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I am 3.5+ out of roux en y gastric bypass.
Updated: January 2010
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Hi there! My name is Dawn. I'm a 39 year old teacher from Windsor, Ontario, Canada.
I decided to have roux en y gastric bypass in July 2006. I am now 3.5+ years out of surgery.This website documents my experiences in my first year from contemplating surgery to going through the operation to life as a post op.
My journey may help you if you are considering gastric bypass, or want to know what it is like post-op. There are tidbits of information on preparing yourself for surgery scattered among all the entries.
When researching WLS, I looked for patient's websites to gather information. I could not find many so I decided to create my own for pre-ops!
If you live in Windsor or the surrounding areas, and wish to talk/email or meet to discuss gastric bypass surgery, drop me a line.
Please do your own research first.
My email is near the bottom of the page above my weight loss chart.
This page begins with some general information and then turns into my story detailing every part of my surgery from start to finish.It covers the decision to go the WLS route, to how to apply for surgery to be paid through OHIP, to pre op, surgery and post op.
Enjoy your visit!
Short Overview of Roux en Y
Before you look into weight loss surgery, you need to know that there are many types of weight loss surgery and not just one. You need to choose your surgery CAREFULLY as they are all different. If you are over 300 lbs there are options that allow you to lose more weight than others. Please consider all the following when thinkng of weight loss surgery: Lapband, Roux En Y, Duodenal Switch, Mini Gastric Bypass, Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy etc. Begin your research at obesityhelp.com.
I had RNY. Roux en Y is the standard bariatric surgery that you will hear the most information about. Most people choose this surgery than any other bariatric surgery. It works by being both restrictive and malabsorptive. Restriction means that you eat less - the size or portion is much smaller than the typical stomach. Malabsorption means that the foods you eat will not all be processed and some nutrients and calories basically will go "through you". That's why you have to take vitamins for the rest of your life if you go through theis surgery as food will be processed differently. The degree of malabsorption is higher at the beginning of surgery, which means eventually the malabsorption won't be as strong as it once was.
Typically as a roux en y patient for the rest of your life you will be taking 2 multivitamins a day, a b-12 strip or shot, and calcium. Some doctors also suggest iron but mine only said to take it if my bloodwork revealed that I needed it. Many doctors suggest flintstones or similar vitamins at first because they are easy for post ops to tolerate. Do yourself a favour and PLEASE eventaully move on to adult vitamins - you are not a child and should not be supplementing like one. Deficiencies can come on in a hurry and please supplement b-12! Get your thiamine levels checked at a year out and get a bone mass density test at a year out or more.
You can go to obesityhelp.com for information on the surgery itself and diagrams of it. I'm not going to get too technical here.
Once you have the surgery, you will be able to eat only small portions (for a while anyway.....). The great thing is that although you may only eat two tablespoons initially, you will feel as if you have eaten a whole meal and satisfied or full. It's wonderful to feel so full on so little. So you will physically eat very little and this will cause you to lose a lot of weight very quickly. As well, your body will not absorb all the calories it takes in so again, it will cause weight loss. Your pouch will slowly get bigger naturally after your surgery and by a year out, you should be able to eat a cup of food and by two years, a cup and a half to two cups of food. So you do progress to a normal portion - I hate when Oprah says all we can eat is 6 grapes. Now at 3.5 years out I could easily eat 5 big macs in a day if I wanted too. Not all at the same sitting but I COULD physically eat it. That's why you hear of people that fail with this surgery - YOU CAN FAIL. You have to make better choices. Eventually you will be able to eat like everyone else. If you go back to making the bad decisions you did before surgery, you can go back to the way you were. That's why you need to establish good habits like eating different, eliminating junkfood as much as possible, exercising regularly and becoming an active you! Therapy is also recommended for most to find new coping mechanisms rather than eating to deal with emotional issues, stress and boredom.
Roux en Y has a side effect called DUMPING. Typically it does not involve the toilet although it can. DUMPING is a reaction after eating things that are either too fatty or too sugary. Usually you feel your heart racing, sweaty, nausea, cramps etc. It is a side effect that it is unpleasant but that tends to help people make good choices about what to eat. After you have surgery, you CAN make bad choices and outeat the surgery - but dumping helps to keep most people on the straight and narrow after surgery. You will learn to read a label properly in order to know if a food will possibly cause a reaction and you'll avoid junkfoods for this reason. A word of note: about 40% of patients do not dump and usually after a year or two, this reaction totally goes away. Please note that you can avoid dumpng. - that's why we read nutritional labels and watch sugar/fat content. That processed stuff is bad for you anyways and is avoided after surgery as much as you can. If you read labels chances are that you won't dump.
Although you will lose weight through surgery alone, it is recommended that you start to exercise once coming out of surgery. Typically if you let the surgery do all the work you will not get to goal. If you set up exercise as part of your lifestyle after surgery, you will develop successful habits that will help you through your maintenance phase. Typically the last 20 lbs of weight loss are worked off at the gym. At about 18 months out of surgery, your weight loss from the surgery stops. The first year to year and a half are your "window of opportunity" where the weight will come off easily and fast - that is your time to work the surgery the most! As you get more naturally mobile, exercise will not be as big of a struggle and you might find that you actually enjoy challenging your body physically.
With surgery, you could lose between 75 and hundreds of pounds on your own. Add exercise and you are talking much more. The heavier you are, the greater the loss. I have a chart down on my page entitled REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS that will give you an idea of what to expect as your loss goes.
Warning though - if you don't follow the rules and make the most of what you've got with the Window of Opportunity the first 12 to 18 months, you may never get to a healthy goal, body weight or get the results that you desire. A huge part of this surgery is about making healthy choices and creating a new lifestyle - especially in the first year as after a few years, it becomes SIGNIFICANTLY harder to lose weight. You need to absolutely make the most of your first year. I cannot emphasize this enough!
Eating After Surgery
Because your new stomach is inflamed, readjusted and tender, there is an eating plan that you must do after surgery. All surgeons tend to be a little different, but most plans somewhat are the same and this is what you can typically progress to.
You will typically start with fluids for 2-3 weeks. That means liquids that usually include broth, cream soups, protein shakes, crystal light, water,no sugar added puddings, jello and popsicles. It will not be hard typically to do liquids because your pouch is so tender and swollen that you are pretty much not feeling physical hunger. (You might feel head hunger which is the "oh that looks good!" but typically you don't feel real hunger).
The primary goal at this time is to let your stomach heal. To do so, you will need to make sure that you cget a certain amount of protein in each day. Your surgeon will give you a protein goal for the rest of your life and it is the most important thing. For the rest of your life you will eat proteins first in your meal (meats, cheeses, that sort of thing). Carbs and veggies will be secondary. At this stage, two good protein shakes should get you at goal or close to goal each day. My goal was 62 grams of protein. My shakes were about 30 grams each. Do not settle for a shake with 15 grams! Get a good shake!
After the 3 weeks of liquids which isn't as hard as it sounds, you will move on to purees which are foods that are ground up so that you will tolerate them well or at least, well chewed. For instance, i had egg beaters for breakfast and didn't actually puree them, but ate them very well. The opening from your stomach to your intestines (called your stoma) is small at this stage, so you need to make sure that whatever you eat is VERY WELL chewed so it fits through the stoma opening...or it wil come back up!
Here's a great picture:
After a week of purees, then you move to soft foods for a week and then regular foods - this is where you will slowly incorporate more and more foods into your diet and get to eat like a normal person albeit in smaller portions.
This phase of moving from liquids to mush to regular foods is important - it reminds your new stomach about foods by presenting food in a format it can manage. It slowly reintroduces food back into your system. I recommend not cheating at this time. People that cheat and eat something they aren't supposed to find that they typically will end up barfing more than they should.
Other side effects of roux en y that you may/may not have:
-vomiting if something doesn't agree with you
-eating different foods - some people find that after surgery they are no longer tolerant of certain foods. Some people find they become lactose intolerant or can never eat beef again or pasta or whatever because certain foods don't feel right or make them ill. Its' very individual. Some people also vomit if they eat too much of something.
-foamies - foamies are a warning that you are going to throw up if a food is stuck and not passing through the stoma. You'll develop kind of a foam in your throat and it will tell you to get to the bathroom quick.
I was an exception to all the rules. I have never had any of the unpleaseant side effects of surgery and have never vomitted in 2 1/2years.
AN IMPORTANT FACT ABOUT WEIGHT LOSS SURGERY:
It is virtually impossible your first year to screw up surgery. Even if you "cheat" the surgery and eat things you should not, you will lose weight. This surgery allows you to lose a lot of weight the first year regardless of how you "use or abuse it". The key is this: if you continue to eat unhealthy and stay on the couch, you will gain MOST OR ALL of your weight back. PLAIN AND SIMPLE. You will totally hear stories of those who completely fail this surgery out of choice. Let that scare you to make your first year the YEAR ABOUT LOSING AS MUCH AS YOU CAN. Work your surgery if you want to get to goal. After the first two years, the weight loss will stop considerably and you may even start to gain weight. A weight gain of 15% is average after your first two years. It can be more if you don't follow rules. For every person who has this surgery and does well there is someone who doesn't because they choose not to make the change. Make the change for you!
Morbid Obesity: How did I get there?
I have been overweight for as long as I can remember. Although I have reached most of my goals in life at age 35, (ie. I'm married, have a degree and a job I love (teaching), sustained weight loss has been one goal I've never been able to reach.
I was the proverbial plump child, chubby teenager and morbidly obese adult. I cannot remember a time when I was actually normal. As a child, I can remember going to the doctor every year and getting weighed and the doctor giving my mother heck for being overweight. She'd always reply that summer was coming up, I'd be more active and I'd probably lose the excess weight. Of course, I never did.
I grew up in a house where I ate alot of processed foods while growing up - hotdogs, hamburgers, t.v. dinners and I'm sure that played a part in my obesity. As well, I remember money being tight, but always getting a handsome allowance from my parents, which I always spent in the high school cafeteria. Being able to buy my lunches was always sort of a status thing with me. I think that helped to create the problem although I am fully aware that everything that was put in my mouth, was put in by me and me alone.
In addition to bad habits formed in my childhood, I also have a genetic disposition to being overweight. I am at least the fourth generation of obese women on my mother's side of the family. I'm pretty sure that I'm the largest of all of them now at my weight however. I've had a lifetime of convenience foods, bad habits and a little bit of just plain old genetics.
What I Have Attempted:
Anyone who is obese knows that most of us having spent a lifetime trying to lose weight. To assume that a person is fat because they've never tried to diet is a gross inaccuracy. I am a true diet expert in all sense of the word. When colleagues of mine want to know about how many calories are in this or that, they come to me. I know alot about nutrition and have impressed dieticians with how much I know. I have spent a lifetime trying to diet! I can remember my first diet being "The Doctor's Diet Book for Teens" or something like that.
In 1994, I joined Weight Watchers for the first time, and went from 255 lbs down to 202. Gained it back. Did it again in 1995. Gained it back. From 2001-2, I joined Tops (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) and went from 275 lbs down to 202 lbs (again!) and of course, gained it back.
Some diets I have done: Atkins, Scarsdale Diet, Body For Life, Southbeach Diet, Richard Simmon's Deal-a-Meal, Walk Away the Pounds Diet, Cabbage Soup Diet, Low Carb, Weight Watchers (Selection Plan, Fat & Fibre plan and the Points system), Bob Greene's Plan, Dr. Phil's book, Xenical, Fibre pills, Dexatrim, Ephedra, Susan Powter etc. I have belonged to a gym for two years, have lots of exercise equipment, and more books than you can count.
How Did I Decide on Surgical Intervention?
In all honesty, I was initially dead set against GB. My Dad's cousin's wife and his two daughters got it done and I thought they were crazy. I decided, fed up in 2001-2, that I was going to lose the excess weight without GB so I worked my butt off like crazy. I joined TOPS, was even their weight recorder!, joined a gym and took it from there. I ended up losing around 73 lbs and did really well. I felt like a new person.
But the same issue that plagued me in 1994 arose when I got to 202 lbs. I could not budge the scale past that point. I talked to a personal trainer, and she said that I needed to make cuts to my diet - for example, only having one piece of toast for breakfast, eating half a sandwich for lunch etc. I was working out at the gym every other day for 3 hours and the scale would not budge. Darn it as well, I wasn't just hungry at this point, I was starving! As was the case in 1994, I struggled and struggled and gained the weight back. After many attempts, I cannot sustain my weight loss. I think honestly, that my stomach is so stretched out from years of abuse that I have to literally starve myself to lose weight past that point. I'm tired of the constant yo-yo, I'm tired of feeling hungry all the time, and I need *help*. I need a tool and I know that with the tool of gastric bypass, I could reach my goals.
The real clincher was the fact that in 2004, my mother had a massive heart attack. I know that I'm now 2X as likely to suffer the same fate. (After a clotbuster drug, and angioplasty my Mother did recuperate thank goodness!).
Being fed up in 2005 with my sore back and aching knees, getting majorly winded just walking up a flight of stairs, I decide I was at the end of my rope. I couldn't take it any longer but at the same time, I just knew that I couldn't keep doing the yo-yo thing again. I need a permanent solution - something that could completely change my life and give me tools do make that transformation.
Enter gastric bypass.
I bought some books, browsed some websites and began reading about GB.
In 2006, I had Choice about what Surgery I wanted to have
How did I make my decision about what surgery to have? It is a very personal decision and I have to stress how important it is to do research. Too many people pick their decision based on the word only of someone else. Please do your homework and research, research, research! I chose based on what is best for me. Please do not go by my choice - be informed about your choices. Find independent research sources, meet with post ops and make the choice based on what is best for YOUR body and lifestyle. OHIP at that time paid for roux en y (traditional, most performed surgery), duodenal switch, mini gastric bypass and vertical sleeve gastrectomy. It did not pay for Lapband. Well I considered all surgeries before I picked roux en y. Because sweets are definitely a problem for me - especially ice cream - I was leaning towards roux en y. I know people who have had the surgery and have talked to them first hand.
I liked as well that the surgery has been around a very long time. There is a reason why they are still performing it. They have modified it over the years (old techniques thrown out for new technology - it is not the old "stomach stapling" from years ago). There are no long term surprises - it has been studied for a very long time. I've talked to people that are 10, 15, 25 etc years out of surgery. I know what to expect in the long run.
While lapband seemed appealing because it is "less evasive" so to speak, long term studies have not really proven that it is as effective as gb. It does work for many people but it was something I was not personally comfortable with. I do somewhat disagree with the fact that it is less evasive. I think rearranging natural parts is really 'less evasive' than putting a foreign substance in your body. For me, I worried I would cheat the band so I thought I needed something more drastic so to speak. I have met many successful lapbanders through the online boards though so don't hesitate to research this great option. One word of note: it is not covered through OHIP. It is strictly out of pocket around $16,000.
Even though it is "less evasive" or "less permanent" there are still many issues that people seem to have with lapbands. I read numerous sites where people had to get it removed because they had problems with port infections and things. Then there is the issue of having to replace it as it wears out eventually. I don't know -it just didn't seem for me. There are ways actually to manipulate the band so that you can eat - people can actually take out their fill.
I had the choice of RNY, Duodenal Switch, and mini gastric bypass.
In terms of DS, although it seems attractive I worried about three things - 1) the long term effects of possible deficiencies2)malabsorptive issues. 3) The fact that I can consume much bigger quantities and therefore more junk. 4) Higher degree of supplementation ( i am not that great with remembering pills). This operation has great benefits so research it too especially if your bmi is over 50 they say.
I also wanted not to supplement to the hilt as I'm not that great at remembering to take pills. With DS you get most of your nutrition through supplementation (because of the very high malabsorption rate). I would rather get most of my nutrition from food. I also did not want to worry about possible gas/poop issues as much. I am terrible with taking pills - taking the few that I am is enough for me. I like the fact that it is not terrible malabsorptive.
More reasons for roux en y for me: I like the fact that many doctors at this time have a basic understanding of roux en y. I do not want to be in an emergency room with doctors who have no concept about the state of my innerds. It is a common surgery so I expect most doctors to be fairly educated when it comes to roux en y.
There is no perfect surgery as they all have their different complications and different consequences and requirements (positives AND negatives). Do your research thoroughly and make the decision to suit YOUR body and YOUR lifestyle. (OH is www.obesityhelp.com - they have forums there for every surgery imaginable --well just about!).
Research is key here. Begin with OH, and then seek other sites, other resources, books and of course, support groups in your area if you have them. I read a good five books plus (suggestions at the bottom of my website), talked to a few people one-on-one who had the surgery, spent countless hours online looking for journal articles, websites, good sources of information (remember a "surgeon's" page is not necessarily the best source of info as they WILL be biased towards their surgery - try finding reputable sites as much as you can, journal articles etc.
In Ontario, the choice is only VSG and RNY as of January 2010.
Bariatric Surgery and OHIP (JANUARY 2010)
When I had my surgery I had a choice of certain surgeries and where I wanted to go for surgery. OHIP has changed the choices since. The choices right now for OHIP to pay are between two surgeries - Roux En Y gastric bypass (the traditional bypass) and Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy. There were many choices before but OHIP has taken some choices away. I have not heard specifically why MGB was taken off the table but have heard that Duodenal Switch has been taken off the table due to a pending review of the procedure due to said complications. This has caused the VSG (Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy) to become very popular as an option once again as it is the first stage of a DS. It is an option but you have to have a medical reason for the VSG over the RNY (not just a personal preference) so you must have medical reason -typically to do with absorption issues- in order to justify having a VSG. So for most people, you will be having a RNY in Ontario.
Get the procedure done in Ontario
When I had my surgery, I had more options than you. I could choose to stay in Canada or go to the USA which was closer to me for surgery. That was called "Out of Country". Things have change in Ontario and now the system has changed completely. In Canada we only had Toronto that did surgery when I had my surgery in 2006.
Ontario has since invested money into bariatrics. They've brought over doctors from the States and have trained more doctors to do bariatric surgery. They are now doing bariatric surgery in:
Toronto (Toronto Western and Humber), Ottawa Hospital, Guelph Guelph and St. Joseph's in Hamilton.
Out of country is still available for some possible serious cases. This means unless you have huge health complications from being obese, you WILL BE TOLD TO GO THROUGH ONTARIO. By serious cases I mean significant health issues (type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and sleep apnea etc) and a bmi closer to 50.
Here's the application for those of you that meet the "serious issues" criteria. Your doctor must check at least one of two boxes on page 2 of the application. S/he must be willing to state that it is an emergency that you have surgery NOW otherwise you will be told to go through Ontario Centres.
OHIP Out of Country Application -
Bariatric Centres List
For most of us, the surgery will be done in Ontario now. To get started you will need to have your doctor contact one of these Ontario Bariatric Assessment Centres. It is fairly painless. Right now the caveat with these centres is that they seem to not be streamlining yet. This means that in order to have multiple choices you will need to apply to eat of these centres separately. They are their own entities. They will tell you that they have a long waiting list for this reason. Much like when you apply for college or university they will have people that put their names into multiple centres. As they weed out those who are having surgery at other places, their list will get shorter so don't worry about the long wait time. Your doctor makes a referral and you will go for classes and tests and then you will be approved for surgery. That's all that is needed to have surgery. Minimum requirements - bmi of 40 and over OR bmi of 35 plus significant health issues.
If you pick one centre and one doctor, your wait time might be longer. Apply to more to increase your odds of shortening your weight. I hope that they will streamline together to avoid duplication of names in the future. The thing that I do like about the new Ontario program is that they are now a Centre of Excellence. This means that they are not going to rush you through the process. Remember surgery in the States is a multi trillion dollar business - it is fast because they are all about the money. They want you in and out as soon as possible. I like how Ontario is working to provide more before care and training. I see too many people go through too fast that they don't have time to consider the changes beforehand. Too many failures.
I'm glad to be honest that we are having Centres of Excellence in Ontario that require classes and more in depth learning. I see too many people go to quickie places like Barix (where I had my surgery). Like me, they want the fast route but they do not do the research. They do not learn about making good choices. They do not decide to get active. They decide that the surgery is going to do everything for them. Then they fail. I am seeing too much failure lately. I think many many people need more education. I think this aspect is a good thing. Running a support group, I see people that come to my group after having surgery and they are ill informed, or they are ignorant of basics like protein, water and exercise. It makes me sad. I know that I cannot do much to help them. I think we need more patient education and establishing Centres of Excellence here is a good thing. The surgery requires more than just a cut with a knife.
Deciding on a Surgeon (November 2005)
I decided to attend some seminars to meet some surgeons, hear about programs and so forth. It is relatively easy to do since the USA based companies come over all the time to get business. The three main ones that I was considering were: CORI, BARIX and LIVLITE.
The first seminar was the CORI one that I attended with my husband. There were a few things that I didn't like about it. First, the lady who introduced everything and did the beginning of the session seemed to fluff off the different possible complications. I also did not like that the surgeon was late for the meeting. I didn't care for him too much either personality wise. He was okay but just didn't seem very professional. Lastly, the big test for me was: DO YOU DO A LEAK TEST? For me, the Leak Test is HUGE. I live 30 minutes away, and don't want to die from a leak and feel that this test is important. Cori doesn't do a leak test. My husband by the way, got some negative vibes from Cori too. (Cori has since folded here).
LivLite was an option because the relatives that I have, had their surgery through LivLite. They sent me a video but honestly, that does not compare to meeting someone in person. I was put off that they weren't coming to Windsor for a seminar. Once I found out that they don't do a leak test, they were knocked out of contention.
The next seminar I went to was BARIX. Their presentation was far more professional than the one from Cori. They were straightforward, to the point, and no holds barred which I really liked. They didn't fluff of a single thing. They also gave me a ton of information and talking to others, they are great at giving information and give you lots of stuff after surgery. I also liked the personality of the surgeon who came, Dr. Poplawski.
After researching him online, learning that he used to do liver transplants (which is a very hard organ to transplant apparently) and that he hasn't had one leak in over 2,000++ surgeries, I felt he was the one. The final test: Do they do a leak test? YES, they do! So there you have it folks, that's how I picked my surgeon and place! John felt the same good vibe about Dr. Pop and Barix too so that pretty much sealed the deal that we both agreed on a surgeon.
:Talking to my Doctor!
In November, I talked to my doctor and right away she looked at me and said "Oh you won't qualify". I could tell that she meant that I was not large enough despite my 280+ lbs. She went on and on about how OOC approval was denied to her other patients who essentially were bigger than me. Regardless she said, she would not sign my papers to even try to get it approved - rather - she referred me to an Endocrinologist who would ultimately make the decision if GB was "medically necessary" for me. She pointed out that he usually accepts patients with a 50 or higher BMI and because I was around 48, he would probably not approve me.
I was devastated by this seeming lack of support from my family doctor. Granted, I'd only been her patient for just over a year, but still, I felt she really wasn't that supportive. I cried and cried and cried after this appointment, absolutely devastated. My only hope would be the Endocrinologist but since that is a Specialist appointment, I *knew* it would take forever before I could even get an appointment!
