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Gastric Sleeve Patients
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Everything posted by shizwiz

  1. I live in remote AK and do not have access to big box stores, GNC, etc. I am stocking up for my sugery in Jan 2015. Can anyone please help me by adding to my list? Or, help me cross stuff off if I don't really need it? Also, other than boullion, what can I consume while travelling on the liquid diet? All I can think of to do is bring bulllion. (I will be on a 3 day clear liquid diet.) To bring to Mexico: -Bathrobe -Flip flops -Pillow (will be able to throw away or leave there) -Light blanket -Boullion (for plane ride down there) -Laxatives (what kind did you use??) -A few light outfits (mainly yoga pants/capris) -The usual toiletries (mini shamps/condish, soap, etc) -Kindle loaded with TV shows, movies, books -Neosporin -Immodium -Someone said bring pads for diarheaa....was that for real?! -Compression stockings for air travel Post Trip (have on hand at home) -broth -Jello -SF popsicles -Protien shakes, powder -Mini Blender I can buy groceries for the puree and soft food parts...but am just trying to cover all bases. If you can't tell, I am a nuerotic planner and might be getting a bit nervous! Much thanks!
  2. shizwiz

    Sprinolactone? PMS? Just me?

    I was sleeved on 1/16/15 and have been at a stall for the last week or so- fighting the same few pounds- and am now GAINING weight! I feel like crying! I go to the gym 5 days a week, eat pretty low carb and while, yes, I do indulge in naughty food here and there- its not a lot and it is tracked in My Fitness Pal and I am usually still on track. I am within 2 weeks of my period starting and feel all over the placeeel. I am EXTRA crazy feeling right now: I can't concentrate, want to eat ALL the time, am super duper tired despite good sleep, and my boyfriend is getting on my NERVES- for no reason at all. I got angry because he said good-bye this morning before leaving for work. Uh- that's crazy-town right there! I did just start Spironolactone for PCOS-related issues (excessive hair- woohoo!). However, I don't see how that would cause me to gain weight and go wacky. Is a 3 month stall a thing? Is this just a viscous period? Is anyone else getting weird/crazy PMS post surgery? I feel like I am being a baby; I know that with eating right and working out, weight will eventually come off. However, seeing the scale go UP kills me.
  3. shizwiz

    Sprinolactone? PMS? Just me?

    PS: I meant to post this in the Powder Room, but messed up and am not sure how to move it or delete the post :/ Sorry!
  4. I am right about 3 months post-op (Sleeved 01/16/15) and have been pretty steadily losing. Very slowly, but slowly is more than none- so I will take it! I am wondering if my workout routine (mainly my strength training) is slowing my loss by building muscle? I've heard that muscle is heavier than fat, is that true? My stats: SW: 285 Surgery day: 271 CW: 238.2 Here is my routine- let me know what you think: 1. I go to the gym 3-4 times per week 2. One mile on the treadmill with incline intervals; For .2 miles I get up to 3.4 mph. Then every .05 miles, I increase the incline by 2, up to 8. Then, at 8, every .05 miles I go back down by 2 and work up a good sweat and heart rate. For the last .05 miles of my mile, I cool down. This takes me about 20 minutes max. (I speed walk) 3. Bench Press machine (seated) 3 sets of 10 at 80lbs (I worked up from 40 to 80 over the last few months) 4. Lat Pull Downs 3 sets of 10 at 70 lbs 5. Leg Press machine - 3 sets of 10 at 80-100 lbs (depending on how it feels) 6. Weighted crunch machine - 3 sets of 10 at 80lbs 7. If time allows; rowing machine 3 sets of 10 at 50 lbs I have been working on my arms as they are quite flabby. My legs are naturally muscular (thanks pre-school soccer!) but I do work on them here and there. Is my muscle buiding slowing my loss? Any input appreciated!
  5. Congrats to you! I was sleeved on 1/16/15 and waited about 6 weeks to really do anything. I would take walks around my office building while I was healing up. Then, I joined the gym and started doing a mile a day of walking. I hadn't really worked out in years, so I started slow (at about 2.5) and worked my way up over the course of about a month. Now, I do a speed of 3.4 and a hills workout. I get warmed up for a bit, then increase the incline by 2 every few minutes, then decrease by 2 every few minutes. I can only go up to 8 incline...but it gets me sweaty! After I do my mile of hills, I use the weight machines.Right now I do 3 sets of 10 on: 1.Bench/Chest Press machine at 80 lbs 2. Lat Pull Machine at 80lbs 3. Ab machine at 90 lbs 4.Leg Press Machine at 110lbs 5.Tricep push Machine at 110lbs 6. Chest supported rowing machine at 80lbs I have worked my way up to this over the last few months. I go to the gym Tuesday, Thurs, Fri, Sat and Sun. Now that I wrote that all down...holy cow! It is amazing how a little help (the whole stomach getting cut out deal) can give someone such a good push to getting healthy! Also, just a heads up- doing strength training will make the scale numbers go down slower-- muscle is heavy! I have been steadily losing, just slower than my other sleeve buddies. But I can probably out lift them! Plus, when I am all done, I will not have to re-gain weight via muscle mass. That is my two cents, anyhow! Cheers!
  6. shizwiz

    Is strength training slowing my loss?

