- Username: jtshack
- Location: GA, USA
- Member Since: 8/19/2012
- BMI: 26.0
- Post Op
- Surgery Type: VSG (08/28/12)
- Surgeon: ALEJANDRO LOPEZ M.D.
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7.5 Months Post Op on April 7, 2013 6:13 pm
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Haven't been on here in quite a while. Not sure if that's good or bad. While I appreciated the support I got from this site, I also felt like I got a lot of criticism. Whatever the reason, my opinion is that this is a journey that's unique to each and every one of us. Others can share what worked for them or how they overcame stumbling blocks and plateaus or even the experiences they had along the way, but ultimately, you have to do what works for YOU. For some on here, that's acceptable; to others, if you don't do things the same way they did, well then you're just doing it WRONG. Wutevs. I used to let it bother me and I worried that I would fail if I didn't listen and I'd beat myself up every time I "cheated" based on what I had been told. Again, wutevs. I finally walked away from all the advice and listened to what my body told me to do. It's taken some time, but my body and I have become friends.
In any case, I've lost a total of 89 pounds and only have 11 pounds to go to reach my goal of 150. I had originally said I wanted to get down to 140, but I'm actually pretty happy with where I am. Eleven more pounds and I'll be on the verge of thinner than I want to be. Sounds crazy, right? Yeah, it's still a pretty weird thought for me too. So I suppose for those of you who aren't at the same stage I'm at yet are wondering what it's like for me with eating and such...let's get to it, shall we?
Well, damn. I'm still not able to eat much. Probably has a lot to do with all the problems I had initially with the heartburn and reflux and all that jazz. They say it only takes 21 days to form a habit and I dealt with all the heartburn/reflux stuff for close to 2 months. Now, I can eat slightly more than I did then, but not by much. The only difference now is that I eat more often - probably every 3 hours or so. But honestly, there's some days that I get so busy that I'm lucky if I eat more than once. Like I said, I listen to my body. Some days I eat more than others, but I eat when I'm hungry. I still focus primarily on protein. Not because I'm trying to reach any particular goal of getting a certain amount of protein, but just because it keeps me full for longer. It's simply more SATISFYING. If I'm on the road for work, I'm notorious for grabbing almonds or the small Snackables meals for eating on the run. Another fave is beef jerky and turkey bites. For that matter, when I'm at home, I love grabbing sandwich meat as an "in-between" snack....or tuna on crackers. Jeez...this is making me hungry!
Now, on that note, don't get it twisted. I eat sweets and fruits and chips and crackers and basically anything I want. I don't go crazy, but there's some days that I just crave sweets and other days that I crave salty stuff...and I absolutely don't deny myself. I don't give myself a hard time about it either. It's not every day though and I refuse to beat myself up over a day here and there of eating badly. Eating out? Yep. I do that too. My hubby LOVES Mexican food. I choose dishes that are high in protein and easy to pick at later on throughout the day. I get the satisfaction of spending time with my hubby, eating a fabulous meal and having plenty of leftovers to snack on later. That being said, I rarely order from the child's menu. Most of the kids meals are just junky with flour coated nuggets and high carb side items like fries...so NOT worth taking up what little space I have to spare in my tummy! I refuse to be held hostage by my sleeve or the price of the meal. I order what I want and take what I can't eat (which is MOST of the meal) home in a go box.
Wow...hadn't thought about this in a while. Rarely happens anymore. Why? Because I know how to listen to my body now and I know when to STOP EATING. What's funny is that I still have a "tell" when I reach my limit that hasn't gone away. I either sneeze or get hiccups...when either of those happen, I know I've had enough and need to stop eating before I feel sick or overly full. It's been a long time since I threw up...thank God!