Many people have a hurdle with their family doctor. Some people will go to another specialist they have, get a referral to an endo or even go to a clinic to get papers signed.
having trouble with OHIP approval? Email me. I know the insides and outs of the form.
The Endocrinologist : (February 2006)
I was a nervous wreck for the appointment. I was not at the BMI of 50, I was close - around 49. I tried to drink a ton of water that day to help beef up my weight on the scale but ended up peeing it all out before my appointment! LOL!
The first thing that was done when I arrived was the nurse took my height and weight. Wonder of all wonders, I was an inch shorter than I thought I was. All my life I have been thinking that I am 5 foot 4, and I am really 5 foot 3! So I did reach the doctors BMI requirement. In fact, I was 51.5! This is something that sounds really silly, but make sure you get your height measured.
The Endocrinologist was SUCH a nice man. He asked me all kinds of questions about me, my weight history, my family, my diet history etc. He took measurements of my body and checked for swelling of my ankles.
He said he would approve me for surgery.
Of course, his approval isn't the main approval. The hardest approval to receive is OHIP and quite frankly, I didn't think I would get approved being that I have no major documented comorbidities. The only problems I really have are: joint and back pain (so far I haven't done much about it) and urinary stress incontinence. That's hardly a big list for OHIP to approve me so I was seriously thinking that it would take me a few appeals at least in order to get approval.
And no for the record, I did not send in any letters or photos to OHIP. I figured I'd save them for the appeal if I needed one. The only thing that was sent in was the form filled out by the doctor.
Random Before Pictures
The Dreaded OHIP Approval Process (February 2006)
As I said, the Endocrinologist sent in my approval forms around mid February.
In 13 days, I received a notice in my mailbox that I had a letter waiting for me at Purolator. I had missed the delivery and had to pick it up the next day. I was literally scratching my head wondering what the letter was. Could it be the approval letter or rejection letter so quickly? It drove me crazy all night wondering about it and of course, made me nuts thinking I couldn't find out til around 5 pm the next day when I could pick the letter up after work.
I didn't have to wait. The next morning at work, my husband called to tell me that the Endocrinologist called the house to tell me that I'd been APPROVED!!!
Needless to say, I was in total, utter disbelief! To get approval in itself was amazing, but to get it in under 2 weeks was phenomenal!
The Consult (March 2006)
As much as I love Barix, the consult was really disappointing. I think now because they offer it for free before you are even approved, that the consult is not as great as it should be. I guess in retrospect, it's good for those of you who have not been approved yet...but I would have prefered less seminar and more one on one time.I had a 12:30 appointment and was looking forward to maybe, say 20-30 minutes to see Dr. Pop, learn about the next steps and go home.
When I got there I found out it was a GROUP consult. I would have to sit through ANOTHER seminar. That really disappointed me since I'd already done the seminar, already had approval... etc. Not only did I have to sit through the seminar, but I had to sit and wait around while everyone had a 10-15 minute consult with Dr. Pop. Honestly, it wouldn't have been so bad if it wasn't for the fact that I was the LAST consult based on the fact that I checked in last. (I'd been an hour early but we went around the area, did a bit of shopping so that we wouldn't have to sit in the waiting room all day). I didn't get to have my consult until around 3:45 p.m.
*****If you go to a consult, be prepared to spend ALOT of time. Do yourself a favour too - check in early so you can be one of the first ones in and out of there. *****
I *DID* like the time with Dr. Poplawski. Despite the seminar repeat, I still think he is the surgeon for me. He is brilliant and like his manner and humour. We talked a bit about the surgery and my medical history (which is as boring as the day is long never having had a surgery other than my wisdom teeth removal and never being in the hospital overnight before!). I didn't really feel the need to ask him too many questions as I've read a ton of informational books and information on websites.
The only questions I did ask:
Does he use an ng tube? (No, was the answer)
How long will it be after surgery before I can swim? (around 2-3 weeks). It will be July hopefully when I get my surgery done and I couldn't find the answer to this anywhere!
Like I said, everything else, I'd either asked in the previous seminar, read about or learned from others.
Where Do I Go From Here? Post Consult (March 2006)
The day after the consult, I looked over the new paperwork I'd gotten and realized that I really had no clue what the next step was. One of the consultants had given me paperwork on the next steps and I thought it would say what it was, but I never did find out what specifically I would have to do next in Ontario. I called Barix and they said that I'm good. I don't need any specialized testing!
I'm absolutely shocked that it has been so easy! Go figure!
Limbo City (April 2006)
Well after getting approval, I called Barix for a date. Unfortunately, I'm one of the few people who does not want their surgery right away. The lady on the phone said that she will not know the doctor's schedule for a while. She told me to check back in May to see if we can set up a date. So as it stands right now, I'm in limbo waiting to get my date. I suppose it doesn't matter much as I'm sure I'll get a date in July as soon as I can. I plan to call March 1st right away and hopefully will get a date then.
I Have a Date
Well after waiting and waiting, I called on May 1st and Janessa (I think that is how you spell it) said that she still did not have the schedule yet but that she should definitely have it the next day. So the following day, I tried again.
Yes, I FINALLY have a date! My surgery will be on Monday, July 3rd. That is perfect because I will wrap up my last day of school on the Thursday, and have a weekend to clean before I go off to have my insides rearranged. I will go for pre-op testing (PATS) on June 19th.
Yes!!! It's finally official!! John rearranged his work schedule for my upcoming surgery. He's such a doll. His attitude is "we will do whatever IT takes!".
Pre-Admission Testing (June 19, 2006)
First of all, I have to say that my surgery date was changed. Luckily, it was only pushed back a couple of days. My surgery will be July 5th, 2006.
Here goes the story of my PATS for all those who are interested:
So my Mother and husband were going with me to Barix on Monday. It is around a half an hour drive from the Ambassador bridge to Ypsilanti. It only took around 10 minutes to pick my mother up and maybe, another 10 minutes waiting on the bridge to go through customs. It wasn't bad at all. The appointment was for 11:45 am so I thought we'd be fairly safe since morning rush hour should be done.
The last time we went to Barix, hubby had a bit of a difficult time with the waiting and sitting around. He's not the type of person to just wait around. So I was glad my Mom came with me. I told John to go and drive around/shop to keep busy and on the go while we were doing all the testing. He went out briefly for lunch, but being the terrific supporter he is, he really stayed most of the time. The appointments could last anywhere from 2-4 hours although with my terrible wait last time, I was guessing my wait would be 6 hours!
I began with all the paperwork that you have to sign and the processing they have to do -paperwork. The form signing can make you a little nervous for sure feeling like you are giving your life away!
Then my Mom went with me to get 5 vials of blood taken. The nurse said I have really good veins. I think that is a compliment! hee! As long as I don't actually watch them take my blood out, I'm okay.
Then I had to get an ultrasound of my gallbladder done. They told my Mom that she couldn't come. Barix has some big "privacy" policy and so most of the other things I had to do by myself which made me feel sad for my poor Mom. I was really, really nervous for my gallbladder test. I have had three incidents of all day vomiting (one on Christmas Day, one in March and one in April) and everyone has thought they might be gallbladder related. They weren't though! No gallstones. I was soo relieved. I'd hate to get that out too. The lady who did this really took her time too.
Then I had a chest xray. It was great.
Then they did oximetry, where they put this thing on your finger and see how much oxygen is circulating through your blood. I was 100% so that is good. That's one reason that you don't want to smoke before surgery - they will know by the oxygen in your blood.
Then they weighed me and I was down 23 lbs from the last time I was there (28 from February).
Then the dietician came in and chatted with me. My Mom was allowed to come in. Previous to this the nurse asked if I could pee in a cup and I said no I couldn't (I hadn't eaten or drank anything since 6 pm the night before) so she gave me two containers of orange juice to drink. She also gave two to my Mom as well.
The dietician was great. I consider myself very savvy when it comes to nutrition so to be honest, I knew most things. She told me to take two chewable flintstone or scooby doo vitamins (which I already do). She told me to keep losing weight and was wowed by my loss. I did know alot that she was to tell me but she did tell me about the 2grams of sugar rule (anything over 2 grams can make me have dumping syndrome (sweats/nausea/palpitations etc). That I didn't know a number for so that was great. She also gave me my Barix Bible which is a binder with a very thorough eating plan. Fantastic.
Then I had an EKG and that was great. It's not a big deal, she just puts those suction cups on you, and it's over in a few minutes.
I also met my 'case doctor' who would be overseeing me during my stay at the Barix hospital - Stephanie or something like that. Funny thing is that I never actually saw her in the hospital. Dr. Pop was there alot though.
Then the respirologist made me do some breathing tests. To be honest, I found these to be rather hard. She gave me a spirometer to practice breathing with. God I hate that thing! I have to use it alot during the say to breath in (suck in air). It really, really sucks....
Here's what the spirometer looks like:
Then we went over the final do's and don'ts and what to do the day before surgery etc with the nurse. She also actually felt my liver poking and prodding me and said it felt good.
Everything went extremely well, all my tests were great and had great results that mean laproscopic surgery should be a piece of cake. Yay!!!
We were out of there by 2:00 --- just took a little over 2 hours for everything.
Barix totally, completely rules man!
The Day Before Surgery - July 4th, 2006
The last two weeks before surgery were definitely the hardest of all. Only because, all of a sudden I was *hungry* and wanted to put things in my mouth. I did not have a full out eating binge at all. I was determined to not let the head stuff get in the way of having surgery done laproscopically. I ate a few odds and ends like a tootsie roll one day, a burger another but despite that, I still managed to lose weight those two weeks.
The day before surgery I had to do my pre-op diet which consisted of clear liquids only and a MUST 64 oz of water. I began my day with a caffeine-free coffee and then around lunch time, I had some broth. Okay, to be honest, the chicken broth out of the container totally reminded me of URINE. It make me ill smelling it, but I sipped it anyway. Then I had a grape jello around 2 pm.
Around 4 pm, I started to NOT FEEL well and knew that a migraine was coming. I took one tylenol only because I felt that I shouldn't have too much before surgery. BIG MISTAKE. The migraine was horrible and I ended up throwing up around 5 or 6 pm. Then I felt nauseous and did not want to eat.
Around 10 pm, I started to panic because I did not have my 64 oz of water so I began hurrying to drink my water at this time. I figured I could get 8 glasses in before midnight which was my cut off time. Again, BIG MISTAKE.
I ended up projectile vomiting everything just after midnight.
I went to bed worrying and worrying and was up at 5:30 am worrying my head off.
UPDATE:*I get asked many times if I was scared about having surgery. Yes definitely. I think I would have to be weird not to get the worries. There were moments going into it that I'd think "I should just cancel". On the boards that I read, there were some deaths (2 men) just before I was to have my surgery. Did that freak me out? Yes, totally...but then I'd remind myself that I was a very healthy person going into surgery - so many people have a plethora of problems going into this surgery that I just felt that they were the ones who had the greater chance of death than myself. Nor I was I 500 lbs going into this surgery. I was obese but not a true "heavyweight" in the scheme of things when it comes to morbid obesity. I think that the day before surgery - the migraine was just a manifestation of that fear and worry. I literally made myself sick with worry...but I had faith in my surgeon and the place I chose and watched numerous people on obesityhelp Ontario board who had surgery with my surgeon or another surgeon at Barix...and rarely saw any problems of their patients --other than strictures which happen to 1 in 20. That's why again, you have to do your homework when it comes to your place and surgeon. Your life literally balances in their hands.
Surgery Day (July 5th, 2006)
After worrying all night, at 7 am, I called Barix pre-op and she said to come in as soon as possible so that they could have some time to give me an IV so that I would not be dehydrated for surgery. So I showered with my special sponge that they give you (a presurgery sponge - antibacterial).
So I woke John up and he got moving, called my Mother and got ready to head out early.
Okay, I must have been so scatterbrained with all this that I totally missed our big cut off once we got to the other side of the border. We ended up going the WRONG WAY! On 96, instead of going on 94. I felt like such a goof. We turned around though and doubled back and got better situated.
When I got to Barix, it was okay because they were behind anyway. They schedule surgeries X hours apart and each surgery that takes longer, of course sets them behind. That was good because there was plenty of time to IV me.
We waited a while in the lobby - the three of us- laughing and joking quite a bit. Poor John had not had any breakfast so he was starving but he was not going to leave til I was going in to surgery (Mom and John would go shopping for a teeny bit to buy me my diet related stuff). They called me to get 2 vials of blood drawn - one is a pregnancy test and the other was to check on my level of dehydration.
Then they called me into Pre-op. When they do that, no one can come with you initially. They showed me my gown and party hat and I had to dress myself. Then they asked me more questions and then put the IV in me. The first nurse that tried did not have success, and "blew or popped my vein" - not uncommon but it left a nasty long purple mark on my arm. She tried again and had trouble again. Then she called an older lady named Claudia who was quite funny and she did it in the other arm in two seconds. (This would not be my first trouble with an IV!).
Then she put the "cuffs" on me - which are the cuffs to keep your legs circulating during and after surgery. They are kind of like blood pressure cuffs -but very large to fit both of your legs. They squeeze and expand like a blood pressure cuff and they also get smaller too. At first, it was like "whoa!!!" it bothered me a bit, but after a half hour I hardly knew they were there at all.
In a little while, they asked me who I wanted to come in to see me and I said "My Mom and my Husband". They said "well you can only have 1 person come in". I must have looked really crestfallen, because Aster, the male nurse, said "She's the last patient of the day, let her have both". So they both came in. Aster was pretty funny by the way.
Then all these nurses came in and introduced themselves to me. Then Dr. Pop came in and went over my charts, talked with me, and asked for permission to do open if lap wasn't going to work. I said yes of course. He said with the substantial amount of weight that I'd lost, there would more than likely be no problem with that.
Then they made me drink this stuff so that you don't throw up in surgery. Someone on the Michigan (Kimberlina) board said it tasted like "1000 sour patch kids" and they were totally right!
I should also say that my chest broke into a huge rash while I was on the pre-op table talking with my Mom and John. I worried about it and showed the nurses but they didn't seem to think it was much. It was before they'd given me anything too. Weirdly enough, a half an hour later, it disappeared.
We waited a LONG TIME in preop. Surgeries were backed up. Ironically, one lady ahead of me had her surgery cancelled on the spot when they took her blood that morning they noticed something was wrong with the platelets or something and cancelled her surgery then and there.
They also gave me a shot in my belly - blood thinner (I'd have more of these during my stay at Barix).
Then we chatted some more and they sedated me and that's all I remember til I woke up in Recovery in pain and thinking "what the heck did I do to myself?". I was in too much pain to remember anything though or to say or do anything.
That night, I remember people talking in my room - I remember the nurse Bob introducing himself and hearing him talk to my Mom and John. I remember people waking me through the night, but I only seem to remember bits and pieces. Apparently I was so out of it, I could not figure out how to use my morphine pump so Bob gave me a shot in the behind for pain. This day was PAINFUL but I frankly was so out of it, that I mostly slept through the pain anyway. I rated the pain at 8/9 on a scale of 1 to 10.
Day Two in the Hospital (July 6, 2006)
Well I don't remember at what point I was pain free and when exactly I started walking the halls. The nurse, I think Mila might have taken me for my first walk and helped me. My first walk was not that far - once around I think. Then it seemed to get better on subsequent walks.
My day was basically : sleep, get woken up by the vitals lady, sleep, get woken up by the respirologist, got my chest x-ray taken (for leaks), sleep, get woken up again, sleep, ..... I really could not do a whole lot. I tried to read a bit or watch television but I'd last maybe 10 minutes and then think "oh....a nap would be great" and off I went into la-la land. After the chest xray they took out my catheter.
Things they wake you up for:
-get your vitals taken (blood pressure and temperature)
-use the spirometer (My goal given at pre-op was 2500. I did not even come close to this in the hospital)
-use the therapep (they will give you this machine in the hospital. It is the opposite of the spirometer. You breath out into this one and try to get the marker up between the two arrows. You do this 40X when they come for you to use it. I did not mind this one at all. It's easy!
-To make your legs go up and down (lift them on the bed (bend your knees basically). You do this maybe 5 times per leg. (this is after they take off those leg blood pressure cuffs that I mentioned earlier).
-To cough. You do 3 big breaths in and then coughs out with your Barix pillow
I gave hubby instructions to stay home that day. It's hard for him to take off a lot of time at work and figured that would be the day to miss since by other people's accounts, that is the day that you are the most zoned out.
That night I started to feel better. I was more alert and aware of my surroundings. I was definitely more capable of using my morphine pump. Dr. Pop came in and told me about the problem that they had during surgery. Apparently, I have a bit of a genetic defect - I had an artery where an artery wasn't supposed to be! So when they did surgery, I had some bleeding when they cut it. It was one of those unforeseen things. Thank God, I chose the skilled and experienced surgeon that I did! He said it was really not that big of a deal in the scheme of things that that they fixed it up. It made my surgery last only about 10 minutes longer. He said those 10 minutes were pretty exciting as he had to do his thing and I lost some blood, but that things all settled down really quickly once he tied down the ends (or something like that). I lost about 1 cup of blood whereas normal patients lose 2-3 tablespoons.
So not all surgeries are going to be a piece of cake, but at the same time, it was really not that bad.
People I remember at the hospital: Mila my sweet nurse, Bob the wonder nurse (Who SO impressed my husband and mother the first night), nurse Janet who released me my last day, Terry the respiratory therapist who was sooo funny...
I was offered dinner that night. I had delivered on my tray: a popsicle, broth, jello and some crystal light. All I managed to eat was half of the jello. I was not hungry and quite frankly after migraine night, the smell of broth made me want to puke.
John called alot that day. In hindsight, he wished he would have stayed all the time I was there but to be honest, the people at Barix took such good care of me, that I was completely fine. Everyone, and I MEAN EVERYONE who comes in to take your vitals or do breathing or check on you, ALWAYS leaves by saying "Is there anything that I can do for you before I leave?" so I always had things I needed.
The only time that I pressed my call button was when my IV started hurting. After a while, my arms started to swell because I had knocked it out of the vein or whatever. That freaked me out to be honest but it wasn't a big deal. They took me off the IV which meant they wanted me to try to drink quite a bit...and the good thing was that I no longer had to carry that IV thing around anymore when I went for my walk! That rocked!!
BTW - I gained 11 pounds the day of my surgery from all the gas and liquids (iv) in me. When I went home, the scale was back to 256. Don't let that freak you out! Also, food smells in the hospital made me want to throw up. Some of the workers had ordered a pizza and it just made me sick to walk by their room - same when someone brewed a pot of coffee -- something I normally adore!
Please Release Me...Let Me Go...(July 7, 2006)
I must have been a classic textbook case because the next day I showered and was good home, being released before noon! Everyone seemed to be quite impressed with me. I only asked for Lortab twice when I was in the hospital recovering on Thursday/Friday. (Once you have the leak test, you come off the morphine pump and go to Lortab - a drink of a drug like vicodin - it's heaven!).
I took a shower and it felt really good. I told the nurse she didn't need to stay - I could manage on my own and I did with no problems. I had 5 little holes - incisions that are held together with steri-strips kind of like thick tape. I made sure not to get water directly on them, washed them and around them, and patted them dry.
John and my Mother in law were there bright and early and hung around til I was released.
***A word of note for Canadians: Any prescriptions that you get in the States CANNOT be filled in Canada. We got the Lortab filled in a nearby pharmacy but thought we could get the gas pill - PREVACID in Canada so we left that til hometime since I would have it covered. We should have gotten them both filled. Do yourself a favour and FILL them both. The pill for gas that melts in your mouth is a much more pleasant experience than having to crush up or cut up zantac pills that you'll get in Canada. (UPDATE: Maddie said you might be able to get the Prevacid in Canada?). EDIT: Hubby said I should clarify this - if your doctor in the USA happens to be a former Canadian doctor who is still registered with the College of Surgeons, then your prescription can be filled OR when you come back to Canada make an appointment to have your doctor co-sign. (I Still recommend getting the LORTAB in the states though since you can't get it in Canada from what I've heard). Lortab is heaven! Both prescriptions together should run you below $100. I think the small bottle of Lortab was $25 and the other pill (that I didn't get) was around $30.
They gave me various handouts, a 1-800 number to call anytime and told me that my follow up appointment would be on the 17th =)
When I did go home it was mostly, walking, sleeping, watching tv, walking, sleeping, watching tv...
For those of you who are interested: VISIT MY BARIX SLIDESHOW. There aren't alot of pictures but it shows you what it is like. Click "slideshow" on the page and it is much better than opening and closing each pic:
MY BARIX SLIDESHOW --------Visit Here: Click me!
Saturday, July 8th, 2006 - First Full Day Home
All of a sudden on Saturday, I no longer had the urge to sleep my life away. All of a sudden, I'm not tired and unable to open my eyes. Visitors definitely helped that was for sure! I even did a few things around the house - tidying up, putting laundry away (little things) not actually carrying the laundry basket!
I am trying to be aware of not lifting anything. That is really hard to be honest. I started to try to pick up my cat and realized that I can't mid lift. You really have to teach yourself!
Today I did not get nearly the 64 oz of water nor 62 oz of protein that I'm supposed to get in. I will improve. I mostly had: crystal light, protein drink with milk, more crystal light... not much. It was not a good day for eating. I'm not really hungry but the head hunger DOES get to you like when you see an ad, you can almost taste it in your mouth. Or when I walked today, I smelled someone barbecueing and that smelled SO good.
I'm really frustrated with eating and drinking right now. I guess I'll have to learn this too. I'm such a worry wart that I'm going to stretch my pouch or split my sutures and staples. I'm worrying TOO MUCH!!
Sunday, July 9th, 2006
Today I actually went into the land of the living!! I went to the mall. I was worried about going initially because I almost passed out in the morning. It was my own fault. I took a hot shower and it was just too hot that I felt woozy. I was okay once I sat down though.
For the TMI department, after you have your surgery for a few days and are filled with gas and liquids, you are going to have some leakage out your behind that you will think is gas passing but it is not. You want to make sure that you have some appropriate undergarments to wear for maybe a week til your bowels settled down and things start to get under control. Today my nurse Bob called to follow up on how I was doing and I asked him about this because I was a bit frightened by that...but apparently your intentines and bowels getting cut up and moved about need a few days to get back to normal. (UPDATE: Yes, this probably lasted 2-3 days at the most so don't let it scare you).
Hubby, My Father-in-Law and myself went to the mall to do some shopping. It felt pretty good. I felt a bit out of it though. The only experience I can liken it to is shopping with a hangover - it feels a bit "out of body". I was afraid I'd be a little incoherent if I saw someone I knew.
That's about it for now,
Monday, July 10th, 2006
Today's post-op advice. You do not need to go crazy when packing for the hospital. I packed quite a bit but it was not excessive at all, and even then I didn't use half of the stuff I brought anyway. I never once did take out my housecoat, slippers or pajamas. I wore hospital gowns. They were large and comfy. I walked in the shoes that I'd brought on - slip ons.
