Saturday, March 31, 2012

Day #451 Whoa! I didn't recognize you!

I've been waiting for the day when I would hear that statement! This past week we met up with friends that had moved out of the country two years ago and last saw me at 250 lbs. When they walked into the restaurant they walked right past me and then turned back around when they saw Andrew. They didn't recognize me! What an awesome feeling.

I also finished going through my closet and I have a mountain (literally) of clothes that don't fit me anymore:

I'm going to let my friends go through them and pick out what they want first and then donate the rest to the battered women's shelter.

Even though I can fit into high school clothes and feel amazing, I still hear comments that make me feel like i've made no progress at all. I went to the GYN to see about changing my birth control because i'm not getting any acne control with my iud, and the nurse practitioner said "well, you are a big girl". How can I have lost 71 lbs and still be a big girl? It just made me sad.  Whenever people ask me how much more I want to lose and what's my goal weight, I just say, i'll stop whenever i'm not a "big girl" anymore. I've heard that statement all of my life and it just makes me so angry!

In other news, we're supposed to close on our new house in about 9 days, so i'm stressed out to the max. I'm trying to deal with the stress/anxiety as best as I can but i'm not doing a very good job.  Some days I hardly eat anything at all because i'm so stressed out.  I can't wait for the next two weeks to be over!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Day #444 Staircase

My surgeon described this journey to me as a staircase. As in I would lose weight quickly and then be steady for a while, then drop quickly again etc. I dropped really quickly the first two weeks after surgery, about a pound a day! Then for the last 6 weeks it's been 1-2 lbs a week. I'm lucky that I never truly "stalled" and especially that I didn't gain any weight. I finally had a quick drop! I'm going through the 180's in a blur. On 3/12 I weighed 190 and today 3/24 I weigh 181!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Day #437 I Can Work Out, Closet Shenanigans & Regular Stores!

I started working out on Friday with one of my best friends that's a personal trainer. I was scared that I wouldn't be able to work out, and that I would feel weak/pass out and feel really embarassed but none of those things happened! We did interval training, a lot of stretching, and some resistance bands and kettle bells. I've always been a fast walker (which helps me a LOT as a nurse!) and even took a speed walking class in college!

We started out with a fast paced walk for about 7 minutes. After warming up my muscles we stretched a bit, marching in place to keep my hr up between stretches. Then we started fast walking again, with intervals of fast walking, regular slow jog, fast walk, regular slow jog with high knees, fast walk, regular slow jog with kick backs, fast walk, repeat. We did 1.5 miles at 15 minutes per mile. On Friday we did squats and jumping jacks and push ups. Today we did upper body work with the resistance bands and a 7 lb kettle bell. I'm sore but it feels good to be sore :-p!

I started cleaning out my closet and am starting to try on every single thing and throw away everything that's too big. So far I have a big black trash bag full of clothes to take to goodwill. It felt so amazing to try on all of my old clothes from before I got out of control obese and have them fit me just like they used to or even better! I tried on my wedding dress and it just falls off. I was about 210-215 at my wedding in 2008 and I weighed 187 this morning. I even fit into my bridesmaid dress from a wedding in 2006:

I can't believe I forgot to blog about my first time buying new jeans!!! My size 18's that used to fit me so tight that I had a giant muffin top and had indentions in my skin after taking them off at night were falling off even with my belt on really tight. So I decided to buy a cheap pair of jeans at old navy that could help me get through this transition. I walked up to the wall of jeans and grabbed four different styles in a size 16 and went to the dressing room. I dragged my husband in with me and tried on the first pair. They were giant. Repeat x the other three pair. I went out and got the same styles in a size 14. Three of the four were big everywhere but the abdomen and the fourth pair fit really well everywhere but slightly snug on my belly fat where i'm biggest so I bought that pair. I need size 12 legs with size 14 waistband, haha! Those jeans fit me comfortably now even on my belly, even fresh out of the dryer!!!

Trying on clothes at a regular store and having them fit is a dream come true. I tried on an XL dress at NY&Co. and it fit really well. I've only tried on clothes at those two "safe" stores where I have bought clothes before. I can't wait until I can really go into any single store I want to and buy something that fits and looks good.

There are no words to describe how happy I am right now!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Day #432 Stats!

These are my updated stats of 3/3:

  • From my heighest weight ever (250 lbs) at graduation from nursing school in May 2010 I have lost 61 lbs!
  • My Measurements in inches:
Before1 monthDifference
Right thigh25.523.52
Left thigh27.524.53
Right bicep15132
Left bicep16142
Right wrist76.50.5
Left wrist76.50.5

I had started this post on 3/3 while waiting to go out with friends and am just getting around to posting it! I'm a bad bad blogger!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Day #425 *Screaming* I'M NO LONGER OBESE!!!