Okay...I still have issues with this because my diet only allows just so much intake. It doesn't give me much opportunity to get enough fiber in my diet, so I regularly take fiber gummies to keep myself regular. I've said it in past posts, be sure you poop. Seriously. Pay attention! It's agony if you don't and it's so much easier to maintain your regularity than it is to get your guts moving again. I love fiber gummies and I adjust how many I take each day based on how I'm "going". They taste fantastic and they get the job done. The only side effect is that my tummy makes sounds ALL. THE. TIME. My hubby thinks it's funny and it's a small price to pay to have all that weight gone. I'll take it all day long!!
Heartburn and Reflux...
I still have to take Zegerid daily to control the heartburn and reflux. If I don't, I suffer immensely. My surgeon is urging me to go get an endoscopy and make sure my hiatal hernia hasn't ruptured. I probably will, but being self employed and not insured, it isn't a cheap thing to do. In the meantime, a Zegerid a day keeps the heartburn away!
I really need to go buy more clothes. I've begun raiding my son's closet because NOTHING I have fits anymore. It's still very tough for me to buy clothes. I finally "see" the difference between the new me and the old me when I look in the mirror, but I still naturally gravitate to the plus size racks when I go shopping. I'm getting better about it though and I know I have no choice but to go shopping soon. It's hard to have business meetings when you're wearing your teenaged son's clothes. LOL!
~sigh~ Now that I finally see myself as being thinner, it's shocking to see what so losing so much weight has done to my body. I look like I'm melting. I sent the request in today to see what it's going to cost to have a "mommy makeover" in Mexico. Here in the States, it can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000 and I just can't afford that. From what I understand, I'm expecting a quote for what I want done for roughly $7500 (breast augmentation with lift, liposuction, tummy tuck, butt lift). My husband is probably the most supportive person on the planet and he's giving me plenty of time and space to check into this and decide what I want to do. Not sure which way I'll go with this, but the sight of my poor saggy boobs just breaks my heart. Even my butt looks like it's melting down the back of my thighs. I'll post again when a decision is made one way or the other.
Well I guess that's about it. I don't count carbs. I don't count proteins. I don't count sugars or how much water I drink or even weigh myself on a daily basis. I'm lucky if I weigh myself once a week! I do my best to stay well hydrated and eat right and I LIVE MY LIFE. My sleeve was an experience in my life and it CHANGED my life, but it doesn't DEFINE my life. Does that make sense to you? I hope it does and I hope you find what works for you. Whether you elect to have surgery or not or whether you've already had your WLS, do what works for YOU. L-I-S-T-E-N to your body and I promise it'll tell you what it wants and needs. It can be tough in the beginning, but in time you'll understand the signals and you and your body will rebuild your relationship. Laugh if you must, but I'm telling you what I've learned from this journey. Others may scoff at me and tell me that I'm being dangerous by not following a strict diet and doing things in a specific way. Wutev. I've lost 89 pounds and I'm still losing and I'm HAPPY! I'm satisfied with how things are going and how my body is changing and I don't feel denied in any sense of the word. I've gone from a size 22 to a 14 and I'm almost in a size 12 (they fit, but they're tight). I'm riding horses again and getting outside moving and I feel like I've gotten my life back...and I did it without punishing myself or making food the center of my world. That's what got me here in the first place! Eating too much and making food the center of my world - I certainly wasn't going to make that mistake again! While I enjoy eating, food is utilitarian to me now. It serves a purpose. It fuels my body. But it absolutely is NOT the center of my thoughts, my world or my focus. If nothing else, I've learned just how addicted I was to food...I honestly had no idea! This was one of many things I learned along the way while I became friends with my body again. They don't call this a journey for nothing!
Okay...that's enough. I've rattled on for too long. Wherever you are in your journey, whether you're contemplating starting, just getting started, or several days, weeks or months into your journey, I wish you luck and lots of success. Listen to your body. Do what feels right. And when you get discouraged, just remember...all things, good or bad, come to an end. This too shall pass! Keep your chin up and keep moving forward!!
As always, I'm here if you need me!