In terms of toiletries, Barix gave me a bag with toiletries in it. After hearing that would happen for others, I did not pack my toiletries. What was in the pack: deodorant, body lotion, shampoo, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, chapstick and talcum powder. Of course, if you aren't a Barix patient, it's probably good to bring your own. Barix also gives you a green Barix pillow for coughing exercises which my dog Terk has seemed to claim for her own! hee! They also give you a large 32 oz mug as well.
Unlike others, I really did not use my chapstick. They come around with little water sponges and sponge out your mouth and that was plenty for me. I was not a chapstick freak. I bought four flavoured ones before I went and only put on one of the chapsticks on one time.
Tuesday, July 11th, 2006
I wrote yesterday in here and forgot to upload it to the website - silly me! So you get two entries today! I'm doing pretty good.
Life on Full Liquids: I am doing the full liquid diet okay now and seem to be getting more in the hang of getting my protein and drinks in, taking bigger sips for sure. I have to be be on full liquids for three weeks. I've noticed other post op patients on the boards I read who are eating much more "normal" things, but I'm actually kind of glad that Barix makes you do full liquids because after all, I AM so darn afraid to stretch anything. I am totally disassociated from my stomach - I have no clue where it is, or when noises arises if that is the stomach or the pouch. I've had NO nausea or feelings of fullness or hunger, so I really would be afraid to cause any trouble to my "pouch" since I don't really seem to understand it yet.
Full liquids include: broth (yuck), soups that are blended and strained (I'm going to try some cream of chicken today hoping that I'll prefer that to the broth), popsicles, creamsicles, fudgsicles (all sugar free), sf pudding, sf yogurt, sf jello, milk, decaf coffee/tea, dilated juice, water, crystal lite, sf cocoa, sf protein powders. (Sf - sugar free of course).
*I have to say that I'm appalled at how some surgeons send their patients home with NO INFO. I've been reading various boards and people on there have NO IDEA how to figure out the labels of foods they eat and how do identify what has too much sugar. One lady I read was on a board and she was saying how she's allowed to eat baby food now, but read the label of the banana baby food and noticed it had something like 12 grams of sugar. So she asked how could she eat it? She did not know the differences between the different kinds of sugars and how to read a label. I just think this is *so* wrong that she is not given this information BEFORE she steps out of that hospital. I have to say that Barix did a phenomenal job with that - I had that meeting with the dietician and then they gave me the Barix Binder which is just FULL of that sort of information and how to read labels and even "test labels" to practice on.
I have to drink 64 oz (8 glasses of liquids). I find that tough because you have to slip and go SLOW. I also have to get a certain amount of protein in as well which is really hard. The protein is definitely my biggest challenge. You need huge sources of protein in order to meet that quota and a yogurt is only 4 grams, fudgsicle is 2, etc. So you have to use the protein powders.
At Barix I bought three different kinds. Nectar Syntrax Twisted Cherry which is just disgusting to me. I have a huge wonkin' bottle of it and I hate it. (I think I might get some kind of protein swap started on the Ontario board so that we can all exchange samples of proteins or something). Then I have Any Whey unflavoured - it is not *too* bad in chocolate milk (sf nesquick from the states) but the smell makes me a little repulsed. It has this weird vanilla, but not quite, smell and aftertaste. I can deal with that one okay. Then I also bought liquid pro-stat which is just repulsive. It's a liquid sort of like maple syrup and it grosses me right out. I did find today though that it is totally bearable in peach yogurt. (BTW, all three of these did have the weird vanilla smell and aftertaste (probably the milk whey or something) but the any whey is definitely the least repulsive of the bunch.
Today at the Shoppers Drug Mart, my Mom bought me four cans of the Weider Chocolate Pro Plan shake for $12.99. It was actually pretty good and did not have that weird vanilla taste/smell. It's pretty darn good and has a whopping 35 grams of protein - more than half of my 64 grams required in a day. Too bad it's so expensive - blah! I will keep experimenting in the meantime with the stuff I have and trying new ones I imagine.
Yesterday was the first day that I reached my 62 grams of protein and 64 oz of liquids goals. That made me feel much more confident about things. I even made hubby dinner yesterday and sat near him while he ate it. Like I said, I really don't FEEL hungry - but seeing it does make you go "oh that looks soooo good". (That's what head hunger is all about).
In terms of my energy level, I'm doing really, really well. I'm not kidding. I get my occasional moments of wooziness or lightheadedness probably from doing more than I should, but I am pretty good - not much slower than I normally am. I went to my doctor's today to get my prescription for the zantac and she was amazed that I was so up and about. After filling the prescription, I even did a little shopping at Giant Tiger. Tomorrow I'm off to shop at Walmart with the sister-in-law. Again, the only thing I need to remind myself about is NOT LIFTING ANYTHING!!!!!!!!!
That's it for now. I got a nice email today from someone who is reading my site which really made my day!!
Thursday, July 13th, 2006
Okay, I missed a day of posting. So sue me =) LOL! Let's see: yesterday I went to Walmart with my sister-in-law. I felt really good getting out and about. My SIL asked if it was okay not to park too close and I said I was up to walking. She really parked far from the store!
At Walmart, I bought various things: some snacks/dinner related stuff for hubby, a small mesh strainer (for straining soups) which was $5.00, a Teen Pac (I love the value of the products in them), rabbit food (for my bunny), cat treats and a toy, and various things. One thing I noticed when I was browsing through the protein aisle was that Walmart had samples of protein! I was shocked. Okay, there wasn't much and I didn't even notice them the first time around (you really have to look carefully because they were in a dispenser type box). Anyway, they were by Whey Gourmet and they had four flavours although one had no more samples in the box (creamsicle the one I'd probably like the most too!). They were $1.96 each so I bought one of each: strawberry banana, Vanilla ice cream and raspberry something or another.
Imagine my surprise this morning when I went to have the strawberry banana smoothie and it turned out to be DELICIOUS!! I mean not the barely-tolerating-it-but-managing-to-drink-it kind of good, but actual lipsmacking WONDERFUL good! Ah, I am in LOVE!! I am looking forward to trying the other kinds and then I'm sure I'll go back to Walmart to buy some more!
Here's a nugget of info for pre-ops. One of the best post-op things that I have that comes in the most handy was not bought by me. It happened to be a present from a cousin of hubbys as a little gift after surgery. It's one of those mugs that you buy that has water in between the two sets of layers and you put it in the freezer to freeze. It is truly THE best thing post op because everytime I try to drink something, it takes me so long that by the time I get to the middle-end of the drink, it is already getting warm. The mug stays cool for at least an hour and is a godsend.
The nutritionist from Barix (Mary) called me again to see how I was doing with life as a post op. She asked me how I was making out with my totals and asked me if I had any questions. She reaffirmed that I can drink faster than I do and not to worry about stretching or leaking at this point.
I'm still not hungry BUT I did make hubby the most beautiful stir fry for dinner yesterday and I *so* thought it would be nice to eat. It's not like I'm going to cry or anything, but it's just like a little wishful thinking. I'm pretty good - just a little wistful I guess! I cannot wait til I can eat real food even if it is in smaller amounts I have a feeling I will appreciate it much more!
You've probably noticed that I haven't posted my weight. I think I will wait til I go back for my appointment on Monday, July 17th before I post any weight. To be honest, the number on the scale is getting in my head a bit. You see, I belong to a list where this other girl had the surgery the same day as me and she is going around all gungho saying that she has lost 21 lbs. It's kind of playing with my head because I've lost nowhere near that total and find that to be a little bit unreal in a week?! I just can't compare myself to everyone I guess. The scale is moving but the number is not huge at this point. I don't want to get all obsessed about a number either so I think I might try to limit posting my weight to once every 2 weeks or so. I just have to make sure not to get too crazy with a number.
Friday, July 14th, 2006
It's a pretty quiet day today and I'm feeling a bit lazy. In the exercise front: after surgery, you are supposed to walk about five minutes, every hour that you are awake. I find this easy to do. I'll just do a little tidying up or even just doing laps on the deck or in the livingroom (my dogs think I'm a little crazy and will start to follow me a bit making me feel like the pied piper of Hamelin). I also try to get real life outside walks in now and again.
Yesterday I went on the Gazelle for 25 minutes. It definitely feels a little weird and I feel that I'm going to cool that for a little while longer. Then at night, I went for a walk for about a half an hour before it got dark of course. Today, I'm feeling a lazy. I think I will wait til later on tonight to go for another walk. It's really too hot to walk in the day time anyway at 32 degrees. Right now it's raining and now, I just talked with my sister-in-law and she said it's supposed to rain all night. *sigh*
I don't really have any weekend plans. Tonight, maybe hubby and I will watch a movie on cable or something. Saturday he works so we can't do anything. I hear that Sunday is going to be extremely HOT. We were thinking of doing a little daytripping but if it is honestly going to be as hot as I'm hearing, that would be nuts I think!
On Monday, I will head off to Barix for my follow up appointment with Dr. Poplawski.
Well not much to say. If anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask. I've also added a comment box too.
Saturday, July 15th, 2006
I've made two discoveries in the past 24 hours.
First of all, you know how some foods like asparagus having magical qualities that enable them to change your output? (ie. pee green). Well I've found that strained cram of chicken soup has the same smell coming out of me as going in. Gross, but true. Weird!
Second of all, as much as I'm pretty turned off by the Any Whey protein mix that I bought - I found the best solution! A drink that I can make with it - which covers the smell and aftertaste I loathe!!! Yay!! I put a half of a glass of milk, 4 ice cubes, 2 tablespoons of SF Nesquick (got to buy more of this when I go back to the states on Monday) and 1 tablespoon of peanut butter into my Magic Bullet. Then voila! I havea wonderful Peanut Butter Cup Smoothie! I'm not a peanut butter fan by the way but I do like PB cups and this smells and tastes alot like it! Wonderful!! I guess I just need to experiment more!
Today in the shower, my first steri-strip fell off. Steri-strips are sort of like medical tape that holds you together after laproscopic surgery (no stitches required). You can take them off on your own if you absolutely want to - but me, I'm more of a follow the rules because they are there for a reason person. My incision under it looks pretty good too. I imagine the others will fall off soon too.
Last night, John and I went for a nice walk about 9:30 at night. It's so nice to walk when the streets are quiet. I enjoyed my walk with him. It started to sprinkle a little while we were out which was just fine.
Today, not much planned. My Sister-in-Law is coming over and bringing dinner for her and John and then they are going to go swimming. I'll get to cheer them on by the side of the deck. Too bad too - the water is finally the temperature that I like (85F) and I can't go in. Boo hoo! Oh well, I'll survive!! Just a week or a week and a half more and I'll get to go in too!
Sunday, July 16th, 2006
Things that I bought that I am really using since being home from the hospital:
-sf yogurt (mix it with 1 tbsp prostat and it is worth 11 1/2 protein!)
-sf Nesquick (definitely going to stock up on more in the states tomorrow!)
-milk! Every single protein shake I make, I make with milk because 1 cup of milk is 8 grams of protein! To me, there is just no sense mixing it with water if I can get more protein out of it!
-creamsicles. I have never more enjoyed a treat than I do my creamsicles. The "cream" makes me feel like I'm having a decadent treat. I do not care for the regular popsicles but LOVE the creamsicles. If I'm short on protein though I'll have a fudgsicle since they are 2 grams of protein and a creamsicle is only 1.
-my magic bullet. When you make protein shakes by stirring them, they are blobby, and powdery and gross. My magic bullet mixes it perfectly and is SO easy to clean since it is only 1 cup. This I LOVE! I would hate to have to clean out a whole blender each time. The container for the MB is just like a mug or glass so it's super easy to clean and I can take the MB base out of the cupboard and in two seconds my shake is done. (*highly recommend it*).
-bottled water (I alternate between protein shakes and water because the protein shakes sort of dry out your mouth and then the water is refreshing afterwards).
Things I've not had:
-Jello. Honestly, to me jello just seems like a waste. I'd MUCH rather have a yogurt with protein than a jello with no protein value at all.
-Pudding. Same with pudding - it just doesn't have much bang for the buck. Now I tried to make some instant with protein added. We'll see how that goes.
We will look for the Carnation Instant Breakfast tomorrow and see how that is when I go for my first follow up appointment with Dr. Pop.
Today we had the inlaws and sister-in-law over for a barbecue - burgers, corn on the cob, caesar salad and strawberry-rubarb pie. I make the caesar salad and cooked the pie and I was still good. I did all the dishes. As everyone ate, I just sat at my computer table, talking and watching. They were pretty impressed with how I could do that. I'm okay though. I admit though that the food looked really good - the caesar salad was just dripping with dressing and corn on the cob too! Yum! When I made the salad dressing, some of it dripped on me and I licked it. Thank goodness the box said only 1 gram of sugar. It tasted really good too! LOL!
The water in the pool was 90 so hubby and sis-in-law swam with the 2 dogs. My two dogs "own" our pool. Here's a few pictures:
Dawn (P.S. Those are not stains on my clothes -it was water from my shower! oops! blow dried my hair but should've done my shirt! LOL! )
Monday, July 17th, 2006
So John and I went over today for my first follow up appointment post op at Barix. We left around 8:15 and I was a little nervous that we'd be late but it was okay. It was kind of funny because we had the same guy at customs that we had last time when we went over. He remembered us too and joked about me being able to only eat a "tomato" or grape or something.
When we got to Barix it was 9:15 and my appointment was for 9:30. John went upstairs to the cafeteria to have a bowl of oatmeal while I had my appointment since he hadn't eaten breakfast.
When they called me, the nurse lady brought me into a room and weighed me, took my temperature and blood pressure. Well - she TRIED to take my blood pressure but had alot of trouble with it. She had to take it twice and then gave up and went to the old style cuff where you pump it up by hand. My blood pressure was very low. She gave me a "do/don't" sheet about where I am in my recovery (ie. I can drive, but light house work only - things like that).
Then she brought me into another room and asked me all kinds of questions - for example, am I having regular b.m.'s, any vomiting, nausea etc. That sort of thing. Then I had to wait a little bit for the dietician to see me. She just gave me tips on the next stage of my diet - purees which I won't be able to start til next week. She answered a few questions, reviewed my food log, etc.
Then Dr. Pop came for a very brief visit and he just wanted to check my incisions which look fabulous. I was worried about the one by my bellybutton because it has more scabs than the other but he said it was fine. He reminded me that when I move on to purees, that 1 in 20 patients have a stricture and if I can't get anything down to call them. He also reviewed the medications I'm on and told me when I could start them again. I'm primarly only on skin related stuff. Then we were done. It was a quick appointment. My next one will be August 14th.
Then John and I used our mapquest directions and went to Meijer and Walmart. The Walmart kind of sucked and had nothing we were looking for (Carnation Instant Breakfast and Nesquick - both no sugar added). So then we went to Meijer (I was amazed because I got us there by memory of mapquesting for Mom and John 2 weeks ago!!). At first, we found regular Nesquick in the drinks aisle, and I said to John that I wanted to check elsewhere in the store. Then we came across the Carnation Instant Breakfast by chance, so I just knew we'd find the Nesquick - and we did - in the tea/coffee aisle - big honking containers too! John bought me the small container for $4.99 at Kroger two weeks ago. We bought the LARGE container at Meijer for $4.29!!! I also picked up two jars of the no fat gravy which is supposed to be good on the purees. Also a Rimmel eyeliner! hee! =)
That's about it. John and the sis-in-law are going to go swimming tonight and then John and I are going to go for a nice long walk. They told me to increase my exercise now. As well, I'm going to weigh in on Wednesday on this site because then it will be officially 2 weeks since surgery. The number is still low but they did not seem to be concerned about it at all.
P.S. The raspberry Whey Gourmet is really, really gross...but then again I don't like raspberry
Wednesday, July 19th, 2006
What do you know? I missed a day - I suppose that will happen every now and again. Today it is two weeks since I had surgery. At this time right now, I was waiting around for pre-op! It seems like so long ago - it is kind of strange. Today was also my first official weigh-in. To be honest, the weigh-in is disappointing. There are so many people I chat with online who had surgery the same day and they have lost twice as much as me! I can only guess that my lower weight loss is probably due to the fact that I lost a whole bunch of weight BEFORE surgery (over 30 lbs) so my body is a tad more resistant than those who had the surgery and did not lose beforehand. They probably have more water weight to lose than myself. I'm trying to keep this in mind, and that things will probably even themselves out in the long run and not to worry about it. It WILL come off eventually!!
I went with my Mother to Walmart today to get some more Gourmet Whey. I bought the largest (1.5 lbs) containers of the creamsicle and the banana strawberry. I find the bs to be the best one - the creamsicle is okay. But at least with two kinds they will give me some variety - I am SO sick of chocolate flavoured stuff right now. I had a Weider chocolate pure pro shake this morning and then the creamsicle for lunch and I'm already over my protein goal for the day! Woo hoo! The large cannister costs just over $29 which I don't think is too bad. I needed them now or I probably would have ordered through www.sndcanada.com - they have good prices and free shipping over $50. Not bad.
Someone asked me what I'm doing in terms of exercise. I was doing about 1/2 hour of exercise, but now I'm trying to beef it up to 45 minutes at least - either walking outside or doing my gazelle.
Things are pretty boring today!
Thursday, July 20th, 2006
To be quite honest, at this stage of the game, there is nothing really exciting going on with my new lifestyle. I'm pretty much recovered from the surgery. All but one of my steri-strips have fallen off and my incisions look fine. I have no nausea or pain other than a few twitches now and again, perhaps from when I do more than I should. I have no more neck or shoulder pain from the gas inserted in my body. I am subsisting on 2 protein shakes (31 grams of protein each) and 4 bottled waters daily (along with the occasional yogurt, soup or pudding). My bowel movements are normal again. At this stage of the game, it is truly uneventful.
Not eating does not bother me. The food looks good but I'm not crying or weeping because I can't have it (this actually happens for some people). I am looking forward to starting purees next week - can't wait for some "Break-Free faux scrambled eggs", mashed potatoes and gravy and pureed Wendy's chili that I can have next week. WOO HOO!
Today my friend from work, Barb came to see me. It was really nice and she brought me some Lush Woot!! She made a comment today that she couldn't believe how my face has thinned out. I was surprised but other people on the obesityhelp Ontario board had said that too when I put a new picture up. That was kind of cool!
I have to say before I go how supportive John has been. He's going for a walk with me tonight despite the fact that he worked all day and is tired.
Monday, July 24th, 2006
I think I had my first mini-dumping episode last night. In case you have not heard of dumping syndrome, it is a reaction that roux en y patients have if they eat too much sugar or too much fat.
Last night, John made me some homemade chicken broth. He let it simmer for a long time - started it around 5 and had it cooking til probably midnight. Dummy me decided to go in around 11pm and put some in a soup mug and bring it upstairs. I should not have done this because all the fat from boiling the chicken thighs and chicken was still in the pot. (Whereas today I skimmed all the fat off the top of the soup that had settled in the fridge). When I ate it I even though it tasted "oily" but had about half a cup anyway.
Then I was in the bathroom yelling for John to get a blue cup. I bought these really ugly blue disposable cups a long time ago and every time I've had a migraine, they've been carried around for impromptu barfing (and yes, they go into the garbage everytime). I'm probably down to about 4 cups out of the 10 I bought!
I sat on the toilet with the blue cup (in case I threw up) and started to feel nauseous, cold chills, lightheaded like I was going to pass out. At the same time, I was not sure if i was going to have the runs or whatever so that's why I stayed on the toilet - just in case. I gagged quite a few times thinking something was sure to come out - dry heaved quite a bit but nothing came out. I then went and laid on the sofa in the living room and asked John to get my pillows from the bedroom so I could lay down. I felt better just laying down. I ended up falling asleep and feel fine today.
I guess this was probably a "mini-dump". It probably would have been alot worse if I drank the whole cup of soup that I brought upstairs with me - I poured half of it down the toilet when the "oily" taste was getting to me. I had a feeling that it might not be such a good idea after a while.
Other than that I'm doing alright!
Here's a picture of me in front of our Casino from Sunday when we went down to the river to see the cars of the bull run. (bullrun.com).
Wednesday, July 26th, 2006
Today marks three weeks since I've had surgery. Where has all the time gone? Again, I'm losing but not excesively like some people. I was reading in my WLS for Dummies book last night and it talked about how if you lose serious weight before surgery you will lose less rapidly than others because you are losing "real weight" whereas they are losing "water weight". I hope this is true - that it all evens out in the end because right now, it's hard not to feel like a loser when counterparts have lost 30 lbs already! But I'm not fretting too much because I *know* it WILL happen for me eventually. I will be really, really glad when I'm out of the 240's though!
Today was my first day on PUREED food. Yay! Okay, yes purees are gross in a way but I have many more alternatives than full liquids. Today I had three meals and all of them stayed down!! Yay! I feel very fortunate in that department so far - i hope my level of tolerating things sticks!
For breakfast, John made me some "breakfree eggs" - a substitute for eggs. It was good but I was unsure how much to eat (no sense of fullness yet) so I probably ate less than I could have. For lunch, I had tuna with a little mayo and mustard - I ate half a can of tuna!! I'll save the rest for lunch tomorrow! For dinner, I made hubby my famous stuffed peppers and I pureed myself the beef, and a little bit of peppers and onion in a teeny bit of tomato sauce. Okay, let me say that pureed beef is just DISGUSTING!!! I'm not in a hurry to do that again! It was not appealing at all. It stayed down though so that's all I ask.
I can see that I'll still need protein shakes. I don't know how people reach their protein levels without shakes. Honestly! My half can of tuna was around 6.5 and I need 62 grams a day - not even close! *sigh*
Sunday, July 30th, 2006
Today is my Mom's birthday =) Yay! She's 61 today.
My husband is one who says "I can't believe that you put such personal things on the internet" but he doesn't understand that I'm documenting the ups and downs of my surgery so that others can learn about it and maybe learn from it! I know he is going to cringe reading today's entry thinking I'm *nuts*! TMI ahead!
I have never been so excited to have a bowel movement then I have been today!!! I was getting really nervous that I might have a bowel obstruction because ever since Wednesday when I started inputting purees, I haven't been outputting. I could guess this might have something to do with my body having to adjust from going from only liquids to actual food, but it still had me nervous. Plus I have alot of tenderness on my right side (I'm guessing this is where my intestines might be) especially when I turn over or stretch. I have images of my intestines getting all tangled inside me.
Speaking of BMs, I don't know if you know this, but after surgery, you have some pretty weird BMs. At first, it is mostly just very watery stuff coming out - I can't even say stools because there is no binding agent for a while. Then eventually, the bm's become the right colour but again, no binding agent, so it looks like someone dumped coffee grinds into your toilet. Eventually in a week or two, you'll get nice solids! Didn't you want to know that? Hee! But you have to watch for bloody stools or black stools as they indicate some possible troubles inside.
There is a sense to be honest, of being a ticking time bomb in some respects. You just don't know if you will have some kind of complication. I'm hoping that the artery fiasco during surgery is as complicated as I get, but I worry about it A LOT!
Things seem to be going just TOO Smoothly! On purees so far, I've had breakfree egg substitute, oatmeal, chicken, tuna, veggies, sour cream (on the veggies & chicken sort of like my own fajitas), potato & steak soup, beef, cottage cheese, orange juice and Wendy's chili and ALL of it has stayed down. I've had NO nausea at all. I've had no vomiting at all - other than when I dry heaved the other day because of my mini-dumping episode. It's going really, really well on purees.
