First Two Weeks

May 07, 2007

Two weeks, 14 pounds! 

Still quite a bit of pain at the incision spot,but its bearable.  I have to be careful still not to over do it.  I took the kids to a birthday party over the weekend and have been resting ever since!  I had hoped to be back at work already, but to be honest my health is more important and I want to make this work, so I am taking as much time as I can!

Food is actually fine these days.  I am on soft foods and have not had any nausea or pain.  The protien is still hard, the shakes give me some diarhhea- I think maybe too much sugar? or lactose intolerance?

I snuck in some pizza cheese at my daughters party this weekend, and had no problems! (It is protein right?!:)

Here is what  I am eating these days:

8am: Vitamins, Unjury Protein shake 31 g protein
10am: Light and Fit Dannon yogurt 5 g protein
1am: egg with cheese or meatball with sauce
3pm: Protein shake
6pm: tuna with mayo

I also try really hard to get the 64 ox of water or snapple or broth, but it is pretty hard.

Exercise: Everyday I walk my neighborhood 2x. The neighbor hood is about 1 mile, so that is two miles a day!

Made it Through to the Otherside!

Apr 24, 2007

Its the big day after and I wanted to share all the gory details with everyone... once thing I found so helpful from everyone else is to read the details of their experience, so here we go- I hope this helps someone.

Monday, April 23rd

4:30 am -- Woke up showered with Dial antibacterial soap put on sweats and drove to the hospital.  Was pretty hungry at this point since I had not eaten all day Sunday,and I had that joyous bowel prep.

5:30 am -- Arrived at the hospital and waited until we were called for check-in

6:00 am -- Leo registered us, confirmed all of our authorization forms, checked my license and my insurance card.  I filled out a proxy form, in case something happened my mom could make medical decisions for me. They give you a wrist band, and then we sat back down to wait.

6:30 am -- Justin took me to the pre-op area were I changed in to a super large gown (naked underneath) booties and a cap. I had my period, so they also gave me a pad and gause underwear- and because of this I did not have to do a pregnancy test.  In the Pre-op area they asked a load of questions such as do you have any piercings, implants or metal in your body (the man next to me then proceeded to tell his nurse that he had two bullets in his head due to some sort of mob-like attack in his appartment... I didn't catch the whole thing,but it was quite funny) - are you allergic to anything, etc. They review again all of your forms of concent regarding risks, double check the doctor and the type of surgery you are having.  They do blood pressure and temperature and insert the IV. The IV had a couple of things in it,but I cant recall them all- there was definately prevacid (for the stomach upset) and antibiotics for the surgery itself. I also got a shot of heparin in the stomach,I read a lot of people saying they got this in the arm,but I got it in the stomach and I could barely feel it.  The heparin is to thin the blood.  I met the nurse and Anestesiologist (sp?). Oh and they had to do additional bloodwork, because apparently mine was too old- so word of advise to double check this before you come, although they can do it there just as easily.  After prep, my family could come sit with me until we got rolled away.

7:45am -- kissed the family goodbye and rolled off into the OR. I remember very little of the trip to the OR and none of the surgery.  Funny enough the last thing I clearly remember is Dr. Abkins face saying hello and asking if I was ready- I said yes and that was it until recovery.

11:00 -- Recovery room.  I love recovery.You are so doped up you can barely see. Its fund to try to straighten out your vision until you can see things clearly.There was this crazy bird atatue in front of my area and it took me a bout an hour to determine what it was... but it was fun to focus on it.  

My surgery actually took a half hour longer than it should have.  Turns out that I had a hiatal hernia that I did not know about.  It turns out it is pretty common in obese woman,and most people who have it have very bad acid reflux  The good news is , they just fix it and move on with the procedure- no harm no foul.  I attached the link I got the below info from in case anyone wants to read up on it:

Hiatal Hernia



Any time an internal body part pushes into an area where it doesn't belong, it's called a hernia.

