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Monday was the official start of week 12 post  surgery.  As of this morning, I am down 30 lbs since my surgery.  Including the 20 lbs I lost before surgery, I am now down 50 lbs. 

So crazy!!!  This has been an amazing  journey.  I have been absoultely amazed at my energy level and how I just feel like I can go, go, go!  Work has been easier because I feel like I have been able to move around so much easier.  I’m still walking 2 miles everyday during my lunchbreak.  It’s been a great way to get out of the office.  I used to get out of the office by going out to fast food restaurants.  I love to get out of the office and get some fresh air.  But since my surgery, I have been bringing my lunch everyday (plus I haven’t had too much fast food!).  I eat a little bit of food (literally!) and then I change my shoes and head out the door.  I love getting the fresh air, and I walk right by an off-leash dog park so I get to enjoy seeing the dogs running thru the park.  I’ve also been doing yoga once or twice a week which has been great.  It’s been a great way for me to relax and focus on myself.

I’ve also had to do more clothes shopping because my clothes are falling off.  I ordered some clothes online, which arrived this week.  They were all the wrong sizes.  Partly because the retailer messed up my order, but also because I’m still trying to figure out what size clothes I should be buying.  I went to Kohl’s over the weekend, and almost everything that I brought into the dressing room, I had to take back and get a smaller size.  A smaller size!!!!!  That was pretty crazy!  In the past, I’ve always had to go back and get a LARGER size!  I was also very excited to fit into size 12 jeans.  I can’t even think about the last time I wore a size 12.  They are slightly snug, but I think they will start to get looser and looser.

I’ve been getting many comments at work about my new figure.  Most of the people who work in my area know about my surgery.  I think because they have overheard me talking about it to a few people.  Many other people at work have commented on my shrinking size, but I haven’t told everyone about the surgery.  I guess I just feel like it’s my business and I don’t need to be the subject of office gossip.

Yesterday was the official start of week 9 post surgery, but I have been so busy working that I haven’t had a chance to update.  I’ve been feeling great!  My clothes are starting to get looser and looser.  In fact, I’ve started to dig thru my drawers to find clothes that I was hanging on to that have been a size or two too small.  They are now fitting well, and I’ll probably have to start clothes shopping soon.

I have had to buy a few things.  There was some things I hadn’t thought of before losing the weight.  The first thing was my underwear.  It has been falling off lately!  I knew that I would have to buy new shirts and pants after surgery but I didn’t really think of underwear.  I’ve also purchased a few new bras.  Not only am I down a size around, but a step down in cup size is fitting just fine.  Another place I hadn’t thought of losing weight was in my wrist.  My once-snug metal watch is now spinning around on my wrist.  It’s been a strange experience.

People at work are starting to notice the weight loss as well.  There are a few people there who know about my surgery and they have been commenting on my weight loss all along, but now people who don’t know are starting to notice.  As of my official weekly weigh-in yesterday, I am down 21 lbs since surgery.  I have more energy and I’m feeling really good.

One of the things that I wanted to do prior to surgery was to take all my measurements.  I wanted to see exactly where I am losing the inches.  So here are my measurement changes.

Neck: -1.0″
Bust: -4.0″
Waist: -4.0″
Hips: -7.5″
R biscep: -0.5″
L biscep: -1.5″
R forearm: 0″
L forearm: +0.5″
R wrist: -0.5″
L wrist: -0.75″ (hence the watch spinning!!!)
R thigh: -4.0″
L thigh: -3.5″
R calf: +0.5″
L calf: +0.5″
R ankle: 0.0″
L ankle: 0.0″
R width of foot: -0.25″
L width of foot: +0.50″

I think my leg muscles are getting a little bigger because I’ve been doing so much walking.  I do at least 1.5 miles on my lunch break at work everyday.  I was also going to the gym after work 3 nights a week, but with tax season picking up, I’ve been tired after work and also bringing work home most nights.  So I’m hoping to get back into the gym fairly soon.

In other news, Jeff and I booked our trip to Ireland.  We have been talking about taking this trip for several years and we are finally booked!!  Yay!!!  I’m so excited!  We will be going in the spring.  For me, traveling on airplanes has always been a little nerve wracking because I was always afraid that the seatbelt wouldn’t fit and I’d have to ask for an extender.  I was so embarrased about that.  Now that I’ve lost some weight (especially in my mid-section), I feel fairly confident that I should fit just fine.