It's not all wine and roses though. The scale is barely budging at all. I'm thinking being all backed up in the innerds might be one reason and as well, the last two days I have not exercised. I actually took off Friday as a "relax" day - I figure one day a week won't kill me....but then last night, I planned to exercise after going to a party,but we ended up staying later than I thought at the party so I didn't go for a walk. You have to exercise. This weight is not falling off me - I need to get my butt going! I'm in the window-of-opportunity mode where you lose the weight the fastest (in the first 6 months) and I just don't seem to be taking advantage of that yet. Old habits die hard I guess.
I managed to get all my water in yesterday but still struggled with proteins a bit. 62 grams of protein is alot of flippin' protein! I need to have like 2 or 3 chicken breasts a day to fit it all in! Right now, I can eat about 3/4 of a chicken breast with some pureed veggies so I tend to eat that for dinner, and put what I can't away, for a late night snack, say at 10:00. I still don't feel full though. I might be able to eat the whole chicken breast, but I have been unwilling to push myself to the limits - too afraid to throw up.
Tuesday, August 1st, 2006
I can't believe it is August. Whoa! I'll have to start heading back to the classroom soon. How quickly time flies!
Well the latest update is that the scale has not moved all week. No I take that back - it went UP half a pound one day. Okay - who said this was the easy way out? I think my body must be resisting everything. I'm going to try really, really hard today to get major protein and water in. While I didn't exercise a few days ago, on Sunday night I did 20 minutes of regular walking and 30 minutes on the gazelle and last night, I did a whole HOUR on the gazelle while watching Hell's Kitchen. (I was quite proud of myself) but still the scale is NOT MOVING. Waaaaaaah! Truth be told, I'm very disappointed. I really, really wanted to be down for going back to school so that people would notice and I would be able to fit into my "thinner" clothes, but I obviously won't be there. I'm hoping at least to be under 200 by Christmas.
You must learn about STALLS. Although they are frustrating, they WILL happen. At about the third week out of surgery to the 6th week there will be one or two stalls that you will have. I will tell you the reason for this so that it will make sense and not get you too frustrated. It's a VERY IMPORTANT stall. What happens initially when you have surgery is that your body tries to live off the little calories that you are taking it in. It is starting to panick. It realizes that for whatever reason you are not getting the calories in that you used to.
So basically your body is deciding whether to go into "turn off" mode and conserve as much an energy as possible. It refuses to burn any calories because it knows it doesn't have many to burn. So it starts to do that. Eventually your body wakes up and says "HEY!! I KNOW WHAT TO DO! I NEED FOOD! I NEED CALORIES!! THIS LADY HAS LOTS OF FAT ON HER BODY THAT I CAN BURN TO GET SOME CALORIE!!!!!!! This is a total A-HA moment for your body. So your body decides to switch the process and THAT'S when the light comes on and it starts to burn calories again! It's a good thing and VERY IMPORTANT for this stall to happen as it signals fat burn. So don't let the first stall worry you - absolutely normal. This will repeat itself from time to time - stalls are ABSOLUTELY NORMAL! That is when you need to get out your measuring tape and check to see that you are losing inches. So be sure to take your measurements BEFORE SURGERY!
I'm feeling great though. I have no complaints at all. Yesterday hubby, myself and the dogs went to my parents for a swim. It is SO HOT! No one felt like barbecueing so we each got our own food (Mom and I ran and got it). My Dad wanted Burger King, Mom and Hubby wanted Subway, and I decided to get Swiss Chalet. I ordered the quarter chicken dinner, white meat with mashed potatoes and gravy. I didn't even use the magic bullet - I decided to chew and chew and chew. I even had the chicken sauce too but of course, not the bun! Everything went down really, really well - no dumping and no vomitting. I ate half for dinner and then went home and had the other half after my mega workout! I really enjoyed it too!
I have only one more week of purees and then I'm on soft foods which include ALOT of foods including toast and soft cereal (cereal that has been sitting a while in milk! I'll look forward to that again because the egg substitute is pretty good but I can't have it every day and the oatmeal, well kind of sucks. I've never been a fan of it.
I've noticed the last few days that I've been passing gas alot. Not smelly - just air. I think this still might have to do with the constipation that I had last week. Alot of hiccups and gas bubbles too even while drinking water!
I forgot to mention that on Saturday we went to a Summer Pool Party. It was a huge party with over 100 people so there was NO way I was going to put on a bathing suit in front of size 2 women! Anyway, the spread of food was amazing - meatballs, chicken wings, pasta, caesar salad, guacamole and tortillas, fruit and veggie trays and desserts... you name it. Well, that was a little tough watching hubby eat all the food. I SO WANTED a taste of the chicken wings. I LOVE chicken wings. I honestly just wanted to lick all the sauce. When talking about head hunger, I really wanted the food but I don't feel like I'm going crazy over it. Some people have talked about "food demons". I don't think I'm at that point that the feelings are THAT bad yet. I watched hubby eat and while I wanted some, I wasn't going to cry about it. Someone remarked that I'm very positive person but I don't think that is quite it.
I guess I made up my mind before I had my surgery that I wasn't going to whine or complain about the choice I made. I don't want people to see me as being weak or as making a choice that I didn't fully research. There's nothing I can do to change my predicament so I'm going to just live it out the way that it was meant to be lived out. I don't want to be a whiner after the fact because I made the choice and I knew what I was getting myself into. So that's probably a part of why I have the mindset that I do. As well, being on full liquids for three weeks made me VERY appreciative of the foods that I could have, once I got to the purees. I am loving purees to be honest. I LOVE pureed chicken with a little veggies and sour cream and I'm rocking! Do I want ice cream? Gosh, I would love it, but I guess I'm just accepting that I'm not that person anymore.
And I'm not trying to say that other people whine because certainly, there are other people who are certainly having a tougher time than I am with vomiting and nausea (I am so grateful that things are smooth for me this way) but I'm just trying to explain why my site is as positive as it is. There ARE people that have a lousy time post-op and my experiences might not be your experiences. I've just decided to document my surgery as it is - no holds barred, no bull.
Remember some people go through a mourning process, mourning food after surgery. Some people hit some depression and very low times. I've resolved myself not to do this period. But you can expect that you might have some issues.
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to be all high and mighty because I know that sometime, somewhere especially in my weakest moments where I'm stressed out from work, I will want that ice cream and I will mourn not being able to have my fave stress-relieving snack, but at this point, I'm trying to be a strong person. I chose it, I'm dealing with it. I am accepting that I just cannot have crap like I did before. Hubby has said that he's surprised how strong I am. I don't tell him not eat in front of me (it was my choice to have surgery, not his), I cook for him everyday and that's that. There is no turning back. If I can have some joy by having a sugar free Mr. Freeze, or chicken and veggies - then I'll get my joy from that even if in small portions.
I think I really got my head on early for this surgery. I think the two months of heavy dieting beforehand really helped get me in the mindset because I didn't go right from gorging to full liquids. I spent 2 months working hard, eating healthy stuff and minimizing meals and I think that really helped me out in the long run. And there will be tough times like at the party, where all I will be able to do is sip my water and not eat, but I think I will survive.
Thursday, August 3rd, 2006
Drinking takes me forever to do but I think I am probably eating too fast. Naughty me. I need to slow down a bit more and relax I think. Tonight I made a fairly yummy dinner. Carmelized some onions, added garlic, roasted red peppers and roasted green peppers and then let them simmer in a combination of balsamic vinegar and soup broth - then threw it all on top of chicken that I baked in the oven. It was pretty yummy and I managed to eat the whole small chicken breast and a few onions and peppers. For lunch today, I got Taco bell and at the insides of a burrito and chicken soft taco. It beats tuna - I'm tired of tuna. Very, very tired!
Last night, I went with my new friend to a swim class at a Community Centre. It was an aqua fit type class. It was pretty good. When I saw the instructor who was probably all of 17, I thought that it would probably suck, but she did a lot of the same moves that we used to do at the gym so it was decent. I worked out and it was nice to do something OTHER than the gazelle. I get so bored of exercise. A membership to the Community Centres would be about $28 a month and that would be for swim classes. I don't know - I thought we'd get a deal through the city...but I think the better value would be to join my old gym where I'd have access to all the exercise equipment, the strength training machines, all aqua fit classes, the whirlpool AND the Curves-type circuit - all for $36 a month. I'm still mulling everything over or if I will just stay home and continue to do what I am doing.
In terms of any challenges lately, eating is as smooth as silk...but I guess I've noticed that getting up fast, I sometimes feel lightheaded. Not for very long mind you, but sometimes I need to just slow down - in my moving AND my eating!
Saturday, August 5th, 2006
Well, life has been good. Today is my one month anniversary as a post-op. Last week as I said, the scale barely moved, but the good news is that things seem to be picking up again. In the last two days, I've lost 2 lbs. Whew! I am down 18 lbs for the month which is not huge, BUT overall, I am down 50 lbs and that is huge!!
I feel much better about things now that the scale actually shows that it is going to move for me again! I was really worried about the stall but then read on the WLS board I read that all the people who had surgery around the same time as me are all having the same problem! Then I read about Hibernation Syndrome. Apparently at about 3 weeks post-op, your body goes into a panic mode realizing that the low intake of food is not going to be temporary. It basically freaks out while it reorganizes everything. Then it somehow figures out to go into your fat stores and start pulling out fat and energy from the stores (which is great because that is the big FAT burnin!). Then the scale will start moving again.
Yesterday I had my first eat out experience in a restaurant. I just decided that we were going to eat out for a change and we went to one of our favourite restaurants. I got what I would normally order - grilled chicken and veggies and mash with gravy. I ate probably about 1/4 of it at best. I asked for a take out foam container and packed the rest away. Previously, I'd go to the salad bar before my dinner because it comes with the meal - AND what a salad bar it is! But I couldn't afford to eat before dinner or I wouldn't be able to eat any of my meal at all.
The surgery has really changed my perspective about eating. It used to be that I'd live to eat - that going to a restaurant would be such an exciting experience. I'd stuff myself and love it. Now, it's a chore. Because you have to chew so thoroughly and slow down when you are eating, it really changes the whole nature of eating. You don't appreciate the tastes as much and savour as much. It is hard to explain but it is SO different eating post-op. It's really just a matter of getting in the food because you NEED it - especially protein. Again, I think this is why so many people get depressed post-op - the joy in food is gone. It truly is.
Things are good otherwise. On Wednesday, I'm onto soft foods for a week, and then I'll be onto normal foods. Looking forward to that. Still will need my protein shakes but now I can vary things a little more.
Wednesday, August 9th, 2006
In my last entry, I talked about how the joy of eating is gone. Well, on the flipside today, I'm posting about my new found sense of freedom! I don't know how to describe it other than to say that that I no longer constantly think about food and no longer feel the need to constantly stuff my face. It's just amazing to me how all of a sudden my relationship with food has completely changed. I feel like perhaps, I'm more "normal" because I am no longer obsessed with food. It's like food is just nourishment now needed for my body, and no longer friend and comforter. It just makes me feel free all of a sudden from the prison of food. It's amazing.
Yesterday, I did ALOT of walking. It was great! First, I walked to my doctor's office which took around 20 minutes. Then I walked further down to the dollar store to buy some stuff for school. Then I stopped at Taco Bell (I ate the insides of two soft tacos). Then I walked home again - maybe 25-30 minutes if that. Then I walked by myself for 35 minutes and then another 30 minutes with my sister-in-law in the evening. So I figure that I got pretty close to 2 hours of walking in yesterday. And you know what, it didn't bother me at all. Before it would be painful to walk - I'd hate it and drag my feet. Yesterday, it just felt GOOD!
Today marks my first day of soft foods. (Next week I'm on regular foods!). At this stage of the game I can have more grains (crackers, toast, cereals), fruits, more veggies, and a few more things. Next week, it is pretty much everything in reason - still watching those sugars and fats!
Hubby was all worried about my incisions today. He said "are they supposed to still be red?" so I asked on the main messageboard on obesityhelp and got a ton of replies within minutes. Yes, they'll be red for quite a while and should fade within a year to whitish lines. Someone suggested putting vitamin e or skin cream on them. I'm not worried. They are red coloured lines but the incisions are CLEAN and neat.
Friday, August 11th, 2006
The scale works strangely as a post-op. For the first few days of the week, the scale would move a pound each day, and then for the last three days, it hasn't budged at all. It makes me want to growl at someone! But I think of it this way: I remember how frustrated I was at 240-243 with the scale barely moving, and now I'm at 236.5. It's moving - I just have to wait for it.
Yesterday I took my measurements again to see if I am losing inches and I definitely am! I've lost many, many inches most notably from my thighs and from my chest. So all you pre-ops, MAKE SURE TO TAKE YOUR MEASUREMENTS!!!!!!!! That way, when the scale stops moving for a while, you can take your measurements and feel a sense of accomplishment - for if it isn't pounds, it might be inches!
I am now in the soft foods phase of my diet but I can't say that I've really changed my eating habits - I'm still eating the same stuff - mostly chicken! It's nice to be able to chew though! Yesterday I had some pecans - I made sure to chew them very very well so as to not upset my pouch. It's weird but NOTHING at all has made me throw up. Everything seems to be good thus far!
I've been experimenting a bit with sugars. Not too much mind you - but I'm really wondering if I am going to dump over sugar or not?! I bought a little hershey's chocolate (it's a block of it - really small - the kind you get from a quarter vending machine - sort of like the miniatures but smaller and taller). I had one half of it, and no dumping at all. I had one jelly bean and no dumping. I even had the low-fat tuna salad by Cloverleaf (you buy it at the grocery store & it comes with crackers) and it has 7 grams of sugar - no dumping as well. (I used to buy these for lunch quite a bit - good to know I'll be able to bring them again as well).
I bought some Voortman chocolate chip cookies (I think they are miniatures) that were no sugar added with malitol (I haven't had any but figure if I am ever in the mood to have chocolate I will try them). As well, Schneiders had some turkey pepperettes as well that were about 50 calories, 0 sugar, 6 grams of protein and 2 grams of fat. I tried those but don't care for them much (probably because it takes me forever to chew them). I should have bought some cheese strings! Darn! I forgot!
Speaking of forgetting, the day I had my surgery, I had Mom and hubby do some shopping for me. One of the things that I requested for them to buy was baby food figuring I'd have it at the puree stage. I did not open one jar at all. It was a waste of money. First of all, no one tells you that you really should only buy meat-based baby foods because you are going to be so concerned with that protein intake. I just didn't want to waste eating on something with little or no protein so I never ate them at all. Plus, it is SO much nicer to puree stuff instead of eating that slop in the jar.
Saturday, August 12th, 2006
Yesterday I was complaining about the scale not moving and this morning, when I plopped myself on it - I lost 2 lbs!! YAY!!! I am 234.5 this morning! I practically could have celebrated. It was about TIME! Hee! Last night, I went to my Sister-in-laws and we walked for an hour. I am so grateful for her. She's not obese, but is working on losing some pounds, so she likes to walk every night. It's made my daily exercise much more pleasant knowing that most of the time now, she is eager to go for a walk with me. We talk about the houses we see as we go because we walk through a fairly older part of the city with more interesting houses than say, a subdivision!
After our walk, she wanted me to go with her to the train station to pick up her cousin and so I hung out for a few hours with her. While at her house, I had a handysnack (those Kraft crackers and cheese). It was pretty enjoyable - I ate all the cheese and about half the crackers. Not a ton of protein (only 3 grams) but it still made for an enjoyable snack. Okay, I'll be honest, I'm not scared at all to try anything new now outside the house. In the WLS books it talks about trying a bite of food first and waiting 10 minutes to see if it agrees with the pouch. (I think it is my Barix Binder that says try it one day, then eat it the next). But I'm not scared because nothing has given me a hard time at all. I might live to regret it..but I think I'm just going to probably be one of those people who doesn't throw up much at all. I guess I'm throwing a little caution to the wind.
Tonight I made us a chicken stirfry - simple! I made rice for hubby (I'm not going to waste my pounch on that), and then made some bean sprouts, frozen veggies (cooked them in some veggie broth/soy sauce/teriyaki marinade - a little bit of everything) and then added some chicken. I enjoyed it and have left overs for this evening.
I'm really having a hard time with the protein shakes. I'm not finishing them much. I might need to experiment and find some new flavours I like because I'm not enjoying my current ones much! I *have* to buy more Nesquick on Monday when I go for my follow up appointment to Ypsilanti.
Monday, August 14th, 2006
Well today I went to Ypsilanti for my 6 week check up. My appointment was for 9:15 and I just made it there by the skin of my teeth! We waited about 40 minutes in line at the bridge. Because of the recent uncovered terrorist plot, there is heightened security. Lovely! We managed to get to Barix just in time though!
The nurse first took me and asked me questions again about my exercise, eating habits, any problems (e.g. vomiting, etc). She weighed me as well and took my blood pressure which was 117 over 70. Then the dietician came in and asked me what I ate yesterday and punched it all in the computer to see if I met my protein goals. She gave me ideas on how to mix up the protein - adding orange juice instead of milk and freezing protein into an "ice cream" type treat. Then Dr. Pop came in and he said he was pleased with my progress. When I asked about being a slow loser he reminded me how much I've lost since the first time I saw him and how far I've come. He was very pleased with my progress and said even if I lost only 2 lbs a week, that would be 104 lbs for the year! That really helped me put it all in perspective. He reminded me to keep dialogue open with John because many men get very jealous the first year over the attention their wife gets. As well, he talked to me but the rule about "Thanks. I feel great". That is - I don't have to explain to everyone about my surgery if I don't want to. He said to learn how to take a compliment and that if I don't want to explain my loss just to use the words "Thanks I feel great". He reminded me how there are many toxic people out there who will get upset or be rude to me about the surgery.
Afterwards, John and I quickly ran to Meijer and grabbed a few essentials. The way back, it took us about 5 minutes to get back across the border - thank goodness!
I had some popcorn chicken from KFC for dinner. I only did this I think because someone on the boards talked that they'd had it and so it made me crave it. Won't do that again. I didn't dump, but I didn't feel that hot afterwards.
Tuesday, August 15th, 2006
Today was a day of some running around. I went with my Sister-in-Law to the mall and then the two of us did some laminating of bulletin board type materials. We had lunch at my mother-in-law's house. Then towards the evening, I had a birthday party at 7 pm for my cousin Hannah. (She's in Grade 4). I decided to do something a bit crazy - I decided to walk to my Mom's house (she lives 2 blocks away from Hannah's house) and then to go to the party from my Mom's house. John was going to meet me there anyways since he was working til 6:30.
Let me explain: The walk to my Mother's house from my house is 4.28 miles.
It took me about 1 1/2 hours and it wasn't that bad except that Tecumseh Road does not have alot of shade at all so it was pretty hot. But I sipped my water and then picked up a new water when I ran out.
When I got to my Mom's house it seemed everyone knew that I'd walked. My husband got off work early, and was calling everyone trying to find me - my SIL told him that I was going to walk (I didn't tell him because he is a worrywart about me and I purposely left early so as to beat him to my parent's house - being that he got off early, he beat me!). Everyone thought I was nuts. My Mom commented that she could really notice my weight loss today. Like John, she said my whole profile from the side is different. I'm losing alot on the top and so my chest doesn't look so big. (I think really, I haven't lost the "girls" but that they just don't stick out as much because I don't have so much fat underneath them if you know what I mean).
At the party, I had a teeny piece of watermelon, cantaloupe and a cracker with a slice of cheese on it. No cake or ice cream. It looked good but I was okay with not having it. My aunts too said that they really noticed my weight loss too. It kind of felt good, you know, for people to notice that I'm changing. I hope when I do go back to work that someone notices too considering that in February I was 288, and I'm now much less.
I weighed myself today. I'm pretty sure that I'm a little under what I weighed in at. Dummy me, forgot to weigh myself BEFORE talking my shower...and once I take a shower, I find the scale is higher because my skin soaks up the water...but I'm going to put the weight down anyway. I think I'm going to get John to help me take some new before/after pictures. I haven't put up my "before" yet, and I should probably put up this months photos soon.
On Wednesday, I did some preparation for work and then went to swim class in the evening. On Thursday, I went in to my classroom (horror scene it was with all my furniture mixed up, piles of dust everywhere!) and spent from 10 am until 5 pm there! Then yesterday, I made John dinner and we went grocery shopping - which again, I forgot to buy cheesestrings GRRRRR!!! Today, we did a little roadtripping in Southwestern Ontario from Windsor to Tilbury stopping at roadside stands, yard sales and antique stores. Fun =)
I'm pretty sure at this point now that I'm going to be one of those people that do not dump on sugar. I had a jelly bean one day to see if I could have it (I could) and a square of chocolate (no problem). Well today we ate at the Lighthouse Inn and I ordered the ribs without thinking - mind you more than half is left- but I totally forgot about their being barbecue sauce on the ribs. Totally forgot. At them and have not dumped. I think I will be a non-dumper =(
Things that I don't do that many post-ops do:
-I don't get nauseous. -I don't vomit. -I've never had any feeling of being full. -I've never had any feeling of anything being stuck. -I don't dump on sugar -none of my tastes have changed since surgery.
Perhaps I am an exception to all the rules???
I think so far that I'm breaking all the rules of being a roux en y patient. Maybe I didn't really get re-routed. Maybe Dr. Pop just fiddled and faddled in there and didn't actually move anything around. Strange....?!
I forgot to mention that at the 2nd post op visit, they told me to get my blood tested before my next appointment and to bring results with me. I need to call my doctor and get one of those bloodwork request forms so that I can just go to a lab on a saturday morning once school starts. As well, Dr. Pop told me to start taking calcium (even TUMS will do) and to go to GNC because they have those melt in your mouth B12 strips as well. I haven't done these yet as GNC is not really a place I go to often...but I'm sure I'll go there one of these days that someone wants to go to the mall with me.
UPDATE: Shoppers Drug Mart carried Caltrate chewables and Jamieson B-12 strips!!
I am SO sick of protein shakes so yesterday I bought some protein bars as a change. They are somewhat decent and are just an alternative to my shakes...and I could really use an alternative right about now.
Tuesday, August 22nd, 2006
Today let's compare 269 pounds with 230 lbs, shall we? The first set of pictures was taken on May 21st, 2006 at 269 lbs. The second set was taken today at 230ish pounds. I wore the wrong colour of shorts but since they are the same style they should be fine to compare.
Okay I am not seeing a huge difference but I do notice that I have less of a tummy. Not dramatic enough yet but that's okay.
Saturday, August 26th, 2006
It has been 1 month and 3 weeks since my surgery. Things are fantastic. I still have not thrown up.I honestly feel very, very blessed about this! No adverse reactions at all. To be honest, I've not been good about exercising the last few days. I only walked a half hour for the last two days. Things have been kind of hectic because my Father-in-law has been quite ill so things have been revolving around that and probably will continue to.