11 Weeks Post Op... on November 13, 2012 4:36 am
Wow...I haven't posted in a while. I went through some really tough times with my sleeve where I was constantly vomiting, my throat was being torn up with heartburn and it seemed like there was absolutely NOTHING I could eat that wouldn't upset my system in one way or another. I went to my doctor who put me on Reglan and two different antacids twice a day for two weeks and it gave my body the rest it needed to heal. As my husband would say, I "dropped back and punted" with the way I ate and went back to bland soft foods and focused on my protein. I felt really sorry for myself and would frequently say how much I regretted getting sleeved. Sadness, depression, frustration, anger...all a part of my day for a while there. But I kept plugging on and doing what I knew I should be doing. Eventually, the heartburn became manageable again, my stomach settled down and my diet opened up again. Now, let's be real here - it wasn't like I had a choice to do otherwise. My stomach wouldn't handle the foods I WANTED to eat, so it wasn't like I could go "off my diet" anyway! But you see, that's always been my downfall in the past. I'd get upset with my journey and throw it all away and go eat my sorrows away. Your sleeve simply won't let you do that...and I couldn't be more thankful.
So where am I today? The whole heartburn/vomiting fiasco was about a month ago I guess. Maybe a little more. I don't know. I quit coming on here. I quit talking about being sleeved. I just quit letting the sleeve be the center of my universe and I focused on other areas of my life. Of course I still had to eat, but eating was for utilitarian purposes only; it was fuel for my body. I tried to eat healthy, but I didn't focus so much on the label. I went through yet another stinking plateau that last almost 3 weeks. Here's the thing about plateaus - don't let them frustrate you. I, like most everyone else, noticed that when I'm in a plateau that I'm losing inches more so than pounds. I'll take it all day long. During the last plateau, I hung steady at 190 for almost three weeks. During that time, I dropped in my jeans size from a loose fitting 18 to a comfortable fitting 14! All while staying the same weight! Isn't that amazing?! Happened during my first plateau too...dropped from a 20 to an 18. So don't let those plateaus scare you. Don't let the scale run your life. Don't let the numbers determine your idea of success. To do so is to set yourself up for failure. Just live...eat healthy...get some exercise into your day as often as you can...just BE. The weight will come off in time, but you stressing over it and wishing it would happen faster doesn't help a thing. Okay?
Crap...I didn't answer the question. Where am I today...well...as of today, I am 185 pounds. I started at 250. According to the BMI calculator, I have, as of today, dropped in category from "Obese - Class 1" to "Overweight". Not bad considering my starting category was " Obese Class 3: Morbid Obesity". I'm still in a size 14 jeans, but probably not for much longer. They're getting a little loose already. I eat pretty much whatever I want, but out of pure habit now, I go for the protein first. Last night was my son's 15th birthday and we went to a movie and then to Texas Roadhouse for dinner. I ate some popcorn at the movie and then ordered a child's plate of ribs from the restaurant with a side order of corn. The popcorn was probably not a good idea, but I didn't get much, I chewed thoroughly and I don't seem to have any ill side effects as of this morning. At dinner, I started with the ribs and had probably two, possibly three bites of corn. Yes, I know, corn is a no no. I have no excuses. I wanted it. I ordered it. I kept myself in check and limited how much I ate of it. Some may call that a dangerous attitude, but my food doesn't control me anymore. I just wanted a taste and I didn't go crazy, so I feel no guilt. To look at my plate, you wouldn't think I ate anything at all, but I felt satisfied, so I boxed up the rest to take it home for the hubby's lunch for tomorrow. Here's something else I want to pass on to you, SO LISTEN UP...we overweight people have all enjoyed a good buffet or know of a favorite restaurant that serves large portions and we eat there because we feel like we're getting our money's worth for our meal. Stop it. Do not be held hostage by what you spent on a meal. When you do that, you are literally PAYING to put pounds on yourself. I still go to buffets with my family, but I always ask for the senior rate (tell them you've had surgery - not one place has ever denied me and I travel five states for work. When I choose my foods from the buffet, it's a biteful of several PROTEINS from the bar and one or two veggies. Stay away from that sweets bar!!! If you've chosen your proteins wisely, you won't be hungry for sweets and such anyway. If you find that the temptation of the sweets bar is more than you can handle, then stay away from buffets until you get better control of your food issues. Trust me on this! My first trip to a buffet was at a Golden Corral and the never ending chocolate fountain with all the sweets stacked around it was almost more than I could bear. I was able to resist it, but it was obvious to me that I wasn't ready to be at a place like that yet. Now? Now it doesn't bother me. I like my smaller sized jeans and cute clothes more than I do those damned chocolate drizzled marshmallows!
