Tag Archives: surgery

Food is a dirty, dirty tramp.

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So I stole had a grand idea. If I use GIFs, I can write less and still make a point.

This is brilliant, and perhaps I’ll write posting more.

Anyway, today I would like to talk about food and how it’s been a part of my life lately.  After my surgery, I was on a liquid diet for 26 days. It really wasn’t that bad, some of the time.

Depending on the day and what I could tolerate, I mostly lived on Propel, licorice tea, water, a bit of pop, and protein drinks in whatever way I could force down. (I tried mixing protein powder with water, hot chocolate, juice, broth… the thought makes me sick.)

I was so weak during this time because I was sooooo dehydrated and lacking protein. I could barely walk. I couldn’t shower unless someone else was at the house, out of fear that I would black out. I would have the most bizarre cravings, too. I recommend keeping a list of the things you come up with, it’s pretty funny later on. (I don’t have mine in front of me, but I remember craving reheated food (it HAD to be reheated… I don’t even…), the smell of Jack in the Box tacos, certain meats (keeping in mind that I don’t EAT meat and haven’t since I was a child), and like, the taste of burps after eating broccoli or something.

It was pretty entertaining. I would crave those things, but really had no desire to eat. It wasn’t anything I had any intention of acting on. I would allow myself to feel the craving and generally once I acknowledged it, it would pass. I didn’t feel hunger until my period. That was probably the first time I was like “Screw this, I need food now.”. But I kept on my path.

As mentioned, I had my post-op appointment and after that I was cleared to eat soft foods. You’d think I would be all:

Right? Yeahhhh, no. I ended up in the ER for pretty severe dehydration. I still felt like shit after being released, but hit up my local health food store to pick up some food/drink to test out.

I had my first real food in the evening on 12/20. I had these:

I had been dreaming of these beans for ages. I used to eat a whole container of them mixed with a whole bag of salad, a roma tomato, a small can of sliced black beans, ranch dressing, green onion, and crushed tortilla chips as a taco salad. It probably weighed like two pounds. Yikes. Anyway, I didn’t really want to eat at the time, but knew I needed the protein so I tested it out.

I may *look* okay here, but felt like ASS.

I basically dipped a fork in the container a few times. It was tasty. But a few hours later, OMG. I was in the bathroom for like two hours.

I was in unbelievable pain. Like awful period cramps. I used to get like this at times, with whatever digestive issue I have. (Colitis, IBS, IBD, Crohn’s… depends on who you ask) My body was doing all it could to get the food OUT of me. I was in pain, wanted to puke, wanted to die – it was just awful. I was minutes from calling an ambulance.  This pain went on most every time I ingested anything food-like for about two weeks.

Things have since improved, to an extent. I saw my regular doctor, that took my issues seriously. I took Lomotil for the cramps (same thing I had to take before surgery) and eventually didn’t need to take it. I’ve been going in weekly for checkups with the doctor. The pain and cramping stopped, but I also didn’t have a bowel movement for ten-ish days. I’m still dehydrated, not getting enough potassium, sugar, calories, or protein, but am able to get around a bit now.

I am now free to eat most anything, I guess. Honestly, with all the issues I’ve been having (I know, I’m not properly explaining all those things, I’m an awful writer), I’ve had to throw the rules out the window, to an extent.

As this point, I’m just focusing on chewing properly, taking my time, learning what is/isn’t going to make me sick.

I have felt so much better. It really is the little things. NOT being doubled over in pain all the time is pretty liberating. I’ve felt almost unstoppable at times.

The bad part for me is when the damn period returns. It seems I must eat all the things.

I am on my period right now and my brain keeps telling me to snack. It blows. I am still nowhere near getting the calorie intake, but have gotten better about finding ways to incorporate potassium and protein. I really am feeling a bit better. I’ve gone to the gym twice. That’s the goal, to really get going there.

I had more to say, but this has taken me HOURS to write because I get distracted so easily. I have to go.

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.

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.)

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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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?

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!