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Gastric Sleeve Patients
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Everything posted by Stephen2

  1. IT GETS BETTER!!! Hang in there. My biggest challenge for the first month or two was getting enough water and enough protein in. I was struggling with that, big time. But you know what? It was Ok. I was Ok. You'll be Ok. You'll figure out what works and you'll modify your procedures as you go. A sip every five minutes may be all you can manage. So do that. It adds up and it's just fine to go slowly. It's better, in fact. I got so bored / frustrated by that, but it's Ok. You'll be Ok. This is the hardest part. Aside from the therapy... If you're feeling weak or worn out, some Gatorade for electrolytes works wonders. Chicken broth or bone broth were important for me during the liquid stage, too. I just craved something savory, gosh darn it! Take it little by little. Keep your eyes on the prize (improved health and life). Before you know it, your bigger challenge will be buying clothes that fit and then they don't fit a month later. Let me tell you, a few trips to Goodwill or other second-hand shops worked out great for me. I even kept a few of those things around longer-term. Good luck on your path. IT DOES GET BETTER!!!
  2. Stephen2

    Got my surgery date!

    Congratulations! If you haven't made plans for it yet, consider finding a therapist with experience in behavior modification (addiction, etc.), too. Starting that ahead of time is a lot easier than post-op. Most of us don't get to our pre-surgery state of being through enlightened, balanced living. Dealing with the underlying habits and emotional layers is an important part of the journey for most of us.
  3. My surgery was in 2017. I have settled into a few core go-to nutritional solutions. I always have Premier Protein shakes on hand in chocolate (30g Protein, 1g sugar) or Apple + Oat (20g Protein, 1g sugar). Reasonable pricing by the case at Costco. Having a dependable, easy to count and carry protein source allows me to relax on what else I'm eating during the day. You're not back to veg and fruit yet (especially salads!), but that'll come. In the soft food category, two favorites for me are Siggi's yogurt (12g Protein, 5g sugar), or cottage cheese with (home made) no-sugar applesauce or (home made) low-sugar jam. I've moved away from the yogurt and more toward the cottage cheese, since I can take more control of the flavorings and because cottage cheese is more protein-dense than yogurt. The biggest challenge for me in the liquid and soft food stages was getting something savory into the mix. Bone broth and organic chicken stock worked well for me, sometimes with an egg mixed in. Other soft foods I rotate are egg salad and a mix of tuna and chicken. I use two cans of tuna with one can of chicken (both packed in water, both purchased at a reasonable price at Costco). I add a bunch of horseradish mustard and some mayo. You can reduce the amount of mayo by adding back some of the water that the cans are packed with. Also, an immersion blender makes the tuna/chicken salad more like a restaurant and less like a parent with a fork. Good luck on the path, MGigi and everyone else!
  4. Three and a half years later, I got a notification that there's new traffic on this thread so I'll check back in. I find Hopscotch's response very reasonable. "Karen" references aside (perhaps we can all agree to focus on our health and well being and leave our politics at the door), I think that success is found somewhere in between obsession and moderation. My own path has led me through struggles with returning to food as something other than a source for nutrition. When I use food or drink as entertainment or as a social or emotional tool, that's when I fall into trouble. When I approach food as the way to provide my body with the energy and nutrients it needs to be healthy, that's when I'm more successful on this path. 2020-and-a-half has not been my best year (no surprise!). All things considered, it wasn't a disaster for me and in many ways it has been a reasonable road. I am trying to lose my "Pandemic 10" right now. Some changes I'm making include cutting back on alcohol (entertainment & relaxation) and nuts (entertainment & emotional). I was alcohol-free for the first year after surgery, and I've never been much of a drinker. Now I'm trying to get back to that. If you can honestly look at what's going into your body and why it's going in, your path will be more successful. If that mindfulness eludes you, it will continue to be a struggle. Those changes force me to face what I'm avoiding when I indulge in them. Usually, it's uncomfortable feelings - lack of productivity, self-worth, accomplishment, etc., or tasks or situations I'm avoiding in my life. As with anyone here, I'm not an expert. I'm just a guy trying to do my best. If any of this helps you, great. If it doesn't, then I hope you find more value elsewhere. Good luck, everyone!
  5. 10 months post-op here. I'd suggest toning down the rhetoric just a tad. I was advised / directed to observe 12 months off of all intoxicants. I've been good with that. I've had a few sips from my wife's glass, but nothing more than that, really. Funny thing is that I did some rather successful cultivation and infusions this year since it became legal to do so in my state. Great results, but I've avoided trying ANY of it. Really looking forward to January when I can allow myself the space to do that. On the technical / education side of things, I was informed that the recommendation to avoid intoxicants for the first year post-op is for a few reasons. First is that most of us didn't get to a pre-op condition by living a balanced life. And if we're going to successfully avoid using food as "medication" or for anything other than nutrition, it's very easy to transfer that pre-op behavior to something else. Intoxicants are an easy substitute to fall into, and