Okay, so that's another thing...none of us truly believe we have food issues. We tend to believe that we're just victims of circumstance and that if this had been different or if we'd done this or that differently, we wouldn't have all this extra weight. We blame it on our jobs, the stress, the people we hung around or the children we had and the havoc giving birth to them did to our bodies (we women of course). Shut up! It isn't true! And the sooner you admit that and learn to deal with it, the sooner you can move forward in your weight loss journey! And if it were simply a glandular issue, you'd be taking meds for it from your doctor, not considering or recovering from gastric surgery! We all got to our low points that led us to look into gastric surgery because of choices WE made. For me, I chose to use food as a reward. I'm sad, let's eat. I'm HAPPY!, let's eat. I'm frustrated, pass me those chips. Food is a fuel for our bodies. While it should be enjoyable to consume, it should still be quality fuel for our bodies. Would you put cruddy fuel in your car? Then why in your body? Be mad about me saying this if you want. Stew over it a couple of days. But mark my words, in time you'll begin to see how food controlled you too. It was a bitter pill for me to swallow too. Now that I see where my issues are/were, I have my control back. It's a powerful feeling...and the results are showing on the scale and in the mirror.
So what else...OH!! Body image!! I have lost a total of 65 pounds, but in my mind, I still felt like you really couldn't tell that I had lost weight. A little maybe, but I was afraid to tell anyone how much I'd lost because I was afraid they'd walk away muttering under their breath, "yeah, right...sure you did". I went to my nephew's birthday party Sunday evening. My brother and my sister in law are the type to have big get-togethers where they invite friends, family, neighbors, etc. so you tend to see the same people over and over. One girl in particular I haven't seen in probably 4 months or so. I was standing around the bonfire with everyone else when she walked up looking at me like she didn't know who I was. Then she said the most amazing words....she said, "Holy crap! You've lost an assload of weight! You look great!" I HEARD ANGELS SINGING! She made my day with that one comment! Someone noticed that I lost weight and it wasn't family! You know...cuz we all know family tells us what we want to hear and it's not always the truth...LOL! She was the first "outsider" to notice and it felt amazing. It was confirmation to me that regardless of what I imagined in the mirror, there are some big changes going on in this body of mine.
Lastly...problems. Seems to be what folks who aren't as far along in the journey as me want to know about. I get it. I still look to others who are further along than me to see what they're experiencing. It's natural. So here goes...
Bowels...one day they're loose, the next day they're solid. No real problems with constipation and no, I don't take anything for that. I try to make sure I get what fiber I can in with what I eat and thus far, no real problems. Others have reported diarrhea, but I haven't had that issue. I did have one bout of constipation where I got so focused on work and everything else going on in my life that I didn't realize I hadn't had a bowel movement in several days. It resulted in severe cramps that ended with me sitting on the toilet having a bowel movement and puking in a bowel at the same time. My mother has been a nurse for decades and said this is indication that I was literally "full" and there was no room for anything else to go down. It was painful and avoidable. Lesson learned.
Go poop. Every day. Go poop.
