- Name: Mountain Mama
- Username: lkchapman
- Location: Evansville, IN, USA
- Member Since: 7/4/2009
- BMI: 23.0
- Post Op
- Surgery Type: RNY (12/10/09)
- Surgeon: Erik Throop
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Surgeon TestimonialErik ThroopDr. Throop performed my surgery on Dec. 10, 2009. He was very professional and caring not only during the hospital stay, but also at the pre op and post op appointments. He always answered all my questions and put me completely at ease. He even talked Tennessee football with my sister at one of my pre op appointments. So she felt more confortable with him. LOL!!
He works through the St. Mary's Weight Management Center as part of the Bariatric Program they offer. I got complete nutritional information, psych evaluations and necessary tests and procedures while going through their program.
I just can't say enough good about him. I would recommend him to anyone considering the procedure.
Mountain Mama's JourneyClick Here To View
Describe your behavioral and emotional battle with weight control before learning about bariatric surgery.
I've been an emotional eater ever since my mom died 20 years ago. I found comfort in food and tried Atkins, WW, South Beach, etc. and would lose 10 pounds and gain back 20.
Finally on the Mend on April 16, 2011 7:04 pm
Well, here I am -- 3 weeks after sepsis almost killed me after the gall bladder surgery.
In the meantime, I continued to lose weight due to nausea from the infection and the potent antibiotics. I got down to a dangerously low weight of 117.2 on April 7. At this point, I had to regain 21 pounds to get back up to where I was before the gall bladder saga began. I was theatened with a feeding tube if I dropped any lower.
So -- to combat the nausea, I started drinking flat ginger ale. . . not the diet kind -- the regular kind because I needed the calories. I started adding more complex carbs and would eat a couple of squares of a thin crust pizza a couple of times a week and even treated myself to a single scoop of lemon sorbet. I also found that I could eat 25 Reese's Pieces to stay under 12g of sugar so as not to dump for an occasional snack and to satisfy my sweet tooth. I know some things weren't the healthiest choices -- and some days I just can't tolerate much of anything. But I'm happy to report that as of April 14 -- in just 1 week -- I had gained 3.1 pounds, so I now have "only" 18 more pounds to regain.
I went back to pulmonary rehab 2 weeks ago to begin working into my routine again by just using the treadmill. Some days, I could hit a mile -- and some days I couldn't. But I was back out of the house making the effort to regain my energy and strength by MOVING. I'm going to try adding back the elliptical this week, but just starting at a lap and then adding a lap a week until I work back up to a mile on it, also.
I also started back in my water aerobics class last week. All I can do is the 25 minute group exercise -- but none of the wall routines or water weights. But again -- it's a start and I'll have to work my way back into the full routine. But I'm just absolutely WASTED when I leave from just the group exercise.
I have a long way to go to get back to "normal", but I'm making progress -- and that's the important thing. I know that getting the weight back on in addition to the workout sessions will work hand in hand on regaining my strength and energy and it's just going to take time. Strange how I never thought I'd hear ANYONE tell me I needed to put ON weight.
For those of you who have been following the story, I want to remind you that according to my surgeon what I went through is EXTREMELY rare. I've never had any kind of surgical complication and expected the gall bladder surgery to be routine and I'd be back up and on my feet and back to normal in 5 - 7 days. But this story is a reminder that complications can and DO happen -- no matter how rare they may be.
I'll update again in another month. Hopefully I'll be back into my pre-op workout routine with everything except the weight machines and water weights at that point. But if not, I'll be happy to just make some sort of progress on the workouts and on the weight regain.
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Gall Bladder -- Second Round of Complications on March 26, 2011 7:32 am
As if the other complication from the infection wasn't enough to deal with, 3 days after finishing the antibiotic for it, I noticed another pocket of abscess at the lower incision site. Since it was over the weekend, I had to wait to call the surgeon's office to get in to see him.
