Category Archives: Surgery

Post-surgery follow-up

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I went to my 3 week follow up appointment at Swedish 12/19/13.  I ended up being late, partially due to the awful new phone system they have.  I don’t want to get into that though.  I had the most difficult time finding parking than I ever had.  I was walking with a cane because I’m so incredibly weak, and had to stop and sit whenever seating was available.  So I was about 30 minutes late for the nutrition group appointment.  The other people in the group also had surgery roughly within the past month.  We learned about transitioning to soft foods and what is/isn’t allowed. Lots of questions were asked, not many were actually answered.  I feel like the people running this meeting should have more experience with this stuff.  The lady is perfectly nice, she would make a fine friend, but the not knowing the answers thing got pretty frustrating.  We were given a bunch of paperwork with food lists and other things to keep an eye on.  After the group appointment, we were sent to wait for our individual incision check.  I spoke with a woman and her husband while in the waiting room – she was much smaller than I was (like, MUCH smaller, I wonder if she has some other medical issue requiring rapid weight loss – not that she had much at all to lose) and she said she gave up and had started eating a few days ago.  Psh, can we do that?  Why wasn’t I a rebel? I got weighed and their scale said I was about 10 pounds more than my home scale says.  Say whaaaat?  Anyway, I got put in a room, and the nutritionist came in while I waited for my wound check.  She wanted to make sure I didn’t miss anything since I was late for the group part.  She’s much better 1 on 1.  I told her about how I was not doing well with protein intake or shakes and how even the mention of certain foods were making me nauseous.  She advised that I take a week off from the shakes and the vitamins and just focus on starting the soft foods.  The logic there is that if something makes me sick, I would know it’s not the shake or supplement.  She gave me a direct line to reach her so I don’t have to deal with the stupid answering service, a card that says to please sell me food at a reduced price because I had surgery, and an additional food list that others don’t get until their next appointment, in hopes that I would get more food ideas since I have all these food rules.  A surgeon came in (he checked me once while I was in the hospital, but wasn’t in the operating room with me as far as I know) and said everything looked normal.  Me with my open and infected wounds, barely able to breathe, and nearly in tears because I’m so exhausted.  Whatever.  He did tell me to ignore their scale and keep going by the one that I use the most.  He kept trying to send me out and I’m like dude these incisions need covering, so he did so with dry gauze (really fun when that sticks – thanks doc), told me I was doing well, and basically sent me on my way. The drive home was pretty bad, I was really physically uncomfortable and was probably a bit too weak to drive.  Even though I was given the OK to begin eating soft foods, the thought made me sick.  I was so discouraged by the whole event, that I went home and slept.  I was in the ER about 12 hours after I got home from that appointment.  More about that later.

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The longer I wait to post, the more there is to post.

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So basically, I’m a failure at blogging.  I had planned to explain all about my pre-op appointment, the pre-op diet, my concerns before going into surgery, getting a bunch of pre-op pictures, surgery day, my time in the hospital, recovery, and the post-op diet.  Yeahhh, I didn’t do any of that.

I’m a day short of three weeks since surgery.  I do have some pictures to share with you and will post videos on YouTube, but not today.  This post is mostly just to check in and prove that I am alive.

The surgery itself did go well, I have had some complications since, and right now I wouldn’t do this again.  I know I will feel better about it later and end up thankful for the whole thing, but right now I’m just totally not a fan of weight loss surgery.  I have lost weight and stuff, but can’t help but wonder why I didn’t try harder to just do this without surgery.  I don’t think I really thought this through.  I don’t think I tried hard enough before.

To those of you reading this and are in the process of getting surgery or considering it – please don’t let me discourage you.  Just PLEASE get used to drinking the goddamn protein.  My life would be tons easier if I could choke that crap down.  I mean, there have been other complications, but that part has been the worst.  I feel like I’m dying all the time because I’m so malnourished.  I mean, more so than I should be.

Anyway, yes – I am alive.  I’m at least 30 pounds down.  I weigh myself on Mondays, so I’ll know later today how much progress has been made.

Checking in, concerns, complaints

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The countdown begins.

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Well, the time has come. My surgery was approved and has been scheduled. Say whaaat?! I’m in a super-lazy panic about it. I just want to scream about how I’m not ready, but realize I will never be ready for this. I can’t think of a terribly valid reason to NOT do it, so I will be getting the Roux-en-Y laparoscopic gastric bypass November 26th, 2013. I’ll likely be released from the hospital Thanksgiving Day.

A month and a day until fear and pain and a liquid diet and my new life beginning. It’s the final countdown…

(I’ve got more to say, but I’m sleepy and can’t think and have The Final Countdown stuck in my head.)

Finding vitamins is HARD.

