Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Week 2 Results

I have updated my weight chart, but I lost 8.6 pounds this week, bringing me to a total loss of 21 pounds in the last 2 weeks.  TWO WEEKS!?  It's crazy!  But, it's true!  I had my follow up appointment with the doctor today and I am doing well. They want me to continue the meds I have been taking to control my blood sugar and blood pressure, but if I find my blood pressure is going low, to just stop taking the medication.  She also said I don't need to check my blood sugars every 6 hours like I have been, unless I see it going high again above 150, but it hasn't done that in a week, so I don't anticipate that it will.

It's looking really good so far.  I don't have to return to see them for another 4 weeks.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


In looking back over previous attempts to lose weight, I am reminded of about 7-8 years ago when I decided to try the Nutrisystem program (for the 2nd time).  I had been laid off from my job and was trying to fill my life with something to focus on while I was picking up those pieces.  I decided that I would sign up for this program, shell out a whole lot of cash and make this my primary focus.  I was somewhere around 270 pounds at the time, possibly more, but I can't find any documentation at this point to confirm the exact number.  I did just as I planned and starting following their program, eating their food as outlined and supplementing where applicable,  I also started walking every morning, sometimes in the evenings as well.  And it worked.  The pounds were falling off of me and before too long I was at 250, then 230...within 5-6 months I was down around 217 pounds.  My life was back, amd my health was back, I was fitting into much smaller sizes, very physically healthy...but I stalled there.  I was sick to death of the food (it's really not the greatest food, and it's easy to tire of the same choices I made that I could tolerate), and I got a new job.  My focus shifted to the stress of the job (and it was very stressful), and I soon lost sight of my weigh loss goals.  I quickly put back on 20 pounds, and over the next year, found myself back up to 270 again.  Very depressing, but so typical.  I was able, in later years to lose some weight again, and had maintained the 245-250 range for a few years.  Which brings me to the present.

With my weight at 247 when I had my surgery, and the fact that in the last 2 weeks I have been shedding weight rapidly, I am excited.  I believe I will in no time be at that lowest weight I can remember of 217.  I don't have an official weigh in to report today, (since I weigh in tomorrow) but this morning I did see 226 on the scale.  That is crazy to me.  To lose this much weight in only 2 weeks?  But to add some perspective, I am able to do this because of the sleeve as my tool.  I have had nothing solid to eat in 16 days, but have maintained my strength and health with protein shakes each day that equal 60 grams of protein,  Without the sleeve, I would have felt so hungry and unable to take advantage of this time where my stomach is still healing and unable to accommodate very much at one time.  Plus, I have been very vigilant at following the plan exactly as outlined.  I haven't allowed myself to test my limits to see what I can actually meet.  I believe my sleeve probably could manage a little soft food right now, but I am waiting until I have the clear to move forward.  I think I am getting better results by doing this.

Have I been tempted to eat something?  Oh yes!  Head hunger is a very real thing.  The 1st time it really affected me was on Thanksgiving.  Jim had bought himself a Papa Murphy's Canadian Bacon Pizza, (my favorite).  When it was baking, I could imagine the delicious tomato sauce and cheese and how that would taste on my tongue.  It also happened a couple days later when I cooked some pork chops for him and my son.  They looked so delicious and I really wanted to have a bite and chew on them.  I am not even a huge fan of pork chops, but these would have been fantastic.  Was I hungry?  Not at all.  I just wanted to taste.  That's head hunger.  Luckily, I know my limitations and have been very fortunate to not experience any nausea so far on this journey, so wanted to remain careful and focused.

I can predict some difficult situations in my future, but right now, it feels so good to see that scale moving down every day.  In fact it's fantastic!

I am not exactly sure how long it has been since I was under 200 pounds, let alone under 210 pounds.  I believe it was in the very early 90's, when my 3rd son was young and my last son had not yet been born.  It would have been when I was living in Arizona still and joined Weight Watchers a few times.  My guess it's easily 25 years or more.  To think, I may even see that number before the end of this year?  Unimaginable.

