I Want To Breathe

It’s funny how I only seem to blog after I come home from a support group meeting. Going to these meetings make you accountable for your actions. People have been going there for years after their surgeries, and me, being just 6 months out this Friday, I don’t want to keep showing up to these […]

Post Op Visit with my PCP.

Today I saw my PCP. I love this guy. He is super awesome. When I moved to this area in November of 2013, I was still seeing my PCP back home and it was close to an hour and a half (give or take) to get to his office. I bit the bullet and looked […]

Oops! A Quick Update!

I did see my surgeon on Friday morning and my incision is NOT infected. None of them are. The scabs look the way that they do because it’s my body’s way of making its own band-aid! So that was good news. Oh and even better news — I lost 3.5 more pounds since Tuesday. New […]

Let The Paranoia Begin!

If it wasn’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all. That has been said to me more times than I can remember.
So when I started to pursue this surgery, I thought of everything that could go wrong, but not one thing that could go right.

Now that I am two weeks post surgery, I am still not hit with the reality of it all yet. It doesn’t feel like I have had surgery. Well, it doesn’t feel like it until I bend too much or look down at my 6 holes in my abdomen. I haven’t gotten nauseus, sick, or experienced any vomiting or diarrhea. I almost feel as though it’s been too good to be true. Until last night.

I have a habit now of lifting up my shirt and looking at my 6 incision sites. Last night while out, yes, out in public, I lifted my shirt to look at the healing sites. I have 1 incision at the very top of my abdomen, right under where your bra would sit, but right in the middle, under your boobs. Then I have one on my left side, and one on my right. The other 3, which I think are the main ones are front and center and then to the left and right of the center one are the remaining 2.

The one in the center, I think is the bigget and has the biggest scab on it. I am all torso and of course, being fat, it sticks out. So I am constantly leaning on it, or hitting it against something, or something is rubbing up against it (table, chair, clothing). So last night my friend pointed out to me that the middle one looked a bit different. I looked down and noticed that yes there were some pale’ish colors attached to the scab. Might have been green or yellow at some point, but I have seen those colors in other scabs on other parts of my body. But then I got to thinking.. what if something was FINALLY going wrong for me? What if I had an infection, what if my insides were leaking and the only thing holding them in was this hole in the middle of my stomach?

The rest of the night I was a paranoid fucking mess. I posted pics of it on my online gastric bypass support group. I even messaged it to a dear friend who is a nurse. I called my surgeon’s office, even though it was 7pm. I left them a message. Everyone in the online gastric bypass support group had their own opinion of the scabbed incision. “It looks fine,” “call your doc, it’s infected,” “Mine looked like that and I was fine,” “Put some vitamin E on it,” and so forth and so on. I was even told that someone’s daughter had MRSA. Lovely. It’s really tough trying to get thoughts and stuff on something that others have been through, but you are currently going through. You want to yell at them, thank them, and then you just want to delete the picture of your scabby incision.

I survived the night and I am seeing my surgeon tomorrow at 8am. I don’t think its anything serious, but I do want it looked at, as the long holiday weekend is upon us. Plus, I would much rather be safe than sorry. I am not running a fever, I feel fine (just a little lightheaded, as I need to get more fluids in), and the site itself is not warm. Someone told me to go to the ER. No. This wasn’t a reason for that. I knew enough to wait for the doc, but I was still worried, as I was getting all of this different feedback left and right. That’s what you get when you share on Facebook, am I right?

The nurse, along with a few others in the gastric bypass group did mention that the incision site could be irritated based on its location. It’s front and center. I sit at a table or desk most of the time (especially when I am blogging or tweezing) so I tend to lean forward, as I have bad posture.

So while things have been smooth sailing for the last 2 weeks, leave it to me, to now have something to worry about. But again, I am not all that worried. Just me, being paranoid.

I have been doing so well that it scares me. But I think I said on the way home from my first post op visit that maybe it was meant for me to have this surgery. I was meant to be fat (thank you genetics & the love of food [which I won’t deny]), need to have the surgery, and have the opportunity to start a new life. I am such a pain in the ass believer that things happen for a reason. I am not saying I got fat for a reason, but maybe this is exactly what was needed.

Food, Glorious Food!