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By Tuesday, I knew things were getting serious when I tried to go to my pulmonary rehab session and my resting heart rate when I got there was 107 and my %SPO2 sats were only 90%. I lasted only 6 1/2 minutes on the treadmill and could NOT get the heart rate down or the oxygen level up. I got home and called the doctor. He didn't have office hours last week as he was on trauma team at the hospital, but wanted me to meet him at the office on Wednesday at 11am for him to take a look at what was going on.
By Wednesday morning, my BP cuff would not even register a reading, my temperature was over 102 and I just felt "ravaged" by whatever infection was going on. I was weak and felt disoriented and again, my neighbor had to drive me to the surgeon's office. Remembering two weeks' prior when he had to lance and drain the other abscess with NO ANESTHETIC, the first thing I said to him when he came in and took a look at it was "If you need to do any poking, prodding, pushing and/or draining like before, let me run headfirst into the wall to knock myself out first". He replied "It needs to be opened and drained, but you're going in the hospital for general anesthesia and surgery to do it this time. This is the second pocket of infection and it's EXTREMELY rare to see this. We need to find out once and for all what we're dealing with."
I was taken by wheelchair from his office directly to the hospital. What he DIDN'T tell me at the time was that at this point, I was septic. The infection had spread throughout my whole system and was in my bloodstream and had already invaded the pleural sac and the pericardiem (sp). My BP was 77/43, my heart rate was 116, my blood oxygen sats were 84% and I was running a fever of 103 with chills. I knew something was wrong when they came to draw blood for the blood cultures. The tube of blood looked to me like the color and consistency of tomato soup. They started an IV to push fluids into my system, put me on 2 liters of oxygen to get my blood oxygen level up and started some really potent IV antibiotics that are VERY irritating to the veins and Dopamine to get my blood pressure up. Four hours later, I was in surgery to reopen the second incision site and drain it.
The rest of that day was kind of a blur due to the anesthesia, but I remember not "hurting", other than just the raw feeling of the incision from the surgery that had been packed to allow for the rest of the infection to finish draining.
By the next morning, the blood cultures were back that showed it was systemic and that he had me on the right kind of IV antibiotics to knock it once and for all. But -- as stated above -- after only 2 - 3 infusions of one of the antibiotics had shut down the vein and the IV line had to be restarted at another site and phlebitis had set in at the original site. But my vitals were GRADUALLY looking better throughout the day and the doctor had ordered them to be taken every 4 hours instead of just at shift change. By mid-afternoon, my fever finally broke and was under 100.
By Friday morning, the bacterial cultures were back and I had a systemic strep infection and had been fighting STSS -- streptococcal Toxic Shock Syndrome. My oxygen was reduced from 2 liters to 1 liter and my O2 sats hovered around 91% - 92%, and my BP finally hit 98/62. I was well on the way to turning this around and the surgeon asked me if I felt comfortable enough with everything to go home and manage the rest of my followup care myself.
I was taught how to remove the packing and repack/bandage the site myself and given a bag full of supplies to do it. He is going to be following up with me weekly for the next 3 weeks to make sure we stay on top of this and I was sent home with 875mg Augmentin twice a day for 10 days. The unpacking/repacking thing twice a day kind of scared me, but I knew it had to be done. I just decided to take a pain pill 1/2 hour before attempting it to take the edge off the discomfort it causes and make do with that, so it hasn't been too awfully bad so far.
I'm also taking my own vitals and charting them every 4 hours at home so I know immediately if things are taking a down turn and can call him. But so far, everything has been pretty stable with the BP, HR, O2 sats and temperature. It looks like I'm finally on the mend. (knock on wood). I'll have to say that as of this morning the difference in how I feel between today and Wednesday when I hit the surgeon's office is like the difference in daylight and dark. Other than just still being weak from how this infection had ravaged my system and going through 2 surgeries in 3 weeks' time, I really can't complain. Regaining my strength -- and 16 pounds that I really didn't need to lose -- will take time. But I feel like I'm finally at a place where it's doable now.