Premier Protein Chocolate shake, blended with small banana chunk, crushed ice a PBfit peanut butter powder.  

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Numbers So Far

I don't know why I have been having such a hard time talking about weight loss so far.  Technically, my 1 week started yesterday since Tuesday was my surgery day, but I was also released on Thursday so I think I will make Wednesday's my official weigh in day.  And, with that being said, here is the low down on numbers so far.

On the day of surgery, I weighed in at the hospital at 247.  Last Friday when I got up and took my shower here at home after leaving the hospital, my weight was 253.  I wasn't concerned because I knew there would be fluid retention and bloating, etc.  So, this morning, when I weighed in I came in at 234.6.  The only discrepancy with this number is, I know weighing in at home, naked, in the privacy of my bathroom, is much different than weighing in at the doctor, fully clothed and wearing shoes.  But, I need a solid place I can follow numbers at and I know I will not be satisfied relying on my doctor's scale to make things official, since my visits with him will not be very frequent. So from now forward, any weight I record will be my own scale. (although, with a doctor follow up today, it will be interesting to see what the difference in numbers between scales will be.)

Week one:  12.4 lbs

I will come back and update how my 1st follow up appointment went after I get home.

My appointment went fine.  Overall, I am doing good.  I saw the Nurse Practitioner, Rachael.  She was pretty brisk, sort of a let's hurry and get through all this information so we get you out the door.  She was nice, but no one is going to be as excited on my progress as I am, and I understand that.  She was concerned, however, about my blood pressure being overly high.  And, it has been.  I told her I was taking medication for that previously, but have not since the day of my surgery.  She prescribed for me to go ahead and start taking that every day, keep monitoring and I have to come back next week to follow up with her.  She also was concerned that I am not getting my fluids in as I should, and I do know that I am not quite making that goal every day, so I am committed to try harder.  She sent me to get blood work done to make certain I don't have anything going on that could damage my kidneys, and I have to get it done again next week before my 2nd follow up appointment.

One thing that I realized today that is pretty exciting news as well, is I am now 39 BMI.  I am pretty sure I haven't been under 40 for at least 4 years, maybe 5.  Good for me!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Blood Sugar Tracking

As was my original reason for seeking information about the vsg surgery, my motivation was based on the ever increasing blood sugar I was reporting.  I had my A1C done a week before surgery and it was an all time high of 10.1.  To explain it more clearly, someone who is in this range is averaging a blood sugar glucose level of 243 every day.  Since I have been home from the hospital, I have been monitoring my blood sugar 3 times a day and supplementing as needed with insulin.  I am very excited that I see numbers like 144 or 153.  Yes, these are still higher than I want them to be, but I have not had a result like this in easily 2 years.  I feel optimism for the first time in a very long time.

Today I received flowers from my work.. They are so pretty.  The 2nd picture is the remainder of the flowers from Jim and also from Brandon's family.  Some of them were wilting so I kept the ones that were still pretty and put them together in the same vase.  Fresh flowers are so special.  I feel badly that they are just going to die, but honestly, they grow to why not sitting on my counter?

Monday, November 21, 2016

Sunday night-Monday morning

Dates are running together and sleep is often very elusive for me, especially at night time. I tried going to bed upstairs in my own bed with my husband last night but only made it until midnight before I had to take my painful body back down to our oversized armchair. It's unfortunate, but my abdomen muscles and incisions were hurting so badly and laying on my side was out of the question. I will try again tonight though.

I have stopped taking the pain pills almost completely. I did have 2 of them yesterday, but considering I was taking 2 every 4 hours only having 1 -2 times in 24 hours is a big step. I was going to run out of them anyway and wanted to see what I could handle. I do still have some gas rumbling around in me and I am not sure if it is residual from the surgery or just intestinal from the liquid diet I am on. I have started taking stool softeners though because other than the aforementioned gas, I've had no bowel movements in 6 days. I also have not had a significant weight loss since surgery either but the issues just mentioned probably have a lot to do with that. I haven't been very worried about that'll come. 