The hiatus is an opening in the diaphragm -- the muscular wall separating the chest cavity from the abdomen. Normally, the esophagus (food pipe) goes through the hiatus and attaches to the stomach. In a hiatal hernia (also called hiatus hernia) the stomach bulges up into the chest through that opening.

There are two main types of hiatal hernias: sliding and paraesophageal (next to the esophagus).

Hiatal Hernia In a sliding hiatal hernia, the stomach and the section of the esophagus that joins the stomach slide up into the chest through the hiatus. This is the more common type of hernia.

1100 am- 130 pm  -- this whole time as I mentioned above is very vague,but there are a couple of things to mention. I had very bad pain in my neck and left should.  They said it was from the gas they had pumped into the stomach to do the procedure- it gets trapped, rises up to the nect and shoulder and gets stuck in the bones (or puts pressure on the bones). They said it would last a couple of hours,but I still have the pain on day two- it is just hidden by the pain meds.  They said the most important thing to do  to aid in moving this gas out and clear your lungs is to take very slow and deep breaths. I did this for almost an hour and although it was a bit painful, I believe it helped me recover a lot faster as the pain did subside a bit and I was one of the few to have better lung capacity right after surgery (just my uninformed opinion here) They hooked me up to an IV and pain meds (a morphine that I could push every 8 minutes) I was a very groggy, and spacy camper.  When my husband and mother came into the room it was like looking up at angels- they were cloudy and blurry and surrounding by haze (a  drug haze obviously)  I remember thinking it was "sweet' that they were there. Not relieved, thankful, happy or needy- just that it was so cute that they suddenly appeared. Funny. Then we rolled up to the room.

2pm-- who can really say what time it was :) A lot of sleeping (or really fading in and out or consiousness due to the morphine and the anesthesia.  

You have to wear these special cuffs on your calfs to help prevent blood clots- its like a piece of fabric that inflates randomly for a few seconds to put pressure on your calves.

You cant have any ice chips or water, but your mouth will feel like it is full of cotton! Especially when I stood up, it seemed to get worse.  So they give you these special mouth swabs that you can dip in water and rub in your mouth (dont suck it or swallow the water though!) These were a lifesaver to me, I used them all day and all night. 

A patient representative came by and gave everyone a 'cough bear'- I am dure this is different depnding on the hospital,but this one was for holding against your stomach in the event that you had to cough or laugh or get the phlem our of your lungs.  I didnt have to cough or phlegm at all,but they said that was unusually lucky to have my lungs so clear.

Every hour to clear and strengthen your lungs you need to use a breathing apparatus.  You such the air through a tube and it measures your lung capacity.Most people can barely do 500 at first, but after practice they hope you can get to 2000 or 2500.  I hit 1500 right away, again likely because my lungs were so clear.

More blood pressure tests, temps, blood work and heparin shot again to the stomach (morning and night they give this). The tech also check your "j-tube".  I heard a lot of peopletalking about this when I was lurking on the web,but I didnt undertand what it was.  I took a pix that I will try to post so you can see it.  In essence it is a tube that attaches to the inside of your stomach cavity to drain any excessgunk and fluid from your abdomen.  If it drains well while you are in the hospital, you can have it removed before you leave, if not- you keep it until the next appt.  The tech drained mine 2 x a day- it looked like thick Kool-Aid.

They expect you to get up and go walking about as soon as possible, but despite what I heard on the chat boards... my nurse didn't push any of us.  Four of us got the surgery that day and I think I was the only one who walked around on day one...and that is because I wanted to!!!! Plus I was dying to pee and I figured if I was up to go potty...might as well make the effort. They say the only way to get that gas out of your body is to walk it out,and I wanted it out! I will tell you, the more I walked the more energy I had and the better I felt.