The scale was at 229 today which I was very, very happy about but I don't expect it too move too much with my minimal activity level. I'm thrilled to be at 229!! I can't wait as I inch closer and closer to 200!
I tried on my "thinner" clothes and they are fitting! I can actually get them over my hips and butt...but they are still too tight to wear (too smug on the butt) but I finally feel like I am getting there!
Tuesday, August 29th, 2006
It is definitely going to be a slow week in the weight loss department because I have not been as consistent with my exercise as I usually am. We had a family meeting on Friday and then decided to call an ambulance for my Father-in-law and to have him hospitalized. He has alot of different things going on right now including gout, chest pains (possibly a blockage), swelling of the limbs, etc and he is also diabetic and has congestive heart failure. He will be 79 in two days. So that has been a bit erratic and has played havoc on the regular schedule. My sister-in-law has been tired and not walking with me, so I've been a bit lax too.
Thank goodness for Madalyn who dragged my butt to swim class last night. I met Madalyn on the Ontario board and since we live in the same city, we've gotten together quite a bit and braved a swim class together. (She just got her surgery date: October 4th). Anyway, we've probably been going to swim class now for more than a month either on Mondays or Wednesdays. When we've been there we have seen this lady who we wondered if she had the surgery or not. By the excess skin on her legs, we can tell that she has lost a substantial amount of weight. She is the teeniest, tiny thing on top - her face is so delicate she is like a porcelain doll. She looks fantastic. Well, Maddie went up to her and asked her if she'd had surgery. (Me I am just not bold enough to go up and ask someone - Thank God Maddie is so brave because I am a wuss!).
She told us that she had her surgery in October of last year so she is almost a year out. She had duodenal switch in Michigan and has lost a whopping 190 lbs! Wow! Now I'll tell you, I briefly thought of the DS, but wanted roux en y, and have since seen people flocking to have DS done. We asked her if she was happy how things went and she made some very interesting comments. First of all, she said in a roundabout way that she wishes she'd had the roux en y as her friends have. She finds the DS too drastic. She's suffered from some depression because of the fast weight loss and post op problems that she'd had. She's had severe nutritional deficiencies and has been hospitalized at least 8 times. She also said something about her intestines being made too short but she cannot really prove it. I'm not sure what that means. She is the first person that I've ever met that had the DS. It was really interesting to get her point of view.
Yesterday I finally hit 228 which means that I have a total loss of 60 lbs. It feels really good too. I'm so glad to be primarily out of the 230s (I'm still 230 at night though!).
Wednesday, August 30th, 2006
Well today I was 227 which makes me happy! Everytime I get out of a new "decade" i feel so great about myself! I knew I wouldn't have a whopping loss this week - but 3 lbs is pretty good considering how I've slacked off in the exercise department. Today my Mother took me to Sears to get a new bra properly fitted now that the 'old girls' are starting to go a bit South! It was a great experience and I highly recommend getting properly fitted by somene who knows what they are doing. It makes me look so much better!
Then I brought my Mom upstairs to my closet and was showing her some outfits that I hadn't worn in a long time - if she thought that the looked okay to wear to work come next week. It was pretty cool because so many shirts that I haven't worn in a long time (as well as pants) now fit me. I have so many shirts that still have their price tags on them that now fit me!! It was awesome!She was getting quite excited as I was trying things on and telling me what looked good and what didn't. It's like having a new wardrobe now being able to fit back into my "thinner clothes". I have many that are still too tight and not quite right yet, but wow - it looks like I have a lot of clothes to wear come September.
I called my doctor to see about getting the brown sheet needed to get my bloodwork done in September and she's sneaking me in tomorrow. Then sometime probably mid September, I'll get up early and get the bloodwork done on a Saturday morning.
Today I was thinking of a few things I hadn't put on my website that frightened me a little post op. You become VERY aware of every mark and bruise on your body post-op and trust me you will have quite a few. First, I had these tiny little scab dots on my belly post-op. They were odd and I couldn't figure out what they were. I finally figured that they were probably where they gave me the blood thinner shots into my belly. That relieved me. Then I had a really nasty bruise (purple/yellow) on my flabby roll - a little lower than my belly. That scared me as I was worried that I had a bleeder. I monitored it every single day to make sure it was going away and not getting bigger and then pretty soon it went away completely.
I had a nasty bruise on my right arm from where they popped a vein while trying to get the i.v. in the first time. Then I had a mark on my right arm from where the actual i.v. was put in successfully. I was a nervous wreck worried that nothing would heal but eventually that yellow colour comes in and the bruises started to fade away.
Saturday, September 9th, 2006
It has been a really busy time and I haven't been on here much. First of all, I'd spent a few weeks getting my classroom ready for a new year...and as well, I've just finished my first week of school. September is always exhausting!! My two classes are pretty good. I just have one student who is really going to test out my patience supremely. He definitely has behaviour problems - a sort of "I'll do what I want" attitude. Hopefully I can get him in line.
Second, my Father-in-Law has been in the hospital - chest pains and severe gout so that has meant visiting the hospital every day which has completely changed our schedule. He has some heart blockages and was told that he could either leave his life in "God's hands" (no knowing how long he has left) or have a Triple-Quad bypass in Mississauga. He has triple the risks of most patients being 79 with diabetes and congestive heart failure. He has passed on the surgery and has been home now for a day. So as you can see, things have been hectic.
In terms of my physical state, I am just the same pretty much. Can eat pretty much what I want to but in small quantities. No throwing up or anything like that. I have had more incidents of just my pouch feeling "uncomfortable" and find it is when I eat anything with bread like a pita for instance. For lunch, I've either been talking left overs from the night before or tuna. There are these great little cans of tuna that hav flavours to them - like tomato and onion, lemon and dill...that sort of thing. They are just perfect. I can eat the whole can (they are smaller than regular tuna cans) and a cheesestring which works out to something like 21 grams of protein. No incidents of ightheadedness lately except just one time when I was at the hospital.
I celebrated my 36th birthday on Wednesday and my Mother and Father gave me $100 to spend at Penningtons for some new clothes. Both Mom and I had $25 gift certificates as well and she gave me hers too. So I spent them all plus another $150 of my own money. I got 2 pairs of pants - black and navy with very thin silver lines on them, some socks and about 5-6 shirts. It was so nice to shop. I think I spent 2 hours trying on clothes and it was actually FUN for a change. Yay!
I've had many staff members and parents of students comment how great I looked. I've had three actual Mom's come up to me one-on-one to ask me about my weight loss. I was very honest with them. I'm not at all embarrassed about this surgery and refuse to act like I am. They were quite interested and asked me questions about it.
NEW PICTURES!! This is the outfit I wore the first day of school
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
I have not posted much lately and that is only because I don't have a lot of weight related postings to make. I would not want to put other news about work or anything else here. I don't want to clutter up the site with a journal about anything other than my weight loss, the surgery and its aftermath.
Eating lunch at school has been easy. I usually have had the night before leftovers or tuna. I love the little mini flavoured cloverleaf tunas. I can eat a full can (they are mini cans) and a cheesestring and that's almost 20 grams of protein. LOVE IT! I have no issues about eating in the staffroom. I cut things up small or take my time eating so that my hands are always "busy". People inquire now and again about my eating habits but pretty much everyone knows.
Just before school started, our principal gave us each a "welcome back" folder with various schedules and a handbook for school. On one side of the folder she enclosed a plain Jersey Milk chocolate bar. These are pretty much the Canadian equivalent of Hershey bars. Today we were talking about that in the staff room and I am the only one who still has the chocolate bar left. Today I had two squares of it with my lunch. It melted really nicely and went down quite well since I am not a sugar dumper. Now people might say "oh you shouldn't be eating that". Surprisingly, no one at my staffroom table made any sort of comment like that! Cool. I treated myself since I rarely have anything that is a "goodie". I enjoyed the chocolate to. The nice thing is that this bar (by the time it is done) will have lasted me probably a month! Last year, it was gone the day I received it.
I've been getting more compliments at work and it has been nice. New clothes will do that for you.
This week I've managed to lose 3.5 lbs. It's awesome. I'm almost in the teen decade!! I CANNOT WAIT!! It's funny because I remember just a bit ago when I was getting frustrated with seeing the 30's on the scale and how pissed off I'd be when at night I'd still weigh in at 230. Now I don't even see close to that on the scale. It's just a matter of patience. I'm now to the point that the rush-rush mentality is gone. I'm busy with work, and whatever rate the weight falls off of me I'm okay with that. My goal is just to be in ONEDERLAND by Christmas so that would mean that I want to lose 22 lbs by Christmas. I think that is very reasonable. If it happens before then I'll be pleased as punch.
Swim class was cancelled this week. BUMMER. Madalyn and I will go next week. As well, there will be a Barix support group meeting next week and I plan to wear my new clothes =) Love em! Doing the Terry Fox 3K run on Sunday morning - I'm walking it though.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Doing well post op as usual. I finally hit 219 - yay! It is such a thrill to be under 220 finally. Today at work, a co-worker commented that I look like I've lost as much weight as when she first started at my school in 2002. (After I lost 73 lbs in 2001-2). She actually was off since my lowest then was 202 but it was still nice to hear it. I still cannot fit into my cargo skirt or good jeans yet though from that time - well, I can fit into them but they just look awful. Too many rolls and bumps for now! LOL! I will get there though.
I have been horrible with skipping breakfast - bad I know. There is just nothing that really appeals to me for breakfast. I have been having coffee though. I'm not one for eggs and bacon - well for cooking them actually! So I was having cereal or a slice of raisin toast...but lately nothing interests me.
My meals today:
Breakfast: coffee, vitamins
Lunch: 1 can of spicy tuna satay (yummy!), 1 cheesestring (20 grams of protein)
Dinner: 1/2 a chicken breast - 15 grams of protein
Snack: a protein bar (19 grams of protein).
I think I need to stick in another cheesestring or glass of milk. I'm trying to lay off the pistachios a bit because as much as I LOVE them, they are so high in calories and fat.
My wedding ring is getting really loose now! Pretty soon I'll have to do something about that.
I went to the Barix support group meeting tonight. It was alot of fun!
Sunday, September 24, 2006
After surgery, the surgeon asked me to get bloodwork by the time I go for my 3 month follow up in October. I dutifully had my bloodwork done the first week of September. Dr. Pop asked me to get a hard copy from my doctor and bring it with me. My doctor is happily staying out of the picture - she gave me my bloodwork and is leaving the results to be interpreted by my surgeon. I had John (hubby) pick up the results last week.
Most tests are in the normal range but there are three that are not. First, my cholesterol is a little high. The normal range is under 5. My cholesterol was 5.2. This doesn't really surprise me too much since my cholesterol has been a little high for quite some time and I don't expect that it will go down right away. The other two abnormalities are what are causing me the greatest concern.
My total Iron is 9.5. The normal range is 11 to 27.
My TIBC (total iron binding capacity) is 44.3. The normal range is 49 to 96.
I've been trying to interpret the results online but find it very difficult as most sites are American and their ranges are different. I've seen everything from the possibility of anemia to liver failure and kidney damage. I suspect that it is probably the beginning of anemia. Something like one third of all gastric bypass patients become anemic so it wouldn't surprise me if I've developed it because everything else has been so easy and so smooth, that something is bound to give, don't you think? I see Dr. Pop at the beginning of October and will do whatever it is that he asks me to do but I won't do anything until I hear it from him....because I could be way off base too since I'm not a physician to be diagnosing myself.
The iron issue could very well explain my little bouts of dizziness (not very often but sometimes when I get up too fast) and my lethargy. Lately I've been tired but I've sort of chalked that up to the first draining month of work. Anemia could be the factor. I guess I'll just have to wait and see.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
I found this little nugget on a website today:
While you will lose weight in the first few months after bariatic surgery, you reach your maximum weight loss in 12 to 18 months. Here is what you can expect to lose post op!
For patients weighing 200 to 250 lbs.
10 lbs. in first 10 days
15 to 25 lbs. in 6 weeks
25 to 35 lbs. in 3 months
35 to 45 lbs. in 6 months
60 lbs. or more in 1 year
70 lbs. or more in 18 months
For patients weighing 250 to 300 lbs.
10 to 12 lbs. in first 10 days
15 to 25 lbs. in 6 weeks
25 to 35 lbs. in 3 months
45 to 60 lbs. in 6 months
80 lbs. or more in 1 year
90 lbs. or more in 18 month
For patients weighing 300 to 400 lbs.
10 to 30 lbs. in first 10 days
25 to 45 lbs. in 6 weeks
35 to 55 lbs. in 3 months
50 to 80 lbs. in 6 months
100 lbs. or more in 1 year
120 lbs. or more in 18 monthsee
For patients weighing 400 to 500 lbs.
10 to 30 lbs. in first 10 days
25 to 45 lbs. in 6 weeks
35 to 60 lbs. in 3 months
50 to 90 lbs. in 6 months
120 lbs. or more in 1 year
150 lbs. or more in 18 months
Total with my pre-op diet, I have lost 72.5. I am a happy camper.
All of a sudden this week, I've hit that point that I hear about that clothes are now seeming to be falling off of me. My weight loss is now hugely noticeable and was even the topic of conversation in the staff room today. I expect that on "Meet the Teacher" night at my school tomorrow, that I will have some parents coming up to me. I purposely saved one of my favourite shirts for tomorrow. I'll let you know what happened! Anyway, all of a sudden things are fitting me that didn't a month ago. Even stranger, some shirts that I have that didn't fit me last month are now TOO BIG on me! It is the strangest thing but all of a sudden inches must be falling off.
Last night, I tried on my OLD NAVY pants and THEY FIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Woot. Woot! I expect that I'll be wearing them again probably next week since I have clothes picked out for this week already.
The scale is reading 215.5 today!! I am only 16 lbs to ONEderland. It feels fantastic
Saturday, September 30, 2006
Today's Rant: Know Your Surgery and Your Surgeon
Okay, I'm absolutely appalled by people who seem to randomly pick their surgery and surgeon out of a hat. I have been reading many, many different weight loss boards and I see people that have picked their surgery based on the responses of one question! I'm not kidding. Someone asked "Which surgery should I get?" and another person said "you should get my surgery because...." (of course, she listed all the positives of the surgery and not one of the problems) and the person said "Okay you convinced me!". Gag! This is the MOST IMPORTANT DECISION OF YOUR LIFE. You *NEED* to do the research. You need to read multiple books, talk to people in person who have had the surgery, read websites (but watch for the biased ones) and talk to a surgeon! I'm just astounded how some people don't take this decision as seriously as they should. It is downright scary. You just know that 2 weeks post op this person will be crying in their cornflakes (protein powder?) because they will not have a clue what life as a post op will be like because they haven't done their research. Here's some interesting information from the ASBS (American Society of Bariatric Surgery)website. This is only a small picture of these surgeries.
Gastric Bypass (Roux En Y) (Began 1960s)
The mechanism in which the RYGBP works is complex. After surgery, patients often experience marked changes in their behavior. Most patients have a reduction in hunger and feel full sooner after eating. Patients often state that they enjoy healthy foods and lose many of their improper food cravings. Rarely do people feel deprived of food. These complex behavioral changes are partially due to alterations in several hormones (ghrelin, GIP, GLP, PYY) and neural signals produced in the GI tract that communicate with the hunger centers in the brain. Another mechanism for weight loss after the RYGBP is referred to as the dumping syndrome. Dumping may result in lightheadedness, flushing, heart palpitations, diarrhea and other symptoms early (within 10 to 30 minutes) after eating sweets or foods with a high concentration of sugar. Some people remain extremely sensitive to sweets for the rest of their lives; most patients lose some or all of their sweets sensitivity over time.
Duodenal Switch (Began 1986)
These (DS and BPD) procedures have some of the highest reported weight loss in long-term studies, but also have the highest rate of nutritional complications compared to the RYGBP and the purely restrictive procedures. These operations are some of the most complex in bariatric surgery. However, as with most studies of weight loss surgery, there is wide variability in long-term results between different centers. Only multi-center comparative studies can establish definitively the true differences between all these operations some patients and surgeons believe that the DS is a superior operation to the RYGB because of lack of a dumping syndrome. The DS and BPD have their own particular side efffects. After a meal that is high in fat, people can experience foul smelling gas and diarrhea
Lapband (2001 for new band approval)
The LAGB is safe and has a low rate of life-threatening complications. Excess weight loss with the laparoscopic adjustable gastric band is lower than that with the gastric bypass or malabsorptive procedures, varying between 28% and 65% at 2 years and 54% at 5 years. An improvement in weight-related comorbidities has been observed, including Type II diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia, sleep apnea, gastroesophageal reflux, hypertension, and asthma. However, compared to the gastric bypass, the impact on co-morbidities appears to be somewhat less favorable. Remission of diabetes with LAGB is seen in 64-66% at one year and 80% at 2 yrs versus 93% at 9 years with RYGBP. Long-term results comparing LAGB with gastric bypass or BPD are not yet available. While some studies have documented weight loss equal to RYGBP with fewer complications, other groups have had disappointing outcomes. Some studies document a substantial number of patients who have required re-operation for long-term complications of the adjustable band (such as for port problems, erosions and slippage, or inadequate weight loss). Conversion of a failed LAGB to another bariatric procedure may be technically more difficult and associated with more complications than with a first time RYGBP or DS operation.
Anyway, that's just a quickie of the three major surgeries but of course there are many more. I was reading about another semi popular surgery and its risks which seems to be great deal of bile issues and vomitting and on this one board, there was a poster who said that since she's had the surgery, she's been doing great and hasn't had the vomitting (which is the #1 problem from what I hear of this surgery) and yet, when I read her profile all it talked about was her vomitting and nausea! She was even worried that once she got to goal that she'd keep losing because of her extreme nausea and vomitting! So, which is it?
Then there is the patient with a BMI of 35 who wants a DS. Is the DS really an appropriate surgery for a BMI of 35? From my readings it was a surgery designed for the super-obese. Of course, the doctor will operate on a BMI of 35 whether or not this is really the ideal surgery for her.
Another profile I read was of a lady that was 450 lbs and had lapband surgery over a year ago. She's lost 40 lbs in one year. I'm thinking that perhaps the Lapband wasn't the right choice for her either.
Or how about the profile of the person who signed up for RNY surgery (and is scheduled to have it in a month and a half) and JUST found out that once she has the surgery, she cannot have sugar?
Please do your homework!
Rant: Part 2: Know Your Surgeon
They say that the number one factor affecting your surgical outcome is YOUR SURGEON. Make sure that you check the groups that s/he belongs to. Some common ones include:
* ASBS (Regular Member)
Make sure that you research, get on the boards and ask about your surgeon. Meet him or her in person and ask about his/her mortality rate for patience. Don't be afraid - you have the right to know.
Recently, on the Ontario Board on the OH forums there have been two patients that have passed away. One in August 2006 and another this September 2006. It's very strange to say but they both had the same surgeon. That would kind of freak me out if I was going to have surgery by the same surgeon. There really haven't been many deaths on the OH Ontario board and then, now, 2 in 2 months. It is very freaky. I can't say that they necessarily picked an inferior surgeon so what gives? This is the hard part. Personally I feel the first person really should not have been operated on in the first place as she just had too many problems with bleeding and bloodclots. The second, did not seem to have many problems but did have a leak. This was known after she ran a fever for multiple days while hospitalized. My question (if I were to have this surgeon) would be: Do you do a leak test the day after surgery to check for leaks? I'm guessing that he did not, and ultimately did not deal with the issue until it was too late and her body was being poisoned. Frankly, a leak scared the crap out of me and that is why I was so insistent on going to Barix because it was a guaranteed leak test the morning after surgery.
Friday, October 6th, 2006
On Monday, I was off of work because I had my Three Month follow up at Barix with Dr. Poplawski. I was anxious to get my bloodwork looked at because of the low TIBC and iron. Driving there, it was pouring rain. It was pretty horrible. I'm surprised that Hubby could see the road half the time. Yikes! Driving was the pits. They took me in right on time and a nurse went over my stats, took my blood pressure and so forth. I'd never seen this one before and she was really nice. Then the nutritionist came in and looked over everything and said that sure enough I have iron deficiency anemia. I bought some Hemostat (liquid iron) and I should be able to raise my levels within a month's time. That surely explain my tiredness as of late. No big deal. The Hemostat is not nearly as nasty as the liquid Pro-Stat that I bought from there.
It's been a tough weak in terms of weight loss. At 3 weeks out, I stalled and so 3 seems to be my magic number because I stalled this week at 3 months out. I can say that part of that is due to me not exercising as I should (but again, I'm quite tired from the anemia so I do have an excuse! Today the scale DID finally move down to 214 so it's a relief to know that I won't be stuck at 215.5 forever! LOL!
When I was in the states I bought some new clothes (just a shirt and cargo pants by Mossimo) from Target. It was nice to treat myself.
Saturday, October 7th, 2006
I called Madalyn's Mom yesterday but I don't think she is up to visitors yet - at least that is the vibe that I'm getting from her Mom but I did get an update on how she was doing and yes, she is home, so that's great.She's still having neck and back pain I guess which I'm not surprised. For me it was my neck and shoulder that were just killing me - thank god for lortab!
On Thursday, I had the wost migraine that I had since surgery. I started feeling ill at lunch and took a tylenol. My Mom surprised me at work and gave me a ride home for which I was extremely grateful since I usually walk home and was definitely not up to it. I went home and took a nap and woke up at 6:30 p.m. and still was not feeling well. Took 2 teaspoons of lortab and soaked in the tub and then felt a million times better. Thank goodness! Lortab rules! Next time I wil take the Lortab right away!!
THE SCALE MOVED TODAY!!!!!!!!!!!!
I was 212 this morning! I just about did the dance of joy! Finally! That is why I refuse to get too bent out of shape when the scale doesn't move because it eventually will. I'm getting so close to ONEderland! Yay! My goal is to get there by Christmas and it is SO attainable. As I'm feeling better (when my iron levels go up) I will start to get back to exercising and I'm sure I'll do great!
-I am now down 76 pounds!
-I have still never vomitted once
-I don't sugar dump (am now beginning to see this as a positive)
-My clothes are getting bigger
-energy is low at the end of the day due to anemia. After dinner, the tiredness hits me
Here's a new before picture! (notice how I'm busting at the seams!)
Thursday, October 12th, 2006
Well the scale has moved again and today (one day after weigh in) I am 211. Woo hoo! I'm slowly edging my way towards ONEderland. Last night, I went to swim class on my own since Maddie is still recuperating from her surgery. Hubby read a book poolside while I did my thing. The place was packed! I also walked home from work that today so I managed to get quite a bit of exercise in. The class really does kick my butt!
I wore my Old Navy brown pants to work today along with a shirt that I bought when I had the weight loss in 2001 and I received quite a few compliments from staff. The teacher next door said how soon there will be nothing left of me! LOL! I found it amusing!
I walked home today and I think that is how I am going to leave it since I'm tired today being that it is Thursday. I've had Student Teachers observing me all week and I'm tuckered out from being on my "best behaviour" LOL!! My goal for this weekend is to exercise on Saturday and Sunday since I've let weekends go by without any physical activity.