Week 5 Update

Today is the start of week 5 post-op.  Overall, I feel really good.  I have more energy than I did before and my joints don’t hurt as much as they did before my surgery.  I’ve been going on my lunchtime walks at work, and trying to hit the gym at home as often as I can.  I did a 3 mile walk the other day and I felt great!  A little sore the next day, but I still felt great.

One thing that I noticed is that my stamina is increasing.  At work, I often get called into my manager’s office and we discuss various work related topics.  I stand next to her desk so I can see her computer monitor while she is drafting an email or whatever.  Prior to my surgery, I would only want to stand there for about 10 minutes before I pulled up a chair so I could sit down.  Last week, I had been in her office for a while when I suddenly realized that I had been standing there for an hour and didn’t even realize it!  My ankles and knees are already feeling the lighter load. 

I’m slowly introducing new foods back into my diet.  Tonight I had some salmon, which was great.  My daily diet has been consisting of usually 2 protein drinks (110 cal each), string cheese (50 cal), hard boiled egg (70 cal), maybe some cottage cheese (50 cal), maybe a little chicken or tuna.  My total caloric intake each day is probably about 500-600 calories.  My goal is to eat high protein foods so that my body doesn’t feel like I’m going into starvation mode, which would make my body want to hold on to everything.  I aim for 80-100 grams of protein a day.  The protein drinks help that goal a lot, since they are 30 g of protein each.  I also have to drink 64 oz of fluids during the day.  I have been getting closer but I still need to keep working on drinking throughout the day.  It’s very easy when I’m at home, but at work I get so busy that I forget to drink.  I’ve been starting to put my drink between me and my keyboard so that I’m forced to move it so that I can type, and I just move it to my lips!

Speaking of which, as of this morning, I am down a total of 17 lbs since my surgery.  It’s been really nice to see the number on the scale going down along with my BMI. 

So here are some pictures of me, taken this evening.  I don’t really see too much of a difference myself, but everyone tells me that they can see the changes in my face.  As my dad put it, I now have a jawline! 🙂

A Quick Update

Hello all!

I wanted to give you all a quick update on how I’m doing.  Things have been so crazy busy with returning to work and the holidays!

I’ve been feeling really good.  I’ve started walking during my lunchtime at work.  Since it’s been raining cats and dogs here in California, I’ve been walking laps around in our underground employee parking lot.  I grabbed my iPod and earbuds and just got moving!  I felt a little strange at first walking around a parking lot, but I’ve actually seen several other people walking while I was doing my laps, so I guess it’s not that strange.

I’ve been eating soft foods, although I am still learning how much I can eat.  I have over done it a few times and thrown up.  My second day back to work, I was sitting on the floor in the employee bathroom puking.  It was lovely!!  I started bringing a lunchpail with freezer packs to work, so I keep my liquids and protein right at my desk to remind me to keep drinking.  I have found that I need to pay attention, though, when I’m eating something at my desk.  I’m so busy that I found that I would just take a big bite of something just to finish it so I could keep working.  Big mistake!  That’s how I wound up in the bathroom!  It’s happened a few other times as well.  I think part of my problem is remembering how small my stomach is now (about the size of an egg) and remembering that I can’t have the same size portions or bite sizes that I had prior to surgery.  So I’m focusing on 2 protein shakes a day (30g of protein each) and supplementing with just a little bit of solids (hard boiled egg, string cheese, thin-sliced lunchmeat) so I can still chew something.

So far since my surgery, I am down 15 lbs.  I was weighing myself everyday, but then I stopped because I was getting discouraged.  My first week home, every time I stepped on the scale, it was down a pound or two.  Then it just kinda stopped, so I was getting frustrated.  Now, by weighing myself once a week, I actually am seeing the scale go down each time so it boosts my morale.

Well, it’s back to work for me tomorrow. I’m not really looking forward to it. I was able to go to our work holiday party on Friday. While my co-workers were all happy to see me and said that they can already see a change in my face, they also informed me that there are stacks of work that have been left on my desk for the last 2 weeks. Lovely!

