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!

Goals? Plans for November

I am participating in #bloglikecrazy, a plan to blog each day of the month of November. I missed out on Sunday because I did not know about the idea, but I will blog each day for the rest of the month. The idea is that it is good practice for future blogs. I need all the practice I can get because I am not really the writer in my family. My beautiful sister is an editor and writer, and she does an amazing job. I have lots of ideas, and I can be a good writer, but I am not much of an editor. I have not written much since college, so I am a little rusty. So hang in with me as I get back into the groove.

What are my goals for November? That is a very good question. I guess I have several. My first goal for the month of November is to lose 4 lbs. That is one pound per week, which I think is reasonable. It will be made even more challenging with my family going to the beach for a week coming up and Thanksgiving (which is my favorite holiday). I have already started preparing for the beach by buying a few Paleo friendly snacks that I can eat along the way and while we are there. I am so ready to get out of here and get on the road! We have a lot of fun each year as we make our yearly pilgrimage to Panama City Beach for an annual car show. My dad raised me to be a car show person, so this is a lot of fun for us. We also get to do shopping, fun eating places, and spend time as a family. I cannot wait!

My second goal is to lose weight while we are at the beach. I lost weight last year while I was doing Atkins, so I hope with the Paleo diet I can also lose weight. My mom is already planning meals that I can enjoy with the family so I do not feel left out or like I am missing anything. She is so sweet and takes care of me. I love her so much. My dad will also do what he can, like buying me water and asking, “So, what can you eat?” That is how he takes care of me too.

My third goal is to lose weight over Thanksgiving. This may prove a little challenging, but I plan on doing this. I started to write “hope,” but then I changed it to “plan” because I am going to claim it. I already plan on making a Paleo green bean casserole, Paleo pecan pie, and a few other Paleo friendly items. I may cheat a little and have a bite of dressing. Here in the South we do not eat stuffing, it is dressing and it is delicious. It is probably one of my favorite meals. I do not think I can resist having just a taste.

My last goal is to go to the gym. I joined at the end of October when our Planet Fitness was having a Grand Opening special. I want to try and go as often as I can. I rather go in the morning since I can go straight to work, and it will be easy to make sure I am on time. But, if I have to go after work, that is fine too.

I am proud to say, if I have not already, that in a month I lost 18 lbs. I have since gained back a couple, but I think it is because I have not been eating as much fruit as I normally do, and I have hardly been eating at all. I just do not feel like it lately. I need to make sure I am eating like I was when I first started.

So, what are your goals for the month? Do you have any big plans coming up? Have a wonderful Tuesday!

~ A

Paleo Cookies? Can it be?

Last night I felt the creative juices flowing and decided to try out a new recipe. I was not craving a sweet, but I had a cookie recipe that was burning a hole in my pocket and I just had to give it a try! I found an easy Snickerdoodle recipe on the old trusty and true Pinterest that sounded simple and delicious. With fall in the air, the idea of this sweet cinnamon goodness sounded too good to be true. Paleo cookies? I heard that finding a recipe that was tasty could be difficult to do, so I approached this with a slight twinge of caution. But I forged ahead and boy am I glad that I did! The recipe came from Deliciously Organic and you can find a direct link to the recipe here. The process was simple in that you combined all the dry ingredients first along with the cashew butter and mixed together, then added the ghee, or butter, and honey until combined well. The resulting dough is slightly crumbly but sticks together well when you roll them into a ball. The recipe says it makes 12 cookies, but I guess I was being a little too stingy with my dough because I could have easily made 14 – 16 cookies. I went ahead and added more dough to the other cookies and still ended up with around 13. I then rolled the dough, as I made the balls, in the cinnamon and sugar mixture, and then placed on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Next time, I think I will flatten out the balls a little so they will not roll around the pan and will look a little more like the samples (even though the recipes does not call for this). I baked them in an oven at 350 degrees for 12 minutes like the recipe said, but next time I will take them out at 11 minutes. I did check them at 11, and I thought they looked a little light, and then when I took them out at 12 they looked a little dark. But overall they tasted delicious and did not taste burned at all. Here are the finished results:

Snickerdoodle Dough  Snickerdoodle Ready to Bake Finished Result

Hopefully as I grow more confident and learn these new ingredients such as almond flour, coconut flour, and various sweeteners I can venture out and eventually make my own recipes. I would love to do that since I come from a long line of home cooks and sweets are our specialties, although our main dishes and sides are nothing to turn your nose at either. Thank for checking out the recipes that I find and are able to bring to light that you may be missing out on. I hope I can be your guinea pig as I explore this new Paleo world.

Oh, and little update! It is the small victories! As of today I have lost another 2 lbs. and that makes it a total of 14 in about three weeks. Let me share a little with you. And this is difficult for me to write.

In September of 2015 I weighed the most I have ever weighed in my entire life. I went in July, when I actually weighed less, and checked on weight loss surgery. Unfortunately, because I weighed below the weight limit the past two years I did not qualify until 2017. Well, that did not sit well with me. I could handle waiting until 2016, but for another entire year? No, that was just not acceptable. Many people get into the Paleo lifestyle for different reasons. Autoimmune disorders is just one reason. For me it is weight loss. Plus the added benefits such as sleeping better and other side effects. I have a lot of trouble with depression, a sleep disorder, anxiety disorder just to name a few things going on. I am on a lot of medication just to make it through the day. I pretty much take something to wake up and something to go to sleep. I am lucky in the respect that my sugar is great, my blood pressure is great, my cholesterol is perfect (the good and the bad), all lab work is good… it is just my weight that is a problem. I think a lot of the issue comes not just from eating poorly but also side effects from medication over the years. But eating the wrong way has not helped. My therapist has been suggesting the Paleo lifestyle for over a year, but I just did not feel that I could commit to it just yet. I tried Atkins and loved it, but gave it up at Christmas. This time around, however, I am going to stick with this. I am going to make my OCD work for me as my doctor said. I am going to plan meals for the holidays that I can eat and the entire family can find tasty and enjoy as well. I am hoping that I can lose the weight on my own and not need surgery. This is probably going to be a longer road, but it will be totally worth it. I hope you can be along for the ride as I take it.

~ A