Tag Archives: gastric bypass surgery

Halfsies

When I first started this process, I set a goal for myself.  I wanted to have a go weight so that I knew where I wanted to stop and how much weight I wanted to lose.  When I was in high school, I weighed between 125-135.  I know that the average weight for a woman my height can range from 106-140 depending upon the size of her frame.  I believe I have a medium frame.  The average weight for a woman who is 5’1″ with an average frame is 115-129.

height weight chart

 

I would love to be in that range, 115-129.  That would be perfect.  But, I am not too concerned with perfection.  I am very concerned about my health.  If I end up in the 125-135 range, but I’m in good health, I will be happy.  Heck, I’d even go up to 145 as long as I am healthy and can do everything I want to do and can fit into cute clothes.  I would just be tickled pink.

That said, I do have a goal weight.  My goal weight is 125.  I do not know if I will ever get there, but that’s it.  To reach 125, I have to lose 173 pounds off of my original weight.

Well, today I am proud to announces that I have reached the half-way point.  I weigh 212 pounds.  That means that I have lost 86 pounds, 86.5 being half of 175, so roughly estimated, I have lost half of the weight I need to reach my goal weight.

That is all I have to report today.  I just had to blog to say, “Yay me!”

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OMG They So Totally Fit!!

So, a few weeks ago I think I said that I ordered a couple of pair of jeans online.  My old pants, ranging in sizes 26-28 are too big and really starting to fall off of me. I ordered two pairs of jeans, sized 24 short.  (Yes, I’m short.  I’m 5’1″.)  I have been very concerned that they would be too small.

It’s one thing to have your current clothes feel roomy and slide off of you.  It’s quite another to comfortably fit into the next smaller size.

Well, I tried on both pair and they both fit perfectly.  I never thought I’d be so happy to fit into a size 24, but I am so happy to fit into a size 24!  For one thing, it increases the number of pants that actually fit me properly from zero to two.  But they are also 1.5 – 2 sizes smaller than the pants I was wearing before.

Whoo hoo!

I also bought a very snug support garment for my top from Spanx.  Wow, what a difference that makes!  The Spanx top also offers a little more support than the binding garment they gave me at the hospital, plus it is a lot less bulky.

Tonight is the Christmas party for my writer’s group and I will be donning my new and improved jeans, my Spanx top and a size 24 blouse as well.  Yay me!  (Although, that’s probably more information than they wanted to know.)

Oh, and btw…check out my new weight loss!  46 pounds down baby!

New jeans:

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Convalescence

I was released from the hospital late in the afternoon on Friday.  Now I am at my sister Sandy’s place convalescing.  And yes, we have taken to calling her Hurricane Sandy.

Friday was rough.  They brought me pureed food for lunch in the hospital on Friday.  Up until then, I had been having liquids only.  Chicken broth, jello, and juice.  I have to say, I think they overdid it with the sweet stuff in the hospital.  Between the juice and the jello and the constant deliveries of bottled crystal light, I became  nauseous just looking at anything sweet.  The food services people refused to remove the things I did not eat because I may want them later.  I finally had to make my mom or sister throw them away because I could not even stand the sight of anything sweet.

I was never much of a sweet drinker.  I gave up drinking soda in 1992.  If I had iced tea or even hot tea, I did not put sugar in it.  The only sweet thing that I really liked was the occasional glass of cranberry juice.  I mostly just drank water.  Or coffee.

This post is going to get kind of gross from here, so be forewarned.

The goal of bringing me something other than liquid was to try to make me have a bowel movement, or at least have gas.  Then they could release me.  Instead, I became bloated, had a lot of stomach pain, took a long time to digest the food.  They finally had to give me an enema to help me along.  To say that was unpleasant would be a horrible understatement.

Eventually, it worked, but I was still kind of in pain and uncomfortable.  They sent me home with prescriptions and specific orders and instructions to call if I had any problems.

Getting the prescriptions filled was a huge problem.  The pharmacy kept telling us the doctor wrote the prescription wrong and because it was for a narcotic, they could not take a called in adjustment from the surgeon that we would have to go back and get a new handwritten prescription.  Finally, they agreed to a call in for a non-narcotic pain-killer.  Then, they gave me time-released capsules for gas and bloating.  I could not take capsules and there was no way to crush them.  Thankfully, I was able to crush the pain pills.