Somewhere along the way a resident came and listended to my belly, he was looking for 'grumbling or movement' sounds from my bowels to let him know that they were waking up from the anesthesia. I guess it takes a day or so,and that is what determines if you can go on to your liquid diet on day 2.

Night was sporadic,no one bothered me with monitoring blood pressure or anything, but my roomate had the TV on and I had to pee a lot. So I was in and out- the pain came back a bit stronger at night in my shoulder, but the morphine helped.  I brought a sleep mask to keep the light out, which was a godsend,I would advise you also bring earplugs! It also got fairly hot at night in my room,not really from anesthesia or morphine, but just stuff all throughout the wing. I had the BEST nurses and they brought me a fan that I pointed right at me and kept me cool all night and the next day.

Day 2:

REsident came by at 5am! Listened to the grumbles and announced I would meet with the 'team'  soon and I would get liquids today.  Shortly after, Dr.Abkin came by to see how I was doing. He explained to me the hernia issue described above and told me everything was a-ok otherwise. I felt very positive after seeng him.

The "team"came by an hour later, listened again to grumbles, asked how I was doing with the walks, etc and then offered moral support and encouragement.

took a walk, bathroom,walk, bathroom- not many naps today though I had LOTS of energy. I tink  I was so excited to be on my way to weight loss- I couldnt  sit still.

Around 9am, the nutritionist came - she held a small group meeting to tell us (again) about all the important steps we needed to take to succeed (protein,vitamins, dont drink and eat at the same time, etc.) and she also provided us with a lot of support group information for the hospital. It was nice because she said we could call her at anytime to ask her questions after we left the hospital.

The rest of today was rather boring actually..some visitors,  best wishes phone calls and lots of walks with my new friends. Breakfast came at 10am,and I barely ate it. Jello, Crystal Lite, Tea and chicken broth.  They took me off the morphine and gave me oxycotone once now and one more again at 10 pm.  So far so good. I was scared to take it with the tea because I had not swallowed anything for a whole day.But it went down fine with a very small sip.  I finished the tea and had a very little bit of everything else before I was full. By the time I finished my sips- lunch came! Same thing, just beef broth this time. I couldnt eat any of it.  My stomach is so full of gas at this time I dont want to eat anything. However my brain still wants a nice juicy cheeseburger! But in all honesty if you put that in front of me, I dont think I could put it in my mouth at this point.I just dont want it (CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!)

So now I am sitting sharing all this with you to bide time through the day. It helps to sit up straight rather than to lie in bed, and periodically walk around.  

Tomorrow they tell me that I have to drink the green or blue liquid tomorrow which will check for leaks one last time. I feell ike I am in the Matrix (you can take the blue pill or the green pill!)  No leaks, means time to go home. Probably around 12 noon.  If I pass "gas through my bottom" (versus  a burp I guess :)) I can graduate to full liquids at home,if not, I need to stay on clear liquids until the bowels wake up enough to fart :) how eloquent.....

One last word before I sign off tonight... Everyone here at Morristown Memorial Hosptial in Morristown, NJ was amazing. I have never seen a group of more supprotive dedicated and enthusiastic people in a hospital ward.  I realize that everyone is deallt a different card when it comes to staff, but my nurses (Helen and Elizabeth) were just super- and I want to thank them for making my recover more like a spa weekend away from the kids (with a little gas) haha

More later ....

OK its later- and I made the biggest mistake of my hospital stay, I thought I could get through the pain without the meds. BIG mistake.  I sould have learned this lesson from both of my c-sections, but nooooo I let it happen again. So around 9 om the nurse came in and urged me to take a percocet likely due to the tears rolling down my cheeks!  Once I conceded I was fine, albeit stoned for the rest of the nght and nextday.  OH well,better than being in tremendous pain!

