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.

Onto Stage 2!

Yesterday I had my one week post op visit at my surgeon’s office. The surgeon who performed my surgery is on vacation so I went to see one of his associates. I couldn’t wait to be taken back and hop on that scale. Never before have I had those thoughts!!

The day I was discharged from the hospital, I weighed myself on one of their scales. I was 360. Okay, no biggie. To me it was just informative. I JUST had the surgery 2 days prior so it wasn’t like the weight was going to melt away in 2 days. I just wanted to see what my current weight was. My surgeon’s office goes on what you weighed at the last visit. For me, I go on what my weight was on my very first visit in the office, when I had my initial consultation. On May 12, 2015 I was 381. Yesterday, when I stepped on, I was 348.

Usually the surgeon will ask that you lose a certain amount of weight before your surgery. This makes it safer for you and the surgeon. I get it. Plus, I think they want to make sure you’re totally committed. Yes I got to go to one of my favorite sushi/seafood buffets, and I was also taken out by my boyfriend at the time to a Brazilian Steakhouse. So while I am still able to go back to my sushi/seafood place, I at least crossed the Brazilian Steakhouse off of my bucket list. And man, that place was awesome. So while I did not lose the 30-40lbs as my surgeon asked me to, he still did the surgery.

Two weeks prior to surgery most docs put you on a special diet. Two out of the three meals a day are a protein shake made with 8oz of water, skim milk, 1% milk, or even unsweetened almond milk (which I didn’t even touch because of there only being 1g of protein). Then for a third meal they want you to eat sensibly. I usually did the shakes for breakfast or dinner. I found it was much easier to do it for dinner as there was less clean up and dishes at the end of the night. Plus, I was able to break up the shakes with a meal. And if you know me, you know I love my salads! Their suggestion was a small salad with no croutons, 1 c. of cooked veggies, and 4oz. of protein (meat/cheese). I jumped on the protein shake thing long before the 2 week diet. Because of my inability to be mobile and actually exercise or walk much, I wanted to accelerate the weight loss. So I’d do a shake here and there. Believe me, I think it helped.

Now I find that I am somewhat of the oddball here when it comes to these shakes. A high percentage of these protein powders that you use for the shakes are made with Sucralose, which is Splenda. I found out over a year ago that my body can no longer tolerate sucralose, so I have been avoiding it. It ruins my stomach and I’m pooping water for about 6 hours. I have irritable bowel syndrome, so I had to add Sucralose to the list of things that make me run to the bathroom. It was difficult finding a protein powder or already made shakes that weren’t made with Sucralose. Even the muscle milk tubs had it in them! Fortunately for me, one day I was in Costco and stumbled upon a brand called Orgain. Granted it’s plant proteins, but let me tell you, it sure as hell worked for me. I do believe that Muscle Milk does have already made Organic shakes and those are made with Stevia extract. I compared prices and went with Orgain. The tub was $29.99 for 2.74lbs. Not a bad deal. And last month it was on sale for $24.99. Even better! Now mind you, I am on food stamps and have no income (will go into more detail in future postings), so the only way food stamps cover the powder was if it said Nutritional Facts and not Supplement Facts. I am very fortunate that all of these powders say Nutritional Facts, as most of them are a meal replacement. I also found another brand called Designer Whey. That brand is made with Stevia. Now you also have to be on the lookout for ingredients that end it “itol,” as it may give you gas and diarrhea. In my case, the Orgain only gave me extra gas.

So back to my visit yesterday. Before I stepped on the scale, I tried to seduce it, asking it to be good to me. I stepped on and boom! 348lbs! I went from all the great decades to now the 40’s. While the 80’s were a great decade, being 381 isn’t great at all…. unless you’re 7’9″ tall.

I was super excited. I was down 15.8lbs since my last visit which was Friday, August 7th. I was more than okay with that. What I wasn’t okay with was the fact that my jeans were dropping off of my ass. For a big girl, sadly, I lack junk in the trunk. So by the time I got home, I needed to change into something with an elastic waist, so I raided my old work clothes for black pants. Thankfully I have a ton of them. So until I am able to afford new pants/jeans, I will look like my bottom half is in mourning.