I'm SO excited! I've been at a sort of stall for the last two weeks, "only" losing one pound a week. I stopped weighing myself every day and have only been weighing a couple times a week. Today I was feeling "skinny", so I got on the scale and weighed 194! This is a HUGE milestone for me! I'm no longer obese! I just want to run around screaming this like a crazy person. This milestone also marks a halfway point for me. 56 pounds down and 54 pounds more to go! It feels so good to be this far in my journey. I feel like such a stronger person than I did at 250 pounds and i'm so grateful for this surgery.

My insurance denied my prescriptions for nexium and protonix, which were the two PPI's my surgeon called in for me that are available in powder form. I got some nexium capsules from my primary md and had been opening them up into applesauce, but let me tell you, that is DISGUSTING! I decided last Tuesday to try and swallow the nexium capsule for the first time and it worked! I didn't get stuck. I've tried taking much bigger capsules since and haven't had any trouble. I have also tried taking small pills and same thing, no trouble. I hate my chewable bariatric vitamins and haven't been very good about taking them. If I had a tablet available for me to swallow I would be much more compliant.

Anyway, back to the whole PPI issue, when I ran out of nexium I decided to try Prevacid over the counter and it is AAAAAAAmazing! With the nexium I would start feeling the heartburn again by mid morning if I would forget to take it as soon as I would wake up. With the Prevacid I haven't had this happen. My surgeon said I would probably have to take this for about three months. Prevacid is also really affordable, it's less than $25 for a 30 day supply.

So what am I eating these days? A lot of what I would eat before but in much smaller portions. I'm also trying to eat lower carb and I never drink soda. I'm not supposed to use a straw but i've used one two or three times without any trouble. My favorite lunch to pack is cucumber slices, black forest ham, honey smoked turkey, and sharp cheddar cheese. I've identified a few foods that i'm "bottomless" on, as in, I can eat and eat and never feel restriction. These foods freak me out and I try to avoid them.

Since our trip out of town last weekend i've been having really bad muscle spasms in my low back. It has made work really hard. Actually, it's made everything hard. I can't even put on my own undies without wincing in pain. I decided to dedicate yesterday to spoiling myself. I had lunch with a friend of mine, then got a pedicure. I committed to not biting my nails yesterday and got a manicure with the gel nail polish that has to be removed with acetone. I got a pale pink color that looks like my natural nail color. Once my nails grow past my fingertips I want to get really awesome nail colors like neon purple!

After my mani/pedi I got an over three hour massage. It was amazing. I'm really sore today, but in a good way. My back is still hurting me, and i'm thinking maybe I should get some imaging done just to make sure it's not something more serious. I've never had muscle spasms that last a week before. I've tried everything, advil, heating pad, rest, muscle relaxants, massage...nothing makes it go away :-(.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Day #411 ONEDERLAND!!!

Today I weighed 199.6! The 100's have eluded me for so long...always taunting me when I would get down to 202, 203 but never quite getting there.  In addition to feeling amazing about being in the 100's again, I've been feeling amazing in general. I forgot to write that on Wednesday I started taking nexium and have been feeling like a million bucks ever since. Before I couldn't even drink a sip of water without feeling like my chest was on fire, and now I can eat and drink without any problems. I haven't thrown up since.

Work has also been getting easier. I feel mentally stronger since i'm able to take in nutrition and fluids and physically i'm getting stronger. I worked two shifts in a row and my right upper back was the only thing hurting by the end of the day. I work the next four days in a row so we'll see how I feel on Wednesday night!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Day #408 First Day Back at Work and Life in General

My first day back at work was miserable. I had horrible heartburn still, diarrhea three times, was severely dehydrated, and felt weak the whole day. By three my muscles were aching so bad from the lack of potassium and from moving so much. I cried when I got into my car and just felt like I was going to have to quit my job. I felt like I couldn't do it anymore.

Today I got to sleep in and took a nap in the afternoon. I haven't thrown up or had diarrhea today and i've been eating and drinking. I met with the nutritionist and he gave me some suggestions for getting protein in. I'm going to try them. I don't want to lose my hair! I'm kind of an emotional mess right now and cried a little bit with my nutritionist and with my surgeon. I'm just sick of the heartburn, vomiting, and feeling deprived. I know it's going to get better, and I don't regret my decision because I know I did it for the right reasons.