I'm actually looking forward to a night out next Thursday night with some of my HS classmates at Turoni's. I'm not sure if I'll feel up to the full 4 hour gathering, but I at least feel like venturing out for a night a fun and getting back into the land of the living for however long I last to try to put all this behind me now. Hopefully, this is the final chapter in this nightmare so I can continue the road to healing and a full recovery to get back to where I was before the whole GB saga began back at the beginning of January. This past 2 1/2 months have been an absolute blur with all that's happened and have been pretty much "lost time" in my memory bank.
But the skies are looking bluer and the sun is shining brighter and I'm looking forward to renewed strength and better health in the days and weeks ahead.
Gall Bladder Saga Followup on March 16, 2011 6:20 pm
I was scheduled for surgery to remove my gall bladder on Feb. 9, 2011. . . it didn't happen. I went for all my pre op labs and EKG on Feb. 7 at 8am and got a call from the surgeon's office the next day at 4:30pm that surgery the next morning had been cancelled due to an abnormal EKG that needed cardiac clearance for the surgery. The same day I had the tests, I ended up with an attack that lasted over 9 hours and began my trip through GB hell over the next few weeks.
I was able to see the cardiologist on Feb. 10 -- the day AFTER the scheduled surgery. Luckily, I had gotten my pulmonary rehab records for the past 4 months that morning to take with me for him to review. The EKG actually showed that I had suffered a heart attack at some point in time. After reviewing an EKG from a hospital admission in Feb., 2008, it was determined it was sometime before then. But after reviewing all my blood pressure reading, blood O2 sats and resting/exercising heart rates, he said that I was already doing more in pulmonary rehab with good stats than he would expect to see with a stress test and cleared me for the surgery.
By the time the clearance got faxed to the surgeon's office the next day, I was going to have to wait another 3 weeks to get put back on the surgical schedule. You have GOT to be kidding me!! 3 WEEKS?!?!? At this point, I'm in constant pain, nauseous and can't eat and I have to wait another 3 WEEKS?!?!? I started taking some Lortabs for the pain that I was given for a pinched nerve in my back last Spring. But after a week on them, they just wouldn't touch the pain. I called the surgeon's office and asked for something stronger and was put on Percocets. That was the beginning of my insanity. I had hallucinations on them and even though I could only take them every 4 - 6 hours, after 2 1/2 hours, I was again writhing in pain.
Between the time of my first attack on Jan. 10 until the day of the appointment with the cardiologist a month later, I've already dropped 5 pounds due to not being able to eat. Finally -- 6 days before the rescheduled surgery -- I again called the surgeon's office and talked to the nurse. I reminded her that I am a bariatric patient and not being able to eat was going to negatively impact my overall health REALLY QUICK and something had to be done. I begged for an earlier date for the surgery or to be able to get in on a cancellation. . . anything. . . She called me back after talking to the surgeon and checking the surgery schedule again and told me that if the Percocets weren't touching the pain and I couldn't get any relief, I needed to get to the ER and have it taken out as an emergency procedure.
That same night -- just 3 hours after being told that -- off I went to the ER. I was in so much pain that my neighbor had to drive me. We get to the ER and I go through the whole story about the surgery having to be rescheduled due to needing the cardiac clearance, that it was scheduled 6 days in the future, but because my overall health was declining rapidly due to being a bariatric patient, the doctor had sent me to the ER to get it out as an emergency procedure. . . RIGHT!!! Wouldn't you know it but that I got "Dr. House" as the attending physician, who refused to do anything.
He chided me for not taking a pain pill before coming to the ER (I had taken one just 2 hours before heading there and it wasn't time for another one) and then expecting them to do surgery just because some "non medically trained employee" at the surgeon's office told me to go to the ER. The last I checked, nurses ARE medical professionals and have to have a medical degree in nursing to be an RN. But because I didn't talk to the doctor himself instead of "somebody sitting at the front desk of the doctor's office", he would not do ANYTHING. Oh -- he ran some labwork, did an EKG and a chest Xray to rule out any other "bad stuff", but refused me any kind of medical treatment and sent me home to take my pain meds "as directed." Excuse me -- I was already taking them "as directed" and wasn't getting any relief.
