Surgery day!!! Or it was on December 6, 2016. Let me tell you what led up to the big event, the day of, and what has happened since.
The week before my surgery I had to do a full liquid diet. Thank goodness it was not two weeks, because that would have been a true testament to how far I was willing to go. And it would be hard. I had never been told that I had a fatty liver, so I was able to do one week, unlike the unfortunate souls who have to do a full two weeks. If you fall into this category, you have all my respect. You, my friend, are a hero. From Tuesday – Sunday I was on full liquids, and then Monday I would have only clear liquids. Boy, would I be a pleasure to be around. It was already a Monday. I do not like broth, I can barely handle Jell-O, and I had to sit inside since it was rainy (thank goodness for the rain) and watch everyone else eat their veggie soup, chicken and dumplins, taco soup… you get the picture.
The week and weekend before my surgery was fun. I did not go crazy and stuff my face and eat until I burst. We did have some of my favorites though. We had Thanksgiving foods, we had pizza for the Iron Bowl, Mexican on Sunday, and Captain D’s (class, class, class) for my final supper. Well, the pizza, Mexican, and fish was all part of my final supper. The next day I began full liquids. It was tough, and especially tough, for one reason. On Saturday I started to feel sick. I thought I might be getting strep, or something, and I was so afraid they would call off my surgery. Then I realized that I was not hurting. My face, throat, tongue, teeth, cheeks, ears, etc. were all numb. I had done this once before as an allergic reaction to medication, but nothing had changed in over 5 years. I googled my symptoms and the least scary option was anxiety. This fit the bill because I already have an anxiety and panic disorder. It was so frustrating because I could not taste, gauge temperature, hear well, and had vertigo. All those delicious meals I had tasted like nothing. It was so upsetting. I had been saying all this time that I was not nervous or scared, and suddenly my body was betraying me. It had turned against me! As the surgery got closer and closer the symptoms did get less because I was eliminating caffeine from my diet, but it was still annoying.
The second day of my full liquids diet was my nutrition class at the hospital. This was expensive, in my opinion. I had to pay $80.00 for a class to go over what the surgery entailed, what to do afterwards, and nutrition tips. I feel like have so many questions still. I was a good little patient. I took my coat (because it got chilly), my lunchbox with my liquids, and a notebook for me to write down everything they said. I even brought my mother along to keep notes as well. After being admitted, getting my patient admitting testing paperwork, nutrition class paperwork, paying the deductible, and class fee, I was ready to head to the classroom. They gave me a baggie of calcium citrate chews to try out, since you will need them after the surgery. The girl handing them out, who was thin, said, “You do not have to eat the whole thing. You can take a bit and throw the rest away.” They are the size of a Starburst. Are you kidding me? It was FOOD!!! I was told to eat them!!! INSTRUCTED! You better believe I ate every single morsel. Everyone was like, “EW, I did not like that one…” I was like, “I cannot decide which is better!” I finally went with the caramel.
Class began an hour and 15 minutes after we had to be there. I was so worried we would be late because we had to stop by Wal-Mart. I found out that morning that I did not have enough Cashew Milk to make a single protein drink. I needed two, one for breakfast, and one for lunch. Good thing too, because we left the house at 5:00 am and did not get home until almost 6:00 pm. My protein of choice is Matrix powder and Nectar.
Class was interesting. We were given a lot of information, and I found myself listening so intently that I forgot to take notes. Also we had a PowerPoint, but not all the info was in the handout. How frustrating, right?! Ilooked over, and my mom was not taking a single note! That was her main goal! Great job, mom. Her main thought was, “How can I slyly eat the crackers I have stuffed down my boot leg without causing a stampede. There were lots of people there, and we were divided into three sections. Well, really four. Lap Band, Sleeve with Miles or Schmitt, Sleeve with another doctor, and Gastric Bypass. From there we were even divided amongst private pay and insurance. My doctor does not even do the Lap Band anymore because he feels that it is just not effective and feels the sleeve or bypass is the most effective method. I asked how he decided who got what, and he said he just felt some patients were better suited for one over the other.