I made my favourite green stuffed peppers - alot of work and had a zillion dishes to do, so I'm going to just end here.
I've managed to remember my Hemostat (iron supplement) every day this week. It's not my favourite thing but it truly is not as nasty as prostat.
Thanks to all those newbies on my site who have emailed me recently. I really love your emails! A reader emailed me and asked how I get my protein in. This is what I have: 1/2 a protein shake or a protein bar (I buy Life Brand) when needed, a few cheesestrings a day and soy nuts. Sometimes I'll have chocolate milk to double up on liquids/protein, chicken or mini tunas for lunch. I'm purely a creature of habit. I eat the same things again and again.
Friday, October 20th, 2006
I was 207.5 this morning. I'm now at 80.5 lbs lost. Woot! I'm getting SO close to ONEderland that I'm thrilled.
This is the amazing thing about this surgery: In 2001, I went on a diet and it took me a year and a half to go from 275 lbs down to 202. That was a 73 lb loss and I killed myself to do it - I worked out every other day for 3 hours at the gym (Swim classes) and practically starved myself half of the time.
In this case, I've lost 80.5 lbs in about 5 months. Now mind you, it has required a TOTAL lifestyle change but I no longer feel like I am starving anymore. It's amazing.
Here are the compromises that you make as a WLS patient:
First of all, you now think in terms or protein for everything. I rarely have the carbs that used to be the focus of my diet. For instance, for lunch, I had salmon. For dinner, I had chicken and a few veggies. I almost never eat bread, pasta, potatoes or granola bars/nutrigrain bars which were a big part of my diet before. I have become a total carnivore.
I take B-12 tongue strips, 2 vitamins everyday, a calcium supplement and liquid iron (for my anemia). I was not on any medication before surgery. All my painkillers are now Tylenol for headaches. (I still use Lortab leftover from my surgery for migraines). Despite the having to remind myself, I don't mind the pills but I was not on anything before surgery other than capsules for my skin issues (dermatitus and rosacea).
When I go out to eat, I no longer partake of the salad bar or breadbasket. As a WLS patient, I know that dipping into these means that I will LITERALLY have no room for dinner. It can be a challenge mentally when hubby is eating before the meal comes but it's not traumatic or anything! LOL!
I tend to skip social events like going out for lunch at work, or partaking in the donuts that a staff member has brought.
NO alcohol for a while. (6 months). That really doesn't bother me as I'm not a big drinker generally.
If you chose to not tell co-workers, you are going to get questions there is no doubt in my mind if you have to eat in a communal spot. They will figure out that something is up with your portion size and no longer partaking in everything. Be prepared to get asked questions if you aren't telling. I chose to tell them. Figured that it was easier to tell the truth and not have to cover up things. My co-workers have been incredibly supportive.
When hubby has a snackfest on Saturday night, I have to realize that I no longer can binge on food. Last night, he had some chips and dip. I had two chips with dip. I will say that I probably enjoyed those 2 chips more than he enjoyed the whole bag because I savoured every bite! I don't think it is a bad thing that I ate them either. I limit myself and so far my limits are strict. I really honestly do not think that it is a problem. It was like I enjoyed the two chips but I was done and that was that. I could stop myself. I no longer feel like I have to fight against the food. I feel like I have more control over that! Control over food - imagine that!
To be honest, I really don't feel like I have to give up that much. I still have pleasure in food but now I savour one cheesestring instead of a whole container of Haagen Daz. I will never have any HD again though. That's my weakness and I know best to avoid that. Believe it or not there has been a container of Parlour ice cream in my freezer since mid-September and I've not touched it. I also love chocolate milk too!
Twice in the past, I have gotten down to 202 and screwed up and never made it to ONEderland. Once in 1994 when I was on Weight Watchers and again in 2002. I am bound and DETERMINED to get under this time. I'm totally psyched. IT WILL BE in November. I am totally sure that i will make my Christmas deadline. I'm stoked. Maddie is keeping me stoked too about that! LOL! What a great supporter she is! I am getting SO close at 207.5. Can I say that again? 207.5 =) Woot!
Went to the support group meeting last night. Very small turnout compared to last time. I get to run the next meeting. Should be fun!
Thursday, October 26th, 2006
Yesterday I had a really nice non-scale victory. We ordered staff jackets in September. Well, they are Men's sizes so I can actually fit into them this year (yay!). Well last month, I was debating about getting a size XL or L. The XL fit me last month but I was leaning more towards the L thinking that although the zipper did not even reach together, that eventually it would fit me just fine and I could zip it up. Well the jackets came in yesterday (we try them on and then we get them embroidered in our school emblem). When I tried mine on, lo and behold - it fit me and DID up!
Of course, that's only after a month and now I'm wondering if I should have got the Medium! LOL!
I'm feeling pretty good overall. I feel like my energy is finally back. I'm excited about Halloween and having a ton of fun with my children!
New pictures today: Still have the double chin (bad angle) but my shoulders are getting smaller!! Following a fashion taboo for the plumply : horizontal stripes!
Saturday, October 28th, 2006
The scale is driving me a little crazy right now but I'm just ignoring it so that maybe it will go away! LOL! As you know, earlier in the week I was down to 205. Well all of a sudden my scale has decided to go UP two days in a row! I was up to 207.5! It seems to be going down now though. I think it was due to the fact that on Thursday we had company and we'd ordered a pizza. I bought a stonebaked thin crust pizza for myself since the crust doesn't agree with me. I'm guessing it was the salt in the cheese or something that made the scale jump. I saw 206 today and so I feel better that it is going to come down although I'm sure it will keep driving me crazy getting this close to ONEderland.
I had an email from a girl in Ontario who asked me if I think she would qualify for going out of country. Her BMI was 36. I was honest: I told her that I think that Ohip will probably not give her out of country coverage and will encourage her to go for surgery in Ontario. I told her to apply anyway, but to also put in a referral in Ontario so that all her eggs are not in one basket. I don't believe in giving someone false hope. From what she said she doesn't really have any significant comorbidities. That's the only way someone so low (BMI) would even qualify for surgery out of the country. The lowest BMI I've seen to get out of country coverage has been 43.
EDIT: The lowest I've seen now is 37 with a significant amount of comorbidities.
Friday, November 3rd, 2006
I lost only 2 lbs this week but that is okay. I've been losing the last few days and I am now at 202.5. That is SO fantastic. I've done a lot of walking this week and now it seems to be paying off in the last few days. I'm quite thrilled. I also see my legs starting to turn more "muscular". I'm not thin but I feel so much stronger when I'm walking and as strange as it sounds, it almost feels like my legs are longer! Hee! I'm so glad that I am exercising post-op because I think that my body is going to bounce back quite quick.
Looking in the mirror, I'm noticing too, that my belly seems to be doing okay. I was kind of worried that it would droop down but really it seems to be in pretty good shape for having lost over 80 lbs! I'm happy about it.
I can't believe that I'm already at 202.5 - and to think my goal was initially to make ONEderland by Christmas! Oh boy - I think I will get there pretty soon - maybe a week or two if that!
It was funny because on Halloween I indulged in some candy and felt SO guilty. Well, I thought for sure I'd be up on the scale the next day and I was actually down a pound! I think sometimes we have to almost shock our bodies and they like that! I've been really good ever since. One Halloween treat a day if that!
I've been a little tired the last few days. I attribute that to a busy week and the fact that I've forgotten to take my anemia supplement some days. I can't believe how cold I always feel. I think I need an electric blanket for Christmas! LOL.
Saturday, November 11th, 2006
I haven't posted in a while and part of that is because of the frustration that I've been feeling in regards to the scale. It went down to 200.5 one day and then bounced back up to 204! I can't understand that scale sometimes for the life of me! But it is official- Today in Canada it is Remembrance Day - and it is certainly a day for me to remember because baby, I'm in---
Yes I weighed in today at 199.5. Yay me! I can't believe that I've finally hit it. After getting to 202, once in 1994 and again in 2001/2, and plateauing and then getting frustrated and gaining all the weight back, I've finally gotten under 200 lbs. I have not been under 200 lbs since HIGH SCHOOL!
As I said earlier, the scale was really acting crazy so what I did to get the scale going in the right direction was upping my protein. I thought that might do it. So I bought a few vials Profect at the mall and have had one a day to help boost up my protein numbers. That seems to have done the trick. What do I think of profect? That vial is hiliarious - I brought it to work and was incessantly teased about it - it looks very phallic like if you know what I mean. I'm not thrilled about its taste either...BUT it is only around 85 ml so it does go down in a hurry
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Life is awesome right now. I feel so good now that I've made it to ONEderland. It feels like a little pressure is off of me now that I've gotten past the 200 on the scale. I'm hoping tonight will be the night that I no longer see 200 on the scale in the evening (when I'm my heaviest). I was 198 this morning! Yes, I think bumping up my protein was the perfect way to go - it worked.
Yesterday at lunch, I had another non-scale victory. Unless you were/are obese you probably won't get it. I was eating lunch and went to take a bite of something and it (piece of chicken) fell down and onto the floor. How is this a victory? It did not get stuck on my breasts or my sticking-out-stomach because now when I look down my front is MUCH flatter than before. I ALWAYS spilled food on my breasts or gut! Unbelievable. I also made another observation: when I look down at the chair, I'm SO much flatter in my front AND I can actually see the chair seat. Before my thighs would take up all the room on my chair. now I have a space between my thighs! How cool is that!?!
I feel great. Look pretty good too! Life is good
Thursday, November 23rd, 2006
GB has been the most FANTASTIC trip. Please - if you are considering this seriously, read, read and read! This is amazing! I'm so amazed at everything when I think back to how quickly this has occured for me - this transformation. This week my Mom and I went shopping. She wanted to buy me some clothes for Christmas and so I got to spend the $$. I tried to get clothes on the smaller side so that of course, in a month they'll still fit me. Let me say that at this point, I'm just falling out of my clothes. I went through my Winter clothes and they look ridiculous on me - I don't think I'll be able to wear them at all. It'll be a cold winter of wearing layers I think so that I don't have to constantly buy new clothes. I'll probably wear my fall clothes with a sweater!
The pants that I bought for the first week of school (September) are now really baggy on me in the tummy area. I've had coworkers say that I really need new pants!
Shopping with my Mom, I still admit I kept reaching for the 4X and 5X items purely out of habit! It was hard to get myself out of that habit. And then I'd hold up things thinking they wouldn't be able to fit me -- and they'd be TOO BIG! It's so weird - these feelings of not being the "fattest girl". I ended up buying pants and tops in X. Yes - X. Not 1X, not 2X, not 3X, not 4X and definitely not 5X....but X (or their 16). Pretty soon I'll be shoppign somewhere other than Penningtons! (And that is okay with me!). I am now in XXL at Old Navy too - first time I can fit into their shirts!
Saturday, November 26th, 2006
I was reading a board today that I usually don't frequent because people I've found are pretty rude. There was a whole debate about this one girl who was essentially bragging how quickly she is losing weight now that she's had her roux en y and that she has no plans to exercise. This launched a whole debate among the members. I thought I'd share my take on this topic.
When I started researching this surgery, I went into it for health. My primary reason was because of my difficulty with mobility and my Mother's previous heart attack (and my resulting chances of having one as well). I went into this for HEALTH - not to just "get skinny".
It floors me when people say that they don't exercise or have no intention of exercising as a post op. If the surgery is about getting healthy, I don't understand why these people, once they become mobile, do not start incorporating healthy habits into their lives. Afterall, our unhealthy habits got us here in the first place. No it is not "essential" to exercise post op, but it is essential in order to become "healthy". Why would you brag about not wanting to be healthy? The experts say we should aim for 60 minutes a day for optimal health. Will all of us get 60 minutes a day? Probably not in today's busy world...but even 30 minutes is better than nothing. Exercise helps your cardiovascular system, your bones, your respiratory system, prevents certain types of cancers, helps you sleep better and improves your life expectancy.
Now that you've read that, don't you think you should go for a walk?
Sunday, November 27th, 2006
Okay, please, please tell me that hair grows back. *sigh*
I decided yesterday to go for a change and get my hair cut. If that wasn't bad enough, then I decided to colour it as well. Okay...it looks horrible. I am so embarrassed. *sigh* again. How will I go to work looking like this tomorrow? *sigh again*.
On the happy side, I'm 192.5 this morning!
Friday, December 1st, 2006
Okay, I'm over my hair cut now. I'm beginning to like it although I'm still having to ask myself - "Is that me in the mirror?". It's not really as bad as I thought. At least now, when I'm combing or brushing my hair after a shower, it isn't getting so knotted up that I'm breaking off strands of my hair. So I think it will really slow down my hair loss. Am I having really bad hair loss? No. I have fairly thick hair so there is nothing noticeable about my hair loss other than the strands on my brush. No big alert here.
It will be a slow loss for me this week I imagine. I'm now 191 on the scale, but the loss is fairly slow because I've been eating more junk since I'm not cooking for two these days. Hubby has been in Mississauga for over a week because my FIL had surgery. .. so I find myself picking up dinner more than cooking. Also this week has been very cold and rainy so I've been getting a lot of rides to and from work so I haven't been exercising as much. I'm not too worried about the lack of the scale moving much as I'm holding my own. Heck, I'm 191 lbs! Love it! Last night, I also went out with the gals for some Chinese food so I'm sure I'm also retaining water from the salt. I managed last night to have some won ton soup, a spring roll and beef and green peppers. Yum! I brought some home of course and had some later on as well.
I'm THIS close to fitting into the pair of 16 pants that my SIL gave me. I can fit into them but they are just too tight. I figure that by January I should use them as a mainstay of my wardrobe. She gave me I think 4 pairs of size 16 cords. My Old Navy pants are getting too big if you can believe that..plus I know I'm getting clothes for Christmas from my Mom =)
I had a lady email me and ask me if I had any regrets or if I would do this again. Of course I would. I have not a single regret. This has been amazing! I have not a regret. I find the only difficult part being a social situation where you just need to watch yourself so you don't eat too many appetizers (bread basket, salad) before a meal is served. That's the only tricky part but what a small price to pay for something so amazing!!! I want to shout out to the rooftops about this surgery as to why I didn't seek it sooner. I can just imagine how many obese people in Ontario do not know that they can get this surgery for free from the government.
Friday, December 8th, 2006
It's been an up and down week where I am struggling not to eat the bad stuff and working hard to get my water and protein in. As of this morning, I am down to 189.5 which is only 1 1/2 lbs from getting to 100 lbs lost. It seems like it is really slow this week...but then again, I stopped my walking and restarted this week so I expect next week to go better with lots of walking. I walk about an hour a day on a good day - to work and back. I love my walks especially the one in the morning that really helps clear my head and gets me moving that body as I should be.
I took some pictures the other day and was disappointed. I guess I expect to see so much more progress than what I currently see. *sigh*.
Monday, December 18th, 2006
I'm weighing in as of today at 186 lbs. Weight loss has been slowing down a bit and that is really my own fault because I have been I have been grazing far too much at work. There are goodies everywhere - the kids have been bringing them in, and of course, the staffroom is filled with donuts, chocolates and the like to share. I've been having much more than I should and so the weight loss is slow at the moment. But really I am okay. I'm trying not to beat myself up too much over this because I am still doing well in the scheme of things.
I'm really feeling a struggle right now as old habits come back really easily and it is so easy to indulge especially since I do not dump on sugar - all the baked goods are plentiful right now. I hit the 100 mark of weight lost and then proceeded to put on 2 lbs in a few days. Boy was I pissed...so I reallly buckled down on the weekend, and lost the 2 plus 2 more! Woot!
I'm continuing to walk to and from work when I can and stilll relish my morning walks. On the weekend,my hubby and I had to watch his Dad on Saturday night. He had a quad bypass and is 79 so he needed some help moving around and stuff. While I was there, I jumped on my Mother in Law's treadmill and did 2 miles of walking and jogging. It was so great. I was just full of sweat and felt amazing! I'm thinking about a treadmill or elliptical and can't decide..,..while I'm off for the holidays I Iwill have to make a point of getting in some walking or use my gazelle.
Well, I'm going to end here and go gazelle it!
Thursday, December 28th, 2006
Oh I HAVE been bad. I confess that I've been very, very BAD. I've ignored pouch rules, I've drank while I ate during the holidays. I indulged on way too many chocolates, baked goods and Turtles and shame on me - I have my first GAIN!
I'm up a pound!!
Honestly, I'm more than fine with that. In typical style I could gain 10 lbs during the holidays. I'm okay with one measly pound putting me up at 187. We had a party yesterday for hubby's work and I ate so much that my pouch HURT last night like the bugger and I'm still sore today. I'm pretty much having liquids all day and maybe toast later if it doesn't hurt so much.
No more ignoring pouch rules!
And in the next few weeks I'm buying a treadmill to start interval training. Can't wait!
In the meantime, here's some pics of me!
January 1st, 2007
Happy New Year!!!
How my life has changed in the last 6 months:
- I now look at mirrors alot more often
- I no longer seem to be the biggest person in the room
- I feel much more normal when I'm around other people - normal sized I mean. I don't think "oh look how much bigger I am than that person"
- I can cross my legs and I do quite often
- I no longer worry when trying out a new chair
- Men open doors for me a lot more!
- I can shop at a normal store - OLD NAVY baby!
- I have a collarbone! (picture included to show you!)
- I can see more of my body at any given time without my stomach being in the way
- It's no longer a chore to walk up and down stairs
- I have more energy
- I no longer wear half of my dinner/lunch on my shirt (breast area)
- I can fit into booths much better
- I walk alot more - to and home from work without any difficulty
- Hubby Likes to pick me up
- I've had to buy alot more clothes
- No more rude comments from the male 16-25 demographic
- I'm coming out of my shell
Facts at 6 Months Out:
- I have never thrown up period
- I do not dump on sugar
- I have a "hot flash" if I eat too much
- I can eat virtually anything
**Proof that I *do* have a collar bone! BTW, the jeans are Waaaay too big for me. I have to buy a new pair. I have to flip the waiste band so they don't fall down! Shirt: old Navy size XXL!
Goals for 2007:
- Get weight down to 140-150 for July for my 1 year follow up
- Progress from walking to jogging on my treadmill that I'm buying in the next few days
- Get into a Large t-shirt and size 9-14 pants
- Get rid of my still existing double chin! (ugh!)
Sunday, January 14th, 2006
Okay, here are some random thoughts on weight loss and my journey that are in my head this week...
It was the first week back to school after the Winter/Christmas break, and boy did the compliments ever come out this week. We even have a teacher who I barely know who has only been with us since November (she is covering a maternity leave) and she came up to me and made a comment. She said something like basically, she didn't want to offend me but she was really struck by how my face has changed over the break. I thought it took a lot of guts for her to say something since she really doesn't know me. I then thanked her and told her a bit of my story since she doesn't know I've lost A LOT of weight. That was so cool! Then I had other staff and parents amazed at me too. One teacher even pulled me aside and said how much of a new person I was from my shoulders, back, profile, face etc. Hubby says this kind of stuff all the time so it was really neat to hear someone else say it too.
Do I see it? I don't know - perception is a weird thing. Sometimes I think I do, and other times I don't. Lately whenever I have to write down my weight (in my journal or in say a letter or email to a friend of how far I've come), I keep writing it with a "2" in front. I can't seem to get rid of the thought that I'm 181 lbs and NOT 281. It's really strange sometimes to imagine. I can remember crying that I couldn't get under 200 and now I've far surpassed that.
I have a weird thing about my shoulders now. My shoulders now have really, really shrunk. Quite dramatically! It means I can even try on a Large size shirt (it doesn't look good because of the belly/rolls yet) - but my shoulders are no longer big and the shirt can go on. My shoulders now make me feel vunerable. They get "cold" quickly, and sore and I have this mindset that I could almost hurt them or something. I guess I feel naked without all the fat there! LOL!
During the holidays I had a physical with my doctor. She was absolutely thrilled with my progress and just about "squealed" when she saw how much I weighed. Although our relationship really started on a sour note with her not signing my OCC forms, I feel all of a sudden like we have a personable relationship. She seems now to know who I am instead of mixing me up with other patients (she's young and overworked).
When I was overweight, I noticed a lump on the inside of my thigh just above my right knee. I kind of ignored it but as I lost weight it of course, seemed bigger and bigger. I had her check it out. She said it was either a popped vein from my legs carrying out the weight or a fatty tissue deposit. She was pretty sure it was a popped vein as they are not uncommon with people who are overweight. I said I was pretty sure that it was a popped vein then because when I take a bath and it gets warm my veins in that area all get darker including that lump.
I have to call my doctor this week and get my bloodwork results. She accidently gave me a copy of September's bloodwork again instead of Decembers. Gahhhhh!!
I'm now wearing size 15/16 pants - they are a little snug in the waist but they can fit. I'm in a XXL or XL shirt depending on the maker and how roomy they are. Not bad considering that I started off in size 26/28 and 4X-5X.
New Pictures: (weight 182) in my XL Avon Yoga Outfit.
Sunday, January 21st, 2006
One thing that came up on the board that I read regularly is the topic of OHIP bills. Okay, before I had my surgery, I'd read that typically OHIP is late in paying their bills and you WILL get a bill from your surgeon for services. I was told that what you have to do is just ignore it and OHIP will eventually pay it.
So as is typical, everyone on the board was right. Come September, I did receive a bill from Barix. It was something like $6,000 over my OHIP maximum so it really did freak me out. I didn't even tell hubby because I didn't want to upset him. I took the bill after freaking out for a few hours and put it in my Barix Binder. I tucked it in and put it out of my mind.
Come October I received another bill. Again, I tucked it in my Barix Binder and put it out of my mind. Of course, that was after I freaked out for a few hours. Even trying to plan how I could put the balance on my credit card. It is hard not to freak out when you get these big bills.
Never heard from them again after that. Considering I had no bills in November, December or January, I am assuming that the bill has been paid. So do yourself a favour too - tuck your bill in your binder, and put it out of your mind. It *Will*get paid even though your amount is over what OHIP granted you. I'm pretty sure that they just overcharge so that they make sure they get the full maximum allowed from Barix. They aren't stupid.
So yesterday, I had a basketball tournament - I'm a coach for our school girl's team (Grade 7 and 8). Let me tell you that I used to *dread* going on the bleachers - afraid to climb them and afraid of getting stuck in them so that I'd have to ask people to move so that I could get out of the row. It wasn't such a big deal though now that I'm smaller. I didn't feel off balance, or that I had to huff and puff to climb them and I could easily get in and out of a row without having to ask people to move. Another little victory that I noticed.
And speaking of victories, I'm now 179!!! I'm in the 70s!!!! That's SOOO cool!!! My sister-in-law also gave me some more size 16 pants as she's lost a size...and yes, they fit! Woot!! This is so exciting.
We ended up winning our tournament yesterday and so all the girls and coaches got t-shirts stating that we were the champions. All the shirts are size LARGE. We are all supposed to wear them to school on Monday because we have a school wide assembly. Well, I put mine on and it actually fit. It's a little snug in the waist because of my "belly roll" but as long as I don't pull it all the way down (ie. if I tuck it in my pants or just fold it over) it looks good! I'm wearing it on Monday - I've never been able to do that before. Three years ago, we got 3 shirts from tournaments, and I never fit into one (NOT EVEN CLOSE) so now I can finally be like the rest of my team and wear my shirt ! Cool!