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I’m in the middle of attempting to shop for vitamins right now and I’m ready to punch a small child.*  I’ve tried doing this multiple times and get too frustrated and give up.  I’ve got my weight loss surgery binder on my lap right now, so I’m accurately able to list what is required from Swedish Weight Loss Services.  This is what is recommended for the RNY.  I’m paraphrasing in parts.

  • Multivitamin – Bariatric specific multivitamin in liquid/chewable form for the first three months.  If you opt to take a bariatric surgery specific multivitamin, choose a general adult multivitamin that contains 100% of daily value for at least 2/3 of nutrients and take double the dose.
  • Calcium Citrate – 1500 mg daily
  • Vitamin B12 – Sublingual or liquid drops.  1000 mcg daily
  • Iron – I’m glad I’m reading this clearly now… I’m not positive exactly how much I need!
  • Vitamin D3 – Unsure of this as well.  There is recommended amounts, but both are dependent on labs.  I was only told my labs looked good
  • Prilosec/Protonix/Prevacid/Nexium – I’ve taken Prevacid for years.  I have plenty
  • B50/B50 Complex – Suggested.  Depends on how much is in the multivitamin.  Also dependent on labs
  • Probiotics – Highly suggested

Okay, so this list doesn’t seem THAT hard, right?  WRONG.  Finding vegan vitamins on a fixed income is seriously not recommended.  It will make you wanna jump off something tall.  I am SO FRUSTRATED.  I decided tonight to just power through and order stuff.  I’ve had a lot of trouble finding a vegan multivitamin that meets the requirements given AND that I can afford.  I don’t freaking care anymore, so I got on the Baritatric Advantage page.  I started searching for coupon links and stuff and came across Bariatric Advantage® RECOVER®. According to the site, you work with your surgeon to apply for assistance in getting vitamins.  It appears they only help 500-1000 people per year, and considering it’s mid-October now, I’m not sure if I’ll have any luck.  I’ll call Swedish first thing in the morning and see if it’s an option.  At this point, I’d rather something I can afford and just do everything else as plant-based as possible.  I can handle three months of vitamins with potentially non-vegan ingredients.  I can play the “ignorance is bliss” card for 90 days, right?  I HATE THIS.

I need to get the vitamin/supplement situation figured out ASAP.  I called Swedish to check in on my status and it sounds like I may have been submitted for insurance already!  WHAT?!  When I go in for my final pre-op appointment (sounds like it’ll be 2-3 weeks before surgery) I need to have my vitamins and proteins with me for them to check.  Craaaaaaap!

(Also, I forget if I said – I was given a new CPAP machine.  I went to get the info downloaded off my first one and nothing showed!  The settings were changed for the new one and I’m not sure if this one is working correctly either, but I go back to LinCare on Friday to check in on that.  So sick of this machine, I’m wearing it right now.)

*Done Being Big does not condone punching small children.  Don’t be a moron.

I can’t think of a clever title.

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Lazy.I really intended to post more updates on this stupid blog. Honestly, I’m just too lazy/frustrated. I recently purchased a domain for all this stuff, but don’t know what to do with it now. I don’t know how to get this blog to look/feel the way I want (you’ll notice I have a new layout or whatever), so I get angry and give up.

Two weeks ago, I went to Providence Hospital in Everett, WA for my titration sleep study. I paid to get my hair French braided, in hopes that I’d get less of the evil paste all over the place and be dealing with matted tangles and stuff. I got put in a room and waited. For an hour. No sleep tech arrived! Four people were getting studied and the tech assigned to me and another person never arrived. They sent us home! Fairly obnoxious since I don’t live anywhere near there, but I got to visit with a friend that lives with Seattle, so it wasn’t a total waste of evening/gas. I was told I would be called to reschedule.

A couple of days later, I went to Swedish for a follow-up appointment. I wasn’t positive what to expect, just knew I should be getting the results from my endoscopy and blood work. I had prepared a list of questions, since I have had difficulty getting answers by phone. I was weighed, had my blood pressure taken, and pulse/temperature checked. After that, I was seen by a nutritionist. She wanted to review a food log I was given months ago, but since I never heard back if it was supposed to be done, I didn’t do it. (I could have, but knew I hadn’t eaten well that week, the form was unclear, and I didn’t know if I was supposed to be listing what I’d normally be eating or on a pre-op diet sort of thing.) We discussed food concerns, went over goals I had set (and completely forgotten) at my first appointment, my diet and how to survive with the plant-based thing (this nutritionist was more supportive, but still pretty uneducated in that respect), and what vitamins I need to get. After that, I met with a nurse. She was kinda snippy. All she said was my lab work was perfect (I call bullshit on that, I know my B12 is crazy low and I haven’t been properly taking my supplements) and that the endoscopy found a hernia and gastritis, which I already knew. She answered my questions, rudely. I’ll be re-asking everything at my final pre-op appointment. Once I’m done with sleep medicine, I should be good to go. After that, it was over. The whole appointment was maybe fifteen minutes. Kinda sucks, considering the distance.