    Ya'll are awesome! I think you have some excellent points; because I feel a heck of a lot stronger and am getting smaller inch wise but the scale is slow. I just got back from a week at Disney World; it was tough hitting the gym when I got back but worth it!!! I am going to keep up my Hanz and Franz routine and get strong and fit (and skinny!) all at the same time. I think I am killing two birds with one stone by going slower Thanks again! All of the feedback really solidified my option to keep up with the strength training instead of going back to just cardio.
  7. I read a woman's 'blow by blow' Mexico surgery experience on a Facebook page I belong to (2015 Sleevers- A New Year a New You!) and it helped me SO much to know what I was getting into. I am back from Mexico now and figured I would do the same and let ya'll know how it went and how my experience was. I went through a company called A Lighter Me. I found them on google and read a few reviews on this site, their Facebook page and a few other VSG forums. The reviews were oustanding. I called them in October (2014) and talked to Katy for about 30 minutes. She actually had the surgery and told me what her story was and answered all of my questions. The cost was $4600. I told her that I had to think about it and thanked her for her time. I talked with my boyfriend and we both decided that after the holidays would be best. I mean, I did NOT want to miss out on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years! Selfish, but that was my deal. I called Katy, scheduled a date (1/16/15) and told her I was figuring out how to pay for it as I was thinking I was wanting to finance it. I chose 1/16 because that would allow me to drink on New Years Eve AND have hangover brekkie the next day. LOL. Lawdy, I know I am bad! Also, I went ALONE. My mom had just had surgery, my dad was working, and my boyfriend was not able to go either. I decided I would be OK alone. (And I was!) About the financing: I have OK credit. My score is over 600 and a little less than 700. I have been repairing my credit over the last few years and thought I could get financing as I made good money and paid off all of my creditors and my score had jumped alot since the prior year. I tried Citerra financing and was approved, but they were going to charge me close to 8K with all the fees and interest. For a $4600 surgery, that was not OK. I did not have high limit credit cards to use, and the other banks I tried to get a loan through denied me. I tried to request a limit increase on my credit cards, but was denied. I also tried Lending Club, but got a no. However, I did have the exact amount in my 'Secret Savings Account' that I keep for emergencies. I took that as a sign. I didn't want to drain my savings, as that is never a good idea, but I did. And I don't regret it. I put down my deposit ($500) about 3 weeks after scheduling my date and that secured my date in stone. Then I waited. And ate. I gained 10 lbs having 'Last Suppers'. I ate pizza, fried everything, potatos, you name it. For the remaining balance for my surgery cost, I got a casheir's check for $4100 and took that down to Mexico with me. Fast forward to January. On 1/2/15, I woke up and started my pre-op. I was allowed 2-3 protein shakes per day, plus 6 oz protein and a salad. The salad example they sent me was HUGE: 2 c. Spinach, 1/2 zucchini, 1/2 yellow squash, 1 tomato, 3 green onions, 1/4 green, red and yellow pepper, 1/2 c cauliflour, 1/2 kidney beans. So, I would have chicken or steak plus my salad. My favorite dressing was Raspberry Vinegarette- it goes SO well with spinach and all of the veggies. On the last week, I would acutally roast the zucchini and yellow squash with a bit of olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder. I lost 11 lbs on the pre-op diet. I did cheat once. Yikes! But once it happened, I was over it and actually felt really calm and ready. That guilt that I got put me in check and solidified my choice. I didn't break anymore. I also was not allowed to smoke during the 2 week pre-op. I had actually gotten sick the week before my pre-op diet was due to start. I cannot smoke when I am sick, so just quit then. I had 4 cigarettes on New Years as that was all I had left out of my last pack and called it quits. (I am now 4 weeks smoke free and am not wanting to pick the habit back up. It is hard, but do-able!). I quit cold turkey. (WEDNESDAY 1/14) The last 3 days before surgery, you're on a clear liquid diet. My company actually counts the surgery day as one of the three days, so really it is only 2 days of liquids. I was travelling early because I live in AK, so I was on liquids all day on the plane and going through airports. I had thought I would be weak and die...but I was OK. I wasn't even hungry most of the time (which I think was due to nerves)!I had brought an empty thermos through TSA, had a coffee shop fill it up with hot water, dropped in a few bullion cubes and had broth on the plain. I also got Gatorade and tea at the shops and had those. I was good. The pre-op diet instructions called for patients to take a laxative on the first day of the all liquid diet, but they forgot that I was travelling and when I called them at the airport and said there was no way I was taking a laxative while flying, they told me not to take it and I would be fine without it. The lady apologized as she had forgotten to to tell me to take it the day before I started my liquids. I was totally fine though and had no issues. I stayed overnight in San Diego as I arrived in CA super late (10:30PM). I stayed at the Holiday Inn Express (San Diego Airport). They had a free airport shuttle and it was pretty cheap (about $110). It was a nice hotel! I thought it would be ghetto, but it was nice! I reccomend it if any of you need a cheap hotel to stay in overnight. (THURSDAY 1/15) The next morning, Abraham came and picked me up from the hotel. I was originally planning on taking the airport shuttle back to the airport to get picked up like everyone else was...but they said they would just get me at the hotel, which was