a year of avoidance can help us find other more healthful habits, instead. As for me, I've been written a lot more music this year, among other things. Second is that alcohol is very caloric (or calorific for our overseas friends). So taking in those empty calories isn't going to help us down the path of reduction, especially if one is already finding it challenging to take in sufficient protein and water to keep up with targets. I don't know about you all, but that's still something I have to be very mindful about. Protein and Water. That's a mantra I've had to internalize. Third is that alcohol and other intoxicants can lead us to "let go" of our self-control and discipline around what else we're putting into our bodies. And some of those behaviors contributed to our getting to our pre-op states, to begin with. No point in going back to them post-op, at least without some mindful examination, first. For those three reasons (and others any of us could come up with), I have found the 12 month abstinence target is an easy to remember / explain rule of thumb ("I had some surgery in January and I'm off of alcohol for a year." - You'd be surprised how often the conversation / questions stop right there). It's a bit of a drag sometimes, but "eyes on the prize" seems to win out when I'm doing my in-the-moment evaluations. Best of luck and healthy outcomes to you all! Top: 320 Pre-op: 296 10 months post-op: 225 Goal: A long and healthy life. It's not so much about the numbers for me.
  6. Ok, I know this is going to be a very low-popularity topic, but I want to start the thread for the one or two folks who may need it later on. I'm almost three weeks post-op (gastric sleeve, laparoscopic incisions) and I'm a professional trumpet player, so there was the obvious question, "How long do I need to wait before I start playing again?" And just as obviously, there were almost no authorities on it. Some doctors are impressively ignorant regarding the physical requirements of playing trumpet. In comparing it to other physical activities, I came to the conclusion that it's somewhere between holding a plank and dealing with constipation (while blowing up a thick balloon). I'm not trying to be funny, just trying to relate it to what others could imagine. Aside from the musical and manual aspects, that's pretty much what a trumpet player's body is going through. I found one guy online who said he waited a month. But he's a lead player (high & hard playing), and I'm not (mostly low), so even that wasn't very close to what I needed. I don't have any definitive answers yet, but I wanted to track my progress so that anyone on the same path can at least have a reference. Last night (19 days post-op) I played my first rehearsal since surgery. A couple of days before that I played long tones and some simple low stuff for a while. I knew I wasn't going to be in good shape, but I wanted to start somewhere. I got through around 20 minutes of warming up and another 30 minutes or so of actual playing before I started to experience some significant "foam" response and some other physical feelings I didn't recognize. At that point I stopped playing, though I stuck around for the rest of the rehearsal. I suspect it was too early for me to start playing at full volume and energy. Today I've been experiencing more foam, though fluids seem to be going down, so I don't think there's any actual blockage going on. But I suspect things might have been a little disturbed and there may be some additional swelling going on, or something. I don't think it's anything to worry about, but I'm going to allow some time to re-heal before getting back to it again. That's my feeling right now, anyway. I'll try to update this more as I learn and experience more.
  7. I'm back to post an update at around 6 months post-op. Well, I'm back to playing fairly regularly. I've found that the weight loss (around 70 lbs, so far) has impacted a number of different aspects. My doctor informed me that many report that the loss changes their voices. I haven't noticed that so much (I'm also a professional singer), but I have noticed that my lips (emboucher) are responding a little differently than they did pre-op. I'm adjusting, but it takes some patience. The abdominal / core strength required to play has definitely taken work to regain. Core strength exercises at the gym have helped (planks, cable machine routines, etc.), as has simply practicing. A full month off would have been a better plan, and 19 days was definitely too early to expect much functionality, but I eased into it so I'm Ok with that.
  8. Children's liquid Tylenol is my primary pain medication now. I also have some of the stronger stuff (also liquid) that was prescribed for me post-op, but I haven't gotten into that since the first couple of days post-op. But I keep it around just in case. Don't underestimate the curative powers of ice and heat (or sitting with ice and heat while watching "Fire and Ice" - That's just for the Game of Thrones fans). Ice to reduce swelling and pain, heat increases circulation and healing.
  9. Stephen2


    Zh3n, it sounds like you're coping very well, so keep up with that. My first couple of months (really much longer than that, and even now at 6 months) it's a daily struggle to take in sufficient amounts of protein and liquids. The options that provide both were very helpful for me. Premier Protein ready-made shakes from Costco, bone broth (more protein than normal broth), chicken broth with pureed chicken in it (bought an immersion blender for that), and Greek yogurt have all become staples for me. The biggest challenge for me early on was that most of the options are sweet and I was craving something savory / salty. The pureed chicken in broth did it for me. Also, some mushroom soup provided almost no protein on its own, but the flavor was pretty wonderful after so many sweet protein drinks. Be well. Good luck. Hang in there!
  10. Stephen2

    What to eat, drink?