Day 3: Green Dye Day 

Blood pressure, etc at 5am
Resident doctor came in around 5:30 to offer the green dye. The resident was cute and the dye was tasteless.  So all in all not that bad.  NOTE ON THE GREEN DYE:it makes your tongue green! So brush your teeth right after you drink it!  The point of the green dye is to ensure that you dont have any leaks in your pouch,  If you did it would come out in your j-tube.  They checked mine within an hour and there was nothing. They did say that if there WAS dye in the j-tube, all it really meant was that you needed to keep the tube in a little longer for it to heal...  So in my case I got to have it taken out.  It didnt hurt really to have it taken out.  The doctor told me to take a deep breath in and then out and then in and out again.During the second deep breath in, I think he pulled it out. I barely noticed it. He showed me how long the tube was that was inside (it was about 12 inches!) 

Then the resident team came back in (I felt like I was on Grey's Anatomy) "35 yo woman, had gastric bypass, has been urinating well but has not passed gas...." They listened again to my gurgling intestines (Gold star) and said that I was approved to go home- Hooray.

Dr. Abkin came back in and reminded me of our apt for next week, that I should not have full liquids until I pass gas and wished me luck.  HE had such a positive smile, I couldn't help but be encouraged.

By 11:00 I had my prescription for percocet and my wheelchair and off I went.  The minute I got home I passed out on the couch! :)

Tomorrows the Day!

Apr 22, 2007

Tomorrow is the big day.  I dont even know where to start... I am so excited for the future that lies ahead.I feel blessed that I can start this new journey now, at a time where I still have a long way to go...

So lets see,I woke up at 7 this morning and faked sleeping until 10 so I could avoid the screaming kids and the thought of the bowel prep.My doctor wanted me to take a bottle of Fleets PhosoSoda when I first woke up - to cleanse my bowels. Yummy.  It wasnt that bad, 4 or five trips to the bathroom to 'pee' from my behind and it was done.  I hadn't eaten that much the day before, so that might have made it more bearable. After that I mostly slept, avoiding the anxiety I think. My hisband wasnt so pleased with the sleeping, as he was left with the crazy kids...but he will live!

My mom is going to take me to the hospital tomorrow- Morristown Memorial. I am so psyched- I got the first appointment 7:30- which means I have to be there at 5:30. At least I wont be hungry for that long. I had to fast all day (clear liquids only). It wasnt so bad, until I saw a yummy grilled cheese sandwich on the TV. Word of advise to those getting surgery- DONT WATCH TV the day before, the commercials will make you crazy for food.

Last week I watched that PBS show "Fat: what no one is telling you"  it was really good and it made me feel better about my decision.  I do believe that I have done all I can to help myself at this point and this is the best step forward for me. I am truly grateful for this website and all the people on it as they have made this journey forward less of an unknown and more of an exciting adventure.

Final Goodbyes

Apr 20, 2007

I thought it was going to be harder saying goodbye to certain foods.  Mashed potatoes, McDonalds, spaghetti,bacon...but with each final 'goodbye' bite all I could think was that these things weren't really all that good to begin with.. just comfortable.  I hope that this lasts even after the surgery. I think  I am mentally prepared, so all I can do is pray for success now.

April 13 2007- Anxious

Apr 13, 2007

Nine days until surgery. I am getting anxious.  I've bought all my supplies and have tied up loose ends at work. I didn't tell my boss what kind of surgery I am having, and he doesn't really need to know. A few select friends and coworkers know, and they are ready to support me. 

Tonight I am having my last bottle of wine for a while, I splurged and spent a whole 45$, which is a lot for me. I thought I would want to have more 'last meals' but to be honest, I just dont care about the food anymore.  I quit diet coke 4 months ago and know I dont even like it.  The only thing I want to eat before I go in is a big plate of spaghetti, go into a carb coma and take a nice long nap.

About Me
Surgery Date
Mar 21, 2007
Member Since

Friends 11

Latest Blog 5
First Two Weeks
Made it Through to the Otherside!
Tomorrows the Day!
Final Goodbyes
April 13 2007- Anxious