awesome. So, at 10AM, I checked out and was greeted by a very cute man driving a huge purple van. The journey began. We went to the airport and picked up a few other people then were on our way to Mexico! It took about 15-20 minutes to get from the airport to the Mexican border. We went through, pulled over into a parking stall thingy and a few guards opened the doors and looked around and gave us the go-ahead. We were admitted into Mexico. All of the border guards seem to know Abraham...he goes back and forth daily! Tijuana was so interesting! It was about 70 degrees and sunny. The driving is crazy! There are roundabouts everywhere and my advice is to take a deep breath and trust in your driver. Abraham was awesome and navigated like a pro. Everyone drives really close to eachother, there is not a lot of blinker use and...well, just relax. Many of the people in the van were freaked out, but I have seen scarier driving in New York. We went to the hospital first because two of the people in my group needed to get their EKG and bloodwork done as they would be going first for surgery the next day. They were scheduled for 6:00am. Me and a few other patients waited for them in the cafe at the hospital and had some broth and chilled and just chatted. When they were done, we got back into the van and went to the Marriott. The hotel is SO nice. It is very clean and their staff are excellent. I got better service there than I got in New York at a 5 star hotel on Times Square. Yep. The patients with A Lighter Me get 2 free bowls of broth per day, 2 free waters and 2 free popsicles. Everyone raved about the broth so I tried it....and was not a fan. I also tried the popsicles...but yeahhh...I stuck with my bullion I brought and gatorade. Bring small bills to tip with. I brought $100 in 5's and 10's ($40 in 10's and $60 in 5's) but wish I would have gotten at least $20 in $1s, becuase I was way overtipping with the $5s. All of the $10s I gave to Abraham and Eduardo when they drove us somewhere. $100 was perfect for me, I didn't use cash when I bought stuff, but extra cash (maybe $100) would have been nice to use instead of credit cards while shopping on the last day. You get charged more for using credit cards at the tourism shopping places. (More about that later). Because it was so early (about 12PM), our rooms were not ready and they had us wait. Abraham let us know to expect a call from Eduardo and that he had to go do more pick ups. We all just hung out in the lobby and it was cool. There were other patients in the lobby (you can pick everyone out- look for the ones with broth or soup or gatorade!!) so I chatted with a few of them. Actually, I met a lady I talk with on this forum and it was SO cool to meet her in person- she is lovely! Then, I went out to the pool and laid in the warm sun for a while. After a bit, my room was ready. Later on Eduardo called me and said to be ready at 930AM the next morning for surgery. Yay! I relaxed for the rest of the night and took it easy. I actually went to sleep at like 730 AM because I was so tired from travelling. (FRIDAY 1/16) The next morning, I woke up, got ready and packed up. Eduardo called and said my surgery was pushed back an hour, but that was OK. I just watched some TV and chilled. Finally, I went down, checked out a few minutes early and Eduardo was there waiting for me! I was up! I got to the hospital and had some paperwork to do. Eduardo took my license and went upstairs to have some people start on my paperwork. I had to fill out some forms. Then, I had my blood taken. After that, I was introduced to a nice man everyone called Mr. Jack. He went through the consent forms and explained them to me. There is an English copy, then a duplicate copy in Spanish. I signed everything and than waited a few minutes until Eduardo came back. When he did, we went upstairs and he said I was up in 30 minutes and wished me luck. Next, I had to take EVERYTHING off and put on a gown. I had to take out my peircings, too. Then I had an EKG. It was weird, it was not one that I had ever seen. The guy put this cuff thing on each of my ankles, and one on my right wrist- plus a few electrodes on my shoulders and other wrist. I held still for a moment and was done. The room I was in was temporary as other patients were still getting ready to leave. After about 10 minutes, my doctor came in and asked me questions about my allergies, medical history, etc. Then, they put me in a wheelchair and took me down to the OR. It went very quickly!!! In the OR, I walked to the table. There were about 5 men doctors and surgeons in there. I made sure my butt wasn't hanging out the back of my gown!!! Then, I laid on the table and my anesthesiologist talked to me. He asked if I had ever had surgery before (No) and how I was doing. He said 'Honey, you look anxious' and I said I was cool but probably looked like a scared baby deer. LOL. Then, he said OK, we will go into your anesthsiea slowly....Boom. I was out. The next thing I remember was waking up. It is pretty blurry, but I remember my stomach hurt pretty bad. Not like a tummy ache, but I instinctively knew it was gas. I was very bloated and I honestly felt like I was going to shit my pants. I told the nurse that and she gave me a weird look. I asked to get up to go to the bathroom, but she put a bed pan under me. I could not go to the bathroom. I think she was relieved. There was another guy in recovery with me and he was moaning. I was so out of it that I am PRETTY sure I started moaning trying to compete because I was high off my ass and in some weird inebriated way thought we were in a competition. The poor nurse. Then, I fell back asleep.I woke up and had oxygen on me and remember I kept trying to take it off. I think it was about noon. Then I fell back asleep. After a while, I was moved into my room. I had a single room. It was green, there was a recliner in there, my bed and a hospital table. It also had its own bathroom with shower. There was a TV on the wall, but it didn't work (which sucked, but oh well). I fell back asleep and woke up at 2 PM. I still