What’s Happened So Far (Warning… Long Post)

I cannot believe I have not posted in so long. Thanksgiving came and went, then my surgery, and then Christmas came and went, and New Year’s. Work has been super busy and life has been crazy. I wanted to post each time my diet changed, but it looks like that did not happen, so I will fill you in.

I went to the doctor the week before my surgery and had my nutrition class. We got to see what we should be eating, what not to eat, what were good proteins and what were not. We discussed vitamins, the calendar of how we will be eating over the next two months, and things along those lines. The class was expensive at $80.00! But, it must be done. Funny thing, we I signed in and registered, and then they sent us up to the classroom, they gave us our packet of info and a little baggie with calcium chews you could get at the Apothecary there at the hospital. Of course, this was day two of the liquid diet. She told us that we could try the chews, there were around 5 in the bag, and that she would just eat half to test them out, and we did not HAVE to eat the whole thing. Yeah, well you are skinny. I was like, “FOOD!” So you know once I was given the go ahead, I gobbled each one up. They tasted like candy. Sweet, yummy, and solid food. I learned all about how the surgery was supposed to go, what my procedure entailed, and a nutritionist reviewed our diet from here on out. We weighed me one more time, to see how much I was pretty much before the liquid diet began. I also got to see my surgeon that day and we discussed carbs, how bad they were, and a website he wanted me to check out to learn about my new eating ways. Then we went home and prepared for the surgery.

The liquid diet, I have to say, was not all terrible. I only had to do it for one week, but I am not sure if I could have done it for two weeks before. One thing that I discovered that was amazing was 98 % fat free cream of chicken soup. Mix that with milk, flavorless protein powder? You would think you were fine dining compared to everything else. I also had plenty of popsicles and protein shakes. Cookies and Cream and Peanut Butter Cookie were my favorite. I made it through plenty of yummy meals, and gatherings without trying anything. So I felt good about it.

I did have one problem before my liquid diet though. I never thought I was nervous, worried, anxious, etc. about the surgery. However, what I thought, and what my subconscious thought were apparently two separate things. Starting on the Saturday before the liquid diet I thought I might be getting sick. My throat felt funny and I felt strange. I told my mom that day that I might have to go to the doctor because I did not feel good and I was worried about not having the surgery if I was sick. Then later it hit me. I had done this before. My throat was numb. My throat, tongue, lower half of my face, ears, (teeth) were all numb. I could not taste anything, I could not gauge temperature, even feel when something was in my mouth. It made for a horrible weekend and days leading up to surgery. That Saturday for the Iron Bowl we had pizza. I could not taste it. Sunday we went and ate Mexican at one of my favorite locales. It tasted like nothing. Monday, the last day of regular food for a while, we ate fish, and once again, it was like a lump of nothing. And that is how it was for that entire week and right up until surgery. Because of all this, it messed with my hearing and I had terrible vertigo. All bad. Even my doctor said it sounded strange. Everyone was also worried about my blood pressure because it was extremely high. It calmed down eventually though, thank goodness.

The clear liquids were not the best the day before surgery, but it could have been worse. I worked that day, so I stayed busy, and did not notice too bad. Because I could not taste anything, I did not feel like I missed out all that much.

The day of surgery I was a little worried and had a brief moment when I thought, “What am I doing?” But, we will get there. I got to my little room and got ready to go back. I took my surgery ready pictures and posted them to a private group through the hospital. They tried to get an IV going in me, and the nurse said she could not find a vein. That is very strange for me. She tried, and I tensed and she poked, and “lost it,” and just kept poking me again, and dragging the needle around, and boy did it hurt. Finally she said the anesthesiologist could numb my hand and put one in. Well, if you have ever had this done, the numbing shot hurts more than anything and does not really do its job with an IV. She got my hand and poked, and got the IV in, however, there was a problem. When she did it, I felt a warm gush all over my hand and everywhere else like my arm, etc. She started wiping everything off and I asked her, “Is that my blood?” She said that she “hit a juicy vein.” My hand was like a little murder victim. Later after surgery I looked at it and there was blood all over it, dried between all my fingers, in the tape, etc.

Finally, finally! They wheeled me back for surgery. I remember having this thought of, am I sure about this? Is this really what I want to do? Am I crazy? But I knew this is what I wanted. They got me back, told me to relax and breathe deep and…

When I woke from surgery I wanted two things. Something to drink and my mom. Even though I was completely out of it, I kept apologizing over and over. “I am sorry you have to take care of me.” “I am sorry I am being so much trouble.” She would bump into me and I would say, “I am so sorry.” I noticed right away that my chest hurt. That was because they had done a hiatal hernia repair. I did not even know that I had one that needed repairing. I asked my doctor why my gastroenterologist had not found this a long time ago, and he said they just had better ways to see it. I felt super sore, but was not terrible. More than anything my chest hurt. I asked for something for pain, this was around 1:00 pm. My nurse would come in at different times, and I would ask for something, and she never would bring me anything. I had made friends with some women during my class and throughout the process, and they were going walking. They called it the zombie walk. So we walked around the hospital wing like we were instructed. They could not believe that I had not had any pain medication, they had it all day. I went back to my room, and around 7:00-7:30 pm they finally brought me something. Somehow my chart got messed up and it was down that I was allergic to all types of pain medication. What?! So aggravating.

