Tag Archives: weight

Heart issues and Instagram

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Oh. Hey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I haven’t written in this blog in months. The last time I writing (the end of March), I had to stop to take my mom to the hospital. She was having some jaw pain and as it turns out, it was a heart attack. She’s since had two more. So three heart attacks in about six weeks.

This went down while my grandma was in and out of the hospital/nursing home with heart failure, I was house-sitting out of town, having boy drama, oh and –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I truly don’t remember what I put in the last blog about my condition lately. I was seeing doctors and getting tests when I wasn’t sitting with my mom or grandma. The mass in my lung seems to have gone away. The ones in my liver hadn’t grown since they were first found in December or January. They don’t *think* it’s cancer, but I’ll get all new tests later this year to check for progress. (The doctor currently thinks the liver masses were caused by birth control, but I haven’t been on any for over a year, so that seems odd to me.) My blood pressure is lower than it used to be, but not officially TOO low. Next up is testing my heart rate – doing one of those treadmill tests and getting another 24 hour heart monitor. I also have to get new labs for my six month surgical follow-up.

I’m really interested to see what’s wrong.  I get faint with minimal effort, get incredibly winded with the slightest incline, still can’t hydrate, get this wicked pain where I assume my left kidney lives, and one of my newer things is that I get REALLY sleepy when I eat.  It’s usually more with sweets or if I eat more than a few bites of something.

I did find a meal that seems to not anger my body in one way or another yet also tastes good.  It’s one slice of toasted Thin Sliced Good Seed bread by Dave’s Killer Bread, half a small avocado, half a roma tomato, and some egg whites (I started using whole eggs, but am liking the whites better – somehow same amount of protein!).  So tasty.  Sometimes I can put away the whole thing, but lately I can only do a few bites.  I just cook it all up, eat what I can, and then later reheat it in the microwave with a little cup of water on the side to keep the eggs from getting rubbery.

I am most definitely still not getting enough protein.  At all.  Ever.  I have not once reached my protein intake daily goal since having my surgery six months ago.  My hair comes out in clumps.  I powered through HARD getting it to grow almost to my ass, but now I look like I have some sort of tropical disease from all the loss.

Are you following me on Instagram?  That’s where I’m doing the bulk of my posting now.  I post the occasional before/during picture or what I’m eating (since there aren’t a heck of a lot of plant-based post-ops out there) or sometimes something from a workout.  I’m slightly obsessed with looking at #putaneggonit.  I follow a lot of cool people on there that have either had weight loss surgery or are on a plant-based diet, I’ve gotten a lot of good meal ideas and info from people on there!  And a lot of unnecessary pictures…

Also, I finally forced myself to go shopping.  My “tight” jeans were having to be kept on with a belt and then folded over.  I was pretty okay with just walking around in sweats all the time, but the male in my life was coming home for a few days from school so I tried to be a girl and go shopping.  I hit a Lane Bryant Outlet, told them I had no idea what size I am or what looks good, and they set me up.  They got me into jeans that were ten sizes smaller than the workout pants I walked in with.  I felt like a damn sausage in them, but have only gotten compliments.  (I’ve since tried to get over myself in shopped at a Goodwill and bought a pair of jeans two sizes bigger for comfort)  I find myself looking in the mirror way more often in my new clothes and giggling, because suddenly I can see a loss.  It’s kinda cool.

I promise I really am going to try to update more, but for sure go follow me on Instagram, as that’s where I am most active.  Thanks for reading!

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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.

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.

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.)

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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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