I could not eat anything else on Friday.  My sister did make me take my pain pills with a bit of applesauce.  Since I could not lay down on the bed without discomfort, I slept in the recliner in the living room and my sister slept on the couch.  I woke up in the middle of the night horribly nauseated.  I sat there and tried to struggle through it hoping it would pass.  It did not.   Until this point, I had been trying to be quiet so as not to wake my sister.  She was very stressed out and did not know how to properly care for me and kept wanting to take me back to the hospital.  I cannot say I blame her.

When it became clear, at 3:00am I might add,  that I might vomit, I said one word, “Um,”

My sister shot straight up to a full standing position and was like, “What?  Are you OK? Do we need to go to the hospital?”

I just told her that I thought I might throw up and she ran and got me something to throw up into.  I didn’t actually vomit, but I did heave a few times.  She questioned me about the stomach medication and I explained the capsule situation to her.  We called the doctor’s emergency number and got him out of bed.  If we had to be up at 3:00am, we certainly had no problem waking him up at 3:00am.

He told me to open the capsule and take the medication inside with a little bit of water.  He told me to call him back if I continued to have problems or go to the emergency room.  He was a little bit concerned about the heaving and told me to keep an eye on my wound to see if I had any seepage.  I did not.

Once I took the stomach medication, I felt much better.  My sister also gave me more pain medication and after that, we both slept for a long, long time.

Saturday was much better.  I reverted back to a mostly liquid diet.  I did have lentils ground up with chicken broth last night.  That was pretty good.  Lentils have protein and are vegetables, so they fulfilled all food groups.  I also had some applesauce with my pain pills mixed in.

Today is better.  I had an egg and applesauce for breakfast.  I’ve also had my protein drink and my vitamins.  I have been walking every day.  Not a lot, but I’m trying to increase the distance each time.  I get a little bit better each day.  I’m slowly trying to increase my calorie intake to match the diet that I should be following.

This has not been easy.  I’m not used to relying on other people to do basic daily activities for me such as standing up from a seated position or fixing my own meals.  Each day, I try to do a little bit more on my own.  I’m sure my sister is relieved when she sees me standing up own my own or doing anything without her help.  She’s been a trooper and I do not know what I would have done without her.  I feel bad about relying on her so much and I worry about her stress level.  I’m sure that over the next couple of weeks, things will get easier for me and I won’t have to rely on her quite as much.  Until then, I’m glad she’s been so good to me.

ONE

One more day.  Tomorrow is it.  My gastric by-pass surgery.

I have been thinking about everything I have been through this past year since I made the decision to get serious about dealing with my weight and all of the connected health related problems that I have.

A year ago, these medical problems were either completely untreated or not really under control:

  • Volatile high blood pressure that despite my efforts to control it, was still running on the mid-high side.
  • Severe sleep apnea.
  • Stress levels that were out of control.
  • Borderline to high cholesterol.
  • I ate out for nearly every meal.
  • I did not even think about exercising.
  • I have asthma that was sort of controlled.

In other words, I was going down a very dangerous path.  I said in an earlier post that it was a prescription for an early death.

Since seeing a gastric by-pass surgeon, I have changed quite a bit of what I was doing.

  • I saw two gastric by-pass doctors before my friend directed me towards my new doctor.
  • I stopped eating out for every meal.
  • I underwent a sleep study.
  • I use a c-pap machine and my apnea is now controlled.
  • I’ve been taken off of one of my high blood pressure medications.  Now the medication I do take keeps me at a normal level on a consistent basis.
  • My cholesterol is 151.
  • I’ve met with a nutritionist who helped guide my food choices.
  • I am eating more fruits and vegetables.
  • I’ve dealt with some of the other things that were causing me undo stress.
  • I’ve had a stress test.
  • And I’ve had many other tests to make sure I am healthy for surgery.
  • I lost about 10 pounds.

I feel better.  I feel rested.  I’m more positive.  And I feel that I am ready for this surgery.  Granted, I’m still not exercising at the level I would like. I can and will correct that after surgery.  I want to get my triglyceride level down to normal levels, raise my good cholesterol levels, and continue to lower my bad cholesterol levels.  Obviously, I want to lose weight.  I also need to bring my sugar levels down some too.  All of this will happen after the surgery once the serious weight loss begins.

