Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Scars

Scars can be ugly. There are creams, ointments and oils to get rid of them or lighten them.

When I got the excess skin taken off my arms, many people were aghast that I would voluntarily have an operation that would leave a scar on my arm from elbow to armpit. To be honest, I thought about it a lot. I was concerned. But the skin on my arms was such a nuisance. When I would work out, sometimes I would think that someone was coming up behind me. But nope...it was just my bat-wings flopping around in the wind.

It was during that time that I realized that everyone has scars. Sometimes, like mine, they are visible. Although, I would argue mine aren't too bad. I had been working out three mornings a week in close proximity to several people and it took about 4 months before any of them noticed my scars. People just don't pay attention to that kind of thing.


You might see evidence of burns or accidents on people's faces or bodies. Some people have scars from their chicken pox or acne. My dad has a scar the entire length of one shin because he decided to add kerosene to the furnace when he was a little boy. (Side note: how my dad survived his childhood is a mystery...)

I have all sorts of scars I know are there, but people wouldn't see. On my head from the time I cat-sat for a friend. He assured me that the cat was really nice if you don't pet him with your hands. Um, no... I have scars from my weight loss surgeries. Or from where I sliced my hand with a knife. I still have a bump on my knee from when I cut it on a screw sticking out of the floor when I was in the 6th grade.

Everyone has scars. But most scars no one can see. Emotional scars from any number of things. I have several friends that suffer from anxiety and/or depression. Friends that were abused or mistreated. Friends who were bullied, lied to, made fun of...  Even when the wounds heal, there are scars.

Our scars might tell our story, but they don't define us.

Hugs!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Post Op - Day #13

Most everything is going so well post op. Unfortunately, I have a persistent, nagging pain in my side. It radiates from front to back and is making it difficult to do much. My understanding is that it is perfectly normal and varies in severity and duration from patient to patient. I'm trying to have patience and be as thoughtful in my actions as possible. But I would be lying if I said it wasn't annoying as heck!

While this nagging pain persists, the rest of the pain has faded. My incisions are all healing well. The piercing pain that accompanied all movement is gone. Once I conquer this side pain, I will be good to go!

Weight

During my 2 week pre-op diet, I lost 15 pounds. It was difficult for sure. The biggest motivator was to have my liver in perfect operation shape, but it didn't suck to see the scale move like that. I quickly reached my initial goal of losing the weight I had put on since the holidays. I was no longer bloated and puffy. My clothes fit better.

Since the procedure, I have lost another 6.8 pounds. I now weigh less than when this whole ordeal started in October which was my 2nd goal met a few days ago. That feels really good.


For the last couple of years, I spent my time losing and gaining the same 10 pounds. I was at the top of that range when my band slipped. So my next goal is to get those 10 pounds off yet again. My goal to do that is mid-May. I have beat my last two goals, so I feel good about this one.

The month ends on Thursday. I will take a new picture then to get a good comparison to my start a few weeks ago!

Activity

The doctor cleared me for walking exercise, but until this side pain clears, I'm not going to work out. I hope that by being extra careful, it will fade sooner. Fingers crossed!

Food

I get a little hungry every once in a while, but nothing like before. I do have to make sure to eat so I can get in all my protein. Also, I started my vitamins today, which should help as well.

I had tried some pudding a few days ago and it went down fine. The doctor said though that the goal of the first 3 weeks is to make the stomach work as little as possible. So even though I could get down pudding or yogurt, it should be shakes only until next week. I'm fine with that. It is a little boring, but it is much easier to make good decisions when you aren't starving!

That means I'm on day #28 of liquids. It will be nice to get some variety. My dad made a bunch of soups while he was here. He, mom and BFF would eat it and then he put the leftovers in the fridge. That is going to be my food for a couple of weeks as soon as I get through this phase. That will give me a lot of variety!!

Sleep

I'm really sleepy. I don't think I'm sleeping well. It is probably from the pain. Although I bought a new mattress in December and I'm a little worried it is from that. I will keep an eye on it.

I"m sure part of it too is that I'm not active right now and my body isn't getting a lot of energy. Another reason why I'm eager to feel better and start working out! Even if is just walking.

I can feel myself WANTING to do things, but my body just isn't ready for it yet. I keep reminding myself that it hasn't even been two weeks since surgery, but it is hard not to be a little impatient.

Bottom line, I'm recovering well, just not as fast as I would have liked. Hope you all had a wonderful Easter!

