have to be at the hospital at 6 am tomorrow! I'm sure my wife won't be too happy about that, or the person who is coming over to watch our kids. Surgery is scheduled for 7:30, I'm the first case!

BigDaddyJoe

BigDaddyJoe

 

Wedding ring

I decided to try to remove my wedding ring last night, something I haven't done in years, because they say no jewelry is allowed for the surgery. I used to be able to slide it up and down my finger with not much of a problem. Wow, was it a pain to get off! First, I tried something called surgi-lube, which is a lubrication that my wife's hospital uses for different things. No luck. Then, my wife tried something that they try in the hospital, which is wrapping an Ace bandage tightly around the finger for a few minutes, removing it quickly and THEN trying the surgi-lube. No luck. Couldn't get it past the first knuckle. Finally, I went to the kitchen sink to wash off all the lube, and just kept twisting and pulling, twisting and pulling. My finger still hurts from the whole thing, but at least I don't have to worry about doing it tonight now. I was thinking I was going to have to get it cut off.   In the possible TMI (Too Much Information) category - I woke up around 4 am feeling like I had to do diarrhea, which isn't an unusual thing to happen to me in the middle of the night. Well, turns out I was a bit constipated, followed by diarrhea. It took me about 10 minutes to be able to go, but then once the flood gates opened...ok, this is getting into TMI.   I will probably be making a second, very short post this afternoon, after I find out my surgery time. They said to call between 3:30 and 4 today to get the time.

BigDaddyJoe

BigDaddyJoe

 

BAD breath!

I'm not sure if this is normal or not, but for the past 2 days I've had unbelievably bad breath! I can taste it in my mouth, and my tongue even feels like it is numb. My wife even noticed it from across the room! It could be from going into ketosis from the diet, but I've done the Atkins diet several times and never had anything near as bad as this! I'm trying to find the answer to this question.

BigDaddyJoe

BigDaddyJoe

 

2 days left!

In less than 48 hours, I'll probably be recovering from my surgery, most likely! I don't know what time my surgery will be, I have to call tomorrow between 3:30 and 4 to find out. I can't believe the day is finally coming! I just got off the phone with a nurse who asked questions for the anesthesiologist. Just basic questions on medical history, height, weight, allergies, medications, etc.

BigDaddyJoe

BigDaddyJoe

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