Today has been one of those days. I had my first visit with my Dietitian and was able to move to the third stage in the bariatric diet. I am now able to eat eggs, tuna fish in water (plain, no mayo), cottage cheese (which I do not like, but a suggestion of adding cinnamon to it makes it somewhat enticing), tofu, canned veggies (carrots, beets, and squash), 1oz low fat cheese (Oh how I have missed my string cheese), fat free refried beans, and hummus. I think I am missing something else, maybe fruit related, but I told my Dietitian that I have no desire to eat that, as I have been eating sweet stuff over the last two weeks between the jello and puddings. Oh yea, also I can make chicken soup from the canned veggies, a can of chicken, and broth. I just have to make sure that the chicken is blended really well, as it can be dense and sit in your stomach. Not a comfortable feeling, I gather.

So with all going on today, I was once again up at 3am. I stayed up until 5’ish, woke up once around 6:30 or so and decided to roll out of bed at 8. I had breakfast at 9. Breakfast was a packet of cream of wheat cereal mixed with 2tbsp of protein powder. I was on the phone while eating and went over my recommended serving; not by much, though. I then did a few things around the house, made a few phone calls, and before I knew it, it was time to leave.

I hopped on that scale with fear. Fear of the unknown. I have never been on a scale so much in my life! I didn’t know what to expect. How much have I lost in 6 days? Did I want it to be 10 pounds? More? Less? Well, as shallow as this sounds, I was disappointed that I had lost just 4.5lbs in 6 days. I guess I am so used to hearing and seeing the amounts that other people lose OR have lost, that I expected more. Not a bad thing to lose 4.5 lbs in 6 days, so I will take it.

During my visit, I talked about blogging. My Dietitian asked if she could share my blog. HELL YES, or something like that was how I replied. I want people to read this. I want them to read the ups, downs, and the harsh reality of what it is to be fat your whole life and then make this ultimately life changing decision. I want people to know that everyone’s journey is their own. Not everyone will have the same experiences.

I was excited to go forth onto the next stage of eating. Most of you who know me, know that I do not have a big sweet tooth. So with the puddings, shakes, and jello I’ve been eating so much of, my palate needs to enjoy some of the savory/salty goodness that is out there. I think that there is one advantage that I may have… I love to cook & be creative in the kitchen. I think I am going to use the hell out of Mrs. Dash so much that Mr. Dash will want a divorce! I can’t wait to have my eggs with crushed fresh garlic & tumeric! And don’t even get me started on the refried beans. And cheese! Oh sweet lite cheese sticks, how I’ve missed you so. Now I will still be doing my shakes so that I am able to maintain the amount of protein I am taking in. That was another way I wanted to be creative. A former boyfriend suggested extracts, since I was having such a hard time finding protein powders that were flavored and did not have sucralose in them. I ended up getting pure vanilla, pure almond, coconut, banana, and peppermint extras. Such a fun way to turn regular things into extra special treats!

I really like everyone at my surgeon’s office. I like that I can talk to them like I’ve been friends with them for years. I am not saying this, now that I know my blog will be shared. Last week at my first post op visit, they asked for a comment on a form that I filled out. I wrote that I have gained a new family here. And I have. I truly mean it. Dr. Katz and his staff have helped save my life. I love the fact that I can talk about farts and pooping with my Nutritionist. And she totally gets my need to incorporate savory items into my diet. Oh how I’ve longed for stage 3… food, oh glorious food.

It’s also totally strange how my blood sugars react now, to my new way of eating. Today wasn’t a good day, as far as protein intake. I had only eaten cream of wheat at 9am, and then a cheese stick on my way home from the supermarket at 3:13. Now mind you, when you have had weight loss surgery, times and increments become embedded in your head. Why do I remember that I had a cheese stick specifically at 3:13? Well, when you have this surgery, you can’t drink anything for an hour after eating. And once you drink something, you cannot eat for a half an hour. So yeah, my cheese stick was eaten in my car at 3:13 on my way home.

5pm rolls around. I am making grilled cheese & tomato soup for the kids. They end up not wanting dinner right away so I decide to make myself dinner. I had 1/4 c of fat free refried beans, 2 tbsp of hummus and 2 tbsp of chunk light tuna (less Mercury, not the Freddie kind).

hummus tuna refried beans
Doesn’t that look lovely?

