One year follow-up appt. with surgeon on May 13, 2008 5:02 pm
Last Friday, May 9th, 2008 was my one-year post op appt. with Dr. Cirangle. I had extensive blood work done for this appt. He said everything looked fine.
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There were a couple of things that came back in the abnormal range. I took the papers to my cousin who is a nurse so she could help me decipher some of it. Most of it seemed fine, like my HDL is too high and my triglycerides are too low. But my potassium is still too low, and I don't think that's a good thing. She said it's just barely low, so I should increase my intake of high-potassium foods. I already have been, so I'm not sure that will help. Guess maybe I'll call my PCP about this.
One thing that Dr. C mentioned really stuck with me. He said that since I lost the weight so quickly, he didn't think that I'd have a hard time keeping it off. It turns out that quite often, those who lose slowly do so because they still play with seeing what foods they can "get away with" eating. Supposedly compliency is directly related to long-term success (not in everybody, but in general). So I guess that making the most of the first 6 months will go even further than you think in your VSG success!
Personally, I have found that the post-op follow ups are part of my success. It keeps me on track, plus I get my questions answered. Of course it helps that I had a surgeon who has done a LOT of WLS experience. He knows that the better his patients do, the better he looks. But the bottom line is that he strives to help his patients do the best they can. Hey, worked for me!
ONE YEAR!!! (almost) Long version on May 5, 2008 9:08 am
I can't believe how much has happened in a year. I hardly know where to start!
So last year on my mother's birthday, I had WLS/VSG. I really agonized over the decision, wondering if I was doing the right thing. I was in reasonably good health-- no diabetes or high blood pressure. But I hurt all of the time, mostly in my feet and back. And although I wasn't a yo-yo dieter, I had no luck losing weight on my own.
While at the hospital I remember wanting to leave. I was SOOOO scared!!! This was the first time I had ever been put under (even when I had my wisdom teeth out it was under a local anesthetic). I also knew that if I had left the hospital that I would have rescheduled and eventually gone through with it, so I figured I'd better stay put and on schedule.
I did have some complications during surgery. My staple line would not stop bleeding. But Dr. Cirangle wasn't about to close me up until he got that taken care of (bleeding staple line can either stop or become a leak). Anyway, in the end it all went very well.
Due to this complication, I was paranoid about springin' a leak. Too many folks out there think the liquid diet is just for weight loss. It's also very important as it gives the new, tiny-tummy time to heal! Plus, it gives us time to readjust to foods. It breaks that carb cycle that so many of us are slaves to, which was also my problem. Plus, the more weight we lose in the beginning, the easier it is down the road.
So my first bit-o'- wisdom is this (passed down from Kris A): MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR FIRST 6 MONTHS!!!! It is the easiest to lose during this time! Take advantage of that and make new, healthy habits!!!
The rest of my year was a blur. I had another surgery, unrelated to VSG exactly one month later. A month after that we went to Hawaii for about 3 weeks. And a month after that I had surgery again, only this time it was open abdominal surgery (again, unrelated to VSG). I had to stay in the hospital an extra 1 1/2 days due to my VSG though. I couldn't stay hydrated due to my esophagus being irritated by the breathing tube during surgery, but my dr. knew this would be the case and was very helpful.
My unique situation with three surgeries in 4 months had some side-effects. First of all, I didn't have that "surge of energy" until I was more than 4 months out. Every time I started to feel better, I had another surgery (or so it seemed). Another side-effect is that I still have on-going hair loss. This is not due to WLS, although that's what initially triggered it. At this point I'm not sure whether it's hormonal or if it's due to the trauma of all those surgeries in a row. Either way, it's the reason I have short hair now. The good news is that I healed pretty darn quickly and have gotten only a couple of colds during this last 12 months. I'm sure that's because of all the vitamins and my new, healthy habits!
So back to VSG stuff. I lost my first 90 lbs making it to goal in 7 months. I did this by sticking to the rules about 70g+ of protein, less than 40g carbs, and 48 - 64 oz. of liquids per day. And yes, I also exercised. I did a lot of walking while recovering from all those surgeries. I didn't stick to the rules exact, but I came pretty close. And I found out that carbs make me crave even more carbs! I now stick to whole grain products and limit my refined white products. I choose to stay away from most breads and rice only because they fill me up too fast and then I have no room for my more nutritious foods. I stick to the guidelines about eating protein first, then veggies then carbs.
I do still have treats. In fact, I have dark chocolate almost every day since it doesn't trigger my cravings. I find that I still have to watch junk foods as they try to sneak back in to my life. Most days I find it pretty easy to control. I make the choice to seek healthy foods since I don't have that much space to eat. This is for my health, not because I'm on some sort of "diet".
So there's bit-o'-wisdom #2: THIS IS ABOUT YOUR HEALTH! THIS IS NOT A "DIET", BUT A CHANGE IN LIFESTYLE. Make healthy choices! This tool makes these choices easier, but won't do it for you.
I take 2 multivitamins each day, plus a calcium. My surgeon recommends 2 vit.s per day since we eat so little. Says that we need to keep up on the protein because it's easier to supplement vitamins instead of protein. If you go protein deficient it's REALLY hard to gain it back. The calcium is because some studies say that post-WLS patients are at much higher risk for osteopenia. Besides, all women should be supplementing their calcium unless they KNOW they are getting enough through foods (keep in mind that a container of yogurt is only 20% of your daily requirement of calcium!).
I cannot express how much better I feel these days!!! I'm a SOOO happy I made this decision! I finally feel like the person God meant for me to be. I feel on the outside the way I've always felt on the inside. I can be active now! I do more with my kids, including bike riding and downhill skiing with them. I have more stamina and more energy so I get more done around the house. I look forward to being active instead of dreading it. I love to shop for clothes!!! So many things look cute on me now. I can chose based on what I like instead of what fits.
I have a list of goals buried somewhere on my blog. I think it was from March or April of 2007. It's amazing to me, but I've pretty much accomplished all of what I had hoped to do by having this surgery! As an overeater, I really think this surgery will help me for the rest of my life! I still have to make those healthy choices, but VSG has given me the ability to stop and think before I chose what I'm going to eat. This might really work!
So, what else do ya' want to know... I'll probably edit to add more to this. Feel free to PM me and ask questions if you'd like. Can't say that I'll have answers, but I'll probably know where to find them if I don't!
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