On a much better note, I had my first pre-op visit with my surgeon last Friday.  He said everything looks great and I’m progressing on schedule.  So far, I have lost 10 lbs (after losing the 8 lbs of water weight that I gained in the hospital being on an IV for 3 days straight!). 

He also allowed me to start going to soft foods.  As soon as he told me that, I immediately stopped at the grocery store and picked up some eggs.  I had the best scrambled egg of my life!!!  It was wonderful to be able to chew something again after being on liquids for 2 weeks.  I can also have tuna, crab, shrimp, and other soft foods.  I can also try vegetables if they are steamed and super-super soft.  Next weekend, he said that I can try ground meat (chicken, turkey and beef).  For now, my cats are going a little crazy because I’ve been eating tuna and shrimp all weekend.  I also had some steamed salmon at the holiday party.  I ate the size of about 3 pre-op bites and half a hard-boiled egg.  I was stuffed to the gills!  I’m still learning how much I can eat.  I have to try new things one at a time to see if anything disagrees with me.  It’s kinda like starting a baby on solid foods.

Yesterday, I went out for the first time by myself.  My big trip was to drive over to the grocery store.  I had moved my car out of the garage on Saturday so Jeff could get to his work stuff, but I haven’t really driven at all since my surgery.  When I moved the car, it felt ok reaching the pedals but when I turned the wheel, I felt a twinge in my side.

So yesterday I decided it was time to try again.  I drove like a grandma but I made it to the store.  I grabbed a cart so I could lean on it and put all my purchases in the top basket so I wouldn’t have to reach down into the cart.

The trip itself was successful.  I was tired by the time I got home, but I felt good having gotten out and been a little independent.

Today I ventured over to Kohl’s because I wanted to get some supportive sports bras that I can wear to work next week.  My doctor suggested not wearing underwire for a few weeks, and the girls will have a mind of their own without a bra.  No thank you!!  I was also able to find some stretchy black pants that are nice enough for me to wear to work.  My plan was to get some leggings and wear oversized shirts/sweaters until I get to my goal weight, and then I will buy more clothes.  Most of the leggings there were skin-tight, but I was able to find a couple pairs that look good and don’t suck the life out of my legs.

Today is exactly one week from my surgery date.  I’m kinda surprised myself about how well I’m feeling.  This weekend, Jeff and I went out a couple times.  We ran a couple errands and took a brief trip to the grocery store.  I felt pretty good doing it.  I was a kinda tired by the time we got home, but overall it still felt good to get out and see the real world.

I’m not really taking any pain medicine anymore.  I took some Friday night before bed, and I did take a little more last night before bed.  But I’m still happy that I’m not having to rely on medication to get thru the day.

Mostly I’ve been hanging out at home and trying to get in all my protein.  My goal is 80-100 grams of protein each day, which is harder than it sounds when I can only take in so much at a time.  For example, my protein drink that I’ve been drinking (Premier shake from Costco, 30 grams of protein in each serving) takes me about 2 hours to drink and it is 11 oz.  I’m trying to take things really slow and make sure I don’t over-do it.

My little cat, Pixie, is quite happy to have me home!  Jeff told me that she missed me when I was gone.  She would jump up on the bed and look at my empty spot and then snuggle with him.  He said that she didn’t seem to have a lot of energy.  When I came home on Wednesday, she started running around the house like crazy, and started scratching her cat tree and the rug, both of which are her “happy cat” signs.  All weekend she was quite content to sit in my lap until I had to get up.  Even now, she’s laying right next to me as close as she can get!  I think she’s afraid I’ll leave again.  It’s cute to see her so happy that I’m home. 🙂

Some pictures for you

Let me just start this by saying this is not for the squeemish.  Ok, so here are some photos that I have taken in the last week.  Well, I didn’t take the ones inside my stomach, but you get the idea.

Here I am the morning of my surgery.  I just took a shower!

Here’s a side view.

Ok, that was the easy stuff.  Now for the gruesome stuff!

These are a few shots inside my stomach.  The top left picture is the incision into my stomach.  The top right picture is the portion of my stomach was removed.  The bottom left picture is what my new stomach looks like now.  Kinda narrow with a small pouch on the bottom.  There’s a nice view of my pink healthy liver to the left.  And the bottom right picture is another shot of my new stomach and some of my lovely fat that I am looking forward to getting rid of!