He further refused to do anything based on all the labs being "normal" and an abnormal EKG -- even though I had already told him that I had cardiac clearance for the abnormal EKG. He was completely insensitive to me being a bariatric patient and that my weight was dropping like a rock. At this point, I've lost another 5 pounds -- 10 pounds total since the first attack on Jan. 10. I argued with him . . . my neighbor argued with him and asked him "What if the thing ruptures?" His reply was "It's not going to rupture. Her liver enzymes are completely normal." And I was sent home.
Four days later, I get a call from the surgeon's office wanting to know if I've been sick or had a cold or anything going on because the white cell count from the ER visit was "elevated". Elevated?? I was told everything was "normal". I hadn't shown any signs of being sick, my temperature fluctuated between 98.2 - 99.5 (which is normal for me). She said it must have been elevated due to the inflammation in the gall bladder itself and suspected that it was now infected. GREAT!! This shows up on the ER labwork and "Dr. House" doesn't do a damn thing.
I was actually bumped up 3 hours earlier for surgery due to a cancellation 2 days later. When I hit the Same Day Surgery unit, the surgeon was there asking me what happened at the ER and told him that I was refused treatment. He said I was the 3rd patient that had told him the same thing had happened to them and he was LIVID and promised to start an investigation as to why his patients were being denied emergency procedures when he had been the one to send them to the ER.
The surgery itself went without a hitch. But 5 days later, I knew something wasn't right. The top incision was really red and angry looking and oozing pussy-looking bloody discharge. I called the surgeon's office again and had to go in to see him. I had developed a really severe infection and he told me that had I waited another 24 hours to come in, I'd have been in ICU fighting sepsis. He had to reopen the incision and clean out/drain the pockets of infection -- WITHOUT ANY NUMBING AGENT OR ANESTHESIA!!!! It took 2 nurses to hold me down while this was going on. He said that particular type of infection is really rare and that mine was probably the worst he had seen outside of actually having to be admitted to the hospital to manage it. So much for the "normal" labwork at the ER. . .
So, 5 days later, I had my regular post op visit/checkup. I asked him if the post op infection could have been prevented had the ER doctor at LEAST started me on antibiotics. His reply was "It certainly wouldn't have hurt anything". But he had already filed a complaint and put me in touch with who I needed to file a complaint with, saying that they listen to the patients even more than the doctors and nurses because the patients can sue them for malpractice. EVERY nurse, doctor and caregiver I've talked to has told me the same thing -- file a complaint. So, I'm in the process of doing so and have even gotten the name of a malpractice attorney to see if I don't get a satisfactory resolution to this.
At that post op visit, I had dropped another 6 pounds -- for a total of 16 pounds -- due to my body being so ravaged by the infection that I couldn't eat ANYTHING other than clear liquids. I couldn't even take my B12 because just the smell would make me hurl. But I WAS getting down my other vitamins and supplements. I'm now just 3 pounds above being clinically anorexic and fighting like the dickens to get that 16 pounds back on. The dietician at the Bariatric Center is working closely with me to regain the weight.
These past 2 months have been an absolute nightmare and not anything I would wish on ANYBODY!! I'm glad it's finally over, but I've got a long road ahead to get the weight back on to where I need to be. I can't eat more than 12-15g of sugar at a time without dumping and simple carbs sit in my pouch like a lead balloon, so my options are kind of limited with the restriction on putting it back on any time soon. I'm weak and do well to do a mile on the treadmill a couple of days a week. I've ordered a new supply of protein powders for drinks and protein bars to add some good calories and protein into my diet to try to jump start the weight gain, but we'll see if that works. I sure don't want to end up with a feeding tube.
Sorry this is so negative . . . probably the first negative blog I've done. But this is just beyond unreal. . .