My husband reminded me that I have not had any solid food in my stomach since last Sunday. I don't believe I have ever, in my lifetime, not eaten anything for 7 straight days. Of course,since I am on a liquid diet, I really have a couple more weeks of this to go through. I was watching a movie a few hours ago and a woman was eating a crunchy apple. I had the normal reaction of thinking that an apple sounded really good...and then reality slammed into my head that I CAN'T eat an apple.  It was a very weird moment. I also discovered that I am not immune to the idea of food. Yesterday I was watching food videos and even a quick trip with my husband to Walmart revealed that visually I still want food. My husband picked up a rotisserie chicken for his dinner. When we got home from the store and I opened the grocery bag,the smells wafting up into my face were so intense and rich and really overpowering. It smelled wonderful. Of course, later that day when I opened the fridge to get out my protein drink, the chicken was there and it smelled much less appealing and really offensive. I must make sure that Trey finishes that chicken off today. 

So my days now consist of, checking blood sugar in the morning.  If the numbers are 120 or higher, I am to take 10 units of lantus insulin. If they are 150 or higher, then I also take regular insulin based on a sliding scale. So far, I have only had to take 2 units at a time of the regular insulin. My fasting blood sugar yesterday morning was 138!! I honestly have not seen a number like that in a couple years at least. The doctor thinks the diabetes will go away. It is possible I will always need to monitor it now to make certain I am not over those 120 or even 150 numbers. I am not sure how that will work itself out. I also never had to give myself insulin until now because I was treating my diabetes with pills. I have learned that the process is not as daunting as I once thought.

As for food...I am required to drink 4 protein shakes a day. I was using the inspire powdered protein but after a couple days of dealing with blender bottles,  clumps and foamy drinks, I admitted defeat and my husband took me to buy some of the premier protein. It's already pre-measured and I know that 1 container is 2 shakes. I can deal with it. It simplified my process and eliminated some of the dread. So far, I don't mind the way it tastes. Probably what I do mind about "food" in this stage is that almost everything is sweet. Protein shakes, jello, popsicles, G2, crystal light...I miss savory! I was never one to treat myself overly much with desserts or sweet treats, and always preferred meat or breads or something like that.  I was actually rather shocked to discover how much I enjoy and even look forward to a cup of hot chicken broth. So nice and salty.  Pre-op, I was actually dreading that I would need to drink the broth. Now, I believe it's my favorite part!  Today, I am going to step outside of the box and blend up some canned soup I bought. I am nervous about it, to be truthful. But my diet did say I could try a bean or lentil soup. I can also have a cream soup. I just have to make certain it's completely blended.

I have started a very weird habit. I get these little gasps of air, perhaps they are yawns or just sudden intakes of breath, and I immediately stifle them with a little suck in of breath. It's not even conscious, until after I realize I just did it. It's super strange. I think I am trying to protect my new little tummy from any pain or expansion?   I also find it very odd that I will sip on some liquid and it seems to go down just fine, and then a few minutes later, I get a very tight and uncomfortable pressure that stretches across from shoulder to shoulder. I have to hold my breath for a few seconds until it passes. It's no wonder it's such a struggle to get in all the liquid I need in a day.

Well, this is pretty fair recap of my journey so far. Today, Jim heads back to SLC for work and may be gone for a couple days. Trey is home with me though, and I am going to put him to work this morning. This house is a wreck and I am tired of seeing it this way. I shall sit on the couch and supervise him. He'll love it!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Day 4

It took most of the day, but I finally came home yesterday in the late afternoon. The doctor was concerned that I wasn't drinking enough, and I wasn't, but that is definitely a struggle. Additionally, the fact that I haven't peed that much was also a concern. I see what everyone was talking about. It's very difficult to drink all the time. There's no room for it all!  As of this afternoon, I am setting my timer for every 15 minutes so I can work through this cup of water that has been taunting me. 