Because I was starting my meal, I wanted to check my blood sugar. It was 146. 146?!?!?! WTF? All I ate today was cream of wheat and a cheese stick. Ohhhh… all I ate was cream of wheat and a cheese stick. Damn that liver for releasing extra sugars! I needed to eat & take my meds and vitamins so I went ahead and mixed all 3 items together and sprinkled my meds over it as if it was magic fairy dust. If only it was. I ate dinner, looked at the time (6:20) and looked forward to an hour from then, when I’d be able to drink again. Fast forward to 8pm when I checked my sugars again to see how my body broke down the food I had eaten. As a Diabetic you should be checking your blood sugars when you wake up, before each meal, 2 hrs after each meal, and again at bedtime. Also check your sugars when you are not feeling well. One time I thought I was having a panic attack, when really my blood sugar had bottomed out to 72. Now mind you, 72 for a non-Diabetic is normal, but for me, it was low low low. My body had been used to running on blood sugars in the 2-3 hundreds! So tonight, at 8pm, I checked and my sugar was 121. Damn, new stomach! I heart you. Just goes to show you how much this surgery really changes things around. Yes I am eating less, but I am often amazed at the science behind things. Someone might say to me “Oh but do you know how many carbs are in those refried beans?” Maybe so, but they’re the slow digested carbs (forgive me on my lack of nutritional terminology) and the beans have protein. Plus adding tuna to the mix really amped up the protein! I am really excited to experiment with my next meal. Not sure if I will have some more tuna and beans, or go for an easy fix with a protein shake which will give me both the fluids and protein that I need.

I must say, though, it’s so nice to have you back, food. I won’t use and abuse you. I will treat you like a precious gem. The precious gem that my body needs for fuel and energy. Food… oh glorious food.

Bariatric Surgery – Crozer Medical Center

Knees, Oh Please!

My knees, my knees, my knees.

Everyones journey is different. Everyone gets bariatric surgery for a different reason. For me, bariatric surgery is just step one in my quest to live a longer, better life. It’s step one to getting my knees replaced.

Sometimes I feel as though no one understands what I am going through…even my fellow bariatric surgery pals. I fully admit and take full responsibility for what has gotten me to this point in my life. My weight, is one thing.. the diabetes, the hypertension, and the high cholesterol. That’s reason alone to lose weight. On top of that I have these two knees that cause me chronic pain. A day without knee pain is completely foreign to me. I hate the fact that I can’t go a day without gabapentin or tramadol. And lets not forget the days where I have to reach for my Vicodin.

You see, I have this thing where I think too much into things. I know I have to walk more and I get paranoid that others are judging me for not doing so. However, when you can only do so much, it’s hard. It’s not a simple ache or pain that will go away in a few hours. I get woken up out of sound sleep. Or I cannot fall asleep because the pain is so overwhelming. Just this afternoon I wanted to rest my eyes for 20 minutes, as I have been up since 3am, but due to the extreme pain, I just couldn’t get comfortable.

I did spend some time in two stores, and of course I was wearing flip flops so the impact of walking on the hard floor, of course was no help to my knees.

Every since having the surgery, I have SO much energy, I do too much and pay for it later that day or the next day. I felt super productive yesterday and was very motivated to get things done. That might be another reason why I am in so much pain.

I know that in time, as more weight comes off of my 5’10 frame, the knees won’t hurt as much… or will they? Everyone seems so sure and confident that the pain will be less. I am so worried that it won’t be. Is someone who has bone on bone osteoarthritic knees and NOT overweight in ZERO pain? I find this frustrating. There is no guarantee that as the weight comes off, the knees will feel better. Sometimes I feel like my knees got rolled over by one of those cement smoothers. I feel bad for complaining because I know there are others out there who do ten times more than what I do a day and are in pain, as well. I know that I should count my blessings that I am still mobile, even if I am in pain. There are people in wheelchairs, people who have no use of their legs who would give anything to just have knee pain. I try to not make a big deal about my pain, but sometimes it just consumes me and despite having a great support system via friends and family, I feel like sometimes they just don’t get it. And then I know that there are friends and family who DO get it. It’s not just a matter of me being fat and the surgery will solve everything. I am still in the same amount of pain as I was six months ago, or even a year ago.

I know this surgery is the step in the right direction for me, I know that. I needed this. I am not doubting that. I think I am just dealing with the frustration of not being able to move around more post-surgery and will be afraid that weight will not drop as quickly as I would like it to. Granted, I didn’t expect to wake up from surgery and have no pain in my knees. I realize it’s going to take time. I just wonder if other people realize that, too. The knee issue is a big one for me. A really big issue.

I will end this here, as I feel like I am rambling. To be honest, I sometimes feel out of place when people speak of the reasons for having the surgery. Sometimes I feel as though others cannot relate. I see some post-surgery patients already at the gym, or doing laps around their local playground. I would LOVE to take my ipod, hop in my car, and go somewhere I can walk. This is just another part of my journey. It’s not going to be easy and I knew that. My journey will be good at times, and at others, not so good. I guess today is a not so good day.