felt pain...like gas pain and it also felt kind of like cramps, too. So, I got up and walked. I only made it to the end of the hallway and back before I got tired, but the nurse said that was OK. I went back to bed and slept for another hour or two, then I did two trips down the hallway. I got more pain meds (they didn't make me feel 'high' or drunk at all like American pain meds, but they worked! I was also given nausea meds and antbiotics). I felt like throwing up a few times and they quickly got me more nausea meds. I remember that I was still pretty out of it when Eduardo came in and checked in on me later that day. I was having a hard time getting on the wifi because I could not get the password right (in hindsight, I was out of my head on anesthesia still) and he was so sweet and logged me in. I used the Line app to video call my boyfriend over the wifi and let him know I was OK. I had him call my mom and grandma and pass the word that I was good. I had a drain pump in my left side, and I hated that. It made it hurt to breathe in deeply. Sometimes, it just hurt to breathe. I was assured that was normal. Drats. At night, I got some sleeping medicine. About every 2-3 hours, the nurses came in to change my IV or push some more meds. I got up a few times to walk which made me feel better. I found it really easy to sleep in there, my body was tired from surgery. (SATURDAY 1/17) The next morning, at 6:30AM, I was woken up and told it was shower time. The nurse said to let the water run over the bandages and than to take them all off. I was horrified about the drain and she said to let it just hang and it would be fine. I almost fainted. She asked if I was OK and I bravely said yes. I am squeamish as hell and did NOT look forward to the task. The shower was a bit hard because I still had an IV in. I had a glove over my IV'd hand and the stand was right outside the shower stall. I had brought my own Shampoo, Condish and soap, which is good because the hospital does not provide them. It took me about 20 minutefs to shower. I washed my hair first, then put in conditioner in to set and started on the bandages. I was surprised because my incisions were not too bad! There were 4 incisions then the drain incision. The biggest one is about 1 inch long. The smallest is about 1/3 inch. Most were already on their way to healing and had been sealed with something (I think dermabond is the name). The water did not hurt them. Finally I got all the tape off, even the tape around the drain. That made me feel a little nausea, but that is because I am a huge baby. I mean, there is a TUBE coming out of your side! Eeeeeewwww..So when I was done, I dried off with was a bit difficult but not bad. I was allowed to wear my regular clothes after the shower, so I wore a maxi skirt and tank top. I wasn't allowed to wear a bra because I had to have a floroscopy later. I tucked my little drain tube and bulb into my undies and that was fine. A nurse came in and put gauze and tape over my incisions for me. After a few minutes, a guy came and gave me a little cup of 'juice' to drink. It was gross..because it wasn't juice but barium...I thought that was all I had to drink for the floroscopy, but alas, no. After about another 40 minutes, another guy came with a wheelchair and took me for my leak test. He was SO fast wheeling me through the hospital, I almost threw up. LOL. The floroscopy tech had me stand up in front of the machine and drink some even nastier juice. He let me watch with him as the liquid moved through my stomach and down to my intestines. It was kind of cool! Then I was done and jumped back into the Wheelchair of Impending Death and sped back up to the hospital. By then, I was feeling much more alert. I met up with a lady I had friended on Facebook who had her surgery the day before,. She walked with me for a few minutes and let me know that she had gotten her drain out that day and felt 100 times better. I was so relieved to hear that! The rest of the day for me was napping for an hour or so, then getting up to walk, rinse, repeat. I was pretty tired. AND I wanted my drain out so I was just trying to sleep away the time! Later on that night, my hand felt tight around my IV and the nurses said my vien had blown or something. I had to switch my IV to my right hand, which sucked. One hand was really fat with saline fluid, and the other had an IV. I was assured it was OK (it took about 2 days to get back to normal size). So, don't freak out of that happens. (SUNDAY 1/18) The next day, a nurse came in at 3AM and took of my long IV. He left the IV in, but just left a cathetar to the vien just in case the doctor wanted them to push anything else before I left. It was soooo nice not being hooked up to a pole! I fell back asleep and slept very well. At about 7AM, I showered and removed the bandages again. It was soo much easier without the IV in. I was feeling better, too. I walked some more, which was also nice to do without an IV. I think I got up and walked about every half hour because it was easier and I was bored and restless. I was told by the nurses that Eduardo would come get me between 10 and 11. YAY! At about 8AM, Dr. Morales came in and said he was going to take out my pump. I laid down and he chatted with me about his wife and football. Then, he said to take a deep breath and hold it. I did. Then, he pulled out that damn drain. It hurt a bit (About a 5 on the 1-10 pain scale), but only for about 2 seconds. It also felt really weird. The pump is actually a few feet long, and I felt that thing move through my body. Ick. But then it was done. Pheew! Never again! No more drains. Nope. I got up and walked more and it was SO much better without the pump. I would say after 1-2 hours after the pump, I felt 100% better. My incisions were a bit sore, but that was it. My gas was better each day with walking, and I took Gas-X strips too when I got gas cramps.Two strips does the trick for annoying gas. After the drain was out, I paced around ALOT waiting for Eduardo to show up. I was READY to leave!!! I walked and introduced myself to patients