Last night was pretty rough. I was in quite a bit of pain and much I can attribute to gas pains. I started sleeping upstairs in our bed,but it seemed so flat and difficult to get comfortable. I was able to fall asleep with much pillow propping but at 11:00 pm I woke up in a lot of pain and needed to roll over. I flopped around to the other side, but that became even more painful, so I gathered up my necessities and went downstairs to try and see if I could get some rest, sitting up on the couch. Trey happened to be coming to bed about that time so he helped me downstairs and got me situated. 

And sleep came. It was good. And I woke up this morning feeling so much better!

Today I have been getting around pretty well and drinking water. Some very exciting news is I checked my blood sugar and it was 151!! I haven't had it that low in such a long time!!  Of course, when I checked it a 2nd time 6 hours later, it went up to 166. Still, it's better than the 200+ levels from before. I now have to take insulin until I can get my blood sugar back down to normal. But, it's only day 4, so it all takes time and is a process. 

Last night, when I was sore and couldn't get comfortable, I felt so overwhelmed!  I started to wonder what I had gotten myself into. Today, I feel much more optimistic and knowi v
Can manage this. Just have to remember to sip, sip, sip! 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Day 2

Day 2  started out pretty good, but once they took the catheter out I couldn't urinate by myself. That evening around 7:00 PM the nurse had to put a new catheter in and it was not fun at all. I also started in on extreme gas pains in my stomach., back and neck. I was fairly miserable all night and couldn't find a comfortable position. One of the nurses located me a heat pad and that helped somewhat.  Finally at 6am I asked the nurse if I could get up and walk around. She helped me tuck the catheter up out of sight and I did a couple laps around the ward.  I was still in a lot of pain, but it was time for my pain medication s I asked to sit in a chair instead of getting back in that bed. Now that they have taken me off of the pain pump, I am no longer in that pain-free, rosy place where all is easy.

I have found that ice chips are my friend. My throat keeps going so dry with a lot of nasty phlegm, but the ice chips are helping to keep that lubrication gong.  They have the chewy ice too that is easy on my teeth. I think sonic sells this stuff by the bag so I think I will see if we can pick me up some when I go home.

Now I am starting day 3. I'm not sure if I get to go home today because the catheter issue might have set me back a day. But I am hopeful that walking will help.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016


I am officially on the other side. My surgery weight is 247. 

My husband Jim and I arrived at the hospital on the15th of November around 7:15 to get me checked in for surgery. Everything seemed to work as planned with my surgery time of 9:30 AM. Everyone was very nice and thorough and before too long I was being wheeled to the OR. Up until this point I had very little anxiety and in fact had not needed any medication to relax me, but once they put me over onto the surgical table, I did begin to feel some anxiety. It really didn't take very long from that point that they had me breathe in some oxygen and I was losing consciousness. 

The next thing I remembered was waking up in recovery, needing to cough and having a painful heavy feeling in my upper left side. A nurse was there, talking me through everything and giving me pain medications to ease my discomfort. She was great. My blood sugars were a whopping 389 though!  The nurse gave me a small chunk of ice to roll around n my mouth and it was heavenly.   Eventually she was able to assign me to a room on the 6th floor.  At this point it was 2:30 in the afternoon so I had spent 5 hours between surgery and recovery. 

I was still in quite a lot of pain, but the nurse had hooked me up with a pain pump so that I could self-administer pain medicine as needed. When they had to transfer me over to my new bed it was quite shockingly painful for a moment, but improved quickly. 

Jim was waiting in my room and after the nurses left him and I alone for a few moments he told me what Dr. Korn had shared about the surgery. It all went fine except for the fact that my spleen was connected to my stomach because it was sharing some blood vessels and tissue that had strangely developed, so they needed to remove some of my spleen.  Because of this, I was on total bed rest that day, and unable to start walking around or drinks no any water or food. 

