10 days after surgery
Oct 23, 2016
I had surgery on 10/12/16.
The doctor was supposed to also remove my gallbladder, as it is full of gall stones, but that was not done. I didn't get a clear answer on why, but it was something to do with either being too risky or too time consuming. I see the surgeon for my follow up tomorrow so I am hoping to get a better answer then. The surgeon never did talk to me after the surgery, instead sending his assistant. I thought that was a bit unusual, but I was told that this particular surgeon did not have a very good bedside manner, so I was expecting unusual. I was just not expecting no bedside manner. I am over it. I would never recommend this surgeon though if anyone asks.
The night after my surgery was the worst night of my life. I was in so much gas pain, and I was convinced it was due to the gall stones. I wanted so much to take some GasX, but the nurses would not give me anything that I had to swallow because in the morning they needed to test for leaks, so I had to suffer the entire night. I got maybe one hour's worth of sleep, if that, in short periods between the gas attacks. I tried walking but that only made it worse. The only thing that seemed to help was standing in the doorway to the bathroom and raising and lowering my arms. Luckily, by mid-morning most of the pain had subsided. The test was good and there were no leaks so I began drinking water.
I was in the hospital 3 nights. The only thing I wanted to eat was the lemon icees they brought with the meals. That was all I had for 3 days, but I was not hungry, so it was fine. I was not in a lot of pain, but they did give me a dose of pain meds and the meds made me dry heave so I decided I could live with the pain. Finally one of the nurses thought I might do with a smaller dose so they gave me a quarter dosage along with nausea medication and that did the trick.
Once I was released my plan was to stay on clear liquids for 2 weeks. I distinctly remember the nutritionist telling me this as part of the pre-op instructions, but I guess I got the wrong clear liquids. I had apple juice and I got some icees, but everything seemed to be very high in sugar. My blood sugar bounced between the mid 100s and the low 300s. I was nervous about taking my pills though, as the pre-op instructions said I should crush them, but they all said do not crush, and I tried to control the blood sugar with just insulin. It did not work out very well. I felt horrible every day. Finally, on Thursday (8 days after surgery) I went to see my primary doctor. He told me to get back on all my meds and was not happy that I had been off of them. Once I started taking the long acting insulin (lantus) my blood sugar stabalized. But I was ready to try something other than clear liquids. I calculated I had been on about 400 calories a day for that week and it just wasn't enough. So I decided to add protein shakes.
I realized, after reading many comments online, that different surgeons had different plans for after surgery on when to introduce food. I was still not hungry, but I guess I was craving chewing and swallowing real food. That night, I had 5 crackers. They seemed to settle my stomach and did not kill me so I figured I was ok to get off the clear liquid diet early. The next day I got some protein shakes and some protein bars. Today, I ate a piece of chicken for the first time. It was only about 2 ounces, but it tasted great and filled me up for most of the day. For dinner, I had a small piece of salmon. I think this is a much better way to handle things and my stomach finally stopped bothering me.
I am still having a hard time drinking my 64 ounces of water though. I am getting in about half of that, but it is an improvement over the first week, which was about 16 ounces a day. We will see if eating this food will affect my weight loss, which has been pretty steady and significant every morning. I don't see how it should, as my calorie intake for the day is still very low (under 1000) but I have read where the body adjusts to how many calories it needs fairly quickly so I await tomorrow morning to see how it goes.
If I don't lose any weight, i will be pretty discouraged. Compared to how I used to eat, I am eating barely nothing. But with the real food I am feeling better, so I am not going to starve myself. I have more energy with the real food and if I don't have energy, I won't be able to work an 8 hour day without taking a nap. The surgeon tomorrow will tell me when I can go back to work. I am hoping to be able to stay home for the week and return to work on Halloween.
They told me I would not be hungry for a year, but I am finding that to be a bit optimistic, unless I am confusing a craving with hunger. Whatever it is, it is satisfied with very little food, so I guess the surgery is working. All I know is in the last 10 days, I have eaten less than I did in one meal. That has to be good, right? The last two days though, I have craved a taco. I have not had any beef yet. Maybe that's what it is, or maybe the crunch of the taco, I don't know. I have read about "slider foods" which make you slide back into your old habits. I am concerned about this craving since it has only been 10 days since surgery, and this sliding usually does not happen for 6 months. I am still not sure what I am going to do about it. I will let you know.