Making the decision to have the surgery was not an easy one.  I did not originally want  do this.  I invested a lot of time and thought into the decision and finally came to the conclusion that if I wanted to live a drastically different life, I had to make some drastically different choices.

There are definitely some things I did not want to do.  I did not want to do the sleep study.  I did not want to sleep with a c-pap machine.  I have to admit that when I was told that I needed a c-pap machine and that I would have to take my c-pap machine to the hospital for the surgery, I was unhappy.  I do not know why, but the idea of carrying a medical machine into the hospital really turned me off.  I thought the machine would be much bigger than it was.  Part of my fear was the machine would be much bigger than it was and I really do not have the strength or ability to haul around medical equipment.  I also did not relish wearing a mask every night.

The truth is The c-pap machine is small.  Sleeping with the mask is an inconvenience, but being well rested is something I would not change.  Controlling my sleep apnea has helped lower my blood pressure and improved many other health related problems that I have.  Now, I’m glad I did it and I’m not afraid to carry my small c-pap machine into the hospital tomorrow.

Like I said, this was not an easy decision, but I knew I had to do something.  I want a better life than the one I am leading now.  The only way to do that is to make some serious changes in the way I live.  I am glad I made those changes.  While I am nervous about my surgery, anxious about the changes to come, and sad that there are some food that I love that I may never be able to eat again, I do not regret the decision.

I thank all of my blog followers, friends, and family who have stuck with me up to this point.  I am grateful for all of the well wishes and support I have received.  I hope you’ll stay with me now as the real food changes and weight loss begins and the new healthier Colleen starts to take shape.  As my baby sister called it the other day on the phone, get ready for Colleen 2.0.

Three

Three more days.  I have to admit that I am getting very nervous.  This past Thursday I noticed that some  of the anxiety I experienced a few weeks ago was starting to rear its ugly head again.  I was not as crippled by that anxiety as I was the last time I wrote about it, but I was definitely feeling tense.  I recognized it right away, started talking about it, and started taking some action.

I know that it is normal to be nervous before any surgery, especially one  that will be as life-changing as a gastric by-pass.   My challenge is to not let that nervousness prevent me from doing what I need to do to get ready for the surgery.  There is no chance in my mind that my nervousness will prevent me from going through with the surgery.  I have come too far to turn back now.

I want this change.  I need this change.  I just know that I cannot continue to live the way I have been.  Being morbidly obese is difficult.  It is painful.  It is killing me.  I have dangerously too many symptoms that could eventually materialize as heart disease.  My feet and legs hurt a lot much of the time.  My back constantly hurts and makes walking and standing difficult if not nearly impossible. Being morbidly obese is not a prescription for living.  It is a prescription for an early death.

I want to live.

Seven – Game On!

Today I talked to the surgeon’s office to find out if they want me to have another heart test.  Looks like the heart doctor gave me clearance despite my abysmal ability to complete the stress test.  So, the surgery is on!  No more tests! Yay!

I am in the final stretch.  Only a week left.  The reality is starting to set in.  My Mom will be here next week for the surgery.  I’m excited to see her and I’m glad she’ll be here for me. 

I am really upset that I could not finish the stress test.  So, today I am going to talk a little about exercise and my current lack of a plan.  Exercise is difficult for me because of my back pain and weight.  Nonetheless, I need to do something.  Not exercising is clearly not working for me.

Also, after the surgery, exercise is going to be a crucial part of my medical recovery and weight loss plan.  I only have a week before my surgery, so I will not get a lot of exercise in before the surgery, but I still need to do something now.  Any amount is an improvement over my current condition.

Starting today, I am going to make my way down to the exercise room in my apartment building and start riding the recumbent bike.  I will also start using some of the weight machines.  I do well on the bike.  In the past, I have been able to ride the bike for a half hour and more without having to stop.  I do breathe heavy, but not nearly as badly as I do while walking.  And my back pain is minor.

After the surgery, I am going to join a gym and work with a  personal trainer.  I am hoping that as I lose weight some of the pain I experience will start to abate and make exercising much easier for me.  I am going to also focus on strength training.  I think some of my back and leg pain will really start to lessen as I strengthen my muscles.  I may even start going to a chiropractor to help with some of my back problems.

But today, I am going to start by riding the bike in my exercise room and using some of the weight machines.  I am going to exercise every day until the day before my surgery.

Nine

Nine days.  Can you believe it?  I cannot.  I have been planning for this surgery for nearly a year now.  It feels unreal that it will actually be occurring in nine days.  By this time, nine days from now, the surgery will be over.

