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Kara Eckel

Gastric Sleeve Patients
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Everything posted by Kara Eckel

  1. I just hit my 4 month surgeriversary, and I have had the most wonderful experience so far, and I believe it all started with my choice of surgeon, Dr. Scott Laker out of West Bloomfield, MI. I've never worked with a physician who is so kind and caring, and he will stay and answer your questions, no matter how many or how long. He genuinely seems to care about his patients. The pre-op diet was fantastic; instead of quitting everything immediately and trying to eat healthy, he had me change one substantial thing a month. I can't tell you how much that really helped. The first month was to eat a pound of veggies a day, the second was to eliminate sugars and artificial sweeteners, the third was removing processed foods, and so on. It just made it so easy! Although I was a big girl (259 pounds, BMI 42), he wasn't worried about any weight loss in the 6 months prior to surgery. All I had to really do was focus on following the particular change for the month while continuing to incorporate the prior months changes as well. I did have to do a very mild liver shrinking diet the week before surgery, but even that was no problem. A shake for breakfast and lunch, a sensible dinner, and there was a whole list of veggies I could eat to my heart's content. I love veggies, so that was perfect for me. The day of surgery came and he visited me beforehand, very relaxed and ready to go. My surgery was done exceptionally quickly and he spoke with my husband afterwards at great length to let him know how everything went. Only had to stay the night in the hospital and then it was off to home. He came in on Saturday to visit with me as well before I was discharged. Again, he was in no hurry to leave and only did so after he was certain that all of my questions/concerns had been answered completely. I was eating/drinking before I ever left the hospital and continued to do so at home. No nausea, no gas pain (he did a really good job getting it all out of me)... I have had absolutely no problems of any kind. I never thought it would be this easy. No problems transitioning through the food stages, and I've had no problems eating anything. And to this day I still follow the guidelines that I learned in pre-op; no bad food has re-entered my life and I'm on track. As of this morning when I weighed myself, I'm in onderland at 198 pounds!! Yay, me! I've been back into see him for my 6 weeks, 1 month, and 3 month appointments. And every time I've been in it's always been the same... we talk for a very long time, he completely answers any questions I have and is in no hurry. His main goal is to make sure I'm happy and good. And I most definitely am!! There are no words to tell any of you how wonderful he is. Yes, I know it's a joint effort. He did the surgery and the rest of it is on me. But because he is the kind and caring surgeon that he is, and because he has answered so many questions and provided so much knowledge, my success is absolutely hingent upon his participation. I have no doubt if I had seen a different physician that my success would be different. Maybe better, maybe worse. But I wouldn't hesitate to go through this journey with him again, and if any of you are pre-op, in this area, and looking for a fantastic surgeon, please check him out. You won't be disappointed at all.
  2. I'm so happy you're going to be seeing him, he is phenomenal!! I go for my 6 month follow up April 15th and am really looking forward to it. Have all of your questions ready, and don't hesitate to ask anything. Kim, his nurse, is fantastic as well. They are both very approachable and caring people.
  3. Kara Eckel

    Packed Lunches

    What I did initially was weigh out 3-4 ounces of different flavors of beans... Bush's has quite a few varieties that are really good. They kept well in the refrigerator and were satisfying. After a couple of weeks with beans I started making my salads on Sunday to take in for the week, and I load them up with all different types of vegetables, some nuts and seeds, maybe some chickpeas, and always either lean chicken breast cut into really small bites or hard boiled egg. I find that it works out really well and all I have to do is set aside about an hour on Sunday to take care of it.
  4. Kara Eckel

    Diet Restrictions

    Wow, that seems really long. My liquid stage was only a couple of days, same with pureed and soft. I was back to regular foods within a couple of weeks at most. Of course, it was an "as I was able to handle it" thing, but I've had no problems with anything I've consumed. I'd definitely speak with your surgeon's office, see what they have to say. Everyone seems to have different schedules, there really isn't any commonality between the programs.
  5. Kara Eckel


    People loose at different rates. And you say you're doing everything you're supposed to, but maybe something needs tweeking. You're still relatively new... are you getting in all of your protein and water? What about exercise? If you're exercising right now that may be too much with your caloric intake and your body is holding onto everything that you're consuming. A month out all I was doing was walking and house cleaning. Anything else would've been too much for the 400-500 calories I was eating. Also, the mental aspect can be absolutely huge! Try to stay positive. If you are doing everything the way it should be, the weight will come off. Just have some patience.
  6. Kara Eckel

    Stomach flab.