Saturday, February 3rd, 2006
Sorry for the absence...but I've just been busy with life...And no, I'm not avoiding the scale...no I've not fallen off the wagon. I'm actually doing quite well in the weight loss department . Now that coaching the basketball team has started up again, I'm finding that the last month has been CRAZY busy!
Today's talk: Please consider the following and my progress thus far:
With the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, 70% or more of patients achieve success, as defined by a loss of 50% of excess weight maintained at 1 year.
Okay for you today - a little math! Pay attention now...
My weight on the day of surgery was 256 lbs. My goal is 140 lbs. Therefore my excess weight was 116 lbs.
For me to lose 50% of my excess weight that would mean that I would lose 58 lbs and I would weigh 198 lbs within 12 months.
I don't weigh that. I weigh less.
For me to lose 60% of my excess weight would mean that I would lose 69 lbs and I would weigh 187 lbs within 12 months of surgery.
I don't weigh that. I weigh less.
For me to lose 70% of my excess weight would mean that I would lose 81 lbs and I would weigh 175 lbs.
I am currently 7 months out and weigh 175 lbs. This means that I have lost 70% of my excess weight in only 7 months. And here I was thinking for a long, long time that I'm such a slow loser.
Next goal to be down 80% of my excess weight: 164 lbs.
I have to give credit to myself for exercising for the great weight loss. I am doing 2-3 miles on my treadmill typically every day. When it the weather and my schedule permits I am often walking to/home from school (However not this week as I'm finding that I just can't stand the cold right now).
I get frustrated sometimes when I find that other people are my weight are in smaller sizes. But then I have only to check out their height and it explains a lot. I'm short - only 5 foot 3, so it's going to take me a little longer to get into those smaller sizes. I hover at 15/16 for pants and XL/L for the shirt depending on the cut. I can fit into a L t-shirt from the tournament, and yet, in the Old Navy long sleeves a XL is tight on me. It must be related all to the cut. Plus, I'm not one generally for tight things. I still can't get over that - I still want to hide under the baggy clothes.
My goal for my followup in July is to lose 80% to 100% of my excess weight by then.
That's all for today,
P.S. This picture is blowing my mind today. I look soo......normal!
Saturday, February 10th, 2006
It seems on the boards that I read that many people that had surgery the same day as myself, are all struggling with plateaus. I have to say that I'm glad that it is not the case for me. I'm not sure why they are struggling while I am not at this time. Looking over my weight loss chart, although I have not had the stellular numbers at the beginning of my recovery as many have (no 50 lbs loss in 2 months for this girl), I have noticed that I'm continuously steady. I always seem to lose 2-3 lbs a week. There were a few weeks of my plateauing (3 weeks out and 3 months out), and the the holidays where I actually GAINED a pound -- my own doing totally with Turtles and baked goods -- but despite those blips in the radar, I am pretty regular with the losses.
In the past two weeks it seems that the weight has been flying off of me. I had a 3.5 lb loss this past week which is very unusual to me. What do I credit with my success?
- I continue to kick ass on my treadmill. I do 2-3 miles just about every day. If I miss it is usually because I have gotten home at a really late time - like last night when we were at my Mother in Laws til 10 ish. I won't come home and then work out if it is too late because then I'll be hyped up and not able to go to sleep. I will typically take one day off a week but other than that am really regular
- I continue to get a minimum of 8 glasses of water. It's really easy now to get the water.
- Pumpkin seeds. If I don't get much protein in my day, I'll often have pumpkin seeds at night. They seem to agree with the pouch and the scale. Pistachios do NOT.
- Vitamins and all that. I am very good with all my supplements.
- I skip breakfast which I know is not good, but then I will often have an extra snack at night. I find that a decaf XL coffee in the morning keeps me very satiated.
- I rarely snack and cheat anymore. Period!
Sunday, February 18th, 2006
This week was definitely a challenge for me: Valentines Day in particular. My kids brought a whole bunch of goodies to school so there were more cookies, cupcakes and chocolate than I know what to do with. As well, I had a "secret valentine" and she gave me Laura Secord Miniatures (chocolate to die for). Then we also had a luncheon at school. On Friday night we had a school basketball tournament (I"m a coach) and afterwards a bunch of us went out to a bar for drinks. I had a strawberry dacquiri and some jalepeno poppers so of course, I was up on the scale the next day. I do not expect a great loss this week. However, I've already lost that pound working my butt off again on the treadmill...so I'm okay with the gain. It's coming off. If I am perfect the day after being "bad" the weight just seems to drop off. That's the great thing about this surgery.
The treadmill is fantastic. I'm glad that I decided to invest in it rather than join a gym. I just know that I'll have excuses not to go the gym...and having a partner wouldn't help me because I know that if they don't go, I probably wouldn't go either. With the treadmill, I have a daily routine of getting on between 7 and 8 pm. This routine is fabulous for me because it keeps me honest. I feel guilty if I am not on between 7 and 8 pm! I watch Judge Judy while I walk and it makes the time fly by. When there are days that I'm away between 7 and 8, I'll try to make it up at other times...but if I don't get home until too late that evening, I won't worry about my exercise. It rarely happens. On the weekends I tend to go on around 11 am in the morning. Sometimes I split up my miles and do some in the morning and some in the afternoon. It's been too cold to walk to and home from work - although the temps are going to go back up soon I hear.
I'm holding at 170.5 lbs. You know, if someone had told me that I'd weigh 170 lbs last year, I would have said "I'd kill to weigh 170 lbs"...but it is strange now. It is as if nothing satisfies me, because I am just not happy at this weight. If you'd told me I'd be a 15/16, I would have been thrilled. I don't know why I'm not happy yet. I guess it is the mental aspect of this surgery. I'm still comparing myself to others and still not quite good enough..or thin enough I should say.. This surgery plays with the head a lot!
Saturday, February 24th, 2006
My body continues to kick butt. I don't know what it is - but those pounds continue to fly off. Wait - it is probably my hard work and dedication to working out. Yep, that's what it is. I did 3 miles last night on the treadmill despite the fact that I SO wanted not to do it. I'll be honest and say that every day is a mental battle about working out. It's not that I inherently want to work out. I do not have a passion to work out -it is more like something I *have* to do. It still can be a struggle. Somedays I have to push myself to do 2 miles, and others it's a little easier and I do 5 miles. I go with what my body tells me.
I'm now 166 lbs as of this morning. I am now officially only "overweight" according to the BMI charts. Wow.
I was going through some old clothes last night that I packed away because they were too small (I'd bought various smaller clothes for $1 at a liquidation place). They are too big. I didn't even get to wear them *sigh*. I also tried on some summer clothes and boy am I in trouble. I have absolutely NOshorts that will fit me this summer. Yikes! I hope I can hit some sales. I have shirts that will fit - quite a few from old basketball tournaments that we'd played in (I'm a coach) that never fit me when we won them...so I think I'll get by for shirts..but boy I can see how expensive the summer will be!
By the way , hubby bought me a cute ring for Valentines Day since my wedding rings etc will need to be sized. I have gone from a ring size of 9 and a quarter, to a normal size 7!
I received an email today from this lady asking about what fast food I eat as a post op. To be honest, we continue to eat out a lot but I don't eat FAST FOOD a lot. This is how I look at it: Fast food is really what helped me get in trouble in the first place. If I go back to eating egg mcmuffins, big macs and KFC, then I am really setting myself up for failure - I am just reverting back to old habits. Hubby and I tend to eat out a lot but we go to sit down restaurants where I know I can get grilled fish or chicken and veggies. If I *have* to have fast food then I will opt for Chili from Wendy's or Tim Hortons or a hamburger from McDonalds (which I eat one bun only and NO fries). Or I get a 6 inch sub.
Saturday, March 3rd, 2007
I'll be honest here. This week was tough! Although I did well with the loss, on Wednesday I weighed 164.5 in the morning. The next day I weighed 165.5 and the next day I weighed 166.5! If I had gotten off track with my eating, I would have understood the gain...but I'd done nothing out of the ordinary to attribute for those 2 additional pounds. It really made me upset to say the least. Then we'd lost our City Championship this week and I had some drama stuff going on at work, so I was in a mood to begin with! How frustrating it can be when the scale goes up. I mean, I am so pumped to get into the 150s. It's now getting so close.
It makes me wonder if I will ever be happy with the weight. Honestly, here I am in the 160s and I'm not jumping up and down. I'm comparing myself to others and still not happy with me. I wonder at one point I will be happy to stop the loss.
Since I was so bummed about the gain, I did something weird to make myself feel better. After some of the girls on my bball team handed in their uniforms, I tried one on. I had to see if one of the uniforms that the 7th and 8th graders wear would fit me. You know what - it DID! That's an accomplishment in itself and that's the kind of victory that I need to keep in mind when the scale isn't cooperating! I've been so lucky lately that the weight has been flying off too fast - that I need to have patience when it is not!
Tuesday, March 13th, 2007
I posted my weight early for this week because quite frankly, I haven't been in the mood to come on here and since I'm here today, I probably won't post tomorrow. The weight loss is strange. All week I've been up and down with the weight, convinced that I've not lost a pound. Then I get on the scale this morning and when I posted in here, realized that I lost 2 lbs this week?!?! Strange to say the least since it felt like the scale has been having the same numbers for the past week. I cannot explain it but was thrilled to see 161 this morning! So close to the 50s, that I can taste it! Whew!
I'm on my March break this week and started off on Saturday by walking to a mall at the other end of the city. I mapquested it and it was a 3.5 mile walk each way - and yes, I walked there and walked home! Felt pretty sore afterward though since I usually do 3 miles on the treadmill.
We are currently having a nice warm spell and it made me think of switching over my closet to my Spring clothes. Well, I could've cried. I kind of counted on wearing my Fall clothes for Spring but they are SO huge now. I cannot get away with it and realized that I *need* clothes so desperately. I went to Walmart and bought some t-shirts for $8 each and a nice pair of beige linen pants for $19.98. Then hubby realized that he'd paid my Sears card bill TWICE and that I actually had a credit of $166 there! Whew! Once I found that out, I *knew* Sears would be great for me to go to. They had major sales on too and so I got some great new shirts there too. I bought 11 shirts there and two new bras for $200. I thought that was pretty darn good. I bought some plainish t-shirts that I can dress up with dress pants for work and I bought some Adidas shirts too and a Boca one that were all on sale!
Here's where I stand on my sizes these days.
From 288 lbs to 161 Today. That is 127 lbs lost. 21 to go!
Shirts: I have gone from a size 26 (4X) to a solid LARGE
Underwear: now a regular XL
Bra size: 46/48 DD to 38B (yes the gals are deflating)
Pants: I have gone from 46 to 14 or 12.
Ring size: 9 1/4 to a regular size 7.
Shoes: Size 9 to 8 1/2
Thursday, March 15th, 2007
New hair therefore, new pics! And see major collar bone?! I think the double chin is almost completely gone too! Woot!
Sunday, March 25th, 2007
Wow - time sure flies by when you don't post for a while. Sorry about that - been busy with report cards. But I have lots to "report" this time around that has been going on. First of all, I am now 159 on the scale - I broke into the 50s! Next will be the 40s and eventually GOAL of 140! Last week was really tough because it was March Break (Spring Break) and I was home alot and had nothing to do. I had a couple of days where I actually "grazed" far more than I should have on foods all day out of boredom. It makes me think that the summer will be a big challenge for me too! I went up on the scale two pounds. Luckily by the time I weighed in, I'd gone down three - so that explains why I only had a 1 pound loss this week. I'll take it though!
I was talking to a colleague at work who is an active runner and told her how I am interested in eventually running and she gave me some tips on what to do on the treadmill - intervals- to get started. I'm currently doing 4 minutes of walking and 1 minute of running and will work on increasing that. She told me about a shoe store that has "running clinics" where they give you lessons on fitness, and you learn how to run as a group. Sounds great to me. I told her that I'd have to wait and do their class in September since I still have to lose another 20 lbs and starting in April would just be too soon when I'm not ready enough. She said "20 lbs? where?". She seem genuinely shocked that I weighed 159 and said that she'd never know that! She was partly embarrassed when she said that as she didn't want it to sound "horrible" to me but I totally understood what she meant - basically I carry it well. Probably the muscle that I've built from the treadmill.
I have been thinking of learning how to rollerblade. Hubby is very nervous about that afraid that I will kill myself and he's kind of said "NO WAY!". But then when I started to look at rollerblades yesterday he was trying to convince me to buy a better pair then the cheap ones I picked up. I've decided to do some research on them first and will probably go to a better store to buy them anyway. We were just at Canadian Tire and I was looking at a pair of $30.
Yesterday, I walked to the Devonshire Mall (our biggest mall) and went around looking at stores. I actually had nerve to walk into some "thin" people type stores. I swear that I find that odd - like I don't belong. You'd think I could walk into any store now that I'm a size Large, but you know what, there are these "junior" type stores that you have to be aware of - that run exceptionally small - so there is still that chance that nothing in a particular store will fit you! I was at the mall to find a spring coat. At first, I was looking at Columbia windbreakers but since I have a windbreaker, I thought that would be dumb to get another windbreaker so I was looking at more "formal" coats. I ended up at Sears where I found a very nice dressy-ishy but normal looking tan spring coat made by Alia (expensive company). The coat was regularly $79.99 but was on sale for 30% off. I thought it would be better if I bought an expensive well made coat for the $46 than perhaps, $30 at Walmart that falls apart after one season. You can tell even from the zipper that it is very well made.
Best of all, it is a size MEDIUM!!!! LOL!!!
Saturday, March 31st, 2007
I am weighing in at 156.5 this morning! Yay! Less thn 17 lbs to go. Of course, I might decide to go lower than 140, but at least I am close to the maximum that I'm supposed to weigh in the "normal" range.
Yesterday I had an appointment with the Endocrinologist. I had put it off for a long time and probably should have gone to see him earlier but waited. I brought him my 3rd set of bloodwork since surgery. For the first time since surgery, my bloodwork is pretty much completely normal! I have no more anemia! The only irregularity that showed up with this bloodwork was that my triglycerides were a little on the low side. (basically I have lower amounts of fats in my bloodstream). He said that was pretty much normal with gb patients! The last time that I had seen him was when he recommended me for surgery last February! He was quite impressed that just over a year later I am down 133 lbs (his scale weighed me at 155). He said that when he'd talked to me a year ago, he knew I was very educated on surgery and that I am pretty much a model GB patient! He looked a bit at my sagging skin and was giving me a recommendation for body sculpting (plastic surgery). I told him it was not in the budget at the present time. He didn't seem to think my skin looked that bad compared to others he'd seen. He checked my blood pressure too and said that was excellent. It was a pretty quick appointment. He wants me to get more bloodwork done just to check my thiamine and b1 levels because they can give some gb patients trouble. He also wants me to get another bone mass density test since calcium can be an issue for some gb patients.
Overall, a very great appointment!
Wednesday, April 4th, 2007
I was recently asked about how if, part of obesity, is mindless eating, how does one change that bad habit after having weight loss surgery? Well keep in mind, that this surgery is only a tool so this problem does not magically disappear. I have days where I fight the urge to constantly graze. It's still there - that tendency to overweight or binge is always lurking in the background. It happens from time to time - just yesterday, I 'binged' on two bags of chips. No, I'm not perfect.
The difference is that the urge is there much less frequently for me. Usually I am in "eat to live mode and not live to eat mode". It begins with surgery right away. Shortly after surgery, there is no big hunger drive anymore. While there is head hunger -- the urge to WANT to eat after seeing something that looks good, the physical urge to eat is diminished. Part of this is due to the fact that the stomach is swollen after surgery. I had no real physical hunger. Many people have a hard time distinguishing between "head hunger" and "physical hunger". Very simply, I had no physical hunger because I felt very disconnected from my stomach. I no longer had any sense of where my stomach was even located once I had surgery. Remember, as a post op, we now have 2 stomachs. Yes 2 stomachs - one functioning and one non-functioning.
After surgery, there is a regimented eating plan that ensured I did not binge. I could not since I was on liquids for 3 weeks. Once I moved on to regular foods, I would find myself very satiated on a small amount of food. Ah the wonders of surgery. It was such a pleasure to have small amounts of food that I was very satisfied with very little. No urge to binge at all. After surgery your mind definitely changes - you weigh "is this worth the calories on the scale" and find that it is much easier to turn down foods that you would have eaten before "just because it was there". You are losing, you feel great...and you just know you don't want to jeopardize your one shot at changing your life.
In terms of binges, I've had 3 real binges in the 9 months since surgery and even those, in retrospect are not like pre-surgery binges because of the sheer small amount of food I can only eat per sitting. During Christmas holidays, I binged on Turtles that my aunt gave me. It lasted 2 days, and then I picked myself up, dusted myself off and got back on track. I was basically "grazing" on Turtles and then, baked goods given to me from one of my kids. During March break, I also grazed for a night - just junk food. And just yesterday, I grazed too.
What comprised my binge last night? Two mini bags (like Halloween bags) of chips and 3 mini Air-Heads (candy taffy stuff). It totally felt like binging but it was not a *huge* amount. Before surgery, if I'd had a binge night it would have been a whole litre of Haagen-Daz Caramel Cone Explosion: 1280 calories, 76 grams of fat! It may have included some chocolate, and sunflower seeds as well. I am first to admit that when I'd binge, I would put away alot of calories. I got fat for a reason! (I hate when people say "gee I was fat, but eat like everyone else - I am honest here - I could really binge when I wanted to especially if upset about something!). Anyway, back to my binge yeserday -The mini bags of chips came to a whopping 300 calories and I think the fat was something like 10 grams. That is a huge difference when you compare a pre-op binge to a post-op binge, don't you think?
Everytime that I've binged, I've thought about how far I've come, and what I want to achieve, and I've picked myself up, dusted myself off and got back on track. Luckily my binge yesterday did not affect the scale so I feel good that I've rebounded nicely and can get back on track despite my 'falling off track' episode yesterday.
Friday, April 6th, 2007
Well this week, despite the binge, I've managed to lose a whopping 3 lbs this week. I cannot explain it but will say that the 3 lbs came off rather early in the week as it typically does and then the scale doesn't move for the rest of the week. It's a bit annoying but that is usually how the weight comes off - a lot at once and then it stops. I have to remind myself not to get upset at the seeming "stall" because I know it *will* move in the end.
I am holding steady at 155 and have received so many compliments this week at work from student's parents and staff, that it is hard not to get complacent with the weight loss goals. It would be easily to just say "Oh I'll stay at 155" but I am still not in the healthy range I should be. I still have somewhere between 15 and 20 lbs to go.
Friday, April 13, 2007
It ws a tough week for me for weight loss. Only one measly pound gone but I know why no big loss this week. The past few months I've had some large numbers because of the amount of exercise that I've done. It only makes sense that this close to goal, it would get harder without moving my butt. This week I was really, really lazy - I admit it! We got some new livingroom furniture and so I've given myself the excuse to it down and be more sedentary. As well, we moved our tv upstairs so I had to wait until hubby FINALLY got my smaller tv hooked up. Let me tell you that doing the treadmill in front of no television sucks! But again, yes they were my excuses for being lazy! Bad girl!
But yesterday I walked to our mall and home (6 miles). I bought myself 2 belts (need them to hold up some of my pants!LOL!), 2 pairs of fake croc type shoes and get this----rollerblades!
I know I'm just absolutely crazy but I would like to rollerblade. Learning will be hard as I'm a bit of a klutz. I bought a good pair of rollerblades, wrist guards, elbow pads, shin pads and even a helmet so that I don't splatter my guts all over the sidewalk. Wish me luck! The helmet will come in handy to go biking with hubby. It's one of the only active hobbies that hubby likes - biking- and it would be nice for us to do it together as a couple. It's too bad he doesn't wish to rollerblade. My sister in law says she will probably join me - but she doesn't yet own a pair so I'm not counting my chickens just yet.
Wednesday, April 25, 2006
It's been a tough couple of weeks. Been eating much more than I should be - not grazing but just having more snacks (carbs) then I should be. While I typically have to "eat to lose" I tend to focus on fruits and veggies and protein, protein, and more protein. Lately however I've been eating alot of carbs and craving carbs too. It's a tough weight loss month especially since I'm getting closer to goal (around 15 lbs to go). I'm okay with it though as long as I don't gain, I'm a happy camper. We also had a houseguest last weekend so I was doing alot of baking - muffins and cookies for him as a treat.
I'm getting stricter with myself and as of today I am kicking myself into high gear realizing that I have 2 months to get myself going if I am going to meet my 100% excess weight lost goal for July (my one year anniversary).
Doing intervals on the treadmill - yesterday was the first day that I did it perfectly with 4 minutes of walking and 1 minute jogging for all three miles.
Saturday, April 28th, 2007
Well looking at my outlined goals for the last few months was enough for me to get mad at myself for wasting the last couple of weeks. I really want to meet my goal of 100% of my excess weight lost by my July follow up so it means really kicking myself into high gear again and I have really done well the last few days again. I've gotten focused again on what I need to do and how I've strayed. I've kicked up the exercise to 4 miles on my treadmill and intervals of jogging and it feels great. I mean, it's not that I love it while actually doing it (LOL!) but once I'm done I do feel incredibly wound up and ready to take on the world.
Can I just say that on my first day of getting strict with myself a co-worker who is also a great friend, bought me a butter tart at a bakery at lunch time. She was being really sweet and I thanked her and then politely told her that I really couldn't do it and gave it back to her. She knows me and knows my struggles and told her quite honestly that while I think it's sweet that she thought of me, but I know it is just something that will get me off track. She was sweet but of course, I hope I didn't hurt her feelings. Sometimes it's tough to say NO!
At work yesterday I was chatting with a teacher who I'm fairly open with and was showing her the extra arm skin near my armpits - not pretty. She didn't focus on that - instead she couldn't get over my muscle on the top of my arm. That was kind of cool that she noticed that. I also had another Mother of a former student pull me over in the hallway on Friday to comment how good I look and how much I "glow" now. Awww..
Finally, the best thing about being on track the last few days: The scale has moved!!
Sunday, April 29th, 2007
Just a very quick update. Today on the scale I was 152 lbs. That means that I have achieved 90% of my excess weight lost BEFORE my 10th month (which will be on May 5th).
May 2nd, 2007
I recently got an email from someone contemplating surgery who was worried that she'd be a failure at WLS. She asked me what the secret of my success so far was and any advice I could give her.
Well first, let's analyze why some people fail at WLS. Plain and simple - some people are not willing to change their habits and lifestyles to make permanent changes to transform their lives. I see it all the time on the board that I read -- people that are one month, two months and three months out, and they are talking about eating pure crap. They are back to eating nothing of any nutritional value whatsoever. They replace meals with chips or ice cream. They are not focusing on protein. They skip meals and snacks and think that by eating less (but crap) that they are going to maximize their weight loss and still enjoy the *naughty* foods that they loved before surgery. (These by the way are often the ones that are later freaking out because their hair is falling out by handfuls and they have to get a wig because they aren't counting proteins!).