    Premier Protein ready-made shakes (Costco) have been a very helpful tool for me. Chicken broth and bone broth were very helpful for me when trying to get a break from the consistent "sweetness" of most protein supplements. Also Greek yogurt, but stay away from formulations that contain more grams of sugar than protein.
  11. Here are some things I found to be especially helpful. Immersion blender to puree chicken meat in broth or bone broth. Greek yogurt, but watch the labels on that stuff. Aim for more grams of protein than sugar. Syggi's is a great brand around my area. Premier Protein shakes (Costco). The powder is not the same formula, but the ready-made is a GREAT tool. Resealable, secure containers, and by far the best flavor experience of the 8 or 10 types I tested. Also had some luck with pureed baby foods, but not much with protein options. If you're tired of cottage cheese, try adding applesauce, or later on some fruit (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries). Best of luck!
  12. Stephen2

    Swallowing vitamins

    Can't believe I'm the first one to mention this option: Chewable vitamins. Specifically, I've found these ones to be very helpful. Nature's Plus Adult Chewable multi (natural pineapple flavor), 365 chewable vitamin C, Solaray B-Complex Chewable, UpCalD (calcium + D). The first two are available at Whole Foods. The others I get from a local shop or via Amazon. I also get LifeTime liquid Calcium Magnesium Citrate + Vit D3). The UpCalD is actually a little packet of powder. Some mix it into various things (water, etc.). I just clip off the end and eat it like a pixie stick (or doesn't anyone know what those were?). It brings back a kind of nice memory from my childhood to do that, actually. I hope that helps someone.
  13. My doc & my dietitian recommended no intoxicants for 12 months post-op. That is probably edge-case recommendation, but I'm not much of a drinker anyway, so I'm going with it (six months post-op, so far). They explained a counter-intuitive reason for avoiding it, which has stuck with me. I didn't get to where I was by being completely free of obsessive tendencies. It is quite common for folks to transfer their food habits to other self-medication options and obsessions. Obviously, alcohol is one easy ride to climb onto, so for that reason I'm pretty much staying away until I'm a little more secure with my new life. I've had a couple of tastes - literally a sip from my wife's glass. But that's it. I'm a fan of whiskey, but so far, I've completely set that aside since my surgery. My very nice collection sits in the case untouched, for now.
  14. Stephen2

    Heat sensitivity?

    My doc explained something about heat and cold sensitivity. Pre-op we have a lot more mass between the surface and the nerves that are responding to heat and cold. Post-op (or post-loss), the nerves are right up close to the outside and they're responding to the actual temperature of the environment. In the lab, rats were shown to respond to environmental chilling much differently when obese. To the extent that they'd sit relatively comfortably (no shivering) while they were actually suffering hypothermia. Slender rats would shiver to keep their core temperature up. My experience has been that I get cold now, when I used to always run hot. There are other contributing factors, of course, but I've found comfort in the technical explanation he provided. And I've added a bunch of sweaters and vests to my wardrobe. I wonder if your experience of heat may be the other side of that. From your picture, you look very young so I'll mention this last bit as a remote, remote possibility. But I've had second-hand experience of the peri-menopausal state with two different partners. It's probably not something a guy should be explaining to a woman, but you might consider early-onset menopause as a possible cause for your heat sensitivity, and definitely check with your primary physician about that.
  15. Stephen2

    Heartburn/ Acid Reflux

    My doctor explained that acid reflux and heartburn are much less common post-op because the reservoir for the acid is so different (absent). I'm around six months post-op and I've had no problems with acid beyond the first few days post-op. But that was so much of a transitional period, I'd ignore that and just wait it out.
  16. Stephen2

    When can you travel after GS

    Day 15 post-op I took a 2 hour flight, returning two days later. Pre-board was helpful both ways (had a Dr. note, didn't need it). The bigger challenge was bringing Protein along for the ride. Not a problem, really, but was anticipating it might be. Flew to a celebratory gathering, so it was my first time eating with others in public. Lox was great in small pieces. Salmon was good, too, but I was chewing for days, just to be sure. Four waiters came by to take my plate while I was working on each of those meals (lol)! "No thank you, I'm still working on this." And I was still eating my protein while others had finished their first and second plate and were into their Desserts.

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