Gas...yeah, call me "Chicago" for I am the windy city. My gut is constantly gurgling, talking and whistling. It gets annoying at times. Like when the house is totally quiet and I'm working on my laptop and all I hear is my stomach chattering away. Shut up already! But all that chattering and noise making leads to gas. Some are sneaky Pete's that don't amount to much. Some are SBDs (silent, but deadly). Others are like fireworks on the Fourth of July and roar like thunder from down under! Makes me thankful that I've been married for 20 years to a man who thinks farts are funny. (FYI, wet farts are NOT funny, so be selective about pushing air in public. #justsaying)
Vomiting...dammit. I hate this part. Yeah, I vomit. But not nearly as much as I used to back when I had all the heartburn and stuff. Now it's a hit or miss type thing. Typically it happens when I eat too fast because I've gone too long in between meals and end up eating more than I intended. My food volume is still quite small. Many MANY people here on OH told me from the very beginning to under eat my sleeve. What does that mean? Don't stuff yourself. Eat until you're satisfied and then stop. Within a few minutes, the synapses will travel from your belly to your brain telling you that you're full. I typically stop eating just before I feel satisfied and then when those synapses make the trip to my brain, I feel satisfied. I eat every two to three hours and I don't follow any particular notion of breakfast/snack/lunch/snack/dinner/snack...I simply don't have time in my schedule to keep up with shit that closely. Sorry. I eat what I want at each meal and don't worry about what time it is or what kind of meal I had last. I try to get an assortment of foods daily to include fruits, grains, PROTEIN, dairy, etc and I take my multivitamins religiously. I don't take Miralax or stool softeners or anything like that. I take two gummy multivitamins a day...that's it. I drink a cup of coffee every morning (for the protection of everyone around me), but I avoid caffeinated drinks in general. I have enough gas without adding to it and those bubbly drinks make me uncomfortable. I go for Gatorade or juices or just plain ol' water. Like I said, depends on how I'm feeling at the moment. My sleeve doesn't rule me - it assists me. And so far, we're doing pretty good together.
Food jealousy....okay, every now and then, I'll get jealous that others are able to eat what they want and as much as they want. Stupid huh? I agree, but that doesn't negate the fact that I get jealous every now and then. Now that my diet is opening up, it doesn't happen as often, but you may have to remind yourself of that until your diet opens up too. The depravity and the suffering in the first weeks after being sleeved are temporary. Don't let them get you down. The end results are worth it..I promise.
I think that's it for now. If you haven't started a blog of your own, you should. It's cathartic to write out this stuff and get it out there. And it helps others to know that they aren't crazy for going through the same feelings you're having. Not everyone on here is a great communicator and things tend to get said that can discourage you. Try to accept the message and discard the attitude if you get a response to a post that offends you. I walked away from OH for a while after a mild fiasco, but even in my absence, I tried to learn from the things that were said and use those messages for my own growth. This journey isn't easy. It makes us look at our inner demons and acknowledge their presence. It forces us to not only admit our weaknesses, but to confront them and overcome them. That shit is HARD! No one likes to admit they have faults! My best advice to you? Walk your journey YOUR way. Do whatever YOU have to do to make this successful for YOU. What worked for others may or may not work for you, so listen to what your body is telling you. It's hard to decipher what your body wants in the beginning. Give it time and you'll learn the signs. (For instance, if I hiccup, I'm full. If I sneeze, I for sure won't vomit. Etc...) For years we've mistreated our bodies and look where it got us. Now it's time to rebuild that relationship with our bodies and our minds and you should expect bumps along the way. That's where your support system comes in and plays such a critical role in your success. Reach out when you need help - no medals for being a martyr! If I can help in any way, feel free to private message me.
GOOD LUCK IN YOUR JOURNEY!!!!
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2 Weeks Post Op on September 11, 2012 5:38 am
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Hmmm...what to say about where I am today...