walking and just looked out the window. The nurses took the rest of the IV/Cathetar out of my hand and all I had to do was wait. I think I took a 30 minute nap, too. Around 1030AM, Eduardo came and sprung me and a few others from the hospital. WOOHOO! The Marriott shuttle came and got us from the hospital because there were quite a few people, and Eduardo followed in his car (he loves that car!). Then, we got to the Marriott and went to a table in the bar area where Eduardo gave us each a bag. The bag had a folder with a copy of our floroscopy on CD for us, our bloodwork results (in Spanish) and some information about the company and the surgeon. The bag also had our pain medicine (8 torodol caplets), a bottle of antibiotic (Penicillin), a bottle of antacid (for taking 5 minutes before the antibiotic), gauze, tape and business cards with everyone's contact information on it. Eduardo went over the medicine instructions. He said to take the pain meds ONLY if we needed them, but not if we didn't need them. Antibiotics 2x per day, at 9am and 9pm. Take the antacid before the antibiotic because it can be hard on the stomach and it will help. Call with any issues or questions. He also told us we could have creamy soups, yogurt, ice cream, anything we didn't have the chew in the hotel. He said we needed to stay hydrated and not to worry about calories for the next couple days because our bodies need nurtrition as we were now all off of IVs. I think we all wanted to hug him at that point! Then, he gave us all a hug and bid us farewell. He also said that we would be going on our outing with Abraham to sightsee on Monday and to be ready at about noon for him on Monday. We checked back into the hotel. I hung out in my room for a bit and watched TV. About every hour or so, I did a few laps around the hallway on my floor. I am glad I brought a robe. I didn't use it in the hospital at all, but it was nice to have at the hotel. I was in my PJs/shorts and did not want to get dressed everytime I went on a walk. The robe was nice to wear around the hallways as well as to lounge in while in my room. After a bit, I really, really, really wanted ice cream so I decided to walk to Walmart. They said it was a 5 minute walk up the hill from the hotel. I thought- hey no prob! I need to walk anyways. IT WAS NOT A 5 MINUTE WALK! It was about 70 degrees outside and after 10 minutes of walking slowly (hey, I was recovering still!)up this damn hill, I was about 3/4 way there. I decided to keep going. I was pretty tired and winded by the time I got there. It also didn't smell great in there....kind of...like a barn? Not like poop, but it was odd. I wandered around and got some travel deodarant, some yummy Adidas bodyspray I have never seen in the States, and a pint of chocolate Hagan Daas. They didn't have anything smaller than a pint, which was a bummer. But oh well. I went and checked out and the total came to about $13. So cheap! I did good speaking my very little spanish (Gracias and Hola and Buenos Dias was all I said the whole time and nobody was the wiser). My credit card worked like a charm too! I had notified my banks that I was going to be in Mexico, so everything went smoothly. The walk back was a bit easier, but I suggest that for post-op patients to take a cab TO Wal-mart, then only walk back. When I got back to the hotel, I had some ice cream. I got down about 1/3 cup over 30 minutes. It was so nice to have that cool, smooth treat. Then, 20 minutes later, my body let me know that it was not ready for milk products. I had pretty bad diarrhea. However, it was a blessing in disguise-- because it also got out a ton of gas! However, I stayed away from ice cream made with milk for the rest of the trip. I did not want to put myself in a position where I could possibly crap my pants in front of anyone. Later on that night, I ordered some soup from room service--- if you like PIZZA...order the Marriott's tomato and goat cheese soup. It was SO good! I stirred the goat cheese in and it melted into the soup. IT TASTED LIKE LIQUID PIZZA. I could only eat a bit of it, but it was soooo good. I was sad I could not have the whole bowl, but happy at the same time. It was so crazy to feel full. After soup, I went down to the lobby and met up with another friend I met online. A few other ladies joined us and we went to dinner in the restaurant. I had cucumber water as I was still full from the soup, but they ordered a soup and raved, too. We saw a few ladies eating popsicles in the restaraunt and asked if they were going in for surgery and they said YES! And they talked for a while and asked questions. It was so fun to meet so many different people! After that, I went back to the room and watched more TV, walked and hung out by myself and took it easy. (MONDAY 1/19) The next day, I woke up and showered and changed my own bandages. It took me foreevvver. Tip, invest in some Tagaderm. I brought some but did not think to use them that first day. I had such a hard time making my bandages with gauze and tape. I am not medically inclined lol. If I would have been x-rayed, it probably would have looked like I was trying to smuggle drugs! Ha! Abraham called my room at about 11:30 and said to come on down to leave for the sightseeing tour! Yay! I went down to the lobby and there were about 8 other people waiting. We all loaded into the van and were off! First, he took us to an ice cream vendor on the side of the road by the gas station. He pulled into a gas station and we were like 'What the heck?' and he told us that the guy with the cart makes homemade ice cream and it was $1 cup. I got lime sherbet (no milk in it) and it was SO good and refreshing! There was also pistachio, tamarind, and some other flavors that I cannot recall. Everyone loved their ice cream, and I did not get the shits!! Hallelujah! Then, we drove to the Pharmacy. It was so cool! I got some really cheap Omeprazol (which my surgeon wants us to take), and also picked up a few Z-Packs (strong antibiotics) for really cheap. I wish I would have gotten some more Torodol. I still haven't finished my 8 