I really am not in any way hungry and they did supply me with a small sponge and a cup of water that I can use to moisten my gums and tongue,and that has helped immensely. Plus, they provided me with an oral spray that hydrates my mouth as well. 

It was great to see my husband and visit with him. I am sure it was difficult for him to see me so highly medicated and in some pain.  Dr. Korn came in to fill me in the details of my surgery and indicated that because of the little complication, I would likely stay an additional day. 

Jim left for a couple hours to let me get some rest, and the groggy way I was feeling I soon did. He returned later with Trey and a beautiful bouquet of flowers. Soon after that Brandon, Elisha and their darling little grandsons came to visit, also bringing another gorgeous bouquet of flowers. 

Jim said goodbye to me about an hour later and I have been in and out of it ever since. I am fortunate in that I haven't had any nausea so far. The gas pains have been minimal. I haven't had to swallow anything yet, so it's been a true day of fasting. The strangest experience so far is that I must be swallowing some air and my sleeve doesn't have the capacity to hold it, so I can feel it working its way back up with little burps. 

It's 2:14 in the AM as I am writing this so I should probably try to sleep some more. The nurses check on me frequently so there isn't solid sleeping as it is   I did want to mention before I end though is that they are giving me insulin and my last reading was 250. Crazy high numbers. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Pre-Surgery Appointment

Last Thursday I had my pre admission and pre surgery appointment with the surgeon.  This is finally happening!  I found the building downtown after I was re-routed 3 times due to wonky streets in downtown Boise.  The pre-admission process was really simple.  They wanted blood, asked my medical history and that's about all.  I then went to the surgeon's office to meet with him.  I expected an exam of some sort, but nothing like that occurred.  He spoke with me about stopping certain medications the day before and day of surgery and my liquid diet the day before.  So, I asked him a few questions I had prepared:

  • When should I exercise?  Gradually, as I feel I am ready.  Mostly walking to begin with
  • How long in hospital?  2 nights most likely
  • CPAP? Use at least a month after surgery
  • Next visit after surgery?  one week
  • Constipation or gas pains?  Colace for constipation and walking for gas
  • What should my goal weight be?  170 to start--don't be wrapped up in numbers
  • What medications?  He gave me a few to avoid the night before and morning of.
Next Monday I will go to a pre-bariatric surgery workshop.  It lasts for 2 hours on the eve of my surgery.  I invited Jim to come with me, but it is doubtful he will want to come along.  And, that's fine.  He is my support system, but quite honestly, he also will not be around that much in my 1st 6 weeks because his job takes him away.  I think I am pretty self-efficient enough to handle everything.  I also have Trey here during most of it if I get in a pinch.

I am going to be off work for 6 weeks!  What a wonderful thing!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

I have my surgery date

It's been a fairly drawn out process, but I finally have my surgery date!  Pre-approval came through on Monday and yesterday, the nurse called me to say they were ready to schedule me.  I am going to have this done on November 15th.  That is 2 weeks away!  This Thursday I need to go have my pre-op appointment.  They will run some lab work, and EKG and I am not sure what else.  Then after that, I will meet with the surgeon and he will do my last exam before surgery.  I also do not know what to expect at that appointment, but at this point, I am up for what they bring.

What a relief to have it in the works now!

I feel like I have a lot to do before.  I am not even sure where to start, but I think it's going to be quite a ride.  Oh!  The nurse did say the doctor would prefer 4-6 weeks before returning to work.  I told her that my work will pay for the full 6 and she advised that be what I take then.  With that being the case, since the 11th is a holiday, the 10th is my last day of work.  I have tons of stuff to get done at work before I leave.  It looks like I won't be back until the Tuesday after Christmas.

Its time to get ready for work, so I will just leave this here.