Oct 17, 2016
I have been fat all my life, or at least as far back as I can remember. When I graduated high school I weighed 220lbs. After that, I really started putting on weight. All though my 20s I just kept adding weight. Eventually, I maxed out at 29 years old at 375lbs. I was at the end of my rope, and I realized that my weight had completely defined my entire life. Things were about to change.
At 29, I got online for the first time. I met people behind a computer screen and I was no longer lonely. I didn't even realize how lonely I had been until I started talking to people online. That is where I met a couple of ladies who introduced me to TOPS (Taking Off Pounds Sensibly). I joined that support group and I lost 111 pounds in less than a year. Of course the weight loss did wonders for my self esteem, and the ability to hide behind the computer screen added to my confidence, as I finally was able to speak to women without worry. I met one, who I thought was special, and I moved from Connecticut to Texas to be with her and her three children. She was also obese. At first, she was supportive of my weight loss. I found a local group for TOPS in Texas and we both joined, but for her, it didn't work. She was gaining, and as soon as she weighed more than me, she began to sabotage me, unconsciously I think, but it soon became apparent that weight loss was done.
I stayed in that toxic relationship way too long and 10 years later I was back up to 340lbs. But I was a different person than I had been when I was in my 20s. My confidence and self esteem never left after that initial large weight loss. I realized I had a lot to offer and my weight was just one small obstacle in any relationship to be overcome, not hidden. Since then I have never been ashamed of being a fat guy. Being fat no longer defined me. It was part of me, as it still is today, but just a part.
At 40 years old, I drove myself to the hospital because I was having chest pains. I had recently been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and the doctors told me I had not had a heart attack, but I did have a blockage. That is when I got my first heart stent. At 40 years old, that was way too young to be worrying about heart disease. But the stent worked. I had so much more energy that I did not worry about it. My doctor told me that if I didn't change my lifestyle I should not bother putting money into my 401k, and I took his words as a permission to release the hounds instead of a warning. I was still alone and I think that is why I was not worried if I would live past 50. 5 years later I was back in the hospital and this time I did have a minor heart attack, and stent #2 was inserted. But I was still not ready to change my lifestyle.
As the country was becoming obese, I just went with the flow. I was tired of hearing that I had no will power. Will power is a myth. The world is set against us. Eating unhealthy is way too easy and cheap, and actually eating a healthy diet is much more expensive and time consuming. I didn't want to exercise because I was tired. Was I lazy because I was fat or was I fat because I was lazy? I still don't have the answer to that. What I do know is that doctors have no idea why people's bodies tell them to eat so much that they balloon to over 300 pounds. I started doing research online, and realized there were so many theories and so few answers that it was a futile endeavor. Even though obesity would kill 100 times the number of people that AIDS kills in the USA, we did not have any celebrities asking people to be sensitive to our plight. We did not have any fund raisers for research. We did not even have empathy from the general public because, as I heard so many times "we did this to ourselves." We did not have a disease. We were just disgusting gluttons.
Eventually I came up with my own theory. It is evolution. It has only been about 120 years or so that our society has had enough food for all. Prior to that, there was a lot of feast and famine. Since we had survived that, we had some gene that told us to eat as much as we could when there was food about. The problem was, now there was always food about, and our gene was still telling us to eat in order to survive the next famine. I think doctors will find that gene some day and be able to turn it off, and then obesity, maybe even all addiction, will be cured. Until then, we need to work with what we have.
At 45, I finally found the love of my life and got married. Now things were different. My solution was having a good life insurance policy, as I was still not ready to tackle the difficult proposition of fighting my body and mind every single day for the rest of my life in order to not eat that extra serving of rice and beans. When I was 49, I was back in the hospital for another blockage. This time they put 2 stents in. Now I had a total of four. Not even 50 years old and I had a collection of stents keeping my arteries open in my heart. This thought started to sink in.
I finally did turn 50. I had made my goal. So now, what was next? I can't say I had an epiphany, but slowly over time, I got to the point where I was ready to make a change. I wanted to grow old with my beautiful bride. I wanted to travel and do things that my weight just would not allow me to do. And most of all, I never wanted to become a burden. When my workplace finally began covering bariatric surgery in 2016 I decided it was time. I had always thought if I could curb the hunger, then weight loss would be easier. I thought bariatric surgery would be perfect for me. On October 12, 2016, I had the gastric sleeve surgery. I will use this blog to document my journey.