This is what I came home to.  So sweet!!! 🙂

And these are my incisions as of today.  I have 4 incisions plus the hole where my drain was.  You can’t really see the last incision in this shot.  But the red mark that’s not covered on the left side of the picture is where my drain was.  The hole is actually closing pretty fast.  In fact, this morning when I changed the gauze on it, there was only a small amount of discharge on it.  I called the doctor’s office because Jeff wanted to put Neosporin on it.  They said that once it is closed completely and is starting to scab a little, I can put Neosporin on it and a small bandage.  Right now I just have gauze over it.

So there you have it!  I feel pretty good today.  Every day I feel better and better.  Jeff took me walking a little bit last night.  We walked down and up one flight of stairs, and across the whole 3rd floor landing.  It was fairly easy for me.  I did it again this afternoon, and I know Jeff wants to take me out again tonight.  Hopefully I will get out a little this weekend so I can get some light exercise (really just some slow walking).  But walking is really good for me and will help avoid blood clots.

As for pain medication, I have some Tylenol with codeine that I can take every six hours.  The last time I took it was last night before bed.  Today I’ve been feeling ok.  On a pain scale of 1-10, I’m hovering between 2 and 3.  So it’s not too bad.  The hardest part is getting in all the liquids that I need to.  My goal is 80 grams of protein each day and a total of 64 oz of fluids.  Yesterday I hit about 55 grams of protein, and about 40 oz of fluids.  I’m doing better today at it.

Home from the hospital

I was released from the hospital late last night.  The surgery itself went very well.  I was scheduled for surgery at 3pm, but it was delayed.  I found out later that I was the 3rd surgery of the day, and the first guy showed up late which pushed us all back. 

My dad took me to the hospital and sat with me for the 5 hours until surgery.  He was cracking jokes and showing all the nurses my childhood photos on his iPad.  It was a little awkward at first because he came into the pre-op room with me.  This was a big room that had beds separated by curtains.  They told me to go in and strip off everything and put on my robe.  My dad, trying to be courteous, wanted to wait outside the curtain while I changed.  Unfortunately they told him that he needed to come into the room with me.  So my dad held my gown up high enough to cover his face while I was changing to give me a little privacy.  He said it was funny because as he was standing there holding the gown, all of a sudden my arms came thru it.  He helped get me all situated in the bed.  I also had to put on TED hose, which are like think nylons but each leg is individual, meaning there was no crotch to them.  This made it awkward to walk since they kept falling down.  The stockings are to help avoid blood clots.

They hooked me up to an IV and basically it was a lot of “hurry up and wait”.  The nurses were all very nice and having my dad there really helped pass the time.  He regaled me with stories and photos.  I was nervous while I waited and he kept telling me that I could leave at anytime if I was having second thoughts.  I knew I wanted to go thru with it, but it was nice to know that even though he had driven me there and waited for hours with me, he was still willing to take me home if I said so.

Around 6:30, the nurse came by and gave me a heparin shot in my stomach.  This is a blood thinner to help avoid blood clots.  I had a visit from the anesthesiologist and the doctor, and then they wheeled me into the operating room.  I remember transferring myself to the operating table and the lightly strapped my arms down.  The anesthesiologist gave me some oxygen and told me to start thinking of a nice vacation place like Hawaii.  The next thing I knew, I was waking up in the recovery room.

While I was out, they inserted a catheter, did the surgery, and inserted a JP drain.  They also inserted a tube in my mouth to my lungs, but this was removed before I woke up.  The catheter didn’t hurt like I was expecting it to.  The drain was the most irritating thing.  When I woke up, Jeff was there with me.  I kept asking if I could lay down flat but they kept me propped up some.  It was putting some pressure on the drain and was uncomfortable.  I also was asking for a mouth swab because my mouth was so dry.  Jeff just sat there holding my hand and telling me how much he loved me.  I was a little worried about him seeing me like that, but he said it just made him love me even more and was even more realization of how much he cared for me.

They wheeled me to my hospital room.  I was connected to a morphine drip with a trigger that I could push every 10 minutes.  Let me tell you, I just kept pushing the trigger as much as I could!  If you pushed it too soon, it would beep at you letting you know you hadn’t waited long enough.  If you waited the 10 minutes and pushed it, it made a noise that sounded like a coffee pot whirring away.  I loved that sound! 