Okay, so Walter and I are getting along a little better now. If you'll remember, Walter is what I now call my tummy because I've learned that my tummy is an ornery old man and it reminds me very much of the puppet named Walter in Jeff Dunham's ventriloquist act. Walter lets me know pretty quickly if I'm doing something wrong or if I've eaten something he doesn't like. One thing he and I both agree on is that protein shakes SUCK. I'm thrilled that he hates them too because they taste (to me) like swamp water smells. I don't like 'em and I'm not gonna drink 'em. And don't tell me to "think of them as medicine". No. I don't have to and I'm not gonna. They're gross! So how am I getting any protein in? I am using SlimFast shakes and they do have 20 grams of protein per shake. Granted, it takes me an hour or more to get one down, but I'm not racing anyone, so it's okay. I have two of those a day. In the evening, I have begun eating a pate that my dad cooked up that is almost pure protein. Between the SlimFast shakes and the pate, I think I'm doing pretty good for now. My biggest hurdle each day is getting my hydration. What used to take a few minutes to chug now takes much longer, so I have to make a conscious effort to remember to constantly have a drink in my hand or near me and keep sipping. It's getting easier, but it's still a challenge.
So what else am I eating? I'm sticking to things that don't make Walter mad. Cottage cheese is something I just added back last night and it was like hanging out with an old friend. Mmmmm! So good! And so filling! I like pudding (sugar free only) and I've become a popsicle connoisseur. My favorite sweet treat is still fudgsicles though, but I try to keep those to a minimum since they're not fat free. Basically, I have thrown the post op diet out the window. (Did I mention said window was the window to my truck and I was doing 90 down the interstate?) If there are those of you that can strictly stick to that thing, good for you. ~clap, clap, clap~ No, seriously! I mean it! Good for you! I simply can't do it. The diets are so different between surgeons for patients who have all undergone the same surgery. How can one be so much better or more right than the others? It can't. So my plan has become to simply follow what my body tells me to do. And with Walter, trust me, it's not like I can stray without being punished. He keeps me in line... As he tolerates more, I will slowly add more variety to my diet while staying within the guidelines I know I need to keep to continue losing weight. I lost 32 pounds on my own before having this surgery - it's not like I don't know what to do. I got this.
That's my diet, so now we're on to exercise. Ugh. My energy levels have been in the tank since the surgery. Just no get up and go whatsoever. It's only been in the last few days since I've begun to get real meat protein that I'm beginning to perk up again. (Thanks Dad!) I have a treadmill in my living room and today is the day I will begin using it. My two week mark was a milestone in my journey that I had set as my time to begin a workout routine. I don't intend to go nuts, but I do intend to start slowly and add time on the treadmill every couple of days. I'll eventually work my way up to doing some reps on my son's weight machine thingy on the porch, but I'm not there yet. I'm still having some issues with my sutures and don't want to do any more damage. With the treadmill in the living room, at least I can keep myself occupied with the tv while I walk and it'll be easy to keep a drink nearby (and there's NO dogs! LOL!).
So about those incisions...yeah...I really thought those would be all closed up and starting to fade by now. A little eager, I know, but I was hoping for them to be better than they currently are for sure! Actually, all but one are doing well. I have one on my right side that was doing well up until about day six and then it just went stupid on me and split from side to side. Like, gaping. (So gross!) I have butterfly bandages on it and I peroxide it and put neosporin ointment on it daily. I keep it covered with a large bandaide to ensure that nothing I come into contact with throughout the day can further infect it. It doesn't look angry or deep red or infected now, but I'm keeping up the regimen until it heals. With no health insurance, I don't need any complications.
For any newbies reading this that are still pre op and have questions about bathroom stuff, I'm sure you've read a lot about how some people have some real problems in this area. You're probably also wondering about something referred to as foamies or slimies. Foamies and slimies are both really the same and are what they call it when you regurgitate "foam" or "slime" if you eat too quickly.
(I know, it's gross. Get used to it. There's a lot that's gross about this surgery.) Has it happened to me? I hate to admit it, but yes. I got excited about some banana pudding and before I knew it, I had eaten more than my stomach could hold. The banana pudding didn't come up, but the foam and slime did. I was miserable, MISERABLE!, before it did and felt like a million bucks once it did come up. My biggest fear at that moment was that I would tear a staple and do damage to my stomach, but I was fine and a hard lesson was learned. It hasn't happened again, but that doesn't mean it won't. I'm trying very hard to pay attention to what I eat now so I don't have to go through that again. As for the bathroom stuff, I've been lucky. (Look out...gonna get gross again!) I do have loose bowels and sometimes diarrhea, but nothing that requires me to carry a travel toilet in the back seat of my truck or to wear bariatric briefs. I can control it and can typically tell when it's time for me to find a bathroom. Remember Walter? He gives me signs when it's time to find a toilet. If I listen to him, I get there in plenty of time to avoid any embarrassment to myself of NOT making it in time.