I'm feeling really good this afternoon and we're going to dinner to celebrate my uncle's birthday.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Day #406 Back to Work :-/ & Possible Stall

I go back to work tomorrow! I'm really nervous. I still get tired really easily and have lost a lot of muscle strength. This is also our busiest time of year, and the patient population in general is also a lot sicker. Blah.

Yesterday was a good day. We were invited to a super bowl party so I had an excuse to get dressed up. I had this bag that I had been shoving clothes that didn't fit me anymore into because I was tired of seeing them in my closet. I dipped into that bag and put on a pair of jeans and a shirt my sister had given me almost two years ago. It felt good :-).

I think I might have hit my stall. I have weighed 202.8 since Friday. I've been eating a lot of salt, and I noticed my college ring was snug this morning when it had been spinning around the last few days. If I am at a stall, i'm ok with that. I had wanted to get under 200 before stalling, but such is life. Since the 19th i've lost 26 pounds! Most of my clothes fit the way they should, and some fit a little bit big. I think the reason why is that i've been stuffing myself into my current clothes instead of admitting I was bigger and buying bigger clothes.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Day #404 You're not painting a pretty picture here...

I wish that I could write that this experience has been a walk in the park and i'm getting amazing results without any negatives. I don't want future VSG'ers to read this blog and change their mind about surgery after reading about my experience. But at the same time I want to be honest about what it's really like to be me right now.

I was telling one of my best friends about my day on the phone, about how I can't eat and drink at the same time, how limited my food choices are right now, how few calories i'm able to eat, how I almost blacked out last night, how I threw up for the first time today....and he said, well, you're not painting a pretty picture here. He said that i'm his guinea pig and depending on how I do with the procedure he might follow suit...or, in his words, "if you're not dead in a few years then I might do it".

I tried explaining to him that my stomach is still swollen and my staple line is still healing and that at two months i'll be able to eat more foods and larger portions and that i'm really looking forward to it, but he only wanted to focus on how bad things are right now. Which is fine. I just know that I can't, or else i'll never get through this. Monday is my two week "surgiversary" and then it's just six weeks more after that. I'm just taking it one day at a time...

Friday, February 3, 2012

Day #403 All Magic Comes With a Price

The last few days i've been struggling with dry skin and the itchiness that won't go away. The two areas that I can't stop scratching are my hands and the areas around my incisions. I've already scratched off all of the dermabond around my incisions because it was so freakin itchy! Also, by scratched, I mean rubbed off with my nubs (I bite my nails, gross, I know).

I've also been struggling with not being able to eat the foods that I crave and love to eat. Last night we decided to go to olive garden for dinner. I ordered the chicken and gnocchi soup, halfway into the soup I had to run the bathroom. It wasn't pretty. I'll just add that to my list of foods I can't tolerate that I love :-/.

One of my best friends (also a nurse) was supposed to have this surgery at the same time but was unable to lose weight to qualify for our insurance to pay for it. She calls me almost every day after work to see how i'm feeling and has been really supportive. She just started aggressively trying to lose weight because she wants to have surgery asap. I'm really excited for her but at the same time I felt like I should 'warn' her. Have you seen the show on ABC Once Upon a Time? Rumpelstiltskin always says "All magic comes with a price." That's kind of how I feel about this whole experience. It's magical how fast i'm losing weight, but it comes with a huge price.

Today I weighed 204! Sooo close to onderland :-)

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Day #400 Water, Water, & More Water!

Wow! 400 days of trying to lose weight! That's a lot of days :-) Today I weighed 207! Woohoo! My goal for today has been to focus on drinking more water. I drank about 40 oz water today and i'm so proud of myself. We bought a bag of sonic ice and i've been munching on that. This is my food intake for today:

Refried Beans


Black Forest Ham
Honey Smoked Turkey
Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Yellow Mustard

1 tbsp Peanut Butter
Tiny squirt of Strawberry Jelly

Iced Tea

Water and Ice

Not feeling hungry is helping me so much!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Day #399 Primary Physician Follow Up

Today I had my first follow up appointment with my primary physician. I was last weighed on their scale four days before my surgery and today I weighed 18 lbs less! I'm losing weight crazy fast. I know the inevitable stall is coming, but i'm hoping I get under 200 before that happens.

I'm starting to feel more like myself, moreso today than any other day. My scars are healing well, I haven't had any nausea or vomiting, and i'm tolerating food well. I also started on my vitamins today and they're not too bad. I was taking some amazing gummy bear ones before surgery but since i'm not eating very much food I figured I would give the bariatric ones a shot. I started to measure myself and realized that my measurements really haven't changed much (or i'm just not being consistent with where I measured) and abandoned it.

