Saturday, April 30, 2011

From the depths of hell to LIFE IS GOOD - Part 1

Life is good.  No.  Strike that. Life is GREAT.  Much, much better than what it was 3 or so weeks ago.  Thank goodness for that!  I've certainly been busy - back to work and back to life.  The incision pain from the sutures that weren't dissolving is gone and I'm so thankful for that!  So, other than great, how am I feeling and what's life like now that I'm 6 weeks post VSG?  Here's the scoop:

-Eating:  It's going really well!  I certainly get hungry from time to time.  Not that often and certainly not as much nor AS hungry as I did before surgery but I do get hungry. Prior to surgery I was a bottomless pit.  I could eat an entire meal and be ready for another within an hour.  And, I'm not talking about a piece of fish and a vegetable.  I'm talking steak, potatoes, veggies...a whole meal - fit for a wrestler!  I've never been someone who constantly craves sweets and I still don't.  Sure, I like something sweet from time to time and I still enjoy it.  The difference?  One is enough now and I'm making better choices because I only have room for one!  I knew I needed portion control, I knew I needed to control the amount of food I could consume in a day and that's why I chose VSG - well, in addition to the reasons I didn't want RnY or a Gastric Band. 

I haven't had a problem eating anything since surgery and the only thing I haven't been cleared for yet is raw veggies, salad and bread.  And, can I just say how much I am craving a salad?!  I really can't wait!  I've been thinking of calling my nutritionist and asking if I can try a salad but I only have another 2 weeks before I see her again and I'm pretty sure she'll advance me at that point.  I hope!  In addition to not having a problem with any food, I also haven't experienced anything getting stuck, any foamies, slimes or PBs.  I read all about those things as a preop and they scared the heck out of me.  So far, no problems and I'm very thankful.  I'm not sure if my luck in that department has to due with the fact that I take my eating slow and I'm mindful about how, when and what I eat.  I've eaten anywhere between 600 and 1100 (only once!) calories in a day but I average about 800-850.  In terms of protein, I don't go below 60g per day and I average around 70 or so.  As for carbs, I watch them and find that I do alright if I stay under 100.  I do realize that I could likely lose faster/more if I lowered my carbs.  I've done hardcore Atkin's once in my life and I kept my carbs under 20 per day - do you know how difficult that is?  I didn't want to have to do that again.  I want to be as close to "normal" as possible....I want to be able to enjoy my carbs but not go overboard and I want to not regret enjoying a slice of bread - when I'm able to enjoy bread!

Today's menu:
B - Premier Protein chocolate shake with 1oz Almond Milk, 3 ice cubes, 1 splenda & 1 instant nescafe coffee
S - 1 Dove sugar free raspberry dark chocolate
L - 1oz chicken salad made with Cain's light mayo & celery
S - 4oz red grapefruit
D - 4oz marinated salmon, 1oz mashed potatoes, 1oz green beans
S - 1 Dove sugar free raspberry dark chocolate, 2 no-sugar-added Edy's fruit bars
Total: 830 calories

-Liquids:  While I won't say this is very difficult for me, drinking such large quantities is still a challenge for me.  Up until week 5, I was lucky if I was getting in 12oz per day.  And, while it is a challenge, I am getting better with my liquid intake and now average (at least) 32oz per day.  My goal is to increase this to 64oz within the next week or so (nutritionist appointment).  It's very hard for me to fathom that drinking is a struggle as, preop, I was always a drinker.  I guzzled water upon waking, all day long, before bed and (always!) with my meals.  Not drinking with my meals was hard at first but it's gotten much easier for me.  But, there's no question in my mind, not drinking with my meals is the reason why I'm not taking in as much as I'm accustomed to.  Another interesting point...for the first few weeks after surgery, I was sipping ever so gently.  Now, I find that I'm taking larger, maybe gulps.  And, I'm OK - sure, there are times where I may feel some pressure or a immediate full feeling when taking a large gulp but I've never experienced any pain.  And, to be honest, I like being able to drink liquids as I once did.  As for what I'm drinking...water and sugar free/diet iced teas. I've always been a water girl...loved it.  And, for the first few weeks as a post op, I couldn't tolerate water - I had no interest in it whatsoever.  Thankfully, that's changed and I'm starting to love water as I did preop.
Today's liquid intake: 36oz

-Exercise:  To be honest, I haven't exercised nearly as much as I probably should have over the past month or so.  But, I have to give myself some credit as, for the last week, I've been speed walking and/or jogging a mile a day - five days a week.  Of course, my plan is to continue increasing my time. Right now, I average about a 19 to 20-minute mile.  Certainly not horrible.  But, I need to do more.  I've also been getting outside now that the weather is turning and have been planting and raking and doing all kinds of lawn work.  It feels great to finally be outside and doing things after the winter we had!  So, all in all, not bad...but, I know I need to improve on the exercise front!