Thus far, no accidents.
I'm still taking my gummy vitamins, my sublingual B-12, and my Zegrid (twice a day) and I'm still pushing all the fluids I can drink in a day. I was 218 on the day of surgery and 14 days later, I'm 207 (that's a loss of 11 pounds). I've been in a stall for three days, but I'm okay with it. You can't eat as little as I'm eating right now and NOT lose weight. Maybe I'm losing inches right now. I need to measure to be sure, but even if I'm not, I'm not stressing over it. Seems to be pretty common, so I'm just taking it in stride. I'm sure once I get my back side on that treadmill, it'll jump start the weight loss again. All in all, I'm doing pretty good and life is getting back to a new normal. I'm sure I have days of frustration ahead of me, but for today, I'm doing okay.
By the way, I'm really enjoying the site/app My Fitness Pal. It's set up very similarly to Facebook with status updates and friends and such and the support you get from others is phenomenal. Not everyone there has had VSG or any other kind of WLS, so sometimes they don't understand until you tell them, but everyone is similarly focused on getting healthy and losing weight and I've already made some really good friends. It's a fabulous way to track what you eat and exactly what you're putting into your body, so it's yet another tool for success. If you decide to try it out, feel free to friend me. I'm known on MFP as StuckeyLaRue...
Hope to see you there!!!
Activity Level... on September 10, 2012 6:14 am
So I guess one of the most common questions I get asked is how I'm feeling and if I'm back to "normal". Having VSG, I'll never be back to normal, but I don't think that's what people mean when they ask. Most want to know if I'm back up on my feet and able to get around and do the things I did before removing more than half of my stomach. So here's the lowdown on that from my experience...
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For the first week, it was all I could do to get up and do my required walking to prevent pneumonia and blood clots. It wasn't so much that it hurt, but it was uncomfortable and I just wanted to sleep. I do the same thing when I'm sick - my body just wants to sleep and I guess that's how I heal. It was no different with surgery except that it lasted a bit longer.
For the majority of the second week, I was able to move around and do whatever I needed to do. I could drive, cook dinner, pick up around the house, do laundry, etc...I just couldn't do it for long. Although my incisions were still a bit tender (and one more so than the others), it wasn't really painful to get around. What was lagging was my energy level. It was like my get up and go had gotten up and left. So I'd do whatever I needed to do in spurts and nap when I could. (Being self employed REALLY helped with this and it's a luxury I'm not sure many get to enjoy.)
By the end of the second week, I began to feel like "myself" again. I went on a business trip with my hubby to Birmingham, AL on Saturday. The four hour ride did wear me down and the hubster ended up putting me in a hotel early in the day so I could rest while he worked. I did nap some, but I think I just needed to get out of the truck. His concern was me being stuck in the heat while he worked. Whatever the case, it was nice to just relax in the room until he came back. We came home Sunday morning and bought a four wheeler for our son on the way home (damned Craigslist!). I got a little more protein in on Sunday than usual and it must have been just what my body needed. We got home and later that day, and we're talking for quite some time, I was out with the kids and the hubby riding four wheelers. It was awesome! I felt so alive! Did I have pain while riding? If I did, I certainly didn't notice it. Afterwards? Nope. Maybe a little when I first got off of the bike, but after that, none. I did sleep like a baby last night though. Riding was such a great way to burn off all the frustration of not being able to eat what I wanted or do what I wanted over the last two weeks. It was such a release for me! I don't know that I'll be right back out there today, but it sure felt good to do it yesterday and it proved to me that I'm back. My confidence is through the roof right now!
