Monthly Archives: August 2013

Down Endoscope

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Yesterday I headed down to Swedish for my lab work and endoscopy. Getting ready for it was more stressful than the day itself! With all the drugs they put you on for the actual procedure, you can’t be released without a driver. My friend had to pull out a couple of days beforehand, so it was a frantic rush to find a ride or cancel before they tacked on extra charges. Thankfully, I was able to find someone!

I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I did have a colonoscopy/endoscopy a few years ago, but don’t remember much. We got to Swedish and frantically tried to find the lab. The signage and info desk lady weren’t terribly helpful. Anyway, got checked in and was taken back to what they called a “mini-lab”. It was this tiny room with three ladies hard at work – only room for one patient at a time. I let them know I was a difficult person to get blood from and the tech was very sensitive to that. I wish I had gotten her name so I could give her props! They took 8 vials of blood, testing for iron and B-12 and that sort of thing. It sucked, but could’ve gone much worse. They wanted a urine sample, but after 12 hours of no food or drink, it simply wasn’t happening. I said I’d come back to the lab after the procedure and try again.

After the blood draw, my friend and I headed up to the endoscopy area. The same lady checked me in there, somehow! We were only in the waiting room for a couple of minutes before being called back. It was a really nice place! Very clean with state-of-the-art equipment. It’s gonna sound silly, but I felt more confident about the whole thing because my room number was the same as my parents’ address, haha. That and I only had to take my top off and switch to a hospital gown. I got to keep my bra and everything from the waist down on. I generally find it easier to relax when I have my pants on.

A nurse asked me a bunch of questions (confirming meds, making sure their records were correct – nothing major) while another got me set up with a blood pressure cuff, one of those finger monitor thingies, and an IV. Four different people told me I needn’t worry about about the actual procedure, because Dr. McMahon is heavy with the drugs. All of the staff was excellent, they kept me calm with lots of jokes. As I was getting wheeled into the room, I was cracking up. Things got hectic as they were preparing for the endoscopy, but assured me that they had done it five times earlier in the day with no complications at all. My surgeon greeted me and I was instantly comforted. I’m not positive why, I’ve only seen him twice before. Anyway, they got me hooked up to oxygen, had me turn on my left side, and Dr. McMahon started to give me Versed. Hoooooooooly SHIT. First of all – OW?! It burned in my veins. They assured me it was totally normal. I felt like my lungs were being squished and started coughing a bunch. Again, apparently totally normal. I started feeling super dizzy and said “Man, this stuff works quick!” and that’s all I remember. I remember like two flashes from after it was over, but really don’t remember anything until we were almost to my friend’s house.

I was worried that I wouldn’t remember any results they gave me – and I don’t. I know they planned to take biopsies in multiple areas and I’ll hear about that later on. I see from a paper that I still have a hiatal hernia (they’ll fix that during surgery) and gastritis. Hopefully the lab work and biopsy results are favorable… I’ll find all that out in two weeks. Aside from some mild bruising on my arm, I’m totally fine! I slept a ton, but my throat is fine and all that. Yay!

I need to stop being an asshole and figure out a way to sleep while wearing my CPAP (I brought it for the endoscopy but they didn’t use it!) so I can get my final sleep study and get the ball rolling. I started back in counseling the other day, that was another one of my requirements. I missed my counselor, he’s good people.

Anyway, still on track for surgery! I’m getting scared but excited!

The “P” word.

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Protein, fucker!

Ohhh, protein. The dreaded p-word. Probably the main thing I get asked about when people hear that I’m on a plant-based diet. But now, getting weight loss surgery? It’s a big deal. Those first three weeks after surgery. I’m on a liquid diet. The goal is to drink 60 ml or 2 oz of liquid protein supplement every hour, to get 100+ grams of protein and 800-1000 calories per day. (I’m also supposed to sip 4-6+ ounces of calorie-free, caffeine-free, non-carbonated beverages every hour too. Ugh.) I won’t be free to really get into normal foods and stuff til like three months out.

Anyway, I shouldn’t get into all that now. I’m just here to talk about alternative sources of protein today. Now, I cant act like I get enough protein now. I mean, some days I do, I’m sure. I don’t recall having my protein levels tested, so I’m not sure how I’m doing with all that. I eat a LOT of beans. Love me some beans, for sure. The problem with that is the bean shells may be difficult to digest after surgery and should be avoided. Boo. So what else can I eat?

There is all sorts of complicated info about complete proteins and amino acids and all that. I could go into it but since I really don’t understand it myself, it wouldn’t go well. So I went through a LOT of links and found two good ones that explain the confusing stuff and have examples of how much protein is in various plant-based items.

1. “How do you get enough protein on a plant-based diet?”

2. “Protein in the Vegan Diet”

You don’t have to be on a plant-based diet to use this info. Anyone that takes a special interest in protein intake can use the info. I wish I had more to say about it, but at this point I’m still learning myself. I could share stuff I saved from Pinterest, but really, those two links cover the basics pretty well. I haven’t met a nutritionist that is supportive of my diet yet, but my personal trainer is vegan and is a good source of info.

I will definitely have more to say about this as I progress through this whole thing, but for now, that’s it!

Eat the rainbow

I feel like a scuba diver.

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As I’m typing this, I’m using my new CPAP. Boo. I got it today, as a condition of getting gastric bypass surgery. As previously mentioned, I did NOT want to do this. This was the main thing I was worried about. And honestly… so far, it isn’t that bad! I did start panicking and crying when first trying it on in the office, but it’s gotten better. I’m not ready to sleep with it on, but I have been using it while watching TV for a few hours now. Quite possibly longer than I used the last one altogether. In the interest of documenting as much as possible, here is the setup I’m working with.

RESmart® Auto CPAP Machine with Humidifier

RESmart® Auto CPAP Machine with Humidifier

Swift™ FX for Her

Swift™ FX for Her

I feel like I should be snorkeling. I got the stuff though Lincare. The chick that helped me was really nice, really patient and supportive. She had me try the nasal pillows (what was prescribed) and a newer version of the full mask (updated from what I had before). I appreciated getting to try both. I can see myself ending up with the full mask if I have to keep this up after surgery, but I feel pretty positive about using this thing for now.

Now that I have the CPAP and am using it, I can call Swedish Weight Loss Services and schedule the next few steps towards the surgery.

Getting closer!

Setback.

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I haven’t been able to properly focus the past few days, so forgive me if this doesn’t make much sense.

So yesterday I got the results from my sleep study the previous week.  Even though I knew deep down I wouldn’t hear what I wanted, I really hoped they would tell me that everything went well, I’m done with everything on their end and that I continue on and get the damn RNY.

Nope.

I don’t have the paperwork with the exact numbers handy, but I believe I stopped breathing 11 times an hour during regular sleep, and like 35 times an hour during REM sleep? I believe the doctor said it was moderate sleep apnea, and it has to be treated.

I started crying immediately.

The doctor explained that I am more than welcome to look into getting a mouth guard thing instead of the CPAP, but that insurance may not cover it, it is not as effective, and the steps towards surgery would take much longer. She was supportive if that was the route I had to take, but I want to freaking surgery already, so I said I would try the CPAP again. Sigh. Luckily the doctor was really understanding of my anxiety about it all and is trying to keep things as simply as possible.

I missed the call today to get the equipment, I’ll try to get that all squared away before the weekend. I have a new sleep study (GAH!!!) in a couple weeks and the follow up from that in six-freaking-weeks.

It totally blows that things are getting pushed back even more. I’m going to call the nurse coordinator at my surgeon’s office and see if there is anything I can do to speed things along. Cant hurt to ask, right?