pills as I don't need them, but Torodol is awesome. It is not a narcotic and really works well. Next time I go into Mexico, I will get some. I think it is like IB Profen on crack. But the pharmacy has a doctor working there and basically you tell him what you want or need and he finds the medicines you are wanting for you. It was really cheap. After that, we went to the Revolution Blvd (It might be called something different- I don't remember what Abraham said it was called). Anyway, its the Tijuana tourist strip. Abraham explained that we needed to stay within eyesight of him and offered to help us get a good deal when buying stuff. I got a shotglass, a necklace, and some ceramic sugar skulls to hang on the wall. I was able to haggle the prices down, but not a lot. I am bad at bargaining. However, when I was given a really high price, I would say 'that is WAY out of my price range, can you should me something that I can afford for $____). Then they would either show me something for that much, and I would talk them down a bit, or offer me a lower price on the more expensive item. I made sure to be very polite and respectful as well, which I think helped me get better prices. I probably still got ripped off, but it was fun and worth it. My stuff is very pretty, too! After a bit, we all loaded back up into the van and went to an outdoor restaraunt. I think it was called Los Bollos. All patients get a free cup of broth and the companions had yummy looking tacos. The broth was SO good!!! I seriously have never had broth that good! We all tipped $1 for the broth. SO GOOD. You could also buy a container of the broth for $4, but I did not because I was already in love with the pizza soup at the hotel. He also took us to the liquor store, but that was mainly for the companions. One lady got a bottle of tequila with a worm in it. LOL I wish I could have gotten one, but....yeah...no... Then, our trip was over. We were out for I think 3.5 hours and that was more than enough. I wasn't 'fall on my feet tired', but we were all a bit tired. Back at the hotel, me and a few other ladies made plans for dinner laster that evening. Abraham also sat us all down in the lobby and we told him when our flights were the next day and he made our schedule to be picked up. My flght was the earliest, so my pick up time was 9:30AM, all the others had late flights so their pick up time was noon. Later that night, a few patients and I went back to the resturant at the hotel. I got pizza soup again, one lady had tortilla soup (without anything added), another had cottage cheese with Splenda mixed in (it sounds crazy, but I tried it and OH MY GOD IT IS GOOD!). Later, another patient they had met came and joined us with her husband. After a while, we went out to the jacuzzis and sat on the edge and soaked our feet. It felt SO good! It was so fun to get to know other people, hear their stories and laugh. I went on the trip alone, but did not feel alone at all. After that, I went back to my room, packed up and went to bed. (TUESDAY 1/20) The next morning, I got up early, showered and changed my bandages again. THIS time I used my Tagaderm and it was SO easy! You can cut Tagaderm to fit whatver size you need, too. So all you do it cut your gauze to the size you want, dab some neosporin on, put the gauze on top and then put tagaderm right over it. It stays on unil you peel it off- and it isn't hard to take off either. I love this stuff! Then, at 9:15AM, I checked out of the hotel and Abraham was there to meet me. There was another couple there that he was giving a ride to as they were not staying for an extra day and had been cleared to leave early. We drove to the border and went through the Medical lane (which was nice, no line!). He gave the guard our passports and the guard checked them, gave them back and smiled and waved us through! I thought it would have taken longer and that we would be search and interviewed and interrogated, but nope. We dropped off the couple at their RV park (which was nice!) and then we were off to the airport. Abraham and I talked and chatted for the short drive to the airport. He told me about his family and I told him about mine. It felt like talking to an old friend. At the airport, he dropped me off, gave me a huge hug and we took a picture (Abraham loves his selfies!!). I checked in, they lifted my bag for me after I told the lady I just had surgery. The airport staff seems really used to surgery patients and are very nice and understanding. I brought all my medications with me as carry-on because I did not want them to be lost if my bag was lost. TSA just x-rayed my carryon and I was good to go! I did buy some powerade for the plane and had a few sips of an iced coffee. The terminal I was at only had a coffee shop and one restaraunt that did not have soup, but I was fine with my liquids. My flights back to AK were very long- one flight was 3 hours, the other was 4 hours and I ended with another 1 hour flight. To be safe, I wore compression stockings to prevent blood clots. The hospital had given me a heparin shot to reduce the chance of bloodcots...but if you are going to be flying a long time- make sure to wear compression stockings! I am home now and doing well! I live in AK and was really sad to leave Mexico as I am really cold most of the time now. However, I have very little pain and my recovery is going well. My only struggle is getting in my liquids and protein. My goal is 100g protein per day and I got in 60g yesterday. I am aiming to hit my goal today. Each day has gotten easier and easier to eat and drink fluid. On the first few days post-op, after a few drinks, I would feel like I was about to have a big burp, or that my stomach clenched- so that was my que to stop eating or drinking. That has slowly gone away and I think that it because I am healing. I still drink slowly and do not chug anything. I try to get in about 3oz, then wait for about 10-15 minutes than have more. Well, that is my very long story---but hopefully the blow by blow will make at least one person feel better and more at ease!
  8. shizwiz