Now I can't say how quickly each of you will heal, this was my experience. My mother had VSG eight weeks before me and her activity level returned within roughly the same period of time. The important thing is to listen to your body. If you feel like it's too much to do something, don't. By the same token, don't remain in a position of self pity and not push yourself (at least a little). You have to push a little to know what your body will handle - just do it in small increments. Your body WILL let you know if you've done too much.
Good luck to each of you!!
Food Isn't Fun Anymore... on September 9, 2012 9:54 am
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I have always been a girl who enjoyed her food...like, I don't mind driving an hour or more to get to my favorite restaurant for Mexican food. Same goes for my favorite French restaurant which is roughly 2 hours from my house. WELL worth the drive. I can't even really say which food is my all time favorite. My food likes are very similar to my music likes...all over the place. I love trying new foods and the various flavors and textures...and I love HEAT in my food too (which makes Indian food yet another fave). In any case, my point is that I am someone who enjoys variety and I feel very trapped when I can't have it.
My surgiversary is hitting the two week mark this coming Tuesday and these early days of post op and the restrictions that come with it have been KILLING me. I've been told that I don't HAVE to have variety and that I will soon learn that. Yeah, well, so far, no luck. It doesn't help to get on here and see the vast differences in folks' diets. Some are on a clear liquid diet for the first week, others for two weeks. The same is true of when they can have pureed foods, soft foods, etc. My first response is always, "that's not fair!" and then I have to ask myself why. No one is monitoring me and what I eat. No food police are gonna jump out of my cabinets and arrest me for eating pudding before it's "allowed" on my diet! What I have to go by is what my body will tolerate and as of today, my tummy is an ornery old man (which is why I now refer to my tummy as "Walter" after the puppet in Jeff Dunham's show). Walter is quick to let me know if I've consumed something he isn't ready to tolerate yet. He does this by causing me great discomfort in the form of cramping, racing to the restroom or foamies. As long as I'm gentle with Walter, we seem to get along just fine.
That being said, Walter is still quite cranky from having more than half of him excised. We fought like hell the first few days post op, but we seem to get along better and better as the days pass. Over this first 12 days of being post op, eating has become a chore of sorts. It starts with determining exactly WHAT I'm allowed to have and then how I can make it tolerable and DIFFERENT. I don't think I can swallow another ounce of chicken broth. It was pure heaven when I got that first taste after surgery, but that crap got old quickly. You can only drink so much of it before you feel the urge to grow feathers and cluck. No thank you. Before VSG WLS, eating was not only a means to fuel my body, it was fun. I enjoyed my food and even enjoyed the selection process of what I would have for each meal. I didn't realize how much it would hurt and how much I would mourn that process until it was no longer an option. Food just isn't fun anymore. Yeah, yeah...I know, it isn't forever. But it feels like it when you're in the midst of it, now doesn't it? And that's where I am. And admittedly, I keep testing Walter and he keeps kicking my butt. As stubborn as I am, I know I have to bow down to Walter for the time being. Back to liquids only...
My only saving grace at this point is I'm pretty sure I'm ready to swap over to a full liquid diet rather than a clear liquid diet and that should open up a whole new world of flavors for me in a SAFE way. I was feeling optimistic about this and started looking for what others were doing for this phase in their diet and stumbled across a post from a veteran of VSG. Gadzooks!!! It's an absolutely amazing list of recipes for both shakes and snacks to get that protein in!!! And let me tell you, the list is looooooong, but some of these recipes look downright delicious. You can find a link to her posting HERE
. For me, I'm printing it out and plan to try as many as I can to get me through this next phase.
If you're like me, you've had your up and down moments in your journey. I have gone from zero to "why did I have this surgery" in 2.5 minutes and I'm sure I'll do it again before it's all over. Finding the OH site has been a life saver for me and helped me through those times. Finding the list was SO helpful to me and that's why I wanted to pass it on. I truly hope it helps you too, regardless of which phase you're currently in.