I've had moments where I have mourned food and miss food as a social experience. At this time I hate eating! It takes so long to eat what little i've served myself that a few bites in everything else is cold already. Also, I have to chew things so thoroughly that they don't taste good anymore. I expect that this will change as my diet progresses and I don't have to chew things to a pureed consistency.

Even though there are definitely difficult things to deal with along this path I have chosen, i'm very satisfied with the results already!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Day #395 Diet Phase II

Today has been an awesome day for me. I have been better at getting in my fluids and was able to start eating some non-liquids!

The Diet Phase I includes only clear liquids (water, no sugar added fruit juices, crystal light, broth, sf jello, etc). I had to do this 24 hrs post op once I passed my leak test until this morning.

This morning I started on Phase II which allows for scrambled eggs, yogurt, refried beans, pureed and strained soups, all the beverage choices from phase I, sf hot chocolate, vegetable juice, coffe, tea, oatmeal or cream of wheat. Let's see...the only things I like from this phase are the eggs, yogurt, refried beans, strained soups, liquids, and tea. I have to do this for 7 days! It's not hard in the sense that my stomach is hungry all the time, but it's hard because my head is hungry. As I sit here and watch daytime tv I see all of these commercials of delicious food and I daydream about food I can't eat. I don't dwell on it, but it does make it harder.

I'm trying to learn my comfort zone on how much liquids I can take in, because when i'm too full my right shoulder hurts really bad. I thought it would be more of a substernal pain, but it's more referred pain. Today I have had:

Before Lunch (154 calories)
1 scrambled egg with 1/8 of a cheese slice crumbled and melted into the egg while cooking with 1tbsp ketchup
2 oz no sugar added Apple Juice
4 oz water
1 100% Fruit Juice no fruit pieces popsicle

Before Dinner (133 calories)
1/4c. strained chicken tortilla soup from chickfila
1/4c. light fat free strawberry yogurt
1 100% Fruit Juice no fruit pieces popsicle
4 oz water

Dinner and After (180 calories)
1 100% Fruit Juice no fruit pieces popsicle
8 oz Unjury Chicken Soup

I'm only at a little over half of the protein intake I should be eating (70g) and half of the water I should be drinking (48-64 oz) but I feel like i'm making good progress from yesterday when I could only eat one jello, 2 oz of apple juice and a popsicle. I don't want to stretch my suture lines and cause a leak so i'm taking it "slow".

Today was a great day, i'm just bored. I'm a workaholic that's not used to sitting still. We're moving into an apartment on Saturday and half of our stuff is in storage already. I feel bad that I can't help pack or move anything :-( but luckily we have amazing friends that are coming to help us move!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Day #394 The Surgery Experience

I couldn't sleep at all on Sunday night. I went to bed at 11 something and woke up every hour until 3 when my alarm went off. I woke up, showered, dried & straightened my hair (no makeup as per hospital rules) and got dressed in comfortable clothes.  I took some pre-op pictures:

I also took pre-op measurements: Bust 40" Waist 47.5" Right Thigh 25.5" Left Thigh 27.5" Neck 14.5" Right Wrist 7" Right Bicep 15" Left Wrist 7" Left Bicep 16".

Then I woke up my husband and we hit the road. It was really early:

I was in the surgical waiting area at exactly 5am and no hospital staff was there yet. After a while someone came out and started handing out numbers. This crazy lady who was sitting behind me was standing at the counter waiting for a number (I guess she has had surgery before?) and wanted to be number 1, even though she was at least 2nd or 3rd case. I knew I was first case and casually walked up to the counter after the other people sat down and got number 3. I chuckled to myself when they called #3 first.

Having surgery at the hospital I work at was sometimes beneficial, sometimes embarassing. They called me back and didn't let my husband come in. The tech gave me a plastic gown and told me to take everything else off and put that on. Then she gave me a warm blanket which felt awesome. At this point it's 530 and my husband was still not allowed in. They wanted to wait until I had signed all of the consents and had my iv in before he could come in. My nurse didn't come into my room until a little after 6. Because I work at the hospital I know where to sign for all of the consents and that went by in a flash. She reviewed all of the paperwork with me and then started my IV. She said she hated starting IV's on other nurses but was really good. She let me pick the site and got it on one try. The only bad thing was that it was an 18G and was near the surface of my skin so any time the tubing was moved it hurt. 