I saw the doctor and he started me on Stage 2 of post surgery eating. I am still able to eat the stuff from Stage 1 (Sugar Free Jell-O, fat free broths, unflavored protein powder, and sugar free unflavored drinks such as Crystal Light). Stage 2 allows skim or 1% milk, unsweetened almond milk, fat free yogurts with no fruit chunks, no sugar added applesauce, sugar substitutes (I go with Great Value Stevia), and Sugar Free pudding. I had a great time last night making the pudding. I added banana extract and unflavored protein powder to the chocolate pudding & strawberry extract to the white chocolate pudding. I stay away from vanilla flavored items. Ever since my first vanilla protein shake, I just can’t enjoy the taste.

I was cleared to drive and start my vitamins. I will do an entire blog post about vitamins. Oh that’s gonna be fun. But for now I will say that in addition to the supplements I already take I have started an Adult Chewable Multivitamin and Calcium Citrate. I crush the Calcium Citrate pills because I was unable to find them in chewable at a reasonable price. Now, don’t get these confused with the Caltrate Chewies that come in that little pouch. I need to inquire further on the difference between the two and why the Dietitian/Surgeon suggest the Citrate and not the Caltrate.

So pretty much that’s what went on yesterday with my one week post surgery follow up appointment. I go back in 2 weeks, but next Tuesday I have an appointment with my Dietitian.

Just a little insight of life one week post gastric bypass surgery!

 

Orgain

Designer Protein

One Week Ago…

A week ago tonight I was heading to bed, about to have my life changed forever. Tomorrow will be a week since I’ve had my gastric bypass surgery. I can’t begin to describe how different I feel after one week. Christ, I felt different by the evening of my surgery!! The next day I felt reborn, thrust back into this world with a second chance. I survived the surgery. That was my first fear. That was the main fear that has kept me from getting this sooner. I’ve was thinking about getting the surgery for just about 10 years. Better late than never, right?

I used to think that weight loss surgery was the easy way out. I often talk about Cape May 2005. It was me, Rachel, and Suzanne at the shopping center, standing outside of a store waiting for Rachel’s sister to come out. We were suddenly approached by a woman with a big, friendly smile. “Oh just look at you girls, how pretty you all are,” she said as she came up to us. In my head I thought she was just being nice. But when she asked us if any of us had considered weightloss surgery, she hit a nerve with me. I don’t remember what I said to her but basically I told her to fuck off and that it’s none of her business. At the time I worked at a dental office and I equated her comment with me, going up to someone with bad teeth and handing them my office’s business card. See, the three of us, along with Rachel’s sister, were like the fat version of Sex & The City but mainly it was 3 Charlotte’s and me (a mix of Carrie & Samantha). We’ll get into the dynamics of having fat friends later on. Now, with that lady coming up to us like that, I could never see myself doing that EVER, but looking back now, I know why she did. I can relate now. I’m sorry I gave her attitude. I’m sorry I was in denial. Denial, thinking that I can lose weight on my own without the need of medical intervention. I was so sure of myself back then. Boy did THAT change.

So in this last week, I have noticed changes in me. Changes that I never thought I’d see and feel.

Here’s to another week of changes.

Tomorrow I see my surgeon for my one week post op check. I’m only on week one, but I know I have a lifetime to go on this journey and I thank you for accompanying me!

Goodnight.

Gee, where do I even start?

I will start with why I am here.

There are a ton of weight-loss blogs. Blogs that help you do it on your own, blogs that help you decide if weight-loss surgery is for you, or a blog like this, one where I am just going to talk about my journey. My journey of almost 38 years that got me to this point. The point of needing weight-loss surgery to help me live again.

I want to let people know that everyone’s story is different. This is my story. Why I waited so long to do this, what my life experiences have taught me, and what I am going through now after having the surgery.

I had a gastric bypass on Wednesday August 19, 2015. Yeah, that was 6 days ago and I’m already blogging? Well, you see, the old me would get bored and eat. I still need to take it easy, so I can’t go crazy and overdo it. And as you will find out, I have one big major hurdle in my life that is here, despite me already having the surgery. I can’t move too much or for too long. So instead of sitting in front of a computer or on my bed watching Netflix or taking a nap, I am starting this blog. I have my iTunes on shuffle and I am ready to let my thoughts flow from my brain, down to my fingertips and out onto my keyboard. I have been sitting here for 50 minutes and already my butt hurts, so I will keep this short.

This is a short intro to what you can expect from my blog. Honesty, openness, emotion, humor, and truth. I hope you’re ready, because I am. It took me long enough!