    While doing my research for this surgery, one of the things that I read was when you lose weight rapidly it takes awhile for your skin to catch up. How long is individual and dependent upon starting weight, age, health, etc. The guide that was offered was to wait 2 years and see how everything landed before deciding on any plastics. With my age I'm completely expecting to have some loose skin and am not anticipating having to go the plastics route, except for maybe a breast lift/augmentation. And that I'll decide on a few years down the road. The biggest thing is that you're getting healthy, and I'm sure once you get to the maintenance phase you'll find that having some loose skin isn't a bad thing, but a badge of honor. You have to get there first, though.
  7. Kara Eckel

    Has anyone kept their surgery a secret?

    I've always been a very private person and the only person who knew about my surgery, other than my hospital team, was my husband. I haven't told my family and only recently told one of my friends. It's just the way that I am... my weight was always an embarrassment to me and anytime I tried something new and failed, it just made it more difficult. As time goes on I may open up about it, but basically I look at it as it's not really anyone's business.
  8. Kara Eckel

    Smooth Sailing for Anyone?

    I'm only about 5 months out, but I have had NO issues of any kind! I went through the surgery like nothing, was up and drinking water just about immediately, went through the phases of food quickly and without incident. I've told my surgeon that, if it wasn't for the restriction, I wouldn't think I had even had surgery. He calls me his superstar I only wish I had had it done sooner. Just keep in mind that when you're dealing with something like this you will tend to hear more of the negative because people seek out answers and support. When it's going well for someone, they don't tend to be as vocal.
  9. Kara Eckel

    Non Scale Victories

    The one that really hit home for me was when I bent over to dry my legs after my shower one day and my legs and ankles looked normal! I didn't have cankles anymore!!
  10. I used Vitamin E on my stomach area, primarily to help with healing but I've noticed my skin seems much firmer since I've been using it. I started about 1 month post op. Prior to that I had just been using regular lotion on my scars, my surgeon recommended Vitamin E. Recently I started using St. Ives collagen and elastin lotion on the rest of my body, it's been about 2-3 weeks. I'm noticing a difference for sure, definitely a lot softer and the crepey skin that is above my knees seems to be less. I also use that on my neck area and it seems to be helping there as well.
  11. I didn't do a whole lot when I was home after surgery, mainly because I lacked the stamina to be able to do it. You get wore out walking down the hall You probably won't have any real physical restrictions other than weight, but you'll be limited by your body channeling everything into healing itself. Just do what you can, take a break when you need it, and be prepared to work a lot more slowly than you've probably ever worked in your life. Even now, 5 months out, I have problems sometimes doing all of the housework. There are just certain things that tend to wear me out.
  12. Kara Eckel

    When did you stop using shakes?

    I RARELY consume shakes or protein bars, or anything other than my daily food to get in my protein for the day. I focus on high quality meats and eggs, and have added in chickpeas and sunflower seeds. I also eat a lot of veggies every day... at work my lunches are always salads with nuts and seeds tossed in, and some form of protein like an egg or chicken. I wanted to be weaned off of the "fake" stuff as early as possible, so I haven't consumed a shake since I entered soft foods. I have some of the bariatric food I've purchased in my drawer at work as well as my car for a quick fix if needed, but absolutely don't rely on it. Sometimes I have to be creative to get it all in in a day, but I'm hitting my markers consistently.
  13. We're about at the same place I can eat about 4 ounces if it's just protein, but if I'm eating veggies too then it's a bit more. Water I haven't had any problems with since surgery and can drink almost as if I never had the surgery. In the time it takes me to wake up in the morning and get ready, then the drive into work, I drink 34 ounces of water. It's about 1.5 hours. At work before lunch it's another 34 ounces most of the time, and then slows down throughout the rest of the day. Although I do consistently get in around 120 ounces daily. You've lost a lot more than me, but there are so many variables. Just focus on protein and hydration, stay active, and you'll get where you want to be.
  14. Kara Eckel

    Am I eating too much?

    I'm not as far out as you, around 5 months. I'm consuming around 4 ounces at each meal unless I'm eating veggies, and then I can eat a lot more. I'm getting in around 120 ounces of water a day as well. I haven't had any problems with hunger yet, but I am starting to have some cravings. Sometimes they're kind of hard to ride out but I'm doing ok. I use an app to track everything I consume and right now I'm averaging 700-900 calories a day and 60-65 grams of protein. My surgeon isn't worried about any of the other macros, only protein, and water of course.
  15. Kara Eckel

    Calorie goal for first 2 weeks?