Hugs!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Post op

My gastric sleeve surgery was last Tuesday morning and it was a great success! I kept meaning to write an update post, but honestly I didn't feel like doing much.

We got to the surgery center at 4:30am along with 2 other people. One man was getting the gastric balloon and he went before me. It only took about 10 minutes! I don't know anyone that has ever done that procedure. It would be interesting to know what it is like.

They got me through PreOp quickly. I remember mom came back to see me before the surgery. Once they gave me some drugs, I was flying high. Apparently I told the anesthesiologist tech that I loved him. Ha!

Next thing I knew I was coming out of surgery. I don't remember the first phase of recovery hardly at all. They moved me into a secondary recovery roomwhere I spent the next 4 or 5 hours. I would sip water every 15 minutes and breathe and walk every hour. The nurse was super nice and helpful. I needed every bit of that time, I think.

The first two days were tough. I could barely get down water and medicine, but my parents were so patient and helpful. It was hard to move. Getting in and out of chairs or bed was extremely painful. I did notice the very first night, even with all of the abdominal pain, the fluttering in my abdomen (from the hernia) was all gone. YAY!!

I spent most of my time in bed or in my recliner. I would walk and breathe every hour. I started sipping on watered down shakes and Isopure. By the weekend, I was drinking shakes easily and also drinking the broth from strained soups. My dad has made soup everyday and put the leftovers in the freezer. I'm set for a couple of weeks after they leave!!

On Sunday, BFF drove me around a little bit to get me out of the apartment and to give my parents a break. That was nice! Yesterday was my last day off and while I mostly sat around, my dad put together my new Broadway nook. I LOVE IT!!


I framed all of my Broadway and West End Playbill covers. He hung them along with some lights on the stairs. It just looks so fantastic!!

Today I'm back at work. I'm tired and a little hazy, but overall not too bad. I will work 1/2 the day at the office and 1/2 at home, today, tomorrow and Thursday. We have Friday off as a work holiday which is awesome!

My dad is having trouble with his foot (maybe a bad stress fracture) so please send him positive thoughts and patience mojo. My post op appointment will be on Friday so I should have another update next Monday.

Hugs!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Liquid Diet - Day #7

Day #7 of the pre-op liquid diet. Let's start with the good, shall we?

It is technically 1 day shy of a week and I have lost 9.6 pounds. I went back and read my blog post from Day #6 of my lap band pre-op diet. I was feeling similar...tired of it, but it is only another week. I can do it. I had lost 7.3 pounds by that time, but then again that pre-op diet was much less strict.

My LB pre-op diet allowed for 2 shakes per day (any kind with at least 20g protein) and one broth based soup with chucks (so like chicken noodle, vegetable, etc.) To be honest, I stretched that one quite a bit. This one is harder to stretch. :) Hence, the 9.6 pounds loss at a much lower weight.

I did "cheat" once this weekend. On Sunday mornings, BFF & I typically walk to Starbucks together. It is once of my favorite things about living downtown...walking places. BFF is not a fan of walking places, but Starbucks she will do. We went this Sunday and instead of my standard latte, I got a decaf non-fat latte. I'm a rebel, huh?

I tried a few different shake combinations this weekend.

My favorite:
  • Almond Milk
  • Chocolate Protein Powder
  • 2 Decaf coffee ice cubes
  • 2 pumps SF caramel syrup
 Another good one:
  • Almond Milk
  • Vanilla Protein Powder
  • 2 coconut water ice cubes
  • 1/4t cinnamon
I started using my bullet blender at home with the ice cubes and it is a great alternative! I'm continuing with the shaker bottle at work, but will use the blender when I'm home. Also, I bought some more SF flavorings through Amazon. I had caramel & hazelnut, but I bought butter, strawberry, yellow cake, coconut, peach & pear. I had the yellow cake with vanilla this morning and it was delicious. Very sweet though. I might try that with the cinnamon sometime.

I would say the number one issue I'm facing with this diet is inconvenience. I'm way to social for this kind of thing to work long term. The (close) second issue is the hunger. I keep counting this liquid diet down to my surgery date, but the reality is that I will have to do it for 3 weeks post-op. But I know post-op, I won't have the hunger I have now, so it is completely different.

Tonight is just a normal night. Tomorrow I have my monthly dinner with the girls. I have to take a shake, but they don't care. Wednesday night we are getting pedis. We did this a few nights before my band surgery too. It really warms my heart that my friends want to help me pass the time as the surgery comes closer and I likely get more anxious. Thursday I have a massage and then we are back to the weekend.