Once they finished all of that stuff they let him in and we just sat and talked until a few minutes after 7 when my CRNA came in and gave me some preop meds for nausea. They took me to the OR and I remember transferring onto the table but then that was it, I don't remember anything else.

I woke up in PACU (where I work PRN) and had severe pain from the gas (the procedure was laparoscopic). My nurse was awesome. She went above and beyond to make me feel comfortable and I really appreciate it, even now it makes me really happy to think about it. There were no beds available so I stayed in PACU until noon. When I got to my room I was miserable. The room was really hot, the sheets were really scratchy and there were linens all bunched up underneath me. I also still had the plastic gown on and it didn't help with feeling really hot. I got a little panicky and started throwing off all the covers. I had my husband help me put my own clothes back on. I called the maintenance line to lower the temp in my room but it felt like it never started cooling. Then I called the front desk and asked for a fan. It never came. After about 30 minutes where no one came into my room I got frustrated and decided to start walking around the unit, hoping to figure out who my nurse was. Halfway down the hall I found her and she got me a fan by the time I got back into my room. When I got back from walking I had my husband change my linens and I felt a lot better.

I spent the day doing laps around the unit and then taking naps. The gas pain was severe. I felt it in my abdomen and my right shoulder. I also had really bad nausea. I kept dry heaving. A combination of toradol and zofran made my day a lot better. My husband has been battling a severe sinus infection since two days before the surgery and had started losing his voice at this point so I sent him home. I had a rough night. The gas pain was horrible and it just triggered the dry heaving. I actually cried which was a little embarassing.

When I woke up in the morning at 7 I got up by myself, peed, brushed my teeth, walked 5 laps around the unit and then waited until 8. This entire time I had been NPO. Nothing at all. I was really thirsty but strangely not hungry in the least. At 8 I called my friend that works in radiology and asked him if I could be the first person to go down for the leak test, he obliged and came for me a few minutes later. The barium tasted horrible! It was like a combination of the smell of pinesol and hand soap. I had to take one small sip and one big sip and they had me turning left to right to check all the angles. I had no leaks! I came upstairs and called my nutritionist friend to tell him I had the surgery and the bariatric coordinator came in around the same time. They gave me more post op instructions and ordered me a breakfast tray.

My breakfast tray had one jello and one apple juice. I struggled to drink half an apple juice from the time they brought my breakfast until they brought my lunch tray. I had two tiny bites of jello also. When they brought my lunch (chicken broth, grape juice and a jello) I was having a lot of pain (and had already convinced my nurse to take out my IV) so I was forced to drink a lortab elixir. Wow, it is definitely not tasty. I foolishly drank about half of it (7.5cc) and right away started dry heaving. That is just too big of a sip for me. Even though I only drank half of it I fell asleep. I even had a visitor stop by and leave me a note but I don't remember anyone coming. I woke up a little after 3 and decided to walk again. I started to drink more fluids but had a really hard time taking in very much.

At 5 I got my orders to go home and called my husband right away who luckily was already walking into the hospital. He packed up all of my stuff and we left. As soon as I got home I tried to drink more liquids sitting up on the couch, but I just kept throwing up. I couldn't keep anything down. I was determined not to have to go back to the hospital and remembered that I had some orally dissolving zofran from a few years ago and decided to take one. It made me really sleepy and I woke up in my bed in the middle of the night. I got up to pee and then came back to bed. I then woke up one more time because I had rolled onto my stomach and it hurt really really bad. I finally woke up for real at 7am and started by eating a sf strawberry jello. I've eaten 1/4 of the cup so far today and have had a few sips of apple juice. I haven't had to throw up yet and am feeling better. I still feel very bloated, and my stomach makes weird growly noises all the time. These are my four incisions:

Pre-Surgery I weighed 221. This morning I weighed 217. Everytime I feel bad I just keep reminding myself why I did this, and the benefits that I will reap from having done this.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Day #390 Monday is the Big Day!

These last few weeks have been a rollercoaster of stress and emotions! After telling me that January 23rd was a go for surgery on January 6th in the morning, I received a call in the afternoon saying that my insurance had denied me. In order to have the surgery they required that I have a BMI of 35, two comorbidities, and lose 10% of my body weight in three months.

Well, after doing everything they said to do, they then said I couldn't have the surgery because I had lost too much weight too fast and I could obviously do it on my own, oh, and now I needed three comorbidities. I didn't find out until Wednesday the 18th that my peer-to-peer review with my insurance was approved. So the last couple weeks I have been "pre-op dieting" with the hopes that my insurance would approve me.

I'm so excited for Monday!