Tomorrow I have my stress test.  This is the very last test that I need.  And it is the only one left that could delay my surgery again.  I had the scan of my abdomen and that went well.  No gallstones or any other problem that would prevent or delay my surgery.  I still have not received the results from the doctor who did my colonoscopy and endoscopy.  I am going to call their office tomorrow.

I have to say, I am feeling pretty good about the surgery.  Yes, I am anxious and nervous, but I am actually starting to get excited.  I am a little freaked out about the changes in food, but I know it will be good.  I look at the food I have in my refrigerator and I know that a lot of the food I have in there now I will not be eating for quite some time.  I have a small steak, some ground turkey, and a whole chicken. I also have spinach, broccoli, lemons, apples, limes, cilantro, eggs, etc.  Not a lot of food, but I think just enough to get me through until Tuesday.  I also have a bunch of chicken broth.

I will be able to have chicken, eggs, vegetables, and fruit, all of it pureed of course.  That will be my diet for the next eight weeks.  After that, I will be able to start working on more solid foods.   I will be eating four tablespoons of food at each meal.  Two protein and two vegetable or fruit.  In between I have to drink two protein drinks and take chewable vitamins.  And I have to sip water all day long.

I have to avoid fruits and vegetables with seeds and skins for six months.  I can have avocado, squash, green beans, asparagus, zucchini, all of them pureed.  I can have most fruits except berries, dates, figs, and raisins.  I have to remove the skin of peaches, nectarines, apples, for six months, but for the first eight weeks they also must be pureed.

I have a lot of ideas on the different meals I will be able to make, but boy will they be very different from what I am used to.

That is a huge change over what I eat now.

Mixed Bag

So, some of the test results are rolling in.  I talked to my primary doctor at the end of the day Monday.

It turns out, my vitamin D levels are woefully below acceptable levels.  This is not good.  I am sure that part of the problem is that I do not drink milk.  I am allergic to milk, so I am very good about staying away from all milk products.  The problem is, I do not get enough vitamin D.4 She did give me some suggestions on other foods rich in vitamin D that I need to start eating more of.  She also wants me to start immediately taking vitamin D supplements, 2,000mg per day!  But after I told the surgeon’s office this news today, they wrote a prescription for a mega dose of 50,000mg.

Good news, cholesterol still 151.  This is very good.  Bad cholesterol starting to come down.  Good cholesterol needs to be higher.  Triglycerides, still crazy high.  I’m still trying to get that number under control.  I do not want to take medicine to lower my triglycerides, but if I have to, I guess I must.

One of the things I am being tested for is the H Pylori virus that lives and grows in the mucus lining of the stomach.  I do not know a lot about the virus, I just know I’m being tested for it.  If you want more info, please check the wiki-link that I provided.  The salient information that I want to provide is that the initial test, which was the blood test that my doctor did, came back negative.  This is good.  The real result will come in Friday when the GI doc gives me the results from the culture they took of my tummy.  I should also have the results from the Celiac disease test they did.  The GI doc who did the colonoscopy does not think that I have Celiac because he saw no damage, but they took a culture anyway.  My sister has Celiac disease and chances are greater among family members if one person already has the disease.

I’m not going to write anymore information about Celiac in this post, but I know a lot about it, if anyone ever has any questions, wants more information, or suggestions on how to make yummy gluten-free meals, let me know.  I’m more than happy to share.

I still have to get the sonograms of my gallbladder.  I have an appointment Friday morning before work.  I was ill in February and they did every test imaginable for my gallbladder and they found nothing wrong.  They just need a current test showing it is still OK.  Why they cannot just take my word for it is beyond me, but I’ll go waste the money.

I met with my nutritionist and the nurse at the surgeon’s office yesterday.  They did not like my vitamin D levels, as I stated earlier.  But they also did not like my EKG.  Now they want me to get a cardiac clearance.  They said that the EKG showed that perhaps my heart is not getting enough blood.  This could be an indication of a blockage, it could mean my arteries are small, or it could just be my weight.  In either case, I have to get a stress test.  I have a heart doctor that I saw two years ago.  I am calling them tomorrow to get this scheduled.