If you are going to go into this surgery, willing to make changes, then unless there is a medical issue, you should be a success....but it does mean having some willpower and it does mean making SMART CHOICES. The surgery gives you the chance to drastically reduce your pounds BUT it is still up to you not to go back to old habits. If you make the choice quickly to go back to processed junk food, you are just setting yourself up to be the 1 in 10 that fails. Surgery is not going to do EVERYTHING for you. You need to put some effort and thought into it too.
Once you have surgery, it is important to avoid foods THAT MADE YOU FAT. You know what they are - processed junk - those cookie bars, muffins, ice cream, chips, fast food. It means when you shop that you primarily stick to the aisles with the healthy stuff that are at the perimeter of the store - things like dairy products, meats, veggies, fruits, and some breads. It means avoiding things that have no protein and no nutritional value whatsoever. It means understanding the difference between ice cream being a "treat" and an every day food.
From a website I read---About 10% of patients fail to experience significant weight loss, primarily because they persist in consuming high-calorie liquids or soft foods, such as peanut butter, ice cream and sodas, which readily slide through the little stomach pouch.
To me, that pretty much sums it up.
You know the old saying - "you can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink". This is the essence of surgery. It is a TOOL and only a TOOL. It is something that you have to USE correctly to make it work for you. If you don't work the tool then you have had your body rearranged for no apparent reason and you are sure to be one of the 10% who go back to morbid obesity.
I believe that in most cases, the surgery doesn't fail people - people fail the surgery.
On a positive note, today I was 151 lbs. I am increasing my exercize lately to 4 miles a night and walking to/home from work when the weather cooperates. Feel great!
May 8th, 2007
Some people think it is a negative that we have small, restricted stomachs. I can tell you that this is also a positive. Lately, when I have a moment of weakness, (like today I ate a bake sale cupcake), I am very grateful that my stomach has a small capacity. I had the relief of knowing that I can't binge like I used to. So whatever "damage" I do through making a bad choice or giving in to a moment of weakness, I don't that I cannot do that much damage in one sitting as I used to . I cannot physically eat a whole bag of chips or a whole meal from McDonalds.and that is a good thing!
I have officially gone under 150 lbs which is amazing for me. I am 149 lb now. I am less than 10 lbs to goal! I think it is definitely going to get harder but I am continuing to jog/walk and I think that is going to make all the difference in the world.I am pretty sure that I am going to go under goal and aim for a lighter weight of 135 lbs...but if I get there, I get there and I won't kill myself to do so. If my body decides it doesn't want to lose anymore, that I'm not worried about it - as long as I'm in the normal range I am fine with it.
I'm continuing to do intervals on the treadmill of running and jogging. I am still determined to become a runner and am very inspired. It will be great as well to eat some more treats on occasion and then go for a jog afterwards to combat the calories AND to relieve stress. I am looking for the runner's high - that feeling that you can take on the world and challenge your body to the ultimate extreme.
ME?Who would have thunk?
May 12th, 2007
Okay, I think I killed my treadmill. Seriously, it is now making a grinding noise and has to be serviced on Wednesday. Boy am i ever glad that I got an extended warranty on it - I figured that I'd bsically kick the snot out of it and I have.
So on Friday after work, I went down for a walk on the riverfront which was nice but the scale did not move at all the next day. The scale doesn't move much when I don't jog these days. I am therefore not expecting a huge loss this upcoming week.
Here are my 148 lb pictures including the batwings - th excess weight/skin on my arms. You can see that I almost have 2 arms there - the top is where I actually have muscle the lower part is just the flabby skin.
May 16th, 2007
I lost a pound this week which I am happy with. I did not do all that much exercise this past week and on the weekend I ate waaay too many sweets, so I'll happily take the loss of a pound. I am going to knock it up though this week. My treadmill has mysteriously decided to stop making the grinding noise so I am starting to use it aain. Yay!I have found that I still cannot have ice cream in the house. I bought these lovely 100 calories packs from Breyers (cookies and cream) they were too delish. I cannot do moderation with them I've learned so I just need to plain and simple keep it out of MY house! Plus I ate some sweets on mothers day too.
I'm over that, moving again and eating darn near perfectly. Gotta get to goal!
Sunday, May 27th, 2007
I have been extremely focused the last few weeks on eating heathfully and exercising. It's amazing what I can do when my mind is totally focused. It helps that I'm getting close to goal and so, focusing is pretty easy with the end in mind. It feels amazing. I would care to venture that I will easily weigh in at 141 this week (since I'm 141.5 right now and I don't weigh in until Wednesday). That means that even this close to goal I have lost 3 lbs a week for the past two weeks. This is the wonder of exercise and commitment my friends - if you are having this surgery, WORK IT!
I got up this morning (Sunday) and felt the need to get out and DO SOMETHING. So I grabbed my bike and went down to the riverfront. In Windsor (where I live) we have 6 km of walking and bike trails down at the waterfront. I thought it would be a nice way to spend the morning..and well it probably would have if not for the RAIN. And yes, I mean pouring rain. By the time I got to the bridge, I noticed dark clouds coming and figured I'd better get going home before a thunderstorm came. I got somewhat halfway and ended up going under the shelter of the water pump station where I was stuck with four other people under the overhang waiting for the pouring rain to end.
While at the pumping station, I was struck by my reflection in the mirror and recalled what Brooke said when I met her last week for coffee--that if she hadn't known me already, looking at me, she would have never known that I was a former fat girl. (Okay she said it in a much nicer way but you know what I mean.). For the first time, I felt actually slender and felt lika THIN person
Anyway, I was stuck with a few people - there were two Arabic women in hejab (the covering over the face) and two Spanish men (?) not sure what exactly they were speaking but if I'd guess I'd gues Spanish who were fishing and were caught in the rain as well. So the 5 of us were all waiting for the rain to end and the Spanish men starting making small talk with me about the weather, what nationality I am etc. He compliments my eyes and then he asks me if I have boyfriend. Then it hits me -- this guy is trying to hit on me! To which I tell him I'm married and I jump on my bicycle and and head to the next building with an overhang because at this point, the rain is tolerable for riding in..and it was just...well..WEIRD!!!
Then I rode home and jumped on my treadmill for 3.5 miles!
Tomorrow, next up: rollerblading!
P.S. a few more BEFORE pictures on my profile:http://www.obesityhelp.com/member/shrinkingstef/
Wednesday, June 13th, 2007
I know I have been conspicuously absent. I've had emails from people wondering how I am doing so it is definitely time to update.
I'd decided that I needed a break for a while with all this counting pounds. In honesty, I was getting very obsessive compulsive about the numbers on the scale to the point that I was getting depressed and neurotic. I'd gotten down to 141 lbs and could not lose that one pound to get to goal. My weight fluctuated and I started to get upset about it to the point that I was feeling a little off my rocker. I was literally crying about it and getting depressed. I was in a completely crappy mood upset with the number on the scale. There I was crying because I weighed 142 lbs. Okay, think about that for a moment- a year ago I would have *died* to be 142 lbs. There I was depressed and crying and hubby was trying to figure out why after losing 148 lbs, I was depressed. He was right logically. I should not have gotten so bummed out by that number on the scale.
Of course, getting upset, what did I do? I felt rebellious. I felt mad at the world. So I ate. And I ate and I ate. Totally the wrong thing to do of course, but then again I've never been one for coping with stress well without food now have I? So I went into a period of about a week and a half where I just said screw it all and ate what I want. Did I pay the price? Of course, I did.
I got up on the scale to 147 lbs. I felt crappy and tired. I was in a BAD MOOD and knew that I felt bad because I was eating bad. Every 4 months or so I go through a period like this and I always get back on track. Usually it is just a day or two of eating crap, so this was definitely the longest period of falling off program.
Then eventually, as it always does, my head came back around to reality and I got back to program and started using my head, eating right and definitely feeling better both physically and mentally.
I have been back on program for a week and have gone down to 143 lbs.
On top of this bad period that I had, my Father-in-Law has been in the hospital for almost 2 weeks now so that has made things a little busier as well with alot of eating on the run as we go to visit him nightly at the hospital. Then last weekend I had to do report cards. We've also just bought a camper so we were doing things to purchase that, stock it and we're going camping next week as well. And Lastly, it is the end of the year (only 9 more days of work to go) and it is a SUPER busy time with our last field trip (done!), report cards (done!), and our Kindergarten Graduation (coming up this week). It has just made thing very busy right now and while my head is now securely wrapped around everything weight loss wise, I'm just needing some time to breathe! LOL! So yes, I am alive and well.
My body seems really really resistant to moving past the 142-143 mark. It will take some good amount of time burning up the treadmill to get any lower and really, I am now too worried about it. I'm pretty happy with the way I look and I'm wearing a t-shirt size in medium and size 9/10 pants. If this is it in terms of weight loss, then I'm happy enough with that as I do really look pretty good and I'm healthy.
New Pictures: Me at the school fun fair.
Thursday, June 21st, 2007
Monday, July 2nd, 2007
Now that I'm at goal, I can see that maintaining is going to be almost as much work as losing. Typically once wls patients get to goal, they go up a few pounds - a little rebound weight. I can see how it would easily happen - you get to goal, and then you relax a bit and treat yoursefl more often and don't get on the scale. I am determined to make sure that I don't let go on that.
You have to have a plan for loss, so you need to have a plan for maintenance too. My plan is that I will get on the scale every day (or every day that it is possible - I will not be crazy enough to take my scale camping with me.). I will stay in the 135-141 range and I will adjust my eating and exercise accordingly.
I promised myself that once I got to goal I would treat myself to a blizzard. Well, Dairy Queen is not that close to me so I opted for a McDonald's flurry (really dumb since it's not nearly as good as a blizzard...but I digress...). I got a Caramilk McFlurry which I enjoyed at first, but it got so sickeningly sweet after a while, that I gave the rest to the dog. Well you couldn't believe my surprised when I DUMPED!!!!!!!!!!!!!.
Yes about a year out, I finally dumped! I can typically eat anything sugary and never ever dump but apparently the mix of chocolate bar and ice cream was too much for my system because I had to go upstairs on the bed and lie down. I felt my heart racing, nauseous, like I was going to throw up, or explode. I was pretty amazed let me tell you. Between that overly sweet taste that made me feel yucky after a while and the subsequent dumping, I do not want a mcflurry again!
Thursday, July 5th, 2007
Reflections on a Year Out
A year ago today, I was just undergoing my surgery. Frustated with hitting my highest weight of 288, I finally had the realization that I needed HELP or I was plain old going to eat myself to health problems or to...death. I worried I'd have a heart attack like my mother did in 2004. I hated feeling lazy and frumpy all the time. I hated having limited energy with my students. I hate how I'd get out of breath doing an action song with my students. I hated how I'd come home from work and be so sore and tired that I could barely do a thing!
It's amazing how a year has changed me.
Like everyone else, I worried the night before that I would not have what it took to change my lifestyle. I worried that I'd miss food. I worried I'd regret everything. I worried that I'd plain old die and never wake up out of surgery. It was terrifying - it was surreal. I'd never even been in a hospital overnight before and there I was willing to undergo what is considered to be elective surgery. Certainly I hadn't been plagued by major health problems so I wondered if perhaps I was doing something that I had no business doing. I worried that I needed to just try one more time to lose weight "naturally". I went through the whole gamut of emotions just like everyones seems to do pre-op. I read the Memorials on the obesity help board and wondered if I'd be just another statistic..but of course, the fact that I'd carefully chosen my surgery and facility helped to calm down those feelings of pure terror. Although I might have not expressed the fears on my site, I had them too. They are only natural.
A year ago, I worked myself hard for 2 months and lost around 32 lbs for surgery. So when I went into surgery, I was fairly confident that I'd be able to have it laproscopically and I did. I weighed 256 on the day of surgery - and went up 11 pounds the next day to 267! The reality hit me the next few months as I adjusted my eating accordingly and realized that I was one of the slowest losers around!
I did not find post surgery life all that bad. I really did not struggle with the eating and drinking as much as most people although for the first few weeks I remember worrying incessantly because I wasn't even halfway to my protein and water needs. Eating and drinking was hard! I worried about the pouch. I worried it would burst inside of me if I drank too much. I worried that I'd never get the "full feeling". I worried about everything really! LOL! But I knew if I followed my eating plan I'd do well and I'd eventually start showing off the big numbers that others had lost on the scale. I stuck with it.
I dumped once early out and have only dumped again at goal last week! So I am not a big dumper over all. I hoped to dump although once I didn't seem to be a dumper, it really did not change all that much in the scheme of things except I have to work harder sometimes to refuse those sugary treats. You still need willpower as a post op. I still have not vomited once to this day. The only true "problem" I developed out early on was iron deficiency anemia which made me very tired and cold in the Fall, but after 6 months months out my body sorted out the problem basically and I have no more anemia.
Health and Psychological Changes:
-I'm very physically active, fit and healthy! There are many that have this surgery but aren't fit and active but I walk everywhere and for no reason half the time! I can easily walk 4-6 miles without a problem whether on the treadmill or outside. Before surgery, walking from the car to the store would tire me out. Stairs would just about kill me. Now I walk across the city just to do something. I often have the urge just to do something physical like go for a walk or ride a bike. It can drive me nuts just sitting all the time.
-My migraines have just about vanished. Before surgery, my migraines would be at least once or more a week, and I'd throw up incessantly at least once every couple of months from a really bad migraine. I have not had a migraine in the last year. I get headaches now and find that once tylenol typically does the trick.
-My back and knee problems have changes dramatically. I admit I had some issues in February with mid back pain (used to be lower back pain) but it is not a constant thing. No hip problems and knees don't bother me at all. My feet rarely bother me at all except when I take those killer long walks that I do across town.
-My bloodwork is excellent. No deficiencies at all - no required extra supplementation other than the typical multivitamins, calcium and b-12. I have only one abnormality in my bloodwork - my triglycerides are a little low. Imagine that! LOL!
-I have gone from a 26/28 pant size at my highest to 9/10. I have gone from a 4X shirt (sometimes 5X) to a medium/large. I have gone from a 9 1/4 ring size to a 7. I don't really notice a change in my feet. I am now a B cup from a DD. (nothing a good LaSenza ITec can't fix).
-I am more confident and assured of my body than I used to be although I still am much too introverted to my liking. Still not a huge risk taker and I wish I was. Still too worried about what other people think of me than I should be. I'm still quiet around people that I don't know.
-Getting your heard wrapped around the changes can be hard. I still often look in mirrors and feel "fat". While I am no longer the largest person in the room, I am also not the smallest. I'm normal but not teeny tiny. I don't feel the need to get to be superskinny or shop in the Juniors Department but it's still hard to get out of the "fat mindset". There is a teacher I work with who has had 3 kids and is a size O or 2. It's hard to not compare myself to people like this. I've worked so hard to be "normal" that it's hard not to want to go to the other extreme. I'm not allowing myself to become obsessed.
-Trying to figure out the balance for maintaining is going to be tricky. As long as I stay somewhere between 135 and 141 (the top of my range for my BMI) I'll be satisfied. The scale is not very forgiving right now so I'm finding it tricky to make sure to balance my eating with my exercise.
-I'm off of work for the summer and it's only been a week and I've been feeling very challenged. All I think about is food beause I'm not busy right now and am sitting around more than I'm used to. I'm used to the crazy schedule of a teacher and so it's a challenge right now not to be busy. I think next summer I will definitely get a summer job! LOL!
My follow up with Barix will be on the 23rd since Dr. Pop's schedule was full. I look forward to seeing if I've met his expectations.
Reflections on Three Years PLUS Out of RNY
This weight loss journey is a strange thing for sure. Many ups and downs that make life interesting. At three years out, yes, I've experienced the dreaded regain. I think this has played with my head more than anything else. What caused the bouceback of pounds? Definitely what I've put into my mouth - the carby crap that got me into this trouble in the first place. This surgery is no magic formula. If I was choosing to follow the rules, I'd be fine, but things get in the way of always doing what you are supposed to.
I've found the last year, I've been really stressed due to personal reasons and that has made me eat very mindlessly and let's just say nutrition wise, while I know so much about food, I've been eating a ton more crap than I know I should. So the pounds have bounced up and I'm really hard on myself for it. The mind is a funny thing. When I was losing I felt wonderful, but as I maintained I found it really weird not to lose and that made me sad not to lose. When I started to gain, it made me feel weak, useless and well. I now feel more critical of my body then ever and am pretty much battling with emotional eating much more than I used to.
Will I lose the 10-15 lbs. Probably. I go up and down the same 5 to 10 lbs. I do really well for a week and eat as I know I should and then I just binge for days. It's really crazy and emotionally and physically not healthy for me. Need some big time therapy for this emotional eating garbage.
I'm writing this to tell you that there will be many ebbs and flows in your journey. While I am a much more healthier person physically, I still struggle with the same emotional issues I did before surgery. The surgery is not going to change the stuff you don't like about yourself on the inside. For instance, I wish I were more outgoing..and just because I'm thinner doesn't mean that I'm any more outgoing than I used to be -- I still am a nervous wreck to speak in front of a group. So don't expect that this surgery will change everything. It is no magic formula. My motto is how this surgery changes the body and not the head....so if you are pre op looking into therapy or counselling as to why you overeat in the first place is a really good idea so that your body and brain can work on changing together.
I love my new life being down over 130 lbs :) I love my support group and new friends.
I live a VERY ACTIVE life now. I walk with friends on Monday nights for two hours. In October we completed the Detroit Free Press Half Marathon (walking 13.1 miles). On Tuesday nights, I play floor hockey for two hours with my friend Lisa. On Friday nights, I coach swimming. On Mondays to Thursdays I coach basketball from January to April. I surround myself with activity. I walk to and from work on most days. Establish health habits like these!
Someone asked in my support group last month, "I'm a few months out of surgery. Why does everyone say this surgery can be so hard and can be a challenge? This is pretty easy for me". Spoken like a newbie. What makes it a challenge is that the first year, it is so incredibly easy. The honeymoon phase. You can eat and eat and STILL lose weight. You can make a bad choice and have something you aren't supposed to have and the next day be down a pound on the scale. It is very, very forgiving the first year. Not so much the 2nd and 3rd year and after that...and of course, by then you can eat a lot!!! And you can get back to grazing incessantly again.
My best piece of advice to newbies is to absolutely make the most out of your first year. You could have two different people with the same height and weight who have the surgery the same day and get two different outcomes. Person A might get to goal in a year and person B never gets to goal. I really do believe that the first year is absolutely crucial to avoid sugar and live low carb until the weight is off. The next two years will be enough of a challenge without getting into bad habits your first year out. .
A lady named Patty on the DS board said it best: Here's the best advice I can offer to the new folks. Ignore sugars and carbs till you lose the weight. Just lose the weight first. Then find out what you can eat and not gain. It's not forever. Just till you reach your goal. I was able to pretty much do this by planning a cheat day or weekend once a month or so. That way it was never forever away and I had something to look forward to. It helped me get real control over what I was eating.
The weight control thing will never be effortless for me. Now I just gain and lose the same 10lbs over and over again. I will always have to watch what I eat..
Journals on WLS
Why not visit others to see what is going on with their surgery or post op life. If you you have a journal to share, please send it in
My Journey - How Weight Loss Surgery is Saving My Life
In the Life of a Loser
Journey to a Healthier Me : Pam's Blog
Amber's Weight Loss Battle
Shrinking Flower: Pregnancy After Gastric Bypass
Susy: A Brand New Me
Robyn: One Fat BitchyPoo
Roz Land: A New Weblog
She Didn't Have Time
Barb: A Phoenix Rising
Carrie's Gastric Bypass Journey
My Journey to a New Life
The best books that I've encountered on WLS are:
1) Weight Loss Surgery for Dummies by Marina S. Kurian
2)The Doctor's Guide to Weight Loss Surgery: How to Make the Decision That Could Save Your Life by Louis, MP Flancbaum
3) The Real Skinny on Weight Loss Surgery: An Indispensable Guide to What You Can REALLY Expect! (Paperback) by Julie M. Janeway
4). Gastric Bypass Surgery By Mary McGowan
5). Before and After by Susan Nuziato Leach
Without a doubt, the BEST resource, hands down, was obesityhelp.com. The forums on that site are amazing. There are forums geared to where you live, what surgery you are having and various other issues. I am active on the Ontario Board and read the Michigan board since that is where I had my surgery. As well, the main messageboard is phenomenal for quick answers -there are literally thousands of people on there who are willing to answer questions.
I've decided to add this information onto my website for two reasons. First of all, I have it written down, but this is incase I lose the information. Secondly, so many people do not seem to understand about sugars, so I thought I'd put this on my site so that I don't have to keep explaining it a million times over!
Sugars- When you are looking at a product, look to see how many grams of sugar per serving are in the product. If it is 2 grams or less per serving then you should be able to tolerate it. If there are more than 2 grams of sugar, look at the label (Nutrition Information) and find out what ingredients are adding to the sugar content.
Sugars to limit -- brown sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, honey, maple syrup, molasses, raw sugar, sucrose, sugar, glucose, invert sugar, maltose and sorghum.
Sugars and substitutes that are tolerated well - fructose, lactose, vegetable sugars, aspartame, saccharin, stevia, acesulfame K, sugar alcohols (may cause diarrheah if consumed in large amounts - ex. sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, maltitol), isomalt and sucralose (Splenda)
My Weight Loss ChartMy Surgery date is July 5, 2006
I am 5 foot 3 inches tall.
Date Weight Amount Lost Total Lost
Feb 16,2006 Endocrin. Appt
288 Highest Weight --
June 19 PATS
261 -27 lbs -27 lbs July 5t- Surgery 256 -5 lbs -32 July 19th 245.5 -10.5 -42.5 July 26th 241.5 -4 -46.5 August 3rd 240 -1.5 -48 August 9th 236.5 -3.5 -51.5 August 16th 234 -2.5 -54 August 23rd 230 -4 -58 August 30th 227 -3 -61
Sept. 6th - My 36th Birthday
225 -2 -63
221.5 -3.5 -66.5
219 -2.5 -69
215.5 -3.5 -72.5
215.5 0 -72.5
212 -3.5 -76
208.5 -3.5 -79.5
205.5 -3 -82.5
203.5 -2 -84.5
201.5 -2 -86.5
198 -3.5 -90
195 -3 -93
192 -3 -96
190 -2 -98
188 -2 -100!
186 -2 -102
187 +1 -101
186 -1 -102
183 -3 -105
181 -2 -107
179 -2 -109
177 -2 -111
173.5 -3.5 -114.5
170.5 -3.5 -117.5
167.5 -3 -120.5
165 -2.5 -123
161 -2 -127
160 -1 -128
158 -2 -130
155 -3 -133
154 -1 -134
154 0 -134
154 0 -134
151 -3 -137
148 -3 -140
147 -1 -141
144 -3 -144
143 -1 -145
139.5 -3.5 -148.5
Perhaps I will now weigh in once a month?
Graphics provided by www.fullmoongraphics.com
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