We discussed our leader’s own journey with weight loss surgery, what exactly it entailed for the various procedures, thinks like Dumping Syndrome, possible vitamin deficiency, the loss and thinning of hair. We went over and over and over when we would start taking our various vitamins. Things like B-12 that melts under your tongue, B-12, Multivitamins, Biotin, and how, when to take them, along with then level of nastiness they will be. I have not started that multivitamin yet, and I am dreading it like the plague. We discussed various supplements and what foods were considered good foods, bad foods, good fats, and bad fats. They even had these little stations set up with examples. The nutritionist came in later and reviewed how our plate should look after surgery, the good, the bad, and the ugly. This included weight loss, gas, and constipation. Told you, good, bad, ugly.
But, now to the main event. The surgery. What you all want to know about! I made it through the clear liquid diet the night before just fine. I told people during my liquid phase, “I hope I do not accidently eat food.” Mom told me could not figure out how that was possible. Let me tell you how. I was organizing my room getting ready for the big day when I stumbled upon my “Brunch Candy Corn” that you could only get at Target. I saw it and was like, “Ooh! I’ll have a piece.” I was about to open the package when I realized, what am I doing? Am I crazy. It was then my mom realized you can accidently eat food.
The morning of we had to be at the hospital at 7:00 am. We left around 5:00 am or so in order to be there a little early just in case. They went ahead and sent me back and let me get into bed. I kept going to the bathroom because I was so nervous, and my mom realized I still have on my black underwear and black bra. Mom questioned me, and I said, “Do you think I have to take it off. To which my nurse replied, “Yes.” I also told them that I was not taking out my nose ring. I would take out my cartilage earing, but not my nose ring. They put tape over it and that was that. So I thought. Later the nurse came back and said, “The doctor said if you do not remove it, he will cancel the surgery. So, I took it out, after some serious (yeah, right) consideration, and informed my mother that if I was dead unconscious, she had to jam it into my nose. She promised. Next, the poor nurse tried to put in an IV. I am extremely afraid of needles, so this did not go as one would hope. I screamed a little, jerked, which meant that she could not get it into my already barely there veins, and gave up. The anesthesiologist would have to do the IV she said. I was given a patch that would help with nausea, and finally wheeled away. The anesthesiologist came and gave me a “numbing shot,” let’s be honest, it hurts more than it would without it, and it did not fulfill its duty. Then she got in the IV. Once it was done though, I looked my hand was a tiny murder victim. She said she hit a “Juicy Vein” which was a pleasant way to say that blood shot out all over my hands (which I felt), the sheets, gown, just everywhere. I felt like it exploded. She tried to clean me up, and later when I looked at it, there was blood coating my fingers, all in the cracks, in the tape, and through my fingers. Man, this was already not looking good. I hung out there for quite some time, and whenever anyone entered I asked about this fantasy “relaxing drug” they were going to give me. I WANTED MY LEGAL HIGH DANG IT! I take a lot of medication for various conditions, but I have never abused drugs ever. I wait until a migraine is killing me before I give into the good stuff. I have medication that I have to show my ID for, but I take it on a rare occasion when it is only absolutely necessary. So I say that to say that I wanted that drug to keep me from flipping out ASAP. Then they wheeled me to surgery. I moved over into position, and they had me breath oxygen and I guess the relaxing drug, and before I knew it, I was under and then semi awake again. I kept telling my nurse when I woke that my throat and chest hurt, not my stomach. I told her that I wanted something to drink. I told her that I wanted my mom. I kept apologizing for being so needy. I apologized, and apologized, and apologized. If she poked me by accident, I apologized for being in her way. I told her how sorry I was that she was having to take care of me. This went on for quite some time. Actually until I made it to my room. I assume because when I got there it seemed to be in the blink of an eye.