    Is strength training slowing my loss?

    Thanks ya'll!!! Your words make me feel SO much better for doing what I am doing!!! I was close to just cutting back to cardio; but I think I will continue on with my Arnold Schwarzenegger training Sorry for the late kudos; I killed my hard drive earlier this week :/ YAY!
  9. shizwiz

    Is strength training slowing my loss?

    @@James Marusek Thank you! I think I am just over-thinking it and need to stop looking at other people and comparing Your reassurance helped!!! Ciao!
  10. shizwiz

    Anyone in Alaska?

    Hola! I am in Alasky I live in Bethel-- woot woot!
  11. I had a surgery buddy who was in my group (via A Lighter Me in Tijuana) who did not bring her passport with her due to a delay with processing her application. She brought a letter from the US Passport agency stating it would be delayed (I don't know the reason as to why it was delayed though), her birth certificate and social security card. I know she made it back home. However, I would suggest that if you have time to get your card, do that. It will make your re-entry back into the US a lot quicker! My re-entry took all of 3 minutes. Cheers!
  12. shizwiz

    Feel like I can eat A LOT!

    I had the same 'OH MY LAWWD I CAN EAT A TON' freak out this week! I have been using those super cute baby bowls with the lids (the colorful ones) and baby spoons. The bowl is 8oz, so I know half is 1/2c, or a full is 1 cup, etc etc etc. I usually eat about 1/2c or a bit more and am full or at least satiated. However, I think because I am used to the small bowl as 'normal' now, I wasn't computing that my normal portion now is pretty tiny compared to everyone else's normal portion size. But I do see FB posts from some of my surgery buddies-- they are eating 1 shrimp and then they are full. Then I am left wondering 'Seriously?!' because I can have 4-5. Then I wonder for hours if my surgeon maybe tested out a new, larger sleeving tool on ME and I ended up with the almost normal sized stomach....LOL paranoia at its finest. I guess we are lucky in the fact that the restriction isn't super severe, and we aren't throwing up all the time, right?! Hey- now at least I know I am not alone! Thanks buddy
  13. I had to stay overnight in San Diego because I got in so late. The Holiday Inn Express (San Diego Airport) location was very nice for the price- cheap, too! A Lighter Me also picked me up there in the morning, which was nice! Other than that, once I was picked up, it was easy as pie. They plan everything for ya and all you need to do is show up Do bring small bills, like $1 and $5 and some $10s for tipping. Maybe $40 in 10's, $40 in 5's and $20 in 1's to give out to the bellhops, room service, etc. Ciao!
  14. @@JennG25 Hey man, no judgment here! I completely understand what it is like to be in the situation you are! If I would not have had the $$ in savings, I probably would have done the same thing. It sucks, but you do you! Just make sure to pay your loan on time, pay big chunks off with things like income taxes or other big checks and get healthy!
  15. Yes, the total loan is $6907 and that is what you will have to pay back. They will allow you a certain time frame (usually 1-4 years) to pay it back. You can pay off the balance early, but your balance will still be $6907. Plus interest. The couple of grand they tack on is a 'bank fee' that they charge you because of the 'high risk' you pose. That is why I didn't go with them, that was too much added on for me to be able to deal with. But like mentioned above, sometimes a place like Citerra is your only choice for financing due to credit or other factors. You will need to decide if you are OK with those terms, or would rather save up a bit longer, or fund the smaller amount a different way. Either way, I wish you the best of luck
  16. Well, Citerra is kind of the Loan Shark of all lenders. I almost went with them prior to just draining my savings. If you can, I would really try to get a loan through a credit union, a credit card or somewhere else. If you are that desperate and cannot get a loan anywhere else (Hey, it happens- been there done that!), just know that they charge SUPER high interest and you are going to end up paying WAY more than the loan amount. I asked for $4600 and the total to re-pay was going to be $7300. Yikes. Also- it sounds like you are getting some red flags as far as being told one thing, and then getting another...when borrowing money- always listen to your gut. Are you going to have a tax refund? Can you maybe use that, some out of pocket cash and get a credit card or small loan from somewhere else? Before I drained my savings, I tried Citerra (approved but TOO high of a repayment amount), was denied for a credit union loan, was denied for a credit card limit increase and than just decided to use my savings...every penny. Hang in there!
  17. @@Grateful_Love You can actually use all 3 if you want to! Let me break it down: FMLA: Family Medical Leave Act. This is unpaid time off, but it protects your job by law for up to 12 weeks. I always suggest using this whenever you can- its free and doesn't hurt to be on it. Short Term Disability (STD): This is a benefit usually paid by your employer (or yourself) that pays for time off usually after a waiting period of between 3-7 days depending on your insurer. It usually pays around 60% of what you usually make in a week for a specified number of weeks. PTO: This of course is accrued time off pay and can be used when you take time off. So, if you are on FMLA, your job is protected. STD, you get a partial amount of what you normally make. Then, you can elect to use PTO on a part time basis (like 2 hours per day to supplement the STD) or even full time if your employer allows it (mine does). I know of people who took 4 weeks off, got their STD and also used 4 weeks of PTO all at the same time- and they ended up having a ton of money because they had PTO full time pay, then 60% pay! However, if you like to vacation more...I would suggest not using full-time PTO unless you have to. Hope this helps?