Just continuing to take it one day at a time...

Hugs!!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Still on liquids

Day #4 of the liquid diet. Ironically, I find it hard to keep hydrated. I have to make myself drink water. My typical day has been:

8am Coffee
9am Protein Shake
10:30am Jello or popsicle
12:00pm Protein Shake
1:00pm Jello or popsicle
2:30pm Chicken or Beef broth
3:30pm Jello or popsicle
5:00pm Protein Shake
7:00pm Protein Shake and jello or popsicle

In between I might have a Vitamin Water or Crystal Light or even chew gum. I tend to wake up hungry, but once I have the coffee, I don't usually get hungry until the afternoon. Then I stay hungry the rest of the day. There is no way I could sustain something like this, but then again, it wasn't meant for that. The purpose is to shrink my liver to make the surgery as easy as possible.

I'm a little over 20% done. I have been Xing the dates off on my calendar which is nice. It makes me feel like I"m accomplishing something.

Wednesday morning I woke up with a bad back. I'm convinced it was God's way of telling me that a two week liquid diet is not so bad. :)  It was rough getting through work because it was hard to even get out of my chair. At one point in the day, I had gotten up to use the restroom and get a popsicle but I forgot the popsicle. I sat there a few minutes trying to get the energy to get up and couldn't. I emailed one of my employees and told her I would be her best friend forever if she would get me a popsicle. She popped into my office with the popsicle and told me I was in charge of our matching bracelets. Ha! I love my team.

Yesterday morning, I just so happened to have my annual well woman exam scheduled. I told her all about my ordeal and upcoming surgery. She said that according to my labs (other than the weight gain and external issues) it didn't do much to harm my system. My triglycerides were slightly high but in her words "barely". Everything else was A-OK.

I woke up this morning and my back is a little better but it still hurts at times. I should be mostly okay tomorrow and I think I will be 100% on Monday.

This weekend will be tough, but I will just keep taking it day by day. Plus, I keep reminding myself that this is hardly the most horrible thing in the world. Suck it up, Beth Ann!

Hugs!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

And so it begins...

Today is the first day of my pre-sleeve surgery two week liquid diet. The plan is to have a shake at 9am, noon, and 2pm (with a 4th at home for "dinner".) I also have 8 oz of chicken broth for 4pm or so. Then I brought sugar free popsicles, jello and gum along with vitamin water & decaf tea, so I can have a little something every 30 minutes or so.

I also plan to drink a lot of water which will mean a ton of bathroom trips.

I'm finally updating my weight ticker today. I gained exactly 20 pounds from the night that my band slipped (or whatever happened) until this morning. It was only just over 4 months. I'm hopeful that weight will come off quickly.

The even better news is that even with all this nonsense, I have kept off 46 pounds from the beginning. So, I'm not starting over. I'm just starting again. Interestingly, I didn't get to my goal weight the first time. In fact, I didn't even get within 20 pounds of it. It will be interesting to see if I can get there this time.

Here is me today:


I hated pictures of me prior to weight loss surgery. But then for a long time, I loved (or at least didn't mind) them. I just realized that I really don't like them again. :-) My hair that I feels looks so sassy in real life looks...well, not sassy. I don't really mind the rest of me in this picture. The shirt is cute and jeans are jeans. Interesting. Overall, I just don't feel good on the inside, so I don't really feel good on the outside.

I'm looking forward to:
  • Not feeling like I could be a fire breathing dragon (that should be fixed with the hernia repair.)
  • Not feeling like I have a caterpillar in my chest (also hernia.)
  • My clothes fitting again. 
  • My arms not hurting because I'm stretching the skin at the scars from my plastic surgery.
  • Working out again!!!!!!!
  • Feeling like I have control over my own body again.
  • Sleeping better!
 All of those things will come, I just have to be patient and take it one day at a time.

Not too long ago, someone told me that I didn't seem like a person that cared about her weight. I think that they meant that I was confident about myself and wouldn't allow weight to change that. I also think they meant it as a compliment. And there is some truth to that. I no longer let my weight define me. However, the bottom line is that I feel like crap. I didn't used to feel like crap. And I don't want to feel like crap anymore. If someone else that is overweight doesn't feel like crap, they might choose a different path and that is absolutely A-OK!

Hugs!