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Bit by the Gallbladder Bug. . . on January 31, 2011 7:23 pm
Yep. . . just found out today. . . gallbladder comes out on Feb. 9th.
I've had several months of pressure in the right side of my abdomen -- just along and under my rib cage. I attributed it to the machine weights, since I was pushing myself to increase the weights. Then suddenly -- about a month ago -- I was doubled over in intense pain for a couple of hours that felt like a knife stabbing me clear through to between my shoulder blades. I thought I had a high pain tolerance, but this brought tears to my eyes. I've continued to have those attacks a couple of times a week since then and stay sore in my abdomen.
Called the Bariatric Center and got in to see the doc. Ultrasound was negative for stones, nothing definitive on the CT scan. So. . . I go for the HIDA scan. Right after the injection with the Kenovac, I was again doubled over. On a scale of 1-10, I was at a 12!! Thought I was gonna' die.
So. . . off to the surgeon today and I'm scheduled for gall bladder removal on Feb. 9th. I know it's no big deal -- and I did really well with the RNY as far as pain afterwards goes. So I know this will be ok. But I'm frustrated that it had to happen at all. Everything has been "textbook" up until now. I was hoping I would be one of the lucky ones that never had any kind of complication. At least, it happened OVER a year out. So, I guess I'm beating myself up. But, still. . .
It has to be better post op as far as no more painful attacks and being able to actually EAT again. I've been so afraid to eat anything for the past month for fear of setting off more attacks, my weight has hit an all time low -- and they were NOT happy at the Bariatric Center today when I weighed in for the appointment with the surgeon. I'm at the point of sitting on bones, laying on bones -- there's bones sticking out everywhere.
So, I'm actually looking forward to getting it out and getting back to "normal" as far as eating again to put a few pounds back on. Never did I ever think I would be too thin -- but I am and it's not a pretty sight. But I'll get back to where I felt and looked good. It won't take much . . . about 8 pounds is all it would take. Strange how only 8 pounds at this size makes such a HUGE difference in how I look and feel.
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Now, the Hard Part. . . on December 26, 2010 7:01 pm
Here I am. . . over a year out now. . . and STILL losing weight -- even after I thought I had leveled off for the past 4 - 6 weeks. AARGGHHHHH!!
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I'm seeing my ribs, sitting on my hip bones and my breast bone sticks out a full inch from under my bra. When I went to have my hair done Thursday, even the "skinny minnies" there said I was getting waaaayyyyy too little -- and I've known these gals for the past 30 years. They've NEVER had a weight problem and have seen me before I became obese and through the various diets I've been on. So for them -- who wear sizes 2/4 -- to tell me I'm too little. . . well, that was an eye opener for me.
I'm now 13 pounds below my goal weight, but only 3 pounds below what the charts say my "ideal" weight is for my height. I'm feverishly trying to gain back a few pounds. I really felt better at around 140 pounds, which is 5 pounds more than I weigh right now. But I still dump on sugar if there's more than about 15g per serving and I still don't process simple white carbs at all. I've added more complex carbs in the form of fruits and veggies, added more whole grains and fiber and am using a protein shake to up the calories. I've graduated from FF foods to LF, added back a few more good fats, but it doesn't seem to matter. . . I'm still losing.
I guess it's time to call the NUT for some more recommendations. I know when I had my 1 year post op, they were pretty adamant about me NOT losing any more weight, but I have. I don't have an eating disorder, such as anorexia or bulimia -- in fact, I've gone to great lengths to keep from throwing up when I eat too much at one sitting. So I don't think a call to the psych would do any good right now, but the NUT would definitely need to know what's going on so she can make some recommendations.
Wish me luck. The "easy" part was losing the weight. But maintaining without losing any more is a beeyotch. I refuse to turn to the foods that led to me being obese just to put a few pounds back on. That would be like opening the flood gates and then trying to close them while the rushing water is escaping -- a place I don't want to go to.
The tool works -- too well at this point.