  18. @@Grateful_Love You don't have to tell your work about what your surgery is for unless you are using benefits like Short Term Disability or FMLA. Even then, that information would only be shared with an HR rep in order to get your benefits paperwork processed and in no way can HR share the medical information with your boss or co-workers. If you are going to use Short Term Disability, you will fill out a form and your medical information will have to be on there (and your doc will need to fill out parts of it), but that information goes to your disability insurance company. HR may have to process that paperwork, but the PHI on the paperwork is protected by HIPAA and other laws. They cannot tell your boss what you are going in for. That is the law. Also, if you use FMLA, you may have to share some medical information as well, but it should not be as detailed as the disability paperwork. My employer would allow a letter from the doc stating that due to surgery, XX days are needed off- and with any questions to contact the doc. Again, your PHI is still protected by law and only HR should see that. I chose not to use FMLA or Disability and only took off 1 1/2 weeks and used my PTO. I did not have to tell anyone why I was out and did not share any medical information. As far as the insurance side of your concerns, your PHI is not shared with your employer because HIPAA forbids that to happen. Your employer would have to take you to court and subpoena your medical records to ever get a peek at them. (I am the HIPAA/Privacy Officer for a large healthcare system, btw.)
  19. @@proudgrammy First off, I feel honored that a Bariatric Pal celebrity mentioned me in a comment!!! I'm over here all like 'WHOA!!! She said my naaaame!' LOL I agree with you on thinking about weight constantly- I think it will keep me on my toes. However, I am excited for my negative thoughts to turn into more positive and constructive thoughts! I used to go to bed just feeling guilty because, while I felt horrible about my health and weight, I hadn't done anything about it. In fact, the other day, I saw myself in a mirror..and I had a pang of 'I need to do something about this' and than I realized 'OMG I HAVE done something about this! I am doing it right now!!!' and I felt 10000% better. Wheew. I'm goin' places!
  20. @ I am glad I could help! I read a similar post prior to going down and it was SO helpful- as I am generally a paranoid person. I am so excited for you! I had never had surgery before, and while it is not FUN to have surgery, the trip was super enjoyable!!! Woot woot! @@defibvt WOW I cannot believe you are penalized via insurance! That totally sucks Well, shortly, you will be on the road to discounts!!! If you like coffee drinks, try Click protein with milk instead of water. I use Lactaid because me and dairy are enemies, but they are SO good..I look forward to my morning Click! That sounds...very wrong lol. But they taste like a yummy, creamy frappacino/latte. YUM.
  21. @@defibvt You are right on the horizon- exciting!!!! I waited for what seemed like forrreeevvvvver (from October until January) and I bet you are like a kid waiting for Santa hehehehe! I am doing really well, thank you I am not losing really fast, but a steady, small loss almost each day. I need to get my butt into the gym this week, though! Cheers!
  22. @@greatestnameever funny that you mention dreams! I had a dream where I was floating down a river in a plastic tub and there were decorated sheet cakes floating down the river, too...and I would grab one after the other and just go to town- like pie-eating contest style. I woke up feeling a sugar high and queasy. Tried to look up the meaning to that dream and...yeah...I think that one was too weird for the dream dictionary. LOL
  23. shizwiz

    Hunger+Capacity+Menstral cycle?

    I am reading this with a feeling of (slight) dread. I am only 3 weeks post-op, but prior to surgery, the week or so before my period, I was always starving and could put away a good amount of food. It was my 'tell'. I would get a voracious appetite and the amount of witty retorts increased... and then I knew...I was about to purge some good ol' hormones. Right now I am about one week ahead of my monthly 'Time of Darkness' and I am feeling hungry and was scouring BP to see if anyone else felt this after the ol' snip snip of the stomach. I am not super hungry, but more than I have been since my surgery date. Which was surprising as I was thinking I would not feel hunger for at least a few months. Please pray for my boyfriend. It's going to be a rough few weeks.
  24. @@SleevedNFree I am glad you found my post helpful! I wish you the BEST of luck during your pre-op diet, surgery and post-op periods TJ was so nice to visit and I bet it will be even nicer in spring!
  25. @@Lindsey87 Congrats in advance on your marriage! I am sure you will have a good time The pool and jacuzzis were open, and I wished I had brought my swimming suit for pre-surgery- so hopefully your weather is good @@Rocky1 I think the pain meds depend on the outfit. I didn't have a problem at all, never really even had to ask for medications- they had a schedule down! I did ask once, and was OK'd right away. My pump bothered me on the 2nd day. Good luck with your pain management!

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