    Don't worry about calories, focus on your water and protein, that's all that really matters right now. You're limited with how much you can consume, so just make sure everything is high quality/protein that you consume, and as much clear water as possible.
  16. All you should be focusing on at this point is hydration and protein, as much as you can get of both. Nothing else matters. When I was 2 weeks out, I was managing my 64 ounces of water without issue, and pretty close on my protein. My surgeon doesn't worry about any other macros or calories, but I tracked everything and was consuming around 2-300 calories a day.
  17. Kara Eckel


    I love all of these posts... just read through the whole novel and, although I'm still a newbie, I completely agree with all of it! For me, before I ever even visited my surgeon, I did a TON of research. And then while I was going through the pre-op I continued my education. I would never have had this surgery by relying only on what my doctor told me. No matter how educated he is, he doesn't know everything, everyone is different, there are infinite ways my journey could go, and it was best to be as prepared as possible. I've read medical papers, joined numerous forums, visited every bariatric website that I could, watched so many YouTube videos about not just the surgery but also various posters in different parts of their journeys. The information from my surgeon was just a small piece of the puzzle. So, although I don't have the time under me the rest of you do, I find it just as annoying when I read some of the questions people post. I can't believe so many followed through on such a life-changing surgery without the knowledge to help carry them over the finish line. Knowledge equals success, and I want to be successful. You guys are all wonderful and give me quite a few chuckles throughout my days. And I know when I have any questions you'll all be there to help guide me. Thank you!
  18. Kara Eckel


    I have used the BariMelts Multivitamin (chewables) as well as the Bariatric Advantage Multivitamin (chewables). The BariMelts melt in your mouth, flavor is pretty decent with only a hint of a vitamin'y taste. But the Bariatric Advantage is like eating Starburst candies
  19. Hey... do I count?? My surgery date 9-28, right on the cusp of what would be considered summer or fall...
  20. I understand where you're coming from, all I can tell you is that it's a very personal thing. I haven't told anyone about my surgery, it's just too personal for me, except for my husband. And if there was anyway that I could've done it without telling him, I would've. For me, it stems from my embarassment with all of my weight troubles. I've had issues since high school and it's the one thing in my life that I'm very ashamed of. No matter what diet I've done, none of them ever worked. Maybe in the short term, but never for the long haul. And through all of these attempts my family and friends were aware. My thought was that it would help to keep me on track, but it never did. And instead, I always ended up looking like a failure (at least in my eyes). So this time.... this time, it's me and my husband only who are aware of it. Down the road, maybe, I'll tell my kids and family, but maybe I won't. Do what you feel is right, don't add any stress to the situation.
  21. Kara Eckel

    Pound of cure

    This is the exact program that I followed for my pre-op 6 months with Dr. Laker (he works out of the same office as Dr. Weiner). And it was fabulous! Very easy to follow, built on common sense, and made for an easy transition into the eating lifestyle that we should all follow after surgery. The program is broken out into different components. For my program, each month we focused on a different aspect of our diets to change. The first month was trying to get in at least a pound of vegetables a day, removing some of the bad foods in the process. One of the months was eliminating all of the false sugars but focusing on more natural sugars such as fruit. It was very refreshing, and I had no problems making the adjustments. You cannot believe how much easier it is to just make one minor change each month as opposed to how many programs try to have you change everything all at once.
  22. Kara Eckel

    To much for a meal?

    I don't think that that sounds like that large of a meal, not for where you are in the program. It is definitely very possible to stretch the stomach back out, why wouldn't it be? While the bulk of the stomach is removed, the remainder is still flexible and expands, but It would take continuous meals that are too large to do it, though. Just focus on your water and protein, filling in the rest with nutrient rich food and you should really be fine. I've spoken with my surgeon at great lengths regarding this, as well as doing a lot of research. This is a big concern of mine... after all, none of us got to where we are from being delicate eaters (probably)
  23. I am so glad you have had such a wonderful experience! I didn't see Dr. Weiner, but did see Dr. Laker who works out of the same office. I understand that they're cousins, but not real sure on that. My experience has also been absolutely phenomenal! The staff there are so friendly, and Dr. Laker has never, not once, rushed me through an appointment. He utilizes the Pound of Cure program for his 6 month pre-op as well, and I found it very easy to follow as well as making complete sense. It was so much easier to take one portion of the new lifestyle we would be adopting and change it at a time, as opposed to changing everything up all at once. My surgery was almost a month ago and I've had absolutely no problems.... none! I was able to tolerate water the day of surgery, and then broth and jello the day after. Only 1 day in the hospital, woohoo! I've been on puree'd and soft foods for about the last week and dabbled a little with nuts and meats with no issues. I am so very happy that I chose this doctor to move forward with.