Friends came to visit, call, or send me beautiful flowers, and sadly, I was a hot mess. I would be texting or chatting and simply drop my head, out like a light, and the phone would fall in my lap. Or the cup of ice chips would just dump out onto the bed. The next day they removed my drain, IV, gave me a shot of blood thinner (which left a Huge bruise), and I was on my way. Do you want to know how much tubing is in you when you have a drainage tube in? About a foot. You read that right. At least a foot. And it was not the most pleasant thing to have removed. I am sorry if you are getting ready for this, but I am just being honest.  

When I got home, I could only have clear liquids for so many days, then full liquids. I went home Wednesday from the hospital, and honestly, if I could, I would have gone back to work on Thursday if allowed. I felt that great. I was sore, of course, but I could be sore at work. I only took pain medication twice, so I felt fine. I would say most of the soreness lasted from Tuesday – Sunday. I had been keeping up with the support group and all the problems my friends were having. I never had gas or the feeling of gas. I never had a problem going to the bathroom. I never threw up, had trouble swallowing, etc. I did not really hurt at all. When I spoke with the nutritionist a few weeks later, I asked her, “If I did not think it would be a very cruel, expensive joke, I would think that they did not thing at all to me. Did they not do anything and not tell me?” She laughed and said that they did in fact complete the sleeve procedure. I still wonder.

When I got to eat mush food, I was so excited. It was a couple of days before Christmas and I felt like I was able to enjoy the holiday and some food with my family. We made things that I could eat, and that was great. I remember the first time I ate pintos and cheese. It was heaven. And mashed potatoes? A delight. People said I would get tired of the mushy phase. For me? Nope. Not one bit.

Later I could eat semi-regular diet. That was nice, and I have been doing that up until today. I ate tuna, grilled chicken tenders, pork BBQ, and I even tried a little beef. People said that they had trouble with that one, but me, like usual, and had no trouble with it at all. Today is the regular diet. Other than eating the nuts with my P3, I am not sure how I would do it differently. I know you can eat raw veggies now, but I do not really eat them anyway. Maybe lettuce? I love salads, but I will make sure I can eat that before I go and dig in. And I am sure more fruit.

Since surgery day I have lost around 35 lbs. 35 in a month and 10 days. I know people who have lost a lot more in a lot less time. I do not want to be one of those people who putt putt along. I want to get this train a-rolling. I know one thing that would help that I have not done. Walk. If you have this procedure done, walk, walk, walk. I am going to start this week. That will make all the difference. You have to be active along with your diet.

I can notice a change in my clothes. I pretty much went down two sizes in pants and tops in a couple of weeks. I am wearing pants that I ordered a year ago and could not wear right now. That feels good. I have not measured myself in a while, so I am not sure about inches yet. Some days I feel like a failure. Like I am eating too much, I am cheating somehow, I am not doing things right. Then I think, you are overthinking things. I am constantly wondering if I have stretched my stomach out already. When I think about it though, I realize, I have not had any sugar, unless it is naturally in food, I have not had anything fried, I have not had hardly any carbs. I cannot beat myself up all the time. Things are going to be okay, and they are right now.

I am so happy I had the surgery. It has made me so happy, and I feel so lucky. 2017 is off to a great start!

Surgery Day, It’s Is Finally Here!!!

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!

-A

 

 

Wait Game… and Thanksgiving

This has been an interesting week. My birthday was Wednesday, Thursday was Thanksgiving, and this weekend is the Iron Bowl. For my birthday we went to a place that is a buffet I went to many times when I was younger. I did not go crazy, but did enjoy the food. For Thanksgiving, we had yummy food as well, and I did not eat too much, I had it, and loved every minute of it, but I did not over do it. I finally had all my cokes as well, and am about to start all my water.

I am getting ready to start my liquid diet on Tuesday. I am nervous, but excited. I saw where some people have had the surgery and ate cream of wheat before they left. I do not think so! I do not like that at all. Not sure what I am going to do. I am ready for next week, I have gotten ready and have things that will help me throughout the week. I just need to get some sugar-free pudding cups. I have found that the most delicious ones are the ones found in Publix’s refrigerated section. The French vanilla is amazing, and the chocolate are so amazing! I also have my Matrix supplements ready. I found a wonderful recipe for an alternative to Starbucks’ Salted Caramel Mocha lattes and fraps. This one will use my vanilla supplement, sugar-free cocoa packets, some coffee and mix it with ice. I am going to use coffee granules when I make it. I may try it today!