I am very concerned about this because heart disease runs in my family.  I have never been diagnosed with heart disease.  I am hoping that this is not an indication that I have it.  My bad cholesterol is a little high.  My triglycerides are high.  Now this.  I am going to hope for the best but get my butt to the heart doctor asap.

Today’s cat picture is showing little Mia again.  I shared this picture of Mia when my co-worker just got her as a kitten.  As you can see, she’s getting pretty big!  And it seems she has made a truce with the other cat Ziggy, during naptime at least.  🙂

 

Less Than Three Weeks

It’s getting serious, folks.  Nineteen days and counting.

Test Updates

Today I had my endoscopy and colonoscopy.  I will spare you the details, but things look good in both places.  I have to wait for test results of cultures they took, but the doctor did not see anything that would prevent me from having my surgery.

They are testing me for celiac disease which is an intolerance to gluten.  My sister has that.  They are also testing for bacteria in my stomach.  The doctor did not see any evidence of celiac, but I have to wait for the test results.  I will be so happy if I do not have celiac.

My doctor did all of the other tests except one.  I still have to get the sonograms of my stomach.  That’s it.  That’s all I have left to do.  Well, that and the final visit with the nurse and nutritionist at the surgeon’s office.  I am going to make an appointment for Monday or Tuesday of next week to get the sonogram done. I have to go to the hospital for that.

If I get all of that done by Wednesday, I will have two whole weeks free of doctor appointments and tests.  Woo hoo.

Bad Planning

I have to tell you, I did not plan this week well.  I had the appointment with my primary doctor on Wednesday.  I could not get in until late in the afternoon.  I knew they would draw lots of blood, so I fasted all day.  Then the lab took seven vials of blood.  The phlebotomist scolded me for waiting so late in the day to do a fasting blood draw.  I had to eat something before she would let me leave.  I did bring some candy for just that reason.

After that, I went home and ate dinner, followed a few hours later by a snack.  Then Thursday, I had to do a liquid diet for Friday’s colonoscopy.  Not to mention the horrible, horrible stuff that flushes your system they make you drink the night before and the morning of.  I was completely empty going into the test and felt like I had not eaten in forever.

The morning of the test, they tell you not to drink anything for at least three hours prior to test.  Then you get there and they ask you to pee in a cup.  I was like, “OK, you made me drink stuff that flushed me out and then told me not to drink anything.  Now you want me to pee?  There’s nothing left.  I’m totally dry.”

Somehow I managed to eek out just enough for them to do a pregnancy test.  I could have saved them the trouble, but they said it was required for all women under fifty.  I was actually kind of glad to still be included in that group.  That means I’m not fifty yet.

Dealing With Stress

A few days ago, I talked about how stressed out I have been.  I also kind of freaked out about the surgery.  I am kind of glad that they    postponed the surgery.  I was not ready to deal with it yet.

I have been so stressed out that I could not get anything done.  I looked at the pile of tests, paperwork, and other things I had to do and did not think there would be any way I could possibly get any of it done in time.  It got so bad that I could not even do things like plan out a bus route to the doctor office or even pick up the phone to make an appointment.  My stress and anxiety levels were out of control.

Finally, I talked to my sisters.  They both gave me great moral support.  Just to talk about it was a great relief.  I was then able to make a plan.  I made a list of everything I had to do.  Then I divided that list up into manageable parts.  Then as I got stuff done, I checked if off my small list and the bigger list.  I was able to throw away the smaller lists one by one and now the bigger list is full of check marks.

I also did this on a smaller level as well.  Day by day I listed out each step I had to take to get through the day.  If I had a doctor appointment,I listed out all of the steps I had to take to get there and back.  Look up bus schedule.  Print directions.  Take a shower.  Find shoes.  Pack c-pap machine.  Take chicken out of freezer and put in fridge for tomorrow’s lunch.  Load dishwasher.

Yes, it was that bad.  I was constantly having anxiety attacks.  I was so overwhelmed by everything that I couldn’t do anything.  It only lasted a couple of weeks, but it was horrible.

I’m doing much better now.  As you can see, I am almost done with these tests.  I am blogging more again.  And I am feeling a lot better.  I now feel like I will be ready for the surgery.   That feeling may go up and down day by day as the surgery approaches, but at least now I have a plan to deal with those feelings.

I hope to blog a lot more before the surgery.  I might try to get a post up every day.

Here is a typical meal that I eat now.  I will take a photo of the food I will be eating after surgery and we can do a comparison.

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