I kept asking for something to drink. The nurse promised me ice chips, and I was like, Girl. Where are those ice chips?! My mom finally got me some and placed them in the baby measuring cup with a spoon. I told anyone who would listen that my throat hurt. Comes to find out they did a hiatal hernia repair while they were in there too, so that did not help matters. Most of that day was a blur. I kept asking for these pain medications that everyone spoke so highly of while you were there. I was back in my room around 1:00 – 1:30 or so. I did not get pain medication until 7:30 at night. Or maybe even later. Comes to find out, someone screwed up my chart and said I was allergic to all pain medications. I AM. NOT. But, I was a little trooper. I still got out of my bed and walked the halls like I was supposed to with my friends in what we called The Zombie Walk. They had pain meds all day. No one could believe I was doing all I was doing without any. That was when I also learned of something magical. YOU GET POPSICLES. As many as your little heart wants. First I got a cherry as I took my stroll. They had banana which was my mom’s favorite. I would later ask for two, to include a banana, and they brought them, but sadly no banana left. When I finally got my pain meds, I was happy. I was incredibly sore, I had about four incisions, less than 10 staples, and a huge drain. Do you want to know how much tubing is in you when you have a drain? No? Sorry, but I am going to tell you… over a foot. When they removed it, it was very painful at first, and then it felts like the most painful tickling session ever. So hard to describe. It felt like a tickle, but you knew it was not good. But, I digress.
My friend Kaite was such a sweetheart and took the time out of her day to come and see me. She brought me a bag of goodies to include People, Southern Living (keeping it real, yall), and a crossword puzzle. Oh! And the most amazing slippers you can ever put on your feet. I may live in them. She told my sister later, I do not know if Autumn even remembers, or knew, I was there. Let me tell you why. This was me all day. I would be texting and randomly drop the phone and my head and sleep. I would be talking and stop in the middle of a conversation and sleep. I would be holding a cup of ice chips/water, and the cup would be on my chest with water running down my front, and my head on my chest. Kaitie was talking, and after she would finish saying something I would be like, “So… what was that again?” Ever Southern, I felt like the rudest hostess. I felt like I should have had snacks for everyone who came in. My last major surgery I did. I fed everyone.
Let me interject and say, I also have other amazing support systems. My friends and family have been great with texts, calls, my sister and her boyfriend sent me the most beautiful flowers in my signature color – pink. And my friends from Auburn sent me the most beautiful flowers too! Everyone has checked in on me, and are proud of what I am doing.
Other than feeling incredibly sore, and hurting in my throat and chest from the hiatal hernia, I really did not feel a lot of pain. If my drain got dropped around, that would hurt, so I kept it tucked in my pocket. Overall, I would have to say I felt great! I felt amazing compared to how I thought I would feel. I was up walking not long after, went to the bathroom with little assistance, or none, from my mom. Getting out of bed, laying back down, getting comfortable was the worst part. Also, my tushy hurt quite a bit from sitting in that bed so much.
My mom was the best assistant ever. She came with me the day before, and left the hospital to make the hour and a half drive to work on hardly any sleep. She had to sleep in that uncomfortable chair. She’s a beast. No, she is a unicorn.
My dad… well he came to pick me up and take me home. He was nice, but not my mother. He ran a few errands while we were in Bham and town, I told him that it was okay. I was glad I took some pain medication before the journey home because the road bouncing was not great. We went home, and I sat down and relaxed. I was so excited because The Secret Life of Pets came in the mail. When we started to watch it, I just could not hold my eyes open, so I went upstairs and went to bed. They tell you not to climb a lot of stairs, but, eh. Whatcha gonna do?
How have things been so far? I have had no nausea, not one single bit. I have not vomited anything, although many people do. Other than being sore, I have no complaints whatsoever about the process. My biggest worry I have is the fact I worry over how much I am consuming, and if I “sip, sip, sip” and not my usual gulp. My doctor was a gem, the nurse over the weight loss surgery team was great, and I could not have asked for better people to take this journey alongside. I will not be making my journey public because of people who would love to know this about me, and use it to hurt me. But for you, my friends and family, this is just as much your journey. You have seen me at my best, happy, bubbly, outgoing, talkative, loud, joking, confident and you have seen me gain weight and turn into the exact opposite. We will get through this together.
BTW, any weight loss success or NSV (non-scale victories)?
Highest Weight – 312
Surgery Weight – 297
Current Weight – 285
Not too shabby. And a HUGE NSV. I have worn some type of sandals since the summer. My feet were too swollen to fit into anything else. I am happy to report that as of Wednesday, my feet are normal sized, no swelling, and I can wear my beloved penny loafers again! Hallelujah! Now on to those coveted Frye boots I so desperately want!
Cannot wait to share more!!! And I cannot wait to hear from you!