-Vitamins: I continue to take all of my vitamins as I should.  And, unlike many others, I actually like all my vitamins.  Please keep in mind that the vitamins that I take were at the instruction of my nutritionist and bariatric program director.  I should also remind you that I was highly deficient in vitamins b12 and d in addition to iron.  I did have to have b12 injections (as a preop) for awhile as my deficiency was so severe and I believe I may need to do so again in the future.  I'm planning to ask my nutritionist to run my labs when I see her next to see where my levels are.  I believe my b12 will come back as low again...not sure about the others but wouldn't be shocked if my iron was low again as well.  Strangely, such vitamin deficiencies wreak havoc with my body - especially my lips, eyes, hands and feet. 
Current vitamins/minerals: 18mg iron, 1000iu vitamin d, 2 Flintstone's chewables, 1000mg b12, 500mg calcium citrate - again, please keep in mind, these are the things I take as I require them.  Please check with your surgeon/nutritionist/doctor/nurse/program director prior to taking any vitamins/minerals/supplements. :)

Well, that's all for now...stay tuned for my next post when I cover my incisions, nsv's, looking forward, things I love and.........(drumroll please) weight!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The depths of hell...well, maybe not THAT bad.

This is an old update...but, one I didn't get around to posting....yeah, I am SO not good at this blogging thing!  But, I still felt it was important to share as - after all - you wanna know what the depths of hell were like, right???? The following was written on April 5, 2011:

Here goes....

Back from death.  Back from the depths of hell.  Eh, I'm just back to feeling a bit more normal!

I am 3 weeks and 2 days post-op from my VSG.  And, things are starting to turn the corner.  All in all, my recovery has been fairly easy...honestly...there hasn't been much to it for me.  Within the first week, I was out shopping with my family...walking at the local track...feeling really good.  Then, the two and a half week mark hit.  And, that was it.  I *thought* I was doing so well.  I *thought* I was on the road to recovery.  And then, pain.  Not inside.  But, instead, my incisions - well, only a couple of them.

I had my 3-week post op appointment this week with my surgeon, nurse and nutritionist.  Nutrition informed me that I was doing really well...for the most part.  I still need to work on my fluids.  I'm not getting enough fluid in with my 36 or so ounces daily...I should really double that.  Interesting that, prior to surgery, I loved water...I could chug it by the gallon.  Now?  Not so much...water just doesn't do it for me anymore.  I hope it does again...eventually.  Right now, my beverage of choice is Crystal Light Iced Tea...watered down.

My nurse also felt I'm doing well...followed up with me on all my meds and asked about how I was feeling in general.  Mind you, I walked in gripping my stomach and needed to do so when sitting and standing in their office as well.  The incision pain is just so awful for me.  I also had an instance or two (at home) where my ribs felt painful and I was nearly gasping for air.  I was almost afraid to mention this to my nurse but I did - as all good patients should! ;)  Her words "yep, pretty normal!" - Whew!  She had to remind me about the fact that this is major surgery.  Muscles are cut, nerves are damaged, things are going to hurt and not feel right for weeks.  And, she's right!  I just needed to be reminded of all this.

My surgeon took a look at my chart and said, "Wow! Almost 30 pounds!" Me: "Yeah, not exactly, I started the program, over a year ago, at xxxx, lost 13 on my preop, that means only 13 since surgery."  "But, I'm not complaining...I can't remember the last time I lost 13 pounds in 3 weeks."  Needless to say, my surgeon seemed a bit puzzled after that.  Almost like he was wondering why I hadn't lost more.  I'm not upset about it though.  He checked my incisions and informed me that they pain-from-hell was being caused by incisions that weren't healing.  As he described it to me..."imagine wire slicing through raw beef" - he's right on with that one because it really does hurt that bad.  He went on to tell me to give it a few more weeks and I should have some relief...if not sooner.  Please let it be sooner!

So...what you are dying to know - what did I lose in those first three weeks?  Well, let me preface this with the fact that I believe I am one of the slower losers.  I have over  100 pounds to lose and, while it's not coming off as fast as I'd like, it IS coming off.  And, that's what I wanted.

I started the program in the fall of 2009 at 309 lbs.  You may, or may not know, I was hung up due to insurance issues.  I was required to lose 10 lbs in order to have surgery and got down to 299 by the spring of 2010.  When I started my preop diet, on March 1, 2011, I weighed in at 306.  I lost 13 lbs on my preop diet, bringing me to 293.  At three weeks post-op, I weighed in at 280.  So, let's make it easy for everyone and say, between March 1 and  April 5, I've lost 26 lbs.  Not bad. Not bad at all.

Until we meet again, dear blog world...look for an update within the next few days.  And, my giveaway...I need to get that done!  Hope all of you are well!  xxoo