The lobby of Swedish Weight Loss Services has products they endorse. High-protein, low-carb foods (nothing vegan, appears very processed), protein powders, vitamins, and blender bottles. I looked through all of it, took pictures for reference, but didn’t really find anything terribly useful. It certainly would be easier to get by using that stuff… luckily I am used to taking the complicated route. I wandered around the hospital… found the picture I plan to replace with my “after” look (I’m determined to get on one of those damn posters) and had a really gross lunch in the cafeteria. I had pre-paid for three hours of parking and had to get my money’s worth, so I decided to return some calls. Called the sleep clinic back to reschedule and ended up being scheduled for a study that night!

I usually keep like, EVERYTHING in my car. I had JUST taken out the bag I had prepared for my sleep study, otherwise I could’ve just spent the day in Seattle. But nope, had to come back home since I didn’t have my CPAP mask. Between the slightly shitty appointment and Swedish and all the driving I had been doing that week, I was tired and crabby by the time I got home. I didn’t care, I took a damn nap. I didn’t figure I’d be sleeping at the study anyhow.

The sleep study went alright, I guess. I got lost on the way (Google maps suddenly changed directions) and the parking lot I was used to was blocked off for painting. Since I was annoyed, I decided it’d be funny if I drank before checking in. I had a bottle of Mike’s in the car (after I was parked and the car was off – don’t drink and drive, kids!) and headed up to my appointment. Even though I’m over 300 pounds, I’m a lightweight when it comes to alcohol. As I waited in the sleep study bedroom, I was cracking up watching Talladega Nights. I told the tech I had a drink and apparently it’s like REALLY common. This chick was hilarious and told me lots of funny stories. The study itself kinda sucked… every time I fell asleep and she adjusted the CPAP pressure and it’d wake me up. The paste crap got EVERYWHERE. My hair was a goddamn mess by the time I woke up! When I got back home, I covered my head in coconut oil and rinsed out with the highest temperature water that I could tolerate. Everything washed out except one chunk, and I just cut the stupid thing out.

I have pictures of all of this stuff, or used to, but misplaced them with the stupid iOS 7 update.  I’ll edit them in later, if that is something that can be done.

There is more to say, but I’m tired of writing.  Later, bitches!

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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!

It’s been a while…

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So it appears I haven’t written since December 6th.  Yikes.  My cat and then grandmother passed away right after that.  I have all sorts of excuses, but exercise has not been a priority for me as of late.  I have gone into the gym a handful of times, but never got officially back into it. I have an appointment with my trainer tonight, I am very much dreading that.

Have you ever noticed how much of a bitch it is to exercise when you’re obese?  The joint pain, the blisters, the rashes in places rashes should not be?  All of this with minimal effort.  I walk a mile and am out of commission for days.  It’s friggin stupid.

On the plus side, I have started using MyFitnessPal.  (What?  I cant make hyperlinks?  Sigh.  http://www.myfitnesspal.com/)  I had this app ages ago but never got into it.  I have tried a few others in my quest to lose weight, even giving in and paying for the fancy extras (which I had vowed to never do).  I still have trouble using it – not with the actual app, more just laziness in figuring out exactly how much of each thing I had, like when working with produce and stuff.  But it has been interesting seeing how much I really do consume.  I thought with my mostly vegan diet and hatred of food, that I was doing pretty well.  Not so much.  Some days I am barely consuming any calories, some days I get WAY too much.  So I recommend trying MyFitnessPal or another food intake tracker.

I have also begun looking into weight loss surgery.  A friend had mentioned that she got it on Facebook and after we talked about it, I attended a seminar for more information and turned a form in to have my insurance run and all that.  Now I have a consult with the surgeon, nutritionist and a psychologist or something… not sure what else.  I’m going through Swedish Medical Center (http://www.swedishweightloss.com/).  I have no idea what procedure I might qualify for, if I am a good candidate, or if surgery is right for me, but I owe it to myself to find out.  I will be turning 30 very very soon and I can’t live this life anymore.  I have to do something.  How do you feel about the surgical route?

I am going to try posting on here more.  It’s easier for me to post from an actual computer, which I have access to a couple of times a week, so I will attempt to start documenting my progress (or lack thereof) and if I do end up going with surgery, I thought it would be good to tell my story so other people can see!  That reminds me – I am also on ObesityHelp (http://www.obesityhelp.com/).  It’s a good resource!

I hope everyone is doing well, talk to you soon!