Monday night overall was a pretty rough night.  I didn’t get much sleep since there were nurses coming in at all hours.  Plus I wanted to stay somewhat alert so I could keep pushing my trigger.  On Tuesday morning, I had to go in for an upper GI test to make sure there were no leaks.  I sat up for the first time and felt nauseous.  They gave me some medication for the nausea.  I’m not sure if it was the anesthesia or the morphine that made me feel sick.  Plus I was having all of this on an empty stomach, which I’m sure didn’t help the nausea.  They also removed my catheter on Tuesday.  I really didn’t mind the catheter at all and it was really nice not to feel like I had to go the restroom at all.  When they removed it, the best thing I can compare it to was it felt like a long tampon being taken out.  It didn’t hurt, it was just slightly strange.

Tuesday and Wednesday I spent resting and trying to take in fluids.  On Tuesday, they wanted me to drink 15 ml every 15 minutes, alternating water and protein drink.  On Wednesday, they up-ed it to 30 ml.  As a point of reference, 30 ml is about the size of a measuring cup that comes with a medicine bottle. 

My main issue that I was having was my drain.  The drain came out on my right side, but it was attached inside under my left breast near my lung.  Every time I tried to move or breathe, I felt pressure on it.  On Wednesday, they finally let me put on a sports bra which helped that my breast wasn’t putting as much pressure on it.  It was still painful though.  My roommate, who had gastric bypass, didn’t seem to have much trouble with her drain, so perhaps it is an individual thing. 

The doctor finally came on to the floor around 8pm on Wednesday to release me.  Jeff had come over a few hours earlier to spend time with me and to drive me home.  He watched as the doctor removed my bandages and removed the drain.  It felt really weird to feel it being pulled out of me.  Jeff said it reminded him of Conan the Barbarian, and some scene where a snake is pulled out of a woman’s body.  I just felt it twisting and unraveling inside my chest. 

The doctor said that everything looked good and gave me a prescription for proposed and tylenol with codeine.  Because I have Kaiser I was worried about finding a pharmacy that would be able to fill it so late in the evening, but I remembered that there is a CVS around the corner from my house that will fill first-time prescriptions for Kaiser and they were open 24 hours.  We stopped by there on the way home, which was nice to get up and stretch a little.  Plus I had to use the restroom. 

I was also worried about the stairs at my apartment.  I live on the 3rd floor of a building with no elevator, and I was worried about how I was going to do on the stairs.  They were much easier than I had anticipated.  I just held on to the railing and walked slowly with Jeff right behind me.  He kept his hand on my back and was ready to catch me if I started to fall. 

Pixie was VERY happy to see me when I came home!  Jeff said that she was kinda mopping around while I was gone, and she would jump on the bed and look at my side.  Seeing it empty, she would go over and snuggle with Jeff.  When I came home, she started running around the house like crazy and started scratching the tree, which is what she does when she is excited.  She jumped into my lap and started purring.  I spent a little time with her before going to bed.

I didn’t sleep too well.  I ended up getting up after only a few hours and came out to sit in the living room.  Pixie thought I came out to sit with her, so as I was settling into my recliner, she jumped into my lap and made herself comfortable.

Today, I feel pretty good.  I have some mild pain that fluctuates between a 2-4 on a pain scale of 10.  My sister-in-law came over and sat with me today so I would have some company while Jeff went to work.  She was quite impressed that I was up and about.  I’ve been trying to take it easy on the pain medicine because I don’t want to overdo it.  My intake goals are 2 bottles of water and 80 grams of protein.  Because my stomach is still swollen, I’m having a hard time getting all the fluids in.  I had about 45 grams of protein so far today, but right now I have some unflavored protein powder mixed in to my iced tea, so I’m getting both my fluids and my protein.  Once I finish this, I will be at about 70 grams for the day.  I’m sure it will just get easier every day.  My stomach is making lots of strange noises and I’m burping throughout the day, but I feel good, and I feel like every day is getting better.

Today is the day!

Well, today is the big day. My surgery is at 3pm today. My dad is coming to pick me up and take me over to the hospital. I have to be over there at 1pm, which gives me several hours to sit around and think about everything. I was only allowed a glass of water this morning to take my medicine. So my main wish right now is